Chapter 16: Blockchain, The New Geopolitical Arms Race
One of the least discussed and most important questions affecting blockchain technology is the question of geoeconomics - geopolitics, economics, and the forces at play as government compete for economic advantage and influence. Blockchain is a critical technology in that it makes it possible to build advantage and integrate systems, as well as to support cybersecurity and encryption. Blockchain isn't dual use - it is multi-use, and the cat was never in the bag in the first place: global decentralized networks are impossible to kill or govern, and their development communities are critical for national security of countries seeking to leverage them for national and economic security.
Today, centralized bastardizations of blockchain technology are being explored by the West's geopolitical rivals as a way of evading or escaping the influence of the Western banking system and evading sanctions. Nation states are experimenting with a number of strategies, including listing their own assets in a form of "Initial Country Offering" to enrich their national elites, as well as supporting smaller countries efforts while observing, planning, and timing their own approach to undermine the West's increasingly fragile monetary system. Additionally, there are dozens of potential blockchain applications that will aid countries in protecting their vital technology from being copied and exported by economic rivals.
Democratic countries who embrace blockchain and strong encryption for the right applications will be able to maintain their edge. Those that don't, won't. This chapter outlines strategies for the next geoeconomic arms race.