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Digital currency bitcoin, which has experienced sudden growth in terms of usage and value, has been criticised by many and some have labelled it as a ponzi scheme.
Given its alleged use in drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorist financing and other anti-social activities, a number of states across the globe have warned consumers about the risks involved in relying on and using the decentralised money.
Now, a group that claims to track the activities of government organisations around the globe alleges that the popular cryptocurrency is a project run by the US National Security Agency (NSA), whose reputation has been hit by the revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The group, named CIA Project, claims that bitcoin is made by the NSA or the CIA. However, the 'evidences' the group presents lack depth, potentially making it a conspiracy theory.
CIA Project's main proof revolves around the name of bitcoin's alleged creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. The group says a white paper on bitcoin was released in 2008, and it was reportedly written by a person named Satoshi Nakamoto, which roughly means "Central Intelligence" in Japanese.
The team added that Bitcoin Forum, a bitcoin community where Nakamoto used to communicate, usually removes posts connecting bitcoin with CIA.
Raising suspicions about his identity, Nakamoto has never left even a single personal identification clue in his numerous posts on Bitcoin Forum over the years. CIA Project alleges that this shows 'intelligence training'.
In addition, Gavin Bell (aka Gavin Andresen), who is the public face of bitcoin, claims that he has been communicating with Nakamoto for many years. However, Gavin has neither met Nakamoto nor spoken with him on the phone even once.
Nevertheless, the anonymity of the alleged bitcoin creator, Nakamoto, cannot be viewed a valid point to base the claim. In addition, Nakamoto is a common Japanese name, and the group's arrived translation is coincidental.
Another evidence the group is trying to bring is related to the source code of the digital currency.
It says the common programme used by most cryptocurrencies to create secure keys is suspected to be back-doored by the NSA, citing a "recent WikiLeaks document".
Bitcoin did not use the most popular programme to create secure keys, and the fact shows that the NSA already had full information about bitcoin, according to the group.
"While bitcoin believers portray bitcoin as a new decentralised currency, the command structure of bitcoin core development is 100% centralised," CIA Project says.
The claim could be refuted as bitcoin's source code is open source, and therefore the NSA need not put a back door in the code. The programme that bitcoin uses to secure transactions, SHA-256, is created by the NSA. The open source programme is said to be one of the most secure algorithms in the world.
The article was updated on 11 August.