The US National Security Agency Starts To Identify Bitcoin Users
According to a report, the US National Security Agency (NSA) is reportedly able to locate senders and receivers of Bitcoin around the world, as classified documents provided by Edward Snowden reveal.
According to other documents, The NSA managed this action by creating a system for harvesting, analyzing, and processing raw global internet traffic using a program disguised as a popular anonymizing software.
The NSA gave an update on intelligence collection efforts in March 2013, which targeted Bitcoin and LibertyReserve, “2 of the top 3 virtual currencies” of their interest.
According to The Intercept, Liberty Reserve was created with criminal intent in mind. It is regarded as a predecessor to Bitcoin. Digital currency service LibertyReserve, which is based in Costa Rica was founded by Arthur Budovsky. He was eventually arrested in connection with a $6 bln money laundering operation, resulting in a 20 year conviction.
After 5 months the Liberty Reserve was shut down, the US federal agents apprehended Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the world’s largest darkweb marketplace, Silk Road, where transactions were conducted in Bitcoin.
The information from Snowden’s files don’t give much information about whether the NSA actually participated in the FBI’s Silk Road investigation. But Ulbricht himself said that all evidence against him was received by the NSA in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The prosecution dismissed his theory.
The monitoring of cryptocurrencies by government surveillance agencies may come as a cause for concern for those who value cryptocurrency for its anonymity and decentralized nature.