Can Bitcoin miners replace the global consensus
An intriguing Bitcoin narrative has emerged this year around the physical security offered by its proof-of-work consensus method. This story evolved from Jason lowery, a commissioned US Space Force officer and registered US National Defense Fellow at MIT, whose full-time job is to research Bitcoin for the US Department of Defense (DoD). His views on the matter are his own and do not represent those of the DoD.
As part of his MA, Lowery plans to write his dissertation on how proof-of-work miners are functionally identical to the role of the military and could be adopted as a substitute for war in terms of consensus building. world on the current state and chain of digital freedom and property. What is particularly unique about Lowery’s thesis is that it corresponds to the proof of work as the evolution of biological and physical models of the universe and of life itself.
Lowery explains that billions of years ago our world was nothing more than a few single-celled organisms. Over time, the state and chain of control over resources shifted in favor of multicellular organisms that unwittingly cooperated. Animals have evolved and expressed a projection of power to resolve disputes over resources, from antlers to dominant behaviors. Fast forward to millions of years ago and we have the rise of hominids. One of these hominid species, Homo sapiens, developed the cognition of abstract thinking and the ability to extend trust and cooperation beyond the Dunbar number, using a common set of beliefs.
“The game of life is a power projection game. It is generally a kinetic power projection. A great way to be better at power projection is to cooperate. Cooperation itself is a predatory competitive advantage… History is a great book written by the people who won the Kinetic Proof of Work game.
-Jason Lowery, “Bitcoin fixes this # 73”
According to Lowery, power projection allows people to declare the legal authority to set the chain of custody over property ownership and if those authorities become oppressive or weak, power projection preserves the ability of the challengers to counteract those authorities and to rewrite the chain of custody. This is, by definition, what constitutes a permissionless protocol. Not having the capacity to project power means that one must tacitly trust a third party to define what property is.
Lowery argues that the military is an extension of this four billion year old power projection game, to build consensus on what the legitimate state and chain of custody are. Whether we are talking about the boundaries of our backyards or our own nations, those boundaries are set because power has been projected to counterbalance authority at one point or another in our history, which in turn allows us to define our own state and our own chain of control. resources that we can control. The military is projecting kinetic power so that it is too expensive not to cooperate with the people who control the military. Without an army, or some form of power projection, it becomes gratifying to confiscate property and resources.
Without the defense of property, there is no ownership of anything. In other words, the military is a means of preserving a structure of unauthorized control over property, and adherence to legitimate rules of law is a tacit validation of the historic battles that made it possible to establish those rules of law. We use the rule of law to avoid having to fight perpetually for every disagreement and cooperation leads to increased power projection. Without the ability to project kinetic power, there is no way to have unauthorized controlling authority over physical resources.
“The power of every bullet, the power of every bomb, the power of every engine behind every tank, every truck, every ship, every submarine, every plane, the power behind the heartbeat of every member of every army that has ever used in the world is measured, literally, in watts. These watts are spent for the purpose of defending property. Defend the rule of law. Defend everything that must be defended. And yes, it’s super ineffective to create a giant standing army that does nothing but stand there and defend your rule of law or whatever you mean you have. But, even more expensive than creating a standing army is to be invaded or conquered by another army.
-Jason Lowery, “Bitcoin fixes this # 73”
What does this have to do with Bitcoin? Power projection does not necessarily have to involve kinetic energy only, where force is applied to mass to move mass. It can also be electric, by applying a load to a resistance. Either way, the rules of the game and the underlying physics are the same – both forms of power projection are measured in joules per second or watts. The only difference is how this energy was derived. With Bitcoin, humans are monetizing a new form of ownership and effectively transposing warfare from the kinetic power projection game to an electric power projection game.
Humans apply kinetic proof of work to preserve state and chain of custody in the physical world and over physical resources. And while water, air, and earth will always remain in what Lowery calls the kinetic “meat space”, money doesn’t need to be limited to the physical realm.
Money can be transferred from the physical domain to the electrical domain and the same principles and the same control structure without authorization can be applied to it. As a substitute for kinetic power projection, no one bleeds the proof-of-work consensus. And, better yet, the projection of power does not rely on the coordination or questioning of belief structures. By monetizing bitcoin, humans no longer need to wage wars to protect, confiscate, or legitimize monetary property.
By making this transition, we get additional benefits. Kinetic Power Projection games are infrastructure-destroying competitions that usually end in rubble and death. While an electrical proof of work competition, in Bitcoin, is an infrastructure building competition that increases network security and promotes abundance of energy.
The second and third order effects of this transition are only beginning to be understood. For example, Lowery points out that the abundance of energy can lead to cheaper desalination, reducing the need to fight kinetic battles for freshwater.
Lowery says humans are too good at projecting kinetic power, and the ability to counteract the authority of oppressors – to put state and chain of custody above money – has become impossible with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We are sure to fail if that were to happen. His thesis will therefore argue that the human race has lost its structure of unauthorized control over money.
Bitcoin represents a solution to this conundrum. As Lowery puts it, Bitcoin and Proof of Work are the equivalent of human woods, built on nuclear-resistant digital defense infrastructure, to project power to reclaim an unlicensed digital control structure over money and digital property.
Bitcoin will not end the war – we will still need kinetic power projection to claim ownership of physical resources. However, Bitcoin enables a neutral global digital currency that prevents monetary oppression and dematerializes the kinetic power projection game required to enforce contractual fiat currencies, which are based on the legitimacy of the rule of law through the military. Lowery is fascinated by Bitcoin because it obeys this law of power projection that he sees in all of nature and in all biological systems. This creates what Lowery calls “mutually assured preservation,” where competitors are incentivized to cooperate and everyone benefits from the productivity of their competitors.
This is in stark contrast to the kinetic power projection games which result in mutual destruction. By deregistering one’s monetary ownership of the spoils of war and subscribing to Bitcoin, one can participate in a beneficial migration that uplifts civilization, fosters competitive cooperation, and improves our ability to project constructive power as a species, while restoring a control structure without authorization over money. In a world where nuclear weapons have hampered our ability to counterbalance an oppressor, if they were to emerge, Bitcoin is not just a national security imperative, but an imperative for all of humanity.
Lowery will continue to refine his thesis and has invited the Bitcoin community to join and discuss him as he refines his theories. It will be interesting to see how his ideas develop and help us change our perspective on what Bitcoin can mean for the human race and our ability to own money and goods in the digital realm.
This is a guest post from Level39. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.