Blockchain technology has proven to make Bitcoin a legitimate global payment option for millions of people worldwide. The banking establishment is falling all over themselves to create their own Blockchains to cut costs and become more efficient. Now, the U.S. Military and NATO are investing in the potential future use of Bitcoin’s cutting-edge technology as well, for everything from sending more secure messages to protecting nuclear weapons.
It turns out that the U.S. military has been investigating Blockchain technology just as long as the banking system has, for the balance of 2016. How would the military find a use for Blockchain technology? Whether they could or not revolves around a concept in computer security known as “information integrity.” That’s basically being able to track when a system or piece of data has been viewed or modified.
Since Blockchains are ledgers that log information, messages, and transactions, they can also track any entries or modifications to these entries, potentially increasing overall security greatly, since a hacker cannot hide their surveillance or modifications.
“Whenever weapons are employed … it tends to be a place where data integrity, in general, is incredibly important,” says Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Blockchain program manager Timothy Booher. “So nuclear command and control, satellite command and control, information integrity is very important.”
A company called Galois has secured a $1.8 mln DARPA contract last month based upon their production of a form of Blockchain technology they call Guardtime. DARPA wants them to formally verify their system to potential build a form of unhackable code for an enhanced security in national weapons systems.
“We want to provide an extremely high level of trust … what this work will become is the highest attainable level possible,” Booher says, “If someone is driving a combat vehicle, flying an aircraft, commanding a satellite, we want to make sure their focus is 100% on that mission.”
Earlier this year, in May, DARPA began looking for a way to make internal messaging systems more secure, efficient and faster. Much like Bitcoin’s many advantages versus debit card transactions, and all the intermediaries need to perform a transaction, they found Blockchain technology would not only make sending messages faster, but they would be much harder to intercept by third-parties and easier to protect.
“If significant portions of the Department of Defense back office infrastructure can be decentralized, “smart documents and contracts can be instantly and securely sent and received,” DARPA says, “thereby reducing exposure to hackers and reducing needless delays in DoD back office correspondence.”
NATO has been working since April on learning more about how to use the Blockchain technology as well. This includes future applications in military logistics, procurement, and finance. NATO invited proposals as part of the 2016 NATO Communications and Information Agency Innovation Challenge in April. NATO specifically asked for Blockchain applications for military logistics, procurement and finance, and anything else that would be of interest to the military.
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