Central Bank Digital Currency — A Terrorist’s Point of View

Unfortunately a few of us, for all sorts of crazy reasons, do aim to destroy the global order as it is today. In the old days they required armies to march from place to place. With the advent of nuclear weapons, the challenge became considerably easier — by unleashing a few bombs the world will end up in ruins. The Coronavirus suggests an even easier man-made path for a global catastrophe. But all this pales by comparison to what’s to come.

Lo and behold the central banks of the world are migrating the wealth of humanity into crypto currencies. In particular, into currencies that hinge on the public/private key concept. This is the idea that says that money accounts are identified by a public key, and the owner of the account uses a corresponding private key to manage their money. As long as the account owner keeps the private key secret — their money is secure. Soon enough all of us around the world will be keeping our money in such nifty crypto arrangement.

Nothing makes today’s global terrorist happier. Central bankers have been assured by their technical people that the public key cannot be used to deduce the private key. The bankers did not see any reason to probe further. Which is what the terrorists are happy about. They know that there exists an algorithm which when it runs on a proper computer, it can take the public key as input, and out comes the private key. Admittedly, no one published such a trick, and the new generation of powerful computers is not quite yet in the stores. But better be sure that there are enough crazies who rounded up a few dozen mathematicians to dig this algorithm out from its hiding. Imagine a world full of central banks digital currencies where every individual, every firm, every bank holds their money not in a protected database, but rather in a public sequence of alphanumeric characters — a public key. All that the terrorist needs to do is to find this public-to-private key algorithm and over night drain the accounts of every single account-holder on the planet. Just imagine — all the money goes away, nobody can pay anything, to anyone, on a global scale, over night — it’s a terrorist’s wet dream: a Karl Marx utopia — everybody is equally poor!

What is easier? To manufacture ten atomic bombs; to build advanced biochemical labs and engineer lethal viruses — or to get a couple of dozen mathematicians to sit down and find the algorithm that will bring the world into a halt? They are already busy, getting ready for the day when the main central banks of the world put their national wealth on the ignorance of the vulnerability of the public/private key system.

The bad guys have noticed that some people at BitMint, and certain individuals like this writer, are knocking on the doors of these central bankers, mumbling their warning. But, hey, nobody listens. Indeed, BitMint and others offer fully functional digital money solutions that are not based on the assumption that the attackers will not be innovative. But as things go, the world is rushing to public/private key central bank digital money.