The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced plans to establish investigations related to blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The plan is to create a multidisciplinary investigation department that allows its officers to collaborate with members of academia and private companies in the development of solutions focused on national security.
According to him release of the agency, from September 21, the new research department is called CIA Labs and is supported by the Federal Consortium of Laboratories of the United States, which has more than 250 laboratories, federal departments and state agencies among its members.
The document specifies that the officials and collaborators of the CIA will face “national security challenges” through exposure to various scientific and technological problems. Among which are those related to “distributed accounting / blockchain-enabled technologies”.
Furthermore, CIA Labs intends to conduct research, testing and engineering in other emerging research fields such as data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, biotechnology, communication technologies, wireless networks, robotic interfaces, and advanced materials manufacturing.
The CIA communiqué admits that its activities are framed within “the CIA’s mission,” which involves a series of activities that could be considered surveillance and control of the population, and that the agency describes as mechanisms to anticipate attacks, collect and analyze information for covert actions and safeguard secrets for national security, as stated on its website.
However, does not provide details on the specific issues they will address, and encourages other projects to be part of this State intelligence laboratory.
The interest of government agencies in blockchain networks
In the past, government agencies have sought the collaboration of companies in the sector, such as Chainalysis, to obtain information on methods to trace transactions or the use of tools that prevent criminal acts such as money laundering or tax evasion.
According to words of a former Chainalysis employee, the CIA was allegedly using his software (via In Q Tel) together with other agencies, with an ethically questionable purpose. However, the 2019 post that anonymously disclosed information about the company’s activities was short-lived on Reddit’s r / Bitcoin.
At present, the information Public reporting that links Chainalysis to US government agencies suggests that the FBI, IRS, DEA, SEC, and CFTC have used their blockchain analytics tools the most. It is even estimated that in a period of 5 years these agencies have invested up to $ 14 million in Chainalysis hires, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
Because cryptocurrencies like bitcoin use public blockchains to record their transactions, Alternative cryptocurrencies and tools have emerged focused on preserving the privacy of their users and owners.
Recently the United States government offered a reward to those who contributed to tracking users of Monero and the Bitcoin Lightning Network, but some experts agree in which certain mechanisms such as transaction mixing can prevent this activity.