The Enigma of Bitcoin's Origins

Martin Walker
Sep 22, 2023 at 06:43 am

Bitcoin enthusiast Nic Carter has once again expressed his staunch support for the intriguing theory linking the creation of Bitcoin to the United States National Security Agency (NSA).

The price of BTC experienced a slight downturn, settling at $26,643.

In a curious turn of events on September 15, Daniel Roberts, the co-founder of Iris Energy, brought back to the surface a theory that has been circulating for over a decade. He shared intriguing screenshots of a 1996 paper titled "How to Create Wealth: The Cryptographic Landscape of Anonymous Electronic Currency."

This paper is a significant historical artifact, representing one of the earliest documented discussions envisioning a system resembling Bitcoin. The paper postulates the use of public-key cryptography to facilitate anonymous transactions, safeguarding user identities.

Delving into the details, the footer of the research paper revealed that it was "prepared by individuals associated with the NSA." Among the notable contributors was Tatsuaki Okamoto, a distinguished cryptography expert and a co-creator of the Okamoto–Uchiyama public key cryptosystem in 1998.

Fast forward to September 21, Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures, restated his belief in this captivating theory, emphasizing, "I genuinely stand by this perspective." He went on to elaborate:

I like to refer to it as the 'Bitcoin laboratory release hypothesis.' My speculation centers around an internal R&D project that was initially shelved but was deemed too valuable to remain dormant. Subsequently, a researcher surreptitiously released it into the world.

Carter has held onto this intriguing theory for several years, putting forward the notion in 2020: "If indeed Bitcoin was conceived by NSA cryptographers as a financial tool, if you will, and the code inadvertently found its way beyond their restricted confines... could we liken it to a 'virus' escaping from a laboratory?"

In 2021, he reiterated, "The only positive contribution the NSA ever made to the world was allowing bitcoin to escape from their laboratory."

Nevertheless, he was careful to clarify that this does not necessarily imply that the U.S. government exerts covert control over all of Bitcoin, countering another theory that often dovetails with the Bitcoin/NSA conspiracy. This particular theory posits that the NSA engineered a clandestine entry point into the Bitcoin code.

In my version of this speculative scenario, the researcher acted autonomously, without explicit NSA approval, and made the choice to leave the digital coins accessible, thereby preserving his anonymity.

"There exists a plethora of additional circumstantial evidence that lends credence to this [theory]," he added.

Meanwhile, some observers drew attention to the striking similarity in the names of one of the cryptography academics, Tatsuaki Okamoto, listed in the 1996 paper, and Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous originator of Bitcoin.

"The name could have served as an inspiring influence for Satoshi. However, it's important to note that this is not a pivotal aspect of the theory," Carter pointed out.

In parallel, Matthew Pines, the intelligence director at cybersecurity firm Krebs Stamos, conjectured that the genesis of Bitcoin likely emerged from a "cross-pollination of NSA cryptography enthusiasts and cypherpunk enthusiasts." He added:

I suspect that Satoshi (or at least those closely connected intellectually) has strong associations with the NSA — although I am inclined to believe that Bitcoin and its foundational white paper were not formally sanctioned.

Former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal had previously put forth an intriguing notion. In an interview with Impact Theory earlier this year, he opined:

I am of the opinion that the U.S. and U.K. governments were the architects of Bitcoin... specifically, the NSA and the U.K.'s GCHQ, which are acknowledged as the two global hubs of cryptography.

In August, there was a comprehensive exploration of this captivating conspiracy theory, inclusive of an illuminating interview with former NSA cryptanalyst Jeff Man. He posited that while it was "within the realm of possibility" that the NSA may have engineered Bitcoin as a means to gather intelligence on adversaries, the likelihood of this remains highly doubtful.

In conclusion, Man mused that even if such a scenario were true, the true narrative behind the world's most prominent digital asset might forever remain elusive, emerging only when its relevance has diminished.

Read more: Bitcoin Holds Steady at $27K Amidst Altcoin Flux

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