If US space marine Jason Lowery has his way, crypto will have a new – not entirely unimportant – use case in the future: preventing wars. Or rather, change forever how they are run. Namely: with hashrate instead of bombs. Mine Bitcoin, don’t make war, you could say.
The 400-page MIT master’s thesis called “Software”, which brings this idea onto the discourse floor, has been published as a book on Amazon – and has long been a bestseller, currently the best-selling Bitcoin book in the USA. It’s making waves from crypto-Twitter to Forbes. Lowery himself summarized the basic argument on Twitter as follows:
GM. #Bitcoin represents a new paradigm of warfare that will disrupt 10,000 yrs of balance-of-power dynamics, and our leaders are asleep.
— Jason Lowery (@JasonPLowery) April 10, 2023
According to Lowery, Bitcoin’s proof-of-work concept offers a more peaceful path for future power struggles than conventional wars. States build their infrastructure on Bitcoin, with different layers. First, it provides better protection against cyberattacks. Because launching them on Bitcoin costs a lot of energy. Secondly, the nations get into a competition for the hashrate and at the same time depending on the same system.
The metaphor Lowery uses, which also serves as the cover image, is an antler. It allows two deer to compete for territory without causing fatal damage. The winner of proof-of-work contests rises to power within a distributed computing network upon which everyone depends.
His advice to the US government: Accumulate as much Bitcoin as possible now. In fact, it is actually in the process of selling parts of its holdings. President Joe Biden doesn’t appear to be among the growing fans of “software.” He also wants to push through a higher tax for miners.
Why fight cryptocurrencies when you have guns?
Opinions differ on Twitter. There is talk of a “revolutionary, provocative thesis”. Or: “400 pages of fluff with a single, trivial point.” The problem: Everyone has an opinion, but hardly anyone has actually read the thesis. Neither do we (yet). The discourse on Twitter involuntarily becomes the prime example of the problem of the hyper-accelerated information economy.
But some obvious questions arise, such as for BTC miner Rob W.: “Why would that change things significantly? If I am NOT powerful but can appear powerful with my current info war in the fiat world, WHY should I fight BTC where there is actual proof of my power? The incentive here is unclear to me.”
But again, why would that materially change things?
If I'm NOT powerful, but can appear powerful with my current fiat-world info-war, WHY would I battle w/ BTC, where there is actual proof of my power?
The incentive is unclear to me here.
— Rob W. (@BikesandBitcoin) November 29, 2022
Austrian economist and bitcoiner Peter St Onge is even more drastic: “400 pages of fluff with a single, trivial point: turning war into an auction promoting currencies on blockchains. Of course, that would be very foolish for the target country, knowing it will be outbid by Uncle Billion. So the thesis is: hope the enemy is stupid.” Unfortunately – and for this he has received criticism – he has not read the book at all.
My take on @JasonPLowery and #softwar: 400 pages of fluff with one, trivial, point: convert war to auction by promoting currencies on blockchains. Of course, this would be very dumb for the target country who knows it’ll be outbid by Uncle Trillions. So the thesis boils to "hope…
— Peter St Onge, Ph.D. (@profstonge) April 3, 2023