Bitcoin has struggled to find support in the U.S. government, with president Donald Trump, along with Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, leading the criticism.
Now, it’s been revealed the U.S. Department of Defense has wargamed scenarios involving a Generation Z rebellion that uses bitcoin to undermine and evade “the establishment.”
In the Pentagon war game, young people born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s use cyber attacks to steal money and convert it to bitcoin, documents published by investigative news site The Intercept revealed.
Called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program (JLASS), the war game is set in 2025 and is “intended to reflect a plausible depiction of major trends and influences in the world regions.”
The scenario, which echoes recent protests in the U.S. and around the world against racial injustice, involves some members of Gen Z, who see themselves “as agents for social change” and believe the “system is rigged” against them, begin a “global cyber campaign to expose injustice and corruption and to support causes it deem[s] beneficial.”
The group, called Zbellion, encourages cyber attacks against organizations that support “the establishment,” funnelling stolen cash into bitcoin to make “small, below the threshold donations” to “worthy recipients” and Zbellion members.
The program, which also reportedly wargamed scenarios involving Islamist militants and anti-capitalist extremists, was conducted by students and faculty from the U.S. military’s war colleges, the training ground for prospective generals and admirals.
THE INTERCEPT / THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Bitcoin has increasingly been adopted by Wall Street and the world’s biggest financial institutions since its 2017 price explosion but remains a tool to fight government control.
The Pentagon war game documents have been revealed after Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz called for the government to “freeze” the money of demonstrators after country-wide protests over the killing of George Floyd turned violent this month.
“One of the most important tools in the authoritarian toolkit is the ability to freeze the funding of legitimate political dissent,” Nathaniel Whittemore, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency consultant and strategist, said previously.
“By separating the infrastructure of money from the infrastructure of state power, bitcoin makes it that much harder for this type of politically motivated confiscation.”
Bitcoin has seen a surge of interest in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic and never-before-seen levels of government borrowing.
“In the wake of unprecedented central bank action around the Covid-19 crisis, it seemed like the most relevant narrative of bitcoin in 2020 was as a hedge against inflation,” Whittemore said.
“It appears, however, that its capacity for censorship resistance might be just as relevant.”