Could bitcoin be a government plot?

Apr 23, 2013 at 2:26 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 10:42 a.m. UTC

Could the non-government-supported, non-central-bank-backed bitcoin actually have been created by a government agency? The question has been buzzing in recent days after Paul Graham, co-founder of the tech incubator Y Combinator, explored some possibilities in a blog post:

"I've long suspected bitcoin was created by a government," Graham writes. "Bulletproof protocols usually require peer review, yet there have been zero leaks from the reviewers. Pools of crypto guys who don't leak stuff are usually employed by governments."

Why would a government do this? Graham suggests possible financing for black ops, a race to create its own model for a digital currency before someone else did and fears that the US dollar might one day no longer be the global currency of choice.

"I realize some of these explanations are pretty far fetched, but so is an individual cooking up bitcoin as an intellectual exercise," Graham wrote. "Whatever the explanation of bitcoin's origin turns out to be, it will probably be pretty weird."

While responses to Graham's post have run the gamut -- ranging from complete dismissal of the possibility of government involvement ("If it were part of the Governments (sic) opererational plans, you wouldn't have public officials condemning it in public," writes Bitcoin Forum member  TraderTimm) to an embrace of various conspiracies, others say the answer doesn't matter.

"At this point, who cares who came up with bitcoin or how?" notes Bitcoin Forum member Dabs. "Government or some Japanese guy, it doesn't matter. The current code is open source and the protocol is defined."


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