The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin [BTC], emerged in 2008 and started being used in 2009. Currently, the leading cryptocurrency is valued at $26,618, and it reached a peak of $69,044 back in 2021. Despite its significant value and increasing popularity, the identity of the asset’s creator remains shrouded in mystery.
Among the various claimants to the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, one entity has garnered significant attention from the community. There have been suggestions connecting the creation of Bitcoin to the U.S. government, particularly the National Security Agency [NSA]. Daniel Roberts, co-founder of Iris Energy, resurfaced a long-standing theory, dating back to 1996. It was titled “How to Make a Mint: The Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash.”
The document represents one of the earliest documented dialogues on a system resembling Bitcoin. It suggests the utilization of public-key cryptography to enable users to conduct confidential transactions without disclosing their identities. NSA footer annotations indicate the agency’s involvement.
What’s particularly noteworthy is the involvement of Tatsuaki Okamoto, a cryptography expert who co-authored the Okamoto-Uchiyama public key cryptosystem in 1998. Interestingly, some have pointed out that the name bears a striking resemblance to Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
Did the Government Really Create Bitcoin?
Bitcoin proponent Nic Carter has been reaffirming this speculation. He has been leaning towards the belief that the NSA may have indeed been responsible for Bitcoin’s development.
In 2020, Carter proposed that if the NSA had a hand in creating Bitcoin, considering it as a sort of financial bioweapon, and if the code somehow got out of those classified boundaries, it could be likened to a virus that inadvertently leaked from a laboratory. In 2021, he said,
“The only decent thing the NSA ever did in the world was let Bitcoin leak from the lab.”
Additionally, Carter wasn’t alone in this belief. In June, former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal stated his belief that the anonymous creator of BTC might have been a collective of government employees from agencies like the U.S. NSA and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters [GCHQ]. Their purported objective was to explore potential strategies to address potential challenges to the Western world’s global monetary supremacy. He further added,
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence it came out in the (2008) financial crisis. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the halving cycle and all of this [are] related. It is the solution, always has been the solution. You just can’t go there tomorrow.”
The U.S. Government’s Big Bitcoin Stash
The government currently holds a substantial reserve of 207,189 bitcoins, valued at $5 billion, which is notably the largest such publicly-owned accumulation. This has intensified the community’s speculation that the government may be preserving these assets as a potential safeguard against growing concerns about inflation.
However, it appears that the government never actively purchased Bitcoin. So while there might have been a deliberate choice to retain most of it, the acquisitions were more passive in nature. Therefore, the government’s role with respect to Bitcoin remains uncertain.