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Author Topic: Gavin will visit the CIA  (Read 100831 times)
Gavin Andresen
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April 27, 2011, 07:00:26 PM
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I want to get this out in the open because it is the kind of thing that will generate conspiracy theories:  I'm going to give a presentation about Bitcoin at CIA headquarters in June at an emerging technologies conference for the US intelligence community.

I accepted the invitation to speak because the fact that I was invited means Bitcoin is already on their radar, and I think it might be a good chance to talk about why I think Bitcoin will make the world a better place.  I think the goals of this project are to create a better currency, create a more competitive and efficient international payment system, and give people more direct control over their finances.  And I don't think any of those goals are incompatible with the goals of government.

I'm only very slightly worried that talking about bitcoin at the CIA will increase the chances they'll try to do something we don't want them to do.  I think accepting their invitation and being open about exactly what bitcoin is will make it less likely they'll see it as a threat.

PS: Full disclosure: I'll be paid a one-time fee of $3,000 to cover expenses and pay me for my time.  I don't want any "Gavin is on the CIA's payroll" rumors to get started, either...

As always, comments and questions and discussion welcome.  I'd really rather not hear any conspiracy theories about how they'll secretly implant a mind-control chip in my head while I'm there, though....


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Meni Rosenfeld
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April 27, 2011, 07:06:05 PM
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That's very exciting! Keep it light in information they can use to attack Bitcoin in case they don't like what you say Smiley.

PS: Full disclosure: I'll be paid a one-time fee of $3,000 to cover expenses and pay me for my time.  I don't want any "Gavin is on the CIA's payroll" rumors to get started, either...
Someone's going to have to ask this... Did you request to be paid in bitcoins?

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April 27, 2011, 07:06:22 PM
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Wow. Will we get to see it?

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April 27, 2011, 07:07:31 PM
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Should start a donation thread for the eventual casket hurr durr
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April 27, 2011, 07:08:20 PM
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Don't drink the water! I kid, I kid.

It sounds... interesting. I can't wait for the report back to the community!
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April 27, 2011, 07:10:09 PM
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don't they know that you will just burn the $3,000?
Garrett Burgwardt
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April 27, 2011, 07:13:40 PM
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If you could be paid in bitcoins that would be phenomenal, though I doubt it.

I think this is great! While I'm not a fan of government, I don't think they're actively evil, nor stupid. If they can use bitcoin I think they will (or develop their own blockchain), and that will be excellent for the bitcoin community. And with all the good things bitcoin does, what's not to like?

Note: please don't start a debate on government here, let's keep this on topic Wink PM me if you really want to discuss government, I certainly don't mind.
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April 27, 2011, 07:16:22 PM
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I think they might be very much interested in the hashing power of the network.
Imagine if they could use the hashing power to help them with the "stuff they do"...  Grin

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April 27, 2011, 07:19:57 PM
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Bitcoin could be really useful for the CIA one day because it's a good way to sneak money across borders without detection, eg. to pay informants in totalitarian regimes.

In private, the CIA and other secret services may be delighted by the new possibilities a tool like Bitcoin gives them, but that does not necessarily mean that the governments those secret services work for will endorse Bitcoin publicly.

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April 27, 2011, 07:23:58 PM
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Of course they want to know as much as possible about this. If I worked for the CIA, I'd want to know how terrorist cells might use a similar system to communicate or transfer funds anonymously right under the government's nose.

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April 27, 2011, 07:24:14 PM
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Very exciting!  A little concerning, but if bitcoin is going to make it outside of online poker, then I guess things like this are necessary steps.
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April 27, 2011, 07:24:33 PM
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Bitcoin could be really useful for the CIA one day because it's a good way to sneak money across borders without detection, eg. to pay informants in totalitarian regimes.

In private, the CIA and other secret services may be delighted by the new possibilities a tool like Bitcoin gives them, but that does not necessarily mean that the governments those secret services work for will endorse Bitcoin publicly.

Agreed - but more likely they will pick up the phone to the Treasury Dept, or DoJ, and say 'guess what, you need to update your AML and FinCen rules, and by the way here is a list of American IP addresses to go after" - so everyone use a foreign VPN asap, lol. At least we get a few more months to pump up the difficulty before they try a takeover...

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April 27, 2011, 07:25:24 PM
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So guys, watch out, if we do not hear anything from gavin for the next few weeks he might be in Quantanamo Bay.
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April 27, 2011, 07:28:00 PM
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I think it's a great way for government to fund the development of Bitcoin, by paying speaker's fees to the developers.
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April 27, 2011, 09:47:22 PM
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 Wink

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April 27, 2011, 09:56:15 PM
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Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.
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April 27, 2011, 09:59:08 PM
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This is a bad idea and gives me uneasy feeling
But I guess if Bitcoin is going to survive, it will have to go through it. Although, if you declined their offer, it would most probably delayed any action against bitcoin

Edit: and by reading satoshi's post I get the same feeling, that he wanted to keep bitcoin under the radar for as long as possible.
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April 27, 2011, 10:00:26 PM
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I find this revelation to be supportive of Bitcoin's future.  If they are openly asking a major representative of the Bitcoin community to speak, that means that they not only have looked at it fairly closely and have judged generally that it's not a threat or a crime (meaning they are not going to commit resources to destroy the network) it also means that someone has a use for Bitcoin.

Keep in mind, they have a use for Tor, and if every Tor node were owned by the feds, it woundn't be very useful to them either.

It might also explain some of the mystery money that has been flowing into MtGox and driving the price.  If the CIA has a use for it, they are going to have to have some of it.

If this presentation goes well, and tells them what they really would like to verifiy (they don't ask questions that they don't already have strong opinions on, like lawyers never ask questions in court that they haven't already researched, the CIA has access to some truly high class programmers themselves) then just imagine the level of hashing power that the feds could bring to Bitcoin.

I know that most people think that the fact that the US FRN is the international reserve currency is a major boon for the US economy, but there are some very notable downsides.  In some ways it's in the interests of the US to gently back away from that role.  Bitcoin could help that endeavor.

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April 27, 2011, 10:01:36 PM
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  I think the goals of this project are to create a better currency, create a more competitive and efficient international payment system, and give people more direct control over their finances.  And I don't think any of those goals are incompatible with the goals of government.

They are, in fact, incompatible.  Government has a choice between a allowing a monetary system that's efficient and keeping the one that saps the wealth of all citizens.  It's no mystery which one they will prefer.

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April 27, 2011, 10:07:30 PM
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  I think the goals of this project are to create a better currency, create a more competitive and efficient international payment system, and give people more direct control over their finances.  And I don't think any of those goals are incompatible with the goals of government.

They are, in fact, incompatible.  Government has a choice between a allowing a monetary system that's efficient and keeping the one that saps the wealth of all citizens.  It's no mystery which one they will prefer.

This is only true for certain sectors of government.  Domestic monetary policy is not a concern for the CIA.  That's doesn't mean that the monied interests of other sectors won't interfere with whatever the CIA might have in mind, but the CIA doesn't care what cyberpunks are doing in the dark corners of the Internet in general.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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