Bitcoin: Cryptographic Tool That Can Secure Civil Liberties

Over a half-century ago, President Dwight Eisenhower recognized a force that threatens democratic government. In his farewell address on January 17, 1961, he alerted the American people about a "permanent armaments industry of vast proportions" and its impact in shaping the very structure of our society. He called it the military-industrial complex and urged the nation to guard against it.

Few people listened to his dire warning. From the Gulf War to invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq War, the "disastrous rise of misplaced power" that Eisenhower predicted came to manifest itself as America’s perpetual war of aggression against other nations. As unchecked military establishment expanded with its bloated budget, it appeared that nothing could stop this monstrous power.

In 2010 resistance emerged on the Internet from a conscience of an American whistleblower Chelsea Manning who informed the public about corruption and crimes of the US government. WikiLeaks, with the release of the collateral murder video and its subsequent publication of documents concerning US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, shed a light on operations of the military-industrial complex that have been kept in the dark.

WikiLeaks was a game changer. By using cryptography, the whistleblowing site built its robust infrastructure and created the world’s first global Fourth Estate. The transnational publisher resilient to censorship effectively challenged the might of a superpower. Co-founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, stated how cryptography provides a way to mathematically prove the authenticity of his publications. He described it as a backbone of the organization’s decade-long pristine record for accuracy.

During the rise of WikiLeaks, another creative application of cryptography was quietly under its way. Since it came to life in early 2009, Bitcoin has begun disrupting the world of finance. Over the years, this decentralized digital currency gained its reputation as a non-confiscatable digital gold that could enable financial sovereignty and free people from the control of central banks. Yet, Bitcoin is much more than just money. This new technology backed by cryptography can offer a tool for ordinary people to defend themselves against unchecked armed forces that continue to persist, threatening civil liberties at home and aboard.

Elusive power of nuclear weapons

The US security forces maintain their power through a monopoly of violence. The nucleus of the system was developed during World War II by physicists working on the Manhattan Project and by the establishment of a large armed industry. With creation of nuclear weapons, humanity seems to have tried to outdo the force of nature. The US government’s dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was a subversion of laws of nature, unleashing a power that could bring total annihilation of life on the planet.

After WWII, the US led the arms race for nuclear supremacy. Around this elusive power, those who are driven by an urge for domination have created a network of security to protect their private interests. By using the threat of weapons of mass destruction, transnational corporations engage in conquest of territory. They control world resources, with central banks printing money out of thin air and by weaponizing large financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The superpower state put the entire world under fear of an uncontrolled fission chain reaction, to keep all nations in the chain of its military command, imposing petrodollar hegemony. Armies of economists, legislators, and regulators apply pressure to maintain the monopoly of the market, putting sanctions, trade embargoes and blockades against those who challenge US imperialism.

Now, in this digital age, man’s subversion of nature has come online, forming patronage networks that act like one big computer. The Internet has been effectively militarized with the penetration of intelligence agencies and the CIA cyber weapon, along with giant tech companies engaging in censorship. This occupation of cyberspace is maintained by private paying processing companies like Visa, PayPal and Mastercard controlling the flow of money, freezing assets and restricting transactions.

Security backed by nature’s law

Bitcoin provides an alternative to this universal security system backed by men with guns. It creates a new model of security based on cryptographic proof that can resist unlimited applications of violence, making a bulletproof network.

Bitcoin is developed and stewarded by a group called Cypherpunks. They are a new wave of scientists who bring ethics to their work. In the paper, The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work, Phillip Rogaway described how academic cryptographers see their work as being politically neutral and divorced from real-world concerns. He explained how contrary to this, Cypherpunks are "crypto with values" who takes up moral obligations and use cryptography for social change to shift the balance of power between individuals and the state. They challenge a model of governance that fuels wars of aggression and surveillance capitalism.

Bitcoin’s core consensus algorithm is an innovation that is created through application of laws of nature. The anonymous creator of this technology, Satoshi Nakamoto found the force that governs nature manifested in the law of physics, specifically thermodynamics – principles concerning heat, temperature and their relation to energy. Based on this understanding of natural law, the inventor of Bitcoin found a way to coordinate human actions to build economies of scale.

Tech entrepreneur and author Andreas Antonopoulos acknowledged how Satoshi not only invented a new currency, but also gave us the world’s first perfect market. He described how Bitcoin mining is built around a valuable currency and using it as a token of reward, engages miners in a broadcast math competition known as ‘proof of work’.

Working with careful balance of risk and reward, in combination of game theory, Satoshi created a new economic incentive that makes miners work honesty and enforces rules of the network without applying pressure. This process leads to both the creation of money and clearing of transactions. Most importantly, it enables unprecedented security backed by laws of nature.

Protocol of peace

The law of nature that is now restored in Bitcoin’s noble architecture commands the industrial hardware manufacturers to challenge the military industrial complex. The computing power of specialized hardware, through a method of decentralization, reorganizes a structure of our society shaped by the arms industry. Power that is now redistributed through this free software begins to free people who are enslaved by the nuclear programs and state-sponsored terrorism.

Bitcoin mining, largely driven by renewable energy, counters energies that are used to maintain the existing security state that creates overconsumption, pollution and environmental destruction. The market that dynamically adjusts according to a demand with a tight feedback loop every 2 weeks engages miners to strive for high efficiency in a brutally competitive environment. It channels misused forces of nature in the arms race and redirects energy into building a global security. This newly created network can now start to transform the death-spiraling war economy into a resilient, asset-based ecosystem.

The global security state with an application of technology built without consideration of all living beings violated our fundamental right to life: the right not to be vaporized or eradicated by warfare. From Libya to Syria, now Venezuela, US intervention continues, with airstrikes, drone attacks, sanctions, and coup, undermining democracy of other nations and threatening the sanctity of life.

In his final public speech, Eisenhower called upon American people to find a way to "learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose." He emphasized:

"We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Now, Bitcoin brings a protocol of peace that can enable a mechanism to settle conflicts and disputes among people without the use of force. A network secured by a principle of nonviolence could guard our children and a future generation from resource wars. It can shelter people against currency wars and wealth confiscation, protecting the planet from ecological destruction.

Through individuals across the world freely choosing to adopt this Bitcoin’s new security model, we could end the tyranny of military power. Upon this foundation of peace, we can create democracy, securing Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as our unalienable rights.

Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is a writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency, and decentralized movements. Her work is featured in many publications. Find her on twitter @nozomimagine.