Bitcoin, The CIA and The MIT Connection
How the United States Government is using a small group to control and influence Bitcoin and other alternative currencies.
Photo Credit: Rawstory
Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin was in the process of handing complete control over Bitcoin development to Gavin Andresen, as he had expressed the desire to move on to other projects. In April 2011, Gavin Andresen announced that he was invited to give a talk at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Headquarters that June, regarding Bitcoin. He was paid $3,000 to cover travel, time and expenses.
Shortly thereafter, Satoshi Nakamoto went "dark" and has never been heard from again.
Photo Credit: VentureBeat
Dateline, August 1, 2017; some believe this will be the first open attack by the United States Government on Bitcoin. Others have said it will be a "Non-Event" like the famous Y2K concerns, which predicted massive global computer failures, that never happened.
On the 1st of August, a small group of programmers, known as the Bitcoin Core Development Team will deploy a User Activated Soft Fork (UASF), known as Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 148 (BIP148). Although these types of updates have occurred in the past, what sets this one apart is the veracity of opposition to this update.
Photo Credit: Bitcoin Magazine
The effect of BIP 148 is to reject any Bitcoin blocks that do not signal support for Segregated Witness (SegWit), the centerpiece of Bitcoin Core’s scaling map.
If the majority of miners by hashing power do not signal support for BIP 148, the block chain will split. with billions of dollars at stake. The risks are lost coins, double spending, suspension of trading and a complete shutdown of the Bitcoin network, in the short term.
Photo Credit: Business Insider
Like it or not, Bitcoin is today, really "China Coin". The vast majority of Bitcoin trading, as high as 90-94% is conducted on Chinese based exchanges. Around 72% of all miners are physically located in China and 70% of all mining equipment is made in China.
All-in-all, the Chinese have billions upon billions of dollars invested in the Bitcoin ecosystem and they are not happy about the coming implementation of BIP148.
Who Owns Bitcoin
Wladimir van der Laan
Photo Credit: WeUseCoins
The creator (or creators) of Bitcoin, known as Satoshi Nakamoto, is long gone. Before leaving he turned over development responsibility to Gavin Andresen, who then turned it over to Wladimir van der Laan, who functions as the Chief Maintainer of Bitcoin Core and the leader of the Bitcoin Core Team.
This team is funded by various sources, including Bitcoin companies like Bitfury, Bitmain, the Nasdaq stock exchange, venture capitalist Fred Wilson, Circle Wallet, Chaincode Labs, Reid Hoffman - LinkedIn co-founder, other individuals and companies.
The majority of the Core Development Team, have "Real Day Jobs" too. Many, if not all are involved in other Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency projects and initiatives. The potential for conflicts of interests is quite real.
While no one really owns Bitcoin, In effect Wladimir van der Laan has the "keys to the car" and therefore controls software development of the Bitcoin Blockchain.
MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative
Photo Credit: MIT
Gavin Andresen and Cory Fields – Both were hired, around April 2015 by the then newly established Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative.
The MIT Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory, the Digital Currency Initiative is headed by former Obama White House adviser Brian Forde, who stated, "The Digital Currency Initiative intends to provide a "neutral" academic working environment for developers".
Developers are said to enjoy "almost" complete freedom.
The MIT lab is funded from gifts from industry, composed chiefly of companies or individuals operating in the cryptocurrency space.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Blockstream is one of the largest funding sources for Bitcoin Core
Montreal based Blockstream was founded in 2014 by Bitcoin Core Developers as well as several non-Bitcoin Core Developers. Their main business focus is sidechain technology.
Developers on Blockstream's payroll are strongly encouraged to work on Bitcoin Core Development. Blockstream wants to see Bitcoin maintained, developed and scale. Therefore they are willing to pay employees to work as part of the Bitcoin Core Development team.
Blockstream recently raised $55 Million in Series A funding.
Should Bitcoin serve the owners of the coins, the miner, the equipment manufacturers, currency exchanges or the software developers. In an ideal world, everyone would agree on changes and the Bitcoin ecosystem would continue to evolve and scale to serve the needs of all.
Unfortunately, the Bitcoin Core Development Team and its masters at MIT and in industry have decided to move forward with their vision of the future, whether everyone likes it or not. BIP 148 is the vehicle to effect these changes and it will be deployed on August 1st.
The adoption of BIP 148 will proceed even if the majority of miners refuse to implement it. If this happens, it will result in a chain split.
The BIP 148 software will signal the network is ready to adopt Segregated Witness (SEGWIT) which is hoped to speed up Bitcoin Transactions and reduce the need to pay high transaction fees. It does this without raising the 1 Megabyte Block Size.
Photo Credit: ExtremeTech
Everyone acknowledges that Bitcoin is "Broken", but disagrees on how to fix it. Long transaction times and high fees, make all but the largest transactions economically impossible.
Miners want an increase in the actual Block Size, initially doubling it to 2 Mega Bytes with no hard-coded cap in size. Although they have indicated support for a version of SEGWIT, in the future they are rejecting the MIT/Core solution and want to keep the 2 Megabyte block size.
The Chinese miners are also concerned that new software updates would remove their 20-30% advantage in mining speed through the use of ASIC Speed Boosting Software, potentially costing them millions of dollars per month.
In addition, while high transaction fees are bad for most people, the mining community and mining pool owners are benefiting directly from these large fees.
From Chinese Manufacturer and Mining Company, Bitmain's BLOG:
On May 24th, 2017, a significant economic majority, more than 80% of the entire hashing power and 80% of transactions’ source software or service, of the Bitcoin industry came to an agreement in New York (New York Agreement) on tangible steps to scale Bitcoin in the near future. Representatives of Bitcoin Core declined the invite to attend this meeting. This agreement is the hard work of those who sincerely believe in Bitcoin and those entrepreneurs or investors who have strong financial interest in scaling Bitcoin quickly and unitedly. Bitmain is a supporter of the agreement. We support the agreement and we want to make it happen as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: The Sun
Throughout history, we have seen what happens when a small group of elites attempt to control the great masses. No matter how enlightened and benevolent their control, rebellion will eventually break out.
In this case, the people with the smallest financial stake, The Bitcoin Core Development Team are attempting to enforce their rule upon the Chinese and the rest of the Bitcoin Community. No matter how well placed (or not) their intentions are, the community intends to fight back.
The Chinese Miners, who control the vast majority of resources have indicated that they will create a Hard Fork of Bitcoin and permanently go their own way.
The MIT/Bitcoin Development Team will be relegated to the "Kings of Nothing", as the Network leaves them behind forever.
The CIA and MIT
Photo Credit: Public Domain
It is a fact that the United States Government has and does fund MIT Laboratories, amounting to Billions of Dollars each year.
The appointed head of the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative, former Obama White House adviser Brian Forde has stated that he desires to "Address some of the most critical challenges to creating a safe, stable, and secure digital currency" and to, "Get closer to a more robust and viable digital currency that could have tremendous benefits around the world."
While this all sounds good, it implies that MIT will exert influence, money and control to impress it's vision upon the cryptocurrency space. The fact that no one wants or needs their help is irrelevant.
The real question that inspires conspiracy theorists is "Why". What is in it for MIT and why do they think their input is needed in the free market? To many, this looks like an attempt by a known U.S. Government contractor to either, influence, undermine and/or control the cryptocurrency market.
In conformance with standard CIA doctrine, they are leveraging the weakest players to achieve a large effect, at minimal cost. For an intelligence organization, the reasons for doing this could be as simple, as "let's play a game" and see what happens to something as sinister as deploying government resources in support of the Central Banks, to protect them from the threat of non-centralized currency.
We will likely never know the truth of what or who is behind MIT's efforts.
Litecoin is Next???
Photo Credit: ETF Daily News
Attempting to disrupt and perhaps sabotage Bitcoin is not enough for the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative.
Their website has started a count-down clock regarding some new project for the cryptocurrency Litecoin. They have chosen August 1st as their announcement date, which coincides with their release of Bitcoin's BIP148.
Photo Credit: Twitter
Charlie Lee, who was one of the creators of Litecoin; just recently left his position at the Coinbase Exchange to focus on Litecoin development, claims to know nothing about MIT's announcement.
Charlie was instrumental is getting consensus from all miners to adopt SEGWIT on Litecoin and is said to be working towards the implementation of the Lightning Network, which will allow large transaction scaling, while maintaining or increasing network confirmation speeds.
Litecoin transactions currently take 1 to 2 seconds to confirm and cost around 1 US cent in transaction fees.
Of all the currencies in the marketplace right now, Litecoin is in the best position to become the standard for all transactions going forward. Obviously this is a threat to the Central Banks, Visa and other credit/debit card providers.
What leverage MIT will use to control or influence the development of Litecoin is unknown.
Photo Credit: Crush The Street
Unlike Bitcoin, MIT does not control the keys to the Litecoin software. Speculation is that MIT will announce some type of Lightning Network implementation between Litecoin and Bitcoin.
Like the proverbial Trojan Horse, Charlie Lee and the rest of the Litecoin Community would be wise to "Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts".
Photo Credit: Windows 10 Themes
It is notable that the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative has not paid any attention to either number 2 currency Ethereum ($31 Billion) or the number 3 currency Ripple ($12 Billion).
Perhaps this is because Ethereum is an inflationary currency like Fiat money and U.S. Bank, JP Morgan has made substantial investments in Ethereum.
Ripple which is a 100% bank created and controlled currency has also been ignored. Ripple is also an inflationary currency.
Litecoin is the second oldest Cryptocurrency and has had a relatively stable development and is widely accepted as payment by merchants and others. Only Bitcoin is more widely accepted.
Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is non-inflationary and has a hard coin limit of 84 million coins (Bitcoin is 21 million).
At a current market cap of $2.3 Billion, Litecoin sits at the number 4 position out of the current 785 alternative currencies.
August 1st is going to be a busy day!!!!
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