Commentary: Are bitcoins a military risk?

bitcoin coin

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is dealing with the risks of cryptocurrency.

(Photo: Reuters)

In the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense, there is a legendary department known by the acronym DARPA, which stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It was founded in 1958 in the so-called Sputnik shock: the year before, the Soviet Union had been the first country to send a satellite into space, which triggered concerns in the USA that it would fall behind technically and thus militarily. From 1968, DARPA was instrumental in the development of the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet.

What does it mean when this bureau releases a study on the security of the Bitcoin network? One gets the impression that the US government classifies it as a possible security risk.

The result of the study: The Bitcoin network could very well be manipulated. The security of the network is based on the fact that very large computing capacities are required in order to gain dominant influence. But because, it is said, the capacities in the network are very unevenly distributed and some participants use outdated or easily vulnerable software, it is quite conceivable that the cryptocurrency will be compromised.

The study does not give any probabilities, and the fact is that the network has been running flawlessly for more than ten years. But what security risks could there be in this context?

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It has long been shown that Bitcoin can be stolen by hacker attacks. But if the entire network were manipulated or switched off, for example, this could lead to distortions through interfaces with the traditional financial system and would therefore be a target for cyber attacks.

China keeps payments under control

Another point: Bitcoin is very suitable for covert financing, and thus also for criminal activities and possible terrorist financing. But whoever uses the network in this way is more interested in it working well.

Could a covert takeover by a hostile government create problems? There have been concerns about this in the past because of the strong presence of the network in China. But the government there has declared war on Bitcoin: it wants to keep payment transactions under its own control.

The attempt to attack the financial system via Bitcoin is perhaps the greatest conceivable risk. One thing is clear: it is no wonder that governments do not like Bitcoin. His fans see him as an alternative to national currencies.

More: Not much remains of the Bitcoin myth

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