Researchers at the Center for Security Research and Research at King’s College London have turned to an analysis of “apolitical” solutions to nuclear disarmament.
A new research report indicates that the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (UNNPT) multilateral nuclear system is constantly plagued by problems of international cooperation, exacerbated by the asymmetry between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons. Country of arms.
The latter, referred to as non-nuclear-weapon states, have signed the treaty, but to the extent that they are not nuclear, their contribution to fulfilling their treaty obligations includes developing tools and processes that can help improve multilateral verification of disarmament. … … …
The researchers note that non-nuclear-weapon states often lack the technical capacity to effectively facilitate these efforts. These obvious deficiencies exacerbate the perception of nuclear and non-nuclear states that the NPT is under threat due to the lack of a credible multilateral process for verifying nuclear disarmament. In addition, the report adds that it remains difficult to build mutual confidence that all parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons are in practice complying with their non-proliferation obligations.
In this case, the blockchain technology comes from the point of view of the authors of the report. Based on initial observations, the report suggests that these “complex and interrelated problems” can be productively addressed with a rapid technical approach:
“How can [decision-makers] facilitate multilateral verification of nuclear disarmament while ensuring the safe and secure handling of highly sensitive data generated in the process?”
An action-driven, data-driven approach is in line with the clear priorities of the report and is based on the authors’ observation that much of the proactive work on nonproliferation in recent years has been based on a “technical and operational, not a political approach”. Here, the authors refer to the International Nuclear Disarmament Verification Partnership and the initiative of the quartet of Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Highlighting the importance of technical solutions, the researchers argue that blockchain can benefit verification processes by providing an encrypted and virtually immutable record that can serve as a “chain of custody” for “contractual records.”
In addition, blockchain can also solve the problem of trust: while states may have a common interest in reducing nuclear risks, they often distrust each other, which prevents full cooperation. Here, the use of technology can obviously reduce this distrust by allowing “third parties to verify the integrity [neutralize] the verification data”, while these parties cannot see the very confidential data itself.
The report also explores the potential of smart contracts, noting that blockchain, combined with self-acting algorithmic contracts, can provide a secure baseline for IoT infrastructure that integrates sensors and environmental monitoring devices. Obviously, this could be extended to real-time verification at remote locations to automatically notify parties of a potential breach of contract. They conclude:
“Blockchain can act as encrypted protection for national advertising in disarmament processes, allowing parties to release sensitive data gradually, in parallel with political and strategic events.”
Researchers acknowledge that whether blockchain actually helps achieve nonproliferation goals depends entirely on the high-level political goals of countries and how they will achieve them. Consequently, the report does not say that blockchain is the ultimate solution to one of the most pressing geopolitical problems of our time.