Are there chances that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has created bitcoin?

The creation of bitcoin has had many theories and assumptions. From characters like Dorian Nakamoto, a 68-year-old man who has done classified jobs for large companies and the U.S. military, to Australian businessman Craig Wright who has repeatedly declared himself to be the creator of bitcoin but has not been able to provide reliable information .

Among the theories that involve the government as creators, it is possible to think about the creation of an electronic currency such as bitcoin with the aim of having been manufactured to have a hedging function in the face of the weakening that certain currencies could have, such as the euro, for example . In fact, there is evidence that bitcoin is an effective hedging mechanism for financial contingencies that have suffered countries such as Venezuela, Argentina or Cyprus or in periods of high uncertainty in the financial decisions of China or the United States.

On the other hand, there are other assumptions that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States might also have had participation. Some have suggested that Satoshi Nakamoto means “central intelligence,” because Satoshi means “clear thinking, quick wit, wise,” while Nakamoto is a Japanese surname that means “central origin,” hence speculation about the meaning. of Satoshi Nakamoto = “central intelligence”.

Apart from conspiracy theories, other characters show arguments to affirm that bitcoin has been created by the United States government. At a 2018 conference at the University of St. Petersburg, Natalya Kaspersky denounced the following: “Bitcoin is a project of US intelligence agencies, which was designed to provide rapid funding for intelligence activities from the United States, Britain and Canada in different countries ”. Thinking about the above assumption, the use of an anonymous electronic currency could be the perfect tool for some countries to financially support other nations that are at war, for example, cases where the United States has granted money to other institutions countries, such as Radio Liberty, a “private” international communications service in Europe and Asia; or also Islamist and jihadist groups that have received funding from Gulf countries.

The accusations to the NSA

Edward Snowden, an American technology consultant, informant, a former CIA and NSA employee, said the creation of bitcoin came from the NSA through a senior researcher named David Webb, who left that institution in March 2009. This statement is based on the series of documents launched by Snowden, which shows the use of elliptic curve cryptography and that have many associations with research funded by the NSA and directed by Webb. In fact, one of the strongest questioning focuses on the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and is recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

John Hopkins University researcher Matthew D. Green said in 2013 that the worrying thing about the SHA-256 function is that if someone could find very fast and weak collisions or use a lot of hardware, they could take the network control It is also known that the NSA has mechanisms sophisticated enough to intervene in all communications, through devices such as the Clipper chip, with which interventions could be made. Thinking about the government’s interest in having knowledge of existing communications, it would not be strange if they were also interested in a system to have knowledge of finances.

The document published by the NSA to create non-traceable electronic cash

An investigation by Global Intel Hub shows that, of all possible creators, the evidence points more to the NSA than to Hal Finney or Nick Szabo (also noted as possible creators). The NSA’s goal for an electronic currency would theoretically have 2 assumptions: 1) finance secret international missions of the CIA and 2) track criminals.

The creation of an electronic currency is an issue that many researchers had addressed. Since 1983, David Chaum, created electronic money called e-cash which was aimed at being an anonymous system of digital money or cash based on cryptography. Later in 1993, it launched DigiCash, which functioned as an advance payment system that managed to be used by banks such as Deutsche Bank in Germany. However, DigiCash failed, probably because it arrived long before electronic commerce and electronic transfers had the necessary volumes to perform operations. Finally in 1998, the company was declared bankrupt (Forbes, 1999).

In general, we might think that DigiCash was one of the first attempts to create an electronic currency and could have inspired another document published in 1996 by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States Government that takes care of everything related to information security. The article is titled “How to make a mint: anonymous electronic cash cryptography” and was written by Laurie Law, Susan Sabett, Jerry Solinas.

In this research work, a system quite similar to bitcoin is described where a protocol is described to create electronic cash and carry out secure financial transactions through a verification entity called “The Bank”, which today would be understood as the decentralized network. This system considers aspects such as privacy, user identification (KYC), message protection and security for the denial of subsequent transactions, the latter property could represent what we know today in bitcoin as the blockchain.

Technology specifications

This part of the document is extremely interesting since, in addition to describing the cryptographic public key tools and an electronic cash protocol, it indicates what a non-traceable electronic payment system could be. The solution they propose is the complete electronic cash protocol, with a function of non-traceability of payment and anonymity in transactions.

The definition made on electronic cash was established as an electronic payment system based on the paper money system with 4 fundamental characteristics: value deposit, unit of account, medium of exchange and liquidity. The premise of the text initially describes the electronic payment system through different forms, for example: digital checks, debit cards, credit cards. These systems would have – they would have to have specific features such as:

Privacy (protection against interventions).

Authentication (user identification and message integrity).

Irreversibility (The transaction cannot be reversed once completed).

To capture these characteristics, they proposed the use of a secret key to create a digital signature and the public key is necessary to verify the digital signature. Among the first problems to solve, was the administration of keys, since the system should be certain about the public key of who would sign the message or encrypted information. In this sense, the solution considered a form of authentication.

Electronic cash should be a specific type of electronic payment scheme, defined by certain cryptographic assumptions such as:

Do not confuse token, which is only a sequence of bits and not a physical device for storing information.

Electronic payment is defined as a series of transactions that are made through a token issued by a third party in which the person who pays the service or who receives it is not involved. That is, there is a payer, a beneficiary and an intermediary.

On this last point, that intermediary is an entity called a “financial network” outside the beneficiary and the payer, that is, the substitute for the traditional bank.

Trackable electronic payment

The traditional way, that is to say in a system where there is no anonymity, electronic cash would have this structure:


Alice sends a withdrawal request to the Bank.

The bank prepares an electronic currency and signs it digitally.

The bank sends coins to Alice and charges in her account.

Payment / Deposit:

Alice gives Bob the coin.

Bob contacts the Bank and sends a coin.

The bank verifies the digital signature of the bank.

The bank verifies that the currency has not yet been spent.

The bank consults its retirement records to confirm Alice’s withdrawal. (Optional)

The bank enters the currency in the database of spent coins.

The bank credits Bob’s account and informs Bob.

Bob gives Alice the merchandise.

Non-traceable electronic payments.

The electronic cash proposal considers the previous scheme with a modification: include the impossibility of tracking payment. For this, it is necessary that “The Bank” cannot link a specific withdrawal with a specific deposit. This is achieved using a special type of digital signature which they called a hidden signature, which today is known as a private key and is described as follows:


Alice creates an electronic currency and encodes it.

Alice sends the coded currency to the Bank with a withdrawal request.

“The Bank” digitally signs the coded currency

“The Bank” sends the signed coded currency to Alice and charges into your account.

Alice deciphers the signed currency.


Alice gives Bob the coin.

Bob verifies the digital signature of the Bank. (Optional)

Bob gives Alice good.


Bob sends coins to the bank.

The bank verifies the digital signature of the bank.

The bank verifies that the currency has not yet been spent.

The bank enters the currency in the database of spent coins.

The bank credits Bob’s account.

Another aspect they addressed was the anonymity of the user and the inability to track the payment. The implementation of this system, assured to eliminate the double expense with a database of spent coins and also, to verify the list with each one of the payments made.

Regarding the counterfeit of coins or tokens, the use of cryptography with private keys used to sign coins and that will not have vulnerabilities was considered. The fact that a private key is susceptible, the validating institution of the transactions could not distinguish between the currencies it has validated and the counterfeit ones. Given this, the solution they propose is to limit the possible damages that could be caused and create a finite amount of issued coins. Also, issued tokens should have the characteristic of becoming divisible but retaining anonymity.

The technologies they propose are based on proposals from Chaum, Fiat & Naor; Schnorr; Ferguson and Brand. From Chaum, they retake DigiCash to propose that “The Bank” create an RSA signature at the time that person A (or Alice) made the withdrawal request, whenever Alice had identified.

For the time stamping, they use the Schnorr protocol so that “The Bank” put a mark at the time of making a withdrawal and another signature to prove that Alice is the one who owns said currency.

For the withdrawal system, the currency would contain a signature of “The Bank”, which would allow authenticating Alice’s information and the traceability of that currency. With this implementation, Alice could not spend the currency twice since she would have to go through the same process and would therefore be identified by the bank.

Finally they make a variation of Ferguson’s proposal; that is, they use a random RSA signature, this eliminates the assumption that someone can spend the same currency many times and also makes Alice and “The Bank” contribute random data to the message. With this variation, it is achieved that, despite the fact that “The Bank” does not know what it is signing, it guarantees that the data was not chosen maliciously.

Finally, after the random data, a line is proposed that converges at a point where Alice’s identity is revealed at the time of making a payment so that Alice cannot make it twice.

Although the Nakamoto document does not describe systems for tracking electronic cash, this document states that the solution for the prevention of money laundering would consist in the creation of a system with the traceability option considering a custody mechanism or a system of custody. escrow through certain conditions, for example, providing a trusted entity with a password that can decipher information that links the deposit to a withdrawal or vice versa. At present we have advanced automated systems that allow the identification of a user, however, retaking the P2P (peer-to-peer) system within a system such as bitcoin, the identification of users excluding exchanges, would have to be through digital wallets or wallets; however, the transparent nature of the blockchain ensures that each transaction is potentially traceable. Even if each transaction is only associated with a key that has extensive information, some institutions could eventually link the points.

It is worth noting that this document was published in 1993, the year in which the SHA-256 protocol (used by bitcoin and created by the NSA) was not yet available. While it is true, we are probably never aware of who is the creator of bitcoin; However, the document published in the NSA shows many coincidences that years later would have been retaken by Nakamoto.


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