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Bitcoin and US National Security

An Assessment of Bitcoin as a Strategic Opportunity for the United States.

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Executive Summary

Russia has shocked the world with its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This crisis is a fraught moment of significant uncertainty, with both immediate implications for the global economy and cascading consequences for the international order. President Putin’s war of aggression is a transparent attempt to fracture the geopolitical status quo. In the process, it has brought to the fore latent frictions in the global economic system and thrown into sharp relief the strategic challenges facing the U.S. and the western liberal order.

Western governments have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia, targeting Putin and his cronies personally, cutting Russian banks (including the Central Bank) and companies from U.S.and European financial systems, and imposing severe export controls and sanctions across a range of key industries, all while Western companies exit en masse. The goal is to impose immense economic and political costs on the Russian leadership and economy, isolating the regime from the western system.

Putin will likely retaliate in some fashion, and the potential for escalation is real. How the situation will evolve is hard to predict, but it is important to recognize that Russia’s actions are taking place in a broader strategic context, as the culmination of larger macroeconomic and geopolitical shifts. These shifts may precipitate a reordering of—or at least a major challenge to—the dollar-based global economic system.

The U.S. must reassess, with renewed urgency, the durability of the rules-based international order, coming now under clear and direct assault. As part of this assessment, the U.S. must identify and develop innovative approaches to:

1) Bolster our enduring sources of national economic strength, and

2) Leverage all means to counter our strategic adversaries, while

3) Preserving and protecting the democratic values at the heart of our national ethos.

This paper offers a contribution to such an assessment and identifies Bitcoin as a strategic national security opportunity for the United States that supports these objectives.

More than just about any country in history, the United States has proven its ability to adapt and lead in times of challenge and change. Leveraging our enduring constitutional principles, open society, and natural bounty, we have transformed, sometimes radically, the fundamental architecture of our political and economic system. This has required innovative, sometimes controversial, thinking.

If we apply such innovative thinking, the U.S. will find itself exceptionally well-poised to take unique advantage of the opportunity presented by the emergence of Bitcoin, helping overcome our current challenges and promoting a more resilient and secure future.

The time for such thinking is now.