DARPA Looking For Blockchain-based Communications

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The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking at ways it can utilise blockchain technology – the engine behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency – to develop a secure battlefield communications systems.

The still-theoretical system was disclosed in a notice on the agency’s website stating the DARPA is seeking pitches for a “secure messaging system” that can utilise a “decentralised ledger” to broadcast encrypted communications in a transparent manner.

“There is a critical DoD [Department of Defence] need to develop a secure messaging and transaction platform accessible via web browser or standalone native application. The platform separates the message creation from the transfer of the message within a secure courier to the reception and decryption of the message,” the notice reads.

DARPA projects three stages for the development programme. First, a system needs to be developed that is “built on the framework of an existing blockchain framework.” Then, prototypes and production-grade version would be developed and deployed.

The system as DARPA envisions it would allow for secure communication between officers within the DoD:

“By doing this, significant portions of the DoD back office infrastructure can be decentralized, ‘smart documents and contracts’ can be instantly and securely sent and received thereby reducing exposure to hackers and reducing needless delays in DoD back office correspondence. As an example, Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPR) could be implemented using the secure ledger.”

This would also allow for better, more secure communication for frontline troops:

“Troops on the ground in denied communications environments would have a way to securely communicate back to HQ, and DoD back office executives could rest assured that their logistics system is efficient, timely and safe from hackers.”