How Blockchain Revolutionized Modern Warfare: Lessons from Ukraine
Sweeney discussed how blockchain had altered the dynamics of Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion.
Blockchain and Crypto Adoption in Ukraine
Patrick Sweeney, emphasized the importance of courage in dealing with uncertainty, a quality that early adopters of technology possess.
He pointed out that 17% of Ukraine’s population has access to crypto wallets or has done trading, making them one of the largest countries in the world in terms of crypto adoption.
This started before the war, when President Zelenskyy signed in a digital asset law, creating a safe haven with a little bit of regulation, thus allowing Ukraine to take advantage of blockchain technology.
Sweeney explained how the digital asset law enabled a fast, simple and easy way to help fund the war, with over $70 million of cryptocurrency donations received over the course of the conflict so far, with some estimates reaching as high as $200 million.
The Ukrainian government set up nine of its own wallets, not just Bitcoin so that people could donate Ethereum, Polkadot or even Solana.
In the first few weeks, Ukraine raised around $50 million of crypto, with donations being made from around the globe.
Notably, a short while later, a national course on crypto was created, free for all Ukrainians.
The use of blockchain technology to document evidence
During his talk, Sweeney also discussed how blockchain technology is being used to document purported war crimes in Ukraine.
This is being done through a project developed by the University of Southern California, in collaboration with Starling Lab at Stanford and Hala Systems, a tech-driven social enterprise.
The project uses blockchain to create a decentralized system for documenting digital evidence that is then submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
To create a permanent and tamper-evident record of the evidence, Starling Lab took evidence scraped from sources like Telegram and added relevant context about where and when the information came from.
The data was then “hashed” to create a digital fingerprint, and the hash values were posted to seven different blockchain protocols to create a distributed verification key of the file.
By using a public blockchain, the information is recorded on thousands of computers independently at approximately the same time, making it difficult to manipulate the data later.
While this method can’t verify the underlying photo, it creates a permanent record of what it looked like at the time it was hashed, ensuring that nobody can alter the information later or have evidence thrown out on suspicion that it might have been tampered with afterward.
This use of blockchain technology could revolutionize the way war crimes are documented and prosecuted, potentially increasing accountability and promoting justice.