A while back a few Russian scientists got the bright idea of mining some cryptocurrency on their super secret super computer and got caught. But that got me to thinking. What if a government decides there is strategic value in mining crypto? Certainly for ostracized countries like North Korea there is a lot of value in creating cryptocurrency to be traded for various fiats.
But I’m thinking bigger. What happens if a country like China, Russia, or the United States sets its most powerful super (and quantum) computers on cryptocurrencies? What if they make their own super ASIC farms? Is there a chance that a super computer super power could quickly sop up the vast majority of a given crypto market? With that kind of computational power, perhaps, they could mine out over 50% of a currency pool in a single month.
Now even if that cost more in electricity than it made up for in currency value, there is still plenty of good reason for a super power to do this. Control. Many already have speculated that China effectively controls Bitcoin and therefor has power to manipulate its direction.
One major caveat, however. Although Bitcoin has a fixed number of potentially mined coins, other crypto currencies either have annual limits (or no limits) on the units that can be mined. And still others have abilities to ratchet up the computational requirements and/or other protections against computational might. Nevertheless, the rough point is that entities with massive resources might be able to make massive plays on cryptocurrency.
It’s Reason Enough
I would think that economists and banking experts in every major economic power should be concerned at how cryptocurrencies might displace fiat currencies, which could be highly destabilizing not only to banking industries but to the countries themselves. As such, it would make sense for powerful nation states to consider such mining to be part of their cyber-terror-security policy, perhaps even creating military Cyber Forces for such crypto currency manipulation/participation.
If I were a super power, or a mega bank, I would do just that. Mine the hell out of everything. I would throw quantum and super computer resources at every promising crypto currency. Owning global purse strings might beget global power and control. These are a few of a super power’s favorite things.
P.P.S. Not endorsing either of the above, they just came up during prep for this article.