Could Blockchain Play a Role in Successful Global Nuclear Policy?


This article is provided for information and education purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Readers are encouraged to do their own research and consult a professional before making any investment decisions.





Blockchain is becoming a buzzword that has people around the whole world talking. Underlying the hype is a simple concept as timeless as binary code; which is still a key pillar in all things digital. Blockchain is an unalterable distributed ledger, comprised of timestamped blocks that are added to the chain chronologically. Within each block are numerous addresses which are owned by whoever possesses the corresponding private key.

Developed on top of blockchain are a litany of smart contracts and transaction types, but for simplicity sake the focus of this article will be multi-signature addresses and transactions. Multi-signature, also known as multisig, will prove to be an extremely useful piece of technology in maintaining existing nuclear treaties, because it can act as a new power check. Since numerous keys are required to generate a transaction from a multisig address, if all the world's nuclear warheads were indexed on a blockchain, launch sequences could be forced to require confirmation from numerous appointed trustees. Having multiple trustees appointed to nuclear weapons launch authority will ensure that we save our nuclear arsenal for when it is entirely necessary, such as in the event of asteroid impact avoidance, imminent terror threat, alien invasion, or global warming (just kidding).

Any implementation of such a system would likely happen in incremental stages where multiple nations, irrespective of prior relations, can make deals where they are programmed as a required authorizer prior to any launch or relocation. The more trustees required on nuclear launch globally, the less likely we are to see both accidental or intentional launch that causes harm to civilians, from participants of this cooperative program. A program such as this could also extend non-violent nuclear authority to nations who have no capability of their own, but relentlessly seek it.

Multiple nuclear nations could use this blockchain based disarmament approach to immediately reduce the threat of mutually assured destruction, by making each member of the agreement a multisig trustee on an agreed upon portion of every participant's arsenal. It should also be noted for arguments sake, if only the law abiding comply to disarm, we might find criminals remaining the only nuclear weapons possessors in the world, and there will be no possibility of responding in kind if an attack were launched. Having a large enough supply of nuclear armaments has been one of  the go-to strategies of nuclear nations for nearly half a century, in an attempt to keep others in check who express hostile intentions toward their country. 

Looking forward to the future when the world's nuclear policies evolve to better suit the times, we will likely see some very creative uses for the warheads that do go on to have their uranium reprocessed to sub weapons grade enrichment. One of the uses these warheads may serve is powering entire civilizations in space, as a single warhead could provide enough power for thousands of people.

Standing in the way of using nukes for humanity's space expansion are unclear definitions of what constitutes weapons grade, as outlined in Article 4 of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Article 4 of the space treaty expressly forbids the placement of nuclear arms or weapons of mass destruction into orbit around earth. One might argue that as mentioned in the latter portion of the article, these de-weaponized warheads can absolutely lay claim to being equipment that facilitates peaceful exploration the moon and other celestial bodies, by providing reliable and transportable power.

Granted blockchain can't de-weaponize a nuclear weapon, and multisig addresses can't launch it into outer space, it can act as a stepping stone by keeping the people safe who will make those goals possible. The possibility of blockchain and mutually agreed cooperation is probably a safer global nuclear policy than mutually agreed destruction.


Author: Brandon Cheliak

Education Director for DNotes and co-founder of DNotesEDU

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