Erik Weijers, 2 months ago

Thought-provoking bestseller about Bitcoin: Softwar

Jason Lowery is an emerging thought leader in Bitcoin circles. A staunch believer in Bitcoin as the only valuable crypto asset, he urges his country the United States to start mining Bitcoin in what he views as a new arms race to claim and defend property in cyber space. A month after its launch, the bulky book is an Amazon bestseller in its category.  

Why is Bitcoin mining a matter of national security? In Lowery's view, Bitcoin mining secures information in the way that a navy and air force secure maritime and air thoroughfares.  

Cyberspace is the new frontier: a nation's ability to protect its access to its money and data will be vital to its autonomy. After all, you can use the Bitcoin blockchain to not just own money but also to secure data, which is made possible - among others - by the ordinals protocol. 

So, in Lowery's view, Bitcoin's use case goes beyond peer-to-peer money, as it was originally intended. He shows how many innovations (gunpowder, airplanes) were initially not seen as potential tools for warfare, and only later applied for this use case. 

Hash wars

Lowery's view is an exploration of the concept of hash wars, the idea that it won't just be companies competing for BTC, but nation states as well. We're seeing some signs of this. For example, a state-owned company in Russia is building mining facilities in 2023. 

Max Keiser, the inventor of the term hash wars, has called Lowery's ideas a 'bastardization' of his ideas, without specifying why exactly. Keiser is a resident of El Salvador, a country which does exactly as Lowery proposes: mining Bitcoin and building a stack. 

Bitcoin's proof-of-work as power projection

According to Jason Lowery - who for some reason carries the nickname 'spook' - proof of work is what makes Bitcoin effective in the real world. He takes his time in the book to explain how in nature, it is ultimately always the use of power ('power projection') which determines who owns what. It's fitting that the '(block)chain of ownership' in cyberspace is also determined by energy.


The fact that energy (power) must be used to secure Bitcoin, in Lowery's view makes the protocol superior to proof-of-stake protocols, which only use abstract power structures (software) to protect the network. That's a brittle, 'logical' shield that won't hold when push comes to shove.

Mutually assured preservation: antlers

The hash wars are a new form of war: a non-violent battle for territory in cyber space. Instead of mutually assuring each other's destruction in a nuclear war, nation states could compete for online territory by simply building out the largest possible mining facilities. In this sense Bitcoin mining functions like a deer's antlers: it allows the deer to physically battle it out without wounding each other: 

'[...] Thanks to proof-of-work protocols like Bitcoin, nations can now utilize special machinery to impose severe physical restrictions on other nations in, from and through cyberspace in a completely non-desctructive and non-lethal manner.' 

More about the book: Softwar: A Novel Theory on Power Projection and the National Strategic Significance of Bitcoin 

Read more about young academics advising US government on Bitcoin adoption

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