Date of Submission
Master of Science in National Security
Jeffrey Treistman, Ph.D
Robert A Sanders, LP.D
Christopher Haynes, Ph.D
Market Capitalization, National Security Posture, Bitcoin Mining Resources
Bitcoin, Economic sanctions, Cryptocurrencies, Monetary policy
Though the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced over a decade ago, it was not until recently that it became a mainstream subject. While cryptocurrencies offer many advantages, a potential downside for governments, is that no central bank controls the monetary policy and new coins can be mined by anyone anywhere in the world. Governments have always been deeply involved with how a their countries’ currency is ran and the policies they create are meant to keep a currencies’ value stable and make sure other factors like inflation is under control. Even though as of 2021, there were well over 4,000 different cryptocurrencies, the focus of this study will be Bitcoin since it is the most popular and at this point, the most valuable in terms of market capitalization. The United States government has become more involved with investigating how cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin are used, and have issued statements on the ways terrorism groups or other threats to our National Security could be effected by Bitcoin. One way countries could undermine the National Security Posture of the United States is by mining Bitcoin to replace revenue from exports that have been adversely effected by sanctions. Given the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, would it be possible for countries under sanctions from the United States to supplement their lost revenue by mining the cryptocurrency? There are a several necessary resources needed to mine Bitcoin, and countries hoping to mine Bitcoin would need an abundance of these resources. For this research, data from the World Bank Database was used to find if there was any positive or negative correlation between countries with sanctions and access to these Bitcoin mining resources. In addition to analyzing this data, different case studies were also analyzed to see if any countries are attempting to mine Bitcoins already and if so, what has been the implications so far. Furthermore, literature on sanctions, data iii analysis, recent mining activity, and white papers for Bitcoin and Ethereum where reviewed. Based on the data, it did not seem that countries with sanctions imposed were well equipped to mine Bitcoin and the case studies examined showed that there was not large mining activities taking place in sanctioned countries.
Lubin, Tyler C., "Mining Bitcoin to Avoid Sanctions" (2021). Master's Theses. 182.