13:53 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Plowshares Into Swords: Pentagon & NATO Looking to Militarize Bitcoin Tech

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    Officials from the US Department of Defense and the North Atlantic Alliance have called for the creation of military-related applications built on blockchain technology, the knowhow behind Bitcoin, Defense One reports.

    The two services, the Washington-based military news publication explains, "have put out requests for military-related apps built on blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger system."

    Blockchain, a technology which allows a digital ledger to be stored in multiple copies across a large number of computers, and for changes to be registered instantly, uses a mathematical protocol to make it tamper proof, "creat[ing] an immutable record of the information; and since everyone has a copy of the data, records are still safe even if a few people are hacked." Financial firms and even governments have looked into the technology for a variety of applications. 

    Now, Defense One says, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon's secretive and often eccentric, James Bond-villain like research branch, is looking to militarize the technology, "us[ing] blockchain to create a secure messaging service. The group recently put out a public request for pitches on the project, and wants a web or native messaging app to help secure communications between different departments and even potentially troops in combat."

    The Defense Department request called for the creation of a system allowing for "deniability, perfect forward and backward secrecy, time to live/self delete for messages, one time eyes only messages, a decentralized infrastructure…resilient to cyber-attacks, and ease of use for individuals in less than ideal situations."

    NATO's bureaucracy, for its part, is looking to use the technology for more traditional purposes, using blockchains to make logistics, finance and procurement more efficient and secure. 

    Blockchain, DARPA hopes, will allow the military's "'smart documents and contacts' [to] be instantly and securely sent and received, thereby reducing exposure to hackers and reducing needless delays in DoD backoffice correspondence." 

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    Tags:
    US Department of Defense (DoD), blockchain technology, militarization, applications, Tech, Bitcoin, military, technology, NATO, US Armed Forces, DARPA, United States
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