April 19, 2024
Nic Carter reaffirms theory of NSA involvement in Bitcoin's creation
Bitcoin News

Nic Carter reaffirms theory of NSA involvement in Bitcoin’s creation

Bitcoin advocate Nic Carter has reaffirmed his support for the theory that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) may have played a role in the creation of Bitcoin. This theory resurfaced when Iris Energy co-founder Daniel Roberts shared screenshots of a 1996 paper titled “How to Make a Mint: The Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash,” which discusses a system similar to Bitcoin, leveraging public-key cryptography for anonymous payments. Notably, the research paper was attributed to “NSA employees.”

On September 21, Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures, reiterated his belief in this theory, referring to it as the “Bitcoin lab leak hypothesis.” He suggested that Bitcoin could have originated as a secretive internal research and development project within the NSA that was eventually released without authorization.

Carter has held this theory for several years, proposing in 2020 that “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?”

He clarified that this theory does not imply that the U.S. government secretly controls all of Bitcoin, as some related theories suggest involving an NSA-created backdoor to the Bitcoin code. In Carter’s version of the theory, the researcher responsible for Bitcoin’s creation acted independently and left the coins behind to maintain anonymity.

Carter and others point to circumstantial evidence supporting this theory. Some users have noted the similarity between the name “Tatsuaki Okamoto,” listed in the 1996 paper, and “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. However, Carter downplayed this connection, stating it was not a critical aspect of the theory.

Matthew Pines, director of intelligence at cybersecurity firm Krebs Stamos, believes that it may have been a convergence of expertise between NSA cryptography experts and cypherpunk enthusiasts, suggesting that Satoshi Nakamoto or close intellectual collaborators could have had ties to the NSA.

Former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal has also shared a similar theory, suggesting that the NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ were involved in Bitcoin’s creation.

Jeff Man who considered it feasible that the NSA might have created Bitcoin for intelligence purposes but expressed skepticism about the likelihood of this scenario. Man concluded that the true origins of Bitcoin may remain a mystery until they become irrelevant.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

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