Bitcoin continues surging towards heady heights, closing in on $1000. Following growing demand in China and US validation after a convivial Senate hearing, the total transaction volume of the futuristic money has now surpassed PayPal. But bitcoin’s momentum has revived an old debate. Is bitcoin, like Tor and the internet itself, the creation of the US government?
And is Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s auspicious prophet—who, by the way, is still the largest individual holder of the cryptocurrency—really an agent working under instructions for the NSA and DARPA? The idea may not seem as far fetched as it sounds.
“The IMF has been openly calling for a digital, one-world, deflationary currency for 2 decades,” one conspiracy theorist tantalizing wrote. “OPENLY. It has been discussed and promoted OPENLY at G8 and G20 summits”
The user cites an NSA investigation on crytopgraphic money networks that began in the early-'90s and believes that Satoshi is actually Tatsuaki Okamoto, one of the main NSA researchers.
“Scientific technology grants issued by government and intelligence agencies are how these labs are funded and promoted,” the reddit user nicolaosq writes. “The regulation and control of bitcoin has been actively developed alongside the development of the network.”
However unlikely, despite the libertarian wet dreams of bitcoin’s initial ambitions, the pseudo-anonymous currency could actually be the perfect way for governments to keep an NSA-like eye on the world’s transactions. In the eyes of these conspiracy theorists, it's for this reason that the Department of Homeland Security embraced the cryptocurrency at the Senate hearing on Monday. As bitcoin becomes assimilated into the financial system, which the US still controls with an iron grip, it becomes orders of magnitude easier to monitor than physical cash.
Is it crazy to think that such monitoring systems are already developed or are under development? Indeed, there are numerous other benefits that virtual currencies could have for governments and central banks. There’s growing discussion of the advantages that e-money could have for Federal Reserve policy, allowing them to set interest rates without clunky mechanisms like quantitative easing, and that paper money is actually holding the system back.
In the end, none of it might matter. The people have already spoken. Government creation or not, everyone loves bitcoin, which is bad news for the money launderers and anarchists. For the rest of us, we can simply sit back and enjoy the lower fees.