US Defense Dept. Research Wing To Explore Distributed Consensus Protocol
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to better understand permissionless blockchains, but Bitcoin does not seem to be invited to the party.
In order to gain these expanded insights into blockchain technology, the US Department of Defense has sent an information request (RFI) on permissionless protocols for distributed consensus procedures that specifically addresses issues that have not been adequately investigated.
One area in which DARPA wants to find a better way of dealing with this is the question of how permissionless blockchains can function without monetary incentives. With permissionless distributed covenants such as Bitcoin, which offer participants (mineworkers) remuneration in the form of recently created coins for their work in adding blocks and guaranteeing the security of the network, DARPA is curious about alternative strategies that can be utilized.
It is compulsory for the agency that these techniques do not provide incentives to participants in monetary, cryptocurrency or other ways. However, other value transfers, such as providing participants with access to computer resources, may be considered.
From the RFI, DARPA is additionally looking for more profound knowledge into the idea that participants in permissionless distributed covenants carry on with their financial interests at heart. In this regard, the DoD agency is interested in “methods that leverage rigorous economic notions to advance theories of security for distributed, permissionless computation protocols.”
Additionally, DARPA looks for ways to analyze and/or address the unintended or planned centralization of a distributed consensus covenant. Usually in acknowledgment of the truth that permissionless distributed covenants may have certain viewpoints that are centralized and may influence the security of the covenant in any case of the hypothetical guarantees.
According to DARPA, the information provided by responders could potentially determine the future program of the agency:
“For the purpose of this RFI, DARPA is solely interested in permissionless distributed consensus protocols … While there is a substantial amount of publically and privately supported research and development in distributed consensus protocols, DARPA seeks information along several, less-explored avenues of permissionless distributed consensus protocols. Such information could help inform a future DARPA program.”
Although it is a military agency that maintains a high level of secrecy in certain projects, DARPA has not shown public interest in blockchain technology for the first time. Two years ago, DARPA worked on a communication platform to pass messages to a secure, decentralized protocol. DARPA indicated at the time that the messaging platform would be used to inform troop movements, particularly in denied communications environments.
As the DoD agency said at the time, such a blockchain messaging system should be resilient during cyber-attacks, have self-destructing features for messages and be able to deny or repudiate if necessary.