The US Department of Defense has submitted the National Defense Authorization Act to President Donald Trump to be approved and signed into law.
Identifying National Security Potential of Blockchain Technology
Section 1646 entitled “Briefing on the Cybersecurity Applications of Blockchain Technology” explicitly described the use case of blockchain technology in national defense and the applicability of an immutable ledger for the protection of sensitive information.
The approval of the bill will lead to extensive research and development on various areas and applications of blockchain technology. The law stated that the US government would be required to provide:
- A description of potential offensive and defensive cyber applications of blockchain technology and other distributed database technologies;
- An assessment of efforts by foreign powers, extremist organizations, and criminal networks to utilize such technologies;
- An assessment of the use or planned use of such technologies by the Federal Government and critical infrastructure networks; and
- An assessment of the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure networks to cyber attacks.
Bill to Mark Further Research
In the upcoming months and throughout 2018, the authorities and researchers within the US Department of Defense will demonstrate practical use cases of blockchain technology outside of the realm of finance.
In an extensive blog post, Navy Lt. Commander Jon McCarter revealed that the US Navy is exploring the usage of blockchain technology in Naval Additive Manufacturing, specifically to share information throughout the manufacturing process of naval equipment on a secure and censorship-resistant ledger.
Mainly, the US Navy will focus its research on using blockchain technology as a secure messenger that is cryptographically secured with timestamps, to ensure that the designs, prototypes, testing results, and production plans are not released to any party or organization apart from those that are directly collaborating with the US Navy.
Navy Lt. Commander McCarter describes the military advantages of securing shared data on the blockchain:
“When looking for a testbed for this technology, it quickly became clear that Naval Additive Manufacturing was a perfect match. The ability to secure and securely share data throughout the manufacturing process (from design, prototyping, testing, production, and ultimately disposal) is critical to Additive Manufacturing and will form the foundation for future advanced manufacturing initiatives. These efforts are pushing the production of critical pieces of gear and equipment closer and closer to deployed forces.”
Interest Follows Resource Stream
As the government allocates more capital and resources into the development of blockchain technology, regional authorities will naturally provide a friendlier ecosystem and regulatory frameworks for firms in the private sector, which are attempting to commercialize the technology at a larger scale.
BBVA, Intel, Microsoft, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are already working on the development of blockchain technology. Thus it comes as no surprise that the government’s increasing interest in the applicability of the blockchain will continue to stimulate the rapid growth rate of the industry in the US.
In the long-term, the government may collaborate with blockchain startups operating infrastructures on top of secure and immutable public networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, rather than relying on permissioned ledgers that are prone to security breaches and hacking attacks.