CIA Involvement In Crypto Goes Back Further, and Runs Deeper Than Previously Known...

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CIA cryptocurrency and bitcoin

Well, the headline may not be true if you're among those who believe the CIA created crypto to begin with.

After all, the encryption Bitcoin uses was created by US Intelligence - that's a fact... one that sounds big until you learn it's standard for a variety of secure applications aside from blockchains, and used by thousands of companies and coders. 

Where these theories get a bit... intense, are claims that clues are hidden in the name Satoshi Nokomoto which they believe is basically an 'Easter egg' or hidden message created by government programmers - if this sounds interesting (and some really is!) you can go down that rabbit hole here.

But Today Is About New Public Statements We're Sure Came From The CIA...

During a Q&A portion of his appearance an audience member at a Wall Street Journal event with CIA Director Williams Burns asked him if the agency will be looking into cryptocurrency in light of the recent ransomware incidents.

We discover from Burns' response that the CIA is more involved than previously supposed, and has been for some time:

"My predecessor had started this, but had set in motion a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency and trying to look at second - and third-order consequences as well and helping with our colleagues in other parts of the United States government to provide solid intelligence on what we're seeing as well.”

Until now, it was assumed that the FBI was responsible for the overwhelming majority of intelligence agency activity within the crypto markets, and that they generally acted alone.

But it appears the CIA can often be found assisting the FBI by providing them with what they call 'strong intelligence on cryptocurrency space'.

Also worth noting - the CIA didn't limit their 'assisting' role to just with the FBI - it sounds like they're available to any government agency that needs them.

Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies Currently Share The Same Target - Ransomware Criminals...

Over the last two years ransomware attacks have disrupted local and state government offices, hospitals, oil pipelines, and other key organizations - the attack locks down computers until a stated amount of cryptocurrency is given to the hackers to unlock them.

Many companies are simply paying the ransom, they claim the losses they incur as a result of being locked out of their systems actually makes paying the cheapest option.

This has been met with anger by some within the government, who say every time a ransom is paid, they both reward and motivate criminals to continue, and expand their operations.

Frustration Is Building As Ransomware Attacks Show No Sign Of Slowing Down...

This frustration has led one Congressman to propose a way to force the money flow to stop.

Patrick McHenry has filed a measure that would ban payments over $100,000 to ransomware criminals - making it criminal to pay criminals.

Another viewpoint is seen often in online crypto communities - those who believe that the ransomware attackers are awful people, but their victims usually end up in that position through recklessness.  It's the government's role to arrest those behind it - not find new ways to punish the victims even.

With so much still unresolved I'd typically end this by saying something about how we'll be covering any new developments, so keep an eye out - but when the CIA is involved, we may never hear more than what we already know.

Author: Ross Davis
Silicon Valley Newsroom
GCP | Breaking Crypto News

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