A long-standing theory about the involvement of the US National Security Agency (NSA) in the development of the first cryptocurrency has been revived in the community. On September 15, Iris Energy co-founder Daniel Roberts posted a screenshot of a 1996 agency paper titled “How to Create a Mint: The Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Money.”
The NSA invented Bitcoin?
1996 paper titled: HOW TO MAKE A MINT: THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF ANONYMOUS ELECTRONIC CASH*
Sources include “Tatsuaki Okamoto” 😳
Who else would be able to sit anonymously on 1 million coins.
Oh, and they invented SHA-256…?https://t.co/QwTVESwOuM pic.twitter.com/cVcbrHOG7a
— Daniel Roberts (@danroberts0101) September 14, 2023
The document is one of the first known discussions of a digital currency system, which suggests using a public key encryption method to anonymize transfers.
The notes on the report state that the research paper was “prepared by NSA personnel.” Among the sources was cryptography expert Tatsuaki Okamoto, who co-authored the Okamoto-Uchiyama public key system in 1998.
In the article, the researchers listed four main components of the network:
- user identification with protection from personalization;
- transaction integrity;
All of these points are implemented in one way or another in the Bitcoin protocol. In addition, authors often use terms like “coins” and “tokens.”
The document also references David Chaum, who is known in the crypto community as an early proponent of anonymous digital transactions. He developed the concept of untraceable electronic payments back in 1982, long before the full-scale spread of the Internet.
Coin Metrics co-founder Nick Carter confirmed his commitment to this theory.
I actually do believe this. I call it the bitcoin lab leak hypothesis. I think it was a shuttered internal R&D project which one researcher thought was too good to lay fallow on the shelf and chose to secretly release https://t.co/qXJkQTciSK
— nic 🌠 carter (@nic__carter) September 21, 2023
“I really believe it. I call this the Bitcoin Lab Leak Hypothesis. “It was probably a closed internal science project that one researcher thought was too good to shelve and decided to secretly release it,” he wrote.
According to Carter, this state of affairs does not mean that the US government secretly controls Bitcoin. Most likely, the anonymous programmer released the blockchain without the permission of the NSA, the expert added.
Carter has been pursuing this theory for several years. In 2020, he voiced his “lab leak” thesis, suggesting that the NSA may have been developing the first cryptocurrency as a “financial bioweapon.”
If bitcoin was written by NSA cryptographers as a monetary bioweapon, if you will, and the code escaped those sensitive confines… does that make it a virus… that escaped from a lab..?
— nic 🌠 carter (@nic__carter) May 14, 2020
In 2021, the head of Coin Metrics called the alleged Bitcoin leak “the only decent thing the NSA has done.”
The only decent thing the NSA ever did from the world was let bitcoin leak from the lab
— nic 🌠 carter (@nic__carter) June 30, 2021
The head of the security company Krebs Stamos, Matthew Pines, also believes that the developers of digital gold had close ties with the National Security Service, but did not receive direct orders to launch.
Most likely cross-fertilization of NSA crypto nerds and cypher punk nerds.
I suspect Satoshi (or at least his/their close intellectual collaborators) has close NSA work associations—but I don’t think Bitcoin itself or white paper were officially sanctioned. https://t.co/abT60j8idI
— Matthew Pines (@matthew_pines) September 21, 2023
“Perhaps this is cross-fertilization between NSA crypto nerds and cypherpunks,” Pines wrote.
Former Goldman Sachs executive and macro investor Raoul Pal shared his own theory in an interview with Impact Theory that the NSA and the UK Government Communications Center worked together to create Bitcoin.
In August, Cointelegraph spoke with ex-National Security Agency employee Jeff Man. He suggested the department’s “possible” involvement in the first cryptocurrency as a “means of collecting information about its enemies.”
However, Man concluded that even if this theory is true, we will still never know the true history of the world’s most popular digital asset.
Let us recall that in March 2018, Edward Snowden announced “close monitoring of Bitcoin users” by the NSA.
Later, the co-founder of bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.org under the pseudonym Cobra noted that he did not trust American research into the first cryptocurrency, since the US government had already infiltrated the project.
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