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Author Topic: How much hashing power the CIA can organize ?  (Read 10275 times)
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 21, 2011, 02:13:56 PM
 #21

It's not that they want the money. If Bitcoin is really successful then it would be a threat to the dollar and the power that it holds. Not to mention all the "evil" things it can be used for like money laundry, drugs, terrorism or whatever they want to claim.
All good arguments for the state wanting bitcoin dead, and I can certainly imagine the FBI and NSA acting covertly against bitcoin, but the reasons you give seem to me like reasons why the CIA would privately like bitcoin: money laundering - ideal for paying assets; drugs - ideal for financing covert operations; terrorism - "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", etc.

I wonder... are there CIA agents using bitcoin, right now...?!

Agreed, I'm saying they're interested, not out to destroy it as it stands. They can benefit as well (or more) as the average user and like Vlad mentioned below about Tor it makes sense.
With that being said I wouldn't be too surprised if they had a way to manipulate the hell out of it now or soon. I believe the NSA's electricity budget is somewhere between 40 and 50 million a year, that runs a lot of computers... I'm not going to make paranoid assumptions about what they're actively doing but you can't deny that they're capable and aware.

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March 25, 2011, 06:16:06 PM
 #22

If I understand correctly, the worry is that a government agency with enough computing power can somehow disrupt Bitcoin. Can someone explain how that would work? Would it be by forging a chain of transactions that is longer than the current chain of transactions? At the current block chain length, that would require forging a chain of more than 115k blocks, right? Would this work even if all general users was using the standard bitcoin client?

Thanks!
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March 25, 2011, 07:39:10 PM
 #23

If I understand correctly, the worry is that a government agency with enough computing power can somehow disrupt Bitcoin. Can someone explain how that would work? Would it be by forging a chain of transactions that is longer than the current chain of transactions? At the current block chain length, that would require forging a chain of more than 115k blocks, right? Would this work even if all general users was using the standard bitcoin client?

Thanks!

They wouldn't need to go back to the beginning. They can work from any point they like. One attack would be to just refuse to include any transactions and make sure to stay longer than any other chain.

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March 25, 2011, 11:26:53 PM
 #24

They would take it over the only way they know how which is to claim pedophiles,drug users and terrorists are using it and they need to make it illegal to protect the citizens. They would come out of it smelling like roses while bitcoiners would look like scum for mentioning bitcoin in public.

No computers needed.

Politicians are great at standing in front of parades and making themselves look good while being entirely corrupt themselves. For example taking lobbyist money from bankers to ensure a p2p currency never leaves the tarmac.
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March 26, 2011, 01:07:09 AM
 #25

They would take it over the only way they know how which is to claim pedophiles,drug users and terrorists are using it and they need to make it illegal to protect the citizens. They would come out of it smelling like roses while bitcoiners would look like scum for mentioning bitcoin in public.

No computers needed.

Oh, that trick stopped working on Internauts some time ago.
Yeah, it may work for some time on normal citizens, but Internet users are much better versed in the terms of internet technologies.

Because of the fact of Bitcoin being a P2P technology, the public will associate it with Bittorrent, not terrorism (unless governments claim that using BT is terrorism too, but that won't work either).

Yeah, i know what you are thinking. "The public" is stupid. Perhaps, most americans are stupid, but the ones already using Bittorrent, Wikipedia and Youtube (which is quite large percent i think) will very quickly undertstand what is going on and the government is lying. I mean it's 10 seconds on Google to find out what exactly Bitcoin is and what it is not, for God's sake.

So no, i don't think that calling Bitcoin users "terrorists" or Bitcoin itself "tool used to spread terror" will work in the information era.

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March 26, 2011, 01:11:50 AM
 #26

They would take it over the only way they know how which is to claim pedophiles,drug users and terrorists are using it and they need to make it illegal to protect the citizens. They would come out of it smelling like roses while bitcoiners would look like scum for mentioning bitcoin in public.

No computers needed.

Oh, that trick stopped working on Internauts some time ago.
Yeah, it may work for some time on normal citizens, but Internet users are much better versed in the terms of internet technologies.

Because of the fact of Bitcoin being a P2P technology, the public will associate it with Bittorrent, not terrorism (unless governments claim that using BT is terrorism too, but that won't work either).

Yeah, i know what you are thinking. "The public" is stupid. Perhaps, most americans are stupid, but the ones already using Bittorrent, Wikipedia and Youtube (which is quite large percent i think) will very quickly undertstand what is going on and the government is lying. I mean it's 10 seconds on Google to find out what exactly Bitcoin is and what it is not, for God's sake.

So no, i don't think that calling Bitcoin users "terrorists" or Bitcoin itself "tools used to spread terror" will work in the information era.


To the vast majority facebook is the internet.....I also direct your attention to this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1663664 This is the typical or common reaction .

The perception of bitcoin to those outside of bitcoin is already "its a scam" or "its used to launder money" or "drug dealers use it"

Yes bittorrent can be used for distributing information but the perception is that its used for piracy.

Im entirely talking about perceptions here.

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March 26, 2011, 01:15:34 AM
 #27

To the vast majority facebook is the internet.....

1. I don't know about that, I'm not using FB. But even on FB, people can link to Wikipedia.

2. Well, even if that's true, they still have the search bar in their browser.
I guess they know how to use it.

3. Also, they usually know youtube.

FB + Google + Youtube should be more than enough in this case.

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March 26, 2011, 01:27:25 AM
 #28

If the bitcoin economy became large enough for the US government cared enough about it to throw a ton of hashing power it, wouldn't it make more sense for them to generate a majority of the blocks and only include transactions that pay at least a certain transaction fee? In effect, they would then be taxing bitcoin. They could then use all of the bitcoin they gather to spend on government projects, or move it out of bitcoin into dollars.

Of course, if the government wanted to shutdown bitcoin, there would be far easier methods than out hashing the rest of us.
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 26, 2011, 02:32:18 PM
 #29


Of course, if the government wanted to shutdown bitcoin, there would be far easier methods than out hashing the rest of us.

I agree also crippling might be a better word than shutting down. I don't think they could shut it down if people were devoted.

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March 26, 2011, 04:21:57 PM
 #30

To the vast majority facebook is the internet.....I also direct your attention to this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1663664 This is the typical or common reaction .

Wow, thanks for posting that. I just went and read the entire thread... good to get a different perspective.

Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 26, 2011, 04:25:30 PM
 #31

To the vast majority facebook is the internet.....I also direct your attention to this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1663664 This is the typical or common reaction .

Wow, thanks for posting that. I just went and read the entire thread... good to get a different perspective.


Yeah I agree, it's also good to know the counter arguments if you plan on talking about it with people.
Blows my mind how many people think their currency is gold backed or worth something and not just debt.

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tomcollins
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April 16, 2011, 11:07:22 PM
 #32

With a $10,000,000 budget dedicated to buying 5970s, one could easily create a 10 Tera Hash per second computer cluster that would immobilize the bitcoin network.

See my original post here: http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4559.msg67079#msg67079

What makes you think they'd buy those cards, rather than making custom cards?
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April 16, 2011, 11:10:17 PM
 #33

They would take it over the only way they know how which is to claim pedophiles,drug users and terrorists are using it and they need to make it illegal to protect the citizens. They would come out of it smelling like roses while bitcoiners would look like scum for mentioning bitcoin in public.

No computers needed.

Oh, that trick stopped working on Internauts some time ago.
Yeah, it may work for some time on normal citizens, but Internet users are much better versed in the terms of internet technologies.

Because of the fact of Bitcoin being a P2P technology, the public will associate it with Bittorrent, not terrorism (unless governments claim that using BT is terrorism too, but that won't work either).

Yeah, i know what you are thinking. "The public" is stupid. Perhaps, most americans are stupid, but the ones already using Bittorrent, Wikipedia and Youtube (which is quite large percent i think) will very quickly undertstand what is going on and the government is lying. I mean it's 10 seconds on Google to find out what exactly Bitcoin is and what it is not, for God's sake.

So no, i don't think that calling Bitcoin users "terrorists" or Bitcoin itself "tools used to spread terror" will work in the information era.


To the vast majority facebook is the internet.....I also direct your attention to this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1663664 This is the typical or common reaction .

The perception of bitcoin to those outside of bitcoin is already "its a scam" or "its used to launder money" or "drug dealers use it"

Yes bittorrent can be used for distributing information but the perception is that its used for piracy.

Im entirely talking about perceptions here.



Right now the perception is not terribly wrong.  What is BitCoin used for?  Speculation and trading.  Some people do not see the vision.  That is fine.  That is why people will build the vision, and they will come if it is worth it.  Typical users will not see value in something that does not exist.  Those with vision will.  And by being ahead of the curve, they profit from it.  They find value for the typical user, and make it in their interest to use it.

But until then, it is only a tool for speculators, traders, child pornographers, drug dealers, etc...
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 16, 2011, 11:12:45 PM
 #34

With a $10,000,000 budget dedicated to buying 5970s, one could easily create a 10 Tera Hash per second computer cluster that would immobilize the bitcoin network.

See my original post here: http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4559.msg67079#msg67079

What makes you think they'd buy those cards, rather than making custom cards?

I'd guess they already have custom cards that could work or something close enough it wouldn't be a big step.
It makes sense they need to do similar calculations.

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AzelSpears
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April 16, 2011, 11:57:27 PM
 #35

Is this out of concern for values manipulation?

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Jaime Frontero
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April 17, 2011, 05:26:09 AM
 #36

except sometimes it may be difficult to get a ginny back into the lamp

oh vladimir, you wonderful russian: masters of language you are - even unconsciously.

it's genie back into the lamp.

but 'ginny' works, as a (/an implied) subset of "horse back into the barn".

robert heinlein would have approved.  as would his wife...

there's nothing like a solid, multi-order pun.
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April 17, 2011, 06:32:49 AM
 #37

Re: "How much hashing power the CIA can organize ?"

I pu "organize" in bold to emphazise that the question wants you to think outside of the box.  BUT most ofl the responses have been dealing with purchasing power of the government from taxes.  But there are non-monetary ways to organize hashing power.  For instance, most desktop machines run Windows, and have a lot of security holes.  If the government people were smart, they could take over a whole farm of zombie machines (CPU+GPU) from ordinary americans.  Or they. Could declare emergency power to legally seize compute power from ordinary citizens.

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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