Did the U.S. Government Create Bitcoin?

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  • There are some theories that the U.S. government created Bitcoin
  • These theories gained traction recently thanks to comments from the CIA Director William Burns
  • Why would the government have created Bitcoin and what is the evidence to support this?

Among the numerous candidates that perpetually crop up as being the creators of Bitcoin, one name that lurks in the shadows (appropriately) is the U.S. government. The theory of government involvement in the creation of Bitcoin was stoked again yesterday when CIA Director William Burns said the agency has “a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency” on the go and that he “inherited” the projects from his “predecessor”. With the rumor mill now going suitably bananas, let’s take a look at the theory and the evidence behind this leftfield theory of Bitcoin’s creation.

The Theory:

The theory goes that the NSA, CIA, FBI or a combination of all three created Bitcoin as a kind of honey pot to draw in all the types of criminal minds that might find such a payment method useful – a huge, chunky worm dangled in the pond of the underworld. Think of it as a massive sting operation, or a huge episode of entrapment, depending on your opinion.

The Evidence:

As expected, the evidence to support the government theory is scant. Some people point to a 1996 paper entitled ‘How To Make A Mint: The Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash’ written by the NSA which preempts some aspects of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, but there are key differences. The paper was more of a potential vision of the future of currency than a blueprint for future endeavors.

One of the authors of that paper, Tatsuaki Okamoto, also wrote a paper about a “divisible electronic cash scheme” in 1998, leading to some thinking that he himself was Satoshi Nakamoto (you know, because of the name and everything).

Others try to link the creation of Bitcoin to the U.S. government thanks to In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture capital firm that helped equip U.S. intelligence services with the latest information technology capabilities. The evidence to back up this claim has something to do with Google, but making these links requires a huge leap of imagination and without further evidence to bridge the gap it is almost nonsensical.

Bitcoin Was Not a Government Creation

Of course, until we know who did create Bitcoin we can’t say for 100% certain who didn’t (except for He Who Must Not be Named), but the fact that the authorities were so slow to catch up with Silk Road, Hydra and other dark web marketplaces suggests there’s no way they created Bitcoin. Either that or there was absolutely no communication between the various departments.

Hang on…