The $700 billion dollar defense bill passed the US Senate on Tuesday, including a large increase in military spending and far exceeding the amount that was originally expected. The total bill represents a $84 billion dollar increase over last year’s budget. One of the things that was added to the bill just before passing was a requirement for the US Department of Defense to study blockchain and how foreign nations and enemies of the US could potentially use the technology- for either good or nefarious activities.
According to a report on Coindesk.com, the research that will be conducted includes “…a report on the potential offensive and defensive cyber applications of blockchain technology and other distributed database technologies and an assessment of efforts by foreign powers, extremist organizations, and criminal networks to utilize these technologies.”
This should be a positive development. The US military is very good and astute at understanding the risks and opportunities that are created through new technologies. While they appear to be doing research on risks posed by others using the technology, it will also likely reveal opportunities and outcomes in market-friendly offerings. The US military tends to create infrastructure and research that the private sector can take advantage of. This was true for both GPS and for the internet- two technologies, in part, that were funded for by the US DoD. Plus, one of the most important functions of our US military is to manage a global logistics network. Any development or research on blockchain could benefit us all in the supply-chain and logistics industry.