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Crypto Is A National Security Asset, Not A Liability

Shunning new technologies and ways of doing business has never yielded positive results; crypto is no different.

Given the deluge of crypto coverage and analysis recently, between legislation, regulation, and market opinions, it would be understandable if a certain thread had slipped under the radar; the connection between cryptoassets and national security. Something that has been stated on several occasions at this point is that the continuing integration and utilization of cryptoassets – be it bitcoin or stablecoins – poses a systemic threat. This threat is stated to apply to the financial markets, the US dollar’s status as the global reserve currency, and the strategic success of the United States abroad.

This could not be further from the truth.

Blockchain and crypto have proven themselves to be perhaps the most disruptive technology since the development of the internet, with applications and use cases still being discovered on a daily basis. With such fundamental disruption there will invariably be some dislocations and changes to the status quo, but that is not the equivalent of being a national security risk. Rather, the continued development and proliferation of cryptoassets brings with it the potential for new and innovative applications across virtually every economic sector.

Let’s take a look at how and why cryptoassets should be viewed as a national strategic asset, and why its further development should be encouraged and nurtured.

Upgrading the dollar. One of the most prominent arguments made against cryptoassets is that they pose an existential threat to the status of the US dollar as the global reserve currency. There is no guarantee, it is true, that the dollar will also be the global reserve currency, but the assigning of blame on crypto is a short-sighted and an incomplete assessment of the situation. Instead of fearing the rise of crypto as a threat to the current position of the dollar, policymakers and regulators should embrace the benefits of crypto-based payments.

Put another way, instead of cracking down on everything that resembles crypto transactions without understanding the nuance and differentiation that exists, policymakers should be seeking to integrate the beneficial aspects of these instruments into existing structures. Blockchain and crypto payments have quantifiable benefits that are widely acknowledged, recognized, and should be leveraged as much as possible. The United States, and by extension the dollar, face fierce competition in every area of commerce, diplomacy, and global influence.

Why not have the dollar, the most powerful economic tool policymakers wield, be the best and most up-to-date version of itself?

Better data. An additional strategic asset and benefit of blockchain based transactions is the security and encryption that conducting business in such a manner provides. High quality data is the lifeblood of every organization, and every decision requires high quality, reliable, and comparable information to make well informed decisions. Framed in that light and context the case for supporting adoption and implementation of blockchain and crypto applications should be an easy one to make.

Much is written about how technology trends like artificial intelligence, automation and robotics will fundamentally change the world going forward, but every one of those applications require high quality data that can be trusted. Given the frequency of hacks, breaches, and other data impairment issues that occur on an all-too-common basis the importance of data tools that can secure and transmit data safely cannot be overstated.

Blockchain and crypto, fulfilling that need, should be supported instead of being treated as a regulatory headache.

A new paradigm. Blockchain and cryptoassets clearly have potential that is just beginning to be tapped by the private sector in terms of use cases, applications, and opportunities, much like how other technological innovations before them. How blockchain and cryptoassets ultimately evolve and are used by market actors is impossible to predict, but there are some general statements that hold true.

First, trying to regulate or overtly control an innovative technology is bound to not only be unsuccessful, and will simply send the innovation elsewhere. Secondly, blockchain and cryptoassets do not exist in a vacuum, nor are they tethered to any one jurisdiction or area; it is truly a global industry with global implications. Lastly, and linking back to an earlier point, many of the technologies and applications that excite policymakers and private sector players are dependent on secure and easily transferable data; that is what blockchain and crypto deliver.

Cryptoassets and the underlying blockchain technology certainly are tools and applications that are reshaping, as we speak, how individuals and institutions do business and interact with each other. That said, it is critical to not view these disruptions as a threat or risk, but an opportunity that should be supported and nurtured. Crypto certainly is a national security issue, but it’s an asset and not a threat.