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“In early 2025, a group identifying itself as Zbellion gained traction on the Dark Web.
“Zbellion capitalized on the fears and insecurities of Gen Z, and called for a global cyber campaign to expose injustice and corruption and to support various causes it deemed beneficial.”
So begins the Pentagon wargame scenario obtained by investigative news website The Intercept.
It’s compelling stuff, and seems particularly relevant this week, given the widescale Black Lives Matter protests in the US and UK.
The document continues:
“It appears that Zbellion initially formed in small groups at parks, rallies, protests and coffee shops, and grew rapidly by promoting an agenda, which targets corporations, financial institutions, and political and non-profit organizations that support ‘the establishment.’”
But it’s this bit that’s most relevant from a crypto point of view:
“Zbellion uses software programs to route any proceeds into laundering programs that ultimately convert national currencies into Bitcoin and make ‘small, below the threshold donations’ to ‘worthy recipients’ and, if Zbellion members claim financial need, to the member who conducted the attack.
Basically, the Pentagon is prepping for a Bitcoin-fuelled revolt in five years’ time. At least, that’s the spin crypto communities are putting on it.
But we should probably also remember the US military has wargames for all sorts of unlikely scenarios – including a zombie apocalypse, codenamed CONOP 8888.
However, this one was clearly taken a lot more seriously than the Zombie apocalypse scenario.
From the Intercept:
“While it is explicitly not a national intelligence estimate, the war game, which covers the future through early 2028, is ‘intended to reflect a plausible depiction of major trends and influences in the world regions,’ according to the more than 200 pages of documents.”
The spin I’ve seen put on this wargame was that Zbellion would use its superior tech savvy to syphon money from establishment organisations and convert it into Bitcoin… with the aim of destabilising the dollar and the corrupt economic system.
However, if you read the document in full (available here). You can see that Zbellion is really just using Bitcoin as a payment processor.
They aren’t so much syphoning money out of the current system and into Bitcoin to create a new world order as they are using Bitcoin for its anonymity and censorship resistance.
On the anonymity note, this could all just be a clever ruse by the Pentagon to encourage would-be rebels to use Bitcoin so that they can be easily traced.
If you’ve read my 2017 article on Monero, you’ll know that Bitcoin actually makes you easier to trace than traditional currency does. Monero, however, really is anonymous.
It’s not anonymity that would be Bitcoin’s strength in this scenario, it’s censorship resistance.
After the WikiLeaks revelations, when footage emerged of the US military helicopter gunning down nine civilians, including a Reuters journalist and his driver, all the major payment processors agreed to cut off payments to WikiLeaks.
VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union blocked, and still block, any payments made to WikiLeaks.
Today, Wikileaks has some workarounds for card payments, but it also accepts donations in most of the major cryptocurrencies.
And as a Forbes article on the Zbellion files points out:
“The Pentagon war game documents have been revealed after Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz called for the government to “freeze” the money of demonstrators after country-wide protests over the killing of George Floyd turned violent this month.
“‘One of the most important tools in the authoritarian toolkit is the ability to freeze the funding of legitimate political dissent,” Nathaniel Whittemore, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency consultant and strategist, said previously.
“’By separating the infrastructure of money from the infrastructure of state power, bitcoin makes it that much harder for this type of politically motivated confiscation.’”
So it makes sense that Zbellion would want to get their money out of the traditional system and into Bitcoin as fast as possible.
That way, the military could never block donations or shut down Zbellion’s access to money.
Of course, Zbellion isn’t real. It’s just a made up movement from a military wargame. But it is interesting, isn’t it?
And I think the creators of the document did a great job detailing Zbellion’s driving motivations, which you can read below.
Why did VeChain gain 36% this week – even as the crypto market fell 2.3%?
And just a quick one to round off this week’s issue.
You may have noticed VeChain making some very big moves earlier this week – gaining 25% in just a few hours between Wednesday and Thursday.
Well, unlike most major jumps in crypto prices. This one had a clear reason. It was the result of this Coinbase blog post saying it’s looking into adding VeChain to its platform.
You can see how the news affected VeChain’s price on the chart I annotated below using my ever-useful iPad Pro (which, as you may have guessed from the tone, I’m still trying to convince myself wasn’t a big waste of money).
VeChain has been on a bit of a tear lately, gaining 90% since I wrote about its deal with Pharma Giant Bayer a couple of weeks ago.
And it would likely be even higher than that, if the world’s stockmarkets hadn’t stumbled again on Thursday.
As much as we may like to pretend crypto isn’t correlated with the stockmarket, the fact is, when the stockmarket crashes, it drags crypto down, too.
Although, usually crypto rebounds much faster and much harder… which is why it is much more fun to follow.
And speaking of the stockmarket and crypto, let’s have a look at our ongoing Year to Date figures. Is crypto still on top, or has another asset taken its crown?
- S&P 5oo YTD: -5.58%
- FTSE 100 YTD: -19%
- Gold YTD: +13.88%
- Oil (Brent Crude) YTD: -44.42%
- Bitcoin YTD: +32.56%
- Ethereum YTD: +84.84%
- Crypto Market YTD: +40.93%
And let’s add IOTA, Tezos and VeChain for good measure, as I’ve been covering them a fair bit this year.
- IOTA YTD: +41.23%
- Tezos YTD: +103.13%
- VeChain YTD: +86.79%
Looks like crypto is still very much on top, followed by Gold.
The US and UK markets are still down. Although, until the big drop on Thursday, the S&P 500 was almost back in the green. The FTSE, on the other hand, is really not doing well at all.
We’ll check back next month to see how these figures have changed.
And remember, if you’re thinking about buying any crypto, you can find the cheapest and safest way to do it – as well as the three golden rules of crypto investing – in my free guide.
Okay, that’s all for this week.
Thanks for reading.