Monday, May 27, 2013

What the"Shadow CIA" Thinks about Bitcoin

In early 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing over 5 million Stratfor email messages.  According to Global Intelligence Files, Stratfor is.
 a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal's Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.
Barron's once referred to Stratfor as "The Shadow CIA."  Amy Goodman, writing in the Guardian, referred to the first published leaks of Stratfor material as peering into the "intelligence-industrial complex"

In late 2011 (October/November), Stratfor had an internal email discussion about Bitcoin. Here are snippets of that conversation, compiled from emails released by Wikileaks. wrote:
A bitcoin (BTC) is decentralized digital currency developed by an individual or groups of individuals with the pseudonym SatoshiNakamto [you'll have to explain everything in this sentence later in the analysis. imagine you are explaining what it is, step by step, to an
idiot (or me).]
BTC is a currency where transactions are solely processed on a computer network of clients. There is no central authority to regulate monetary policy. Some determining factors in policy such as the rate of inflation or placing a ceiling in currency supply are enforced through a set
of algorithmic rules which must be agreed upon by the majority of nodes in the network.
The author's identity is unknown. Some have speculated that it was a group of individuals. The name stems from communication such as blogs and white papers penned with the name Satoshi Nakamato, who claimed to reside in Japan. There are individuals including private investigators and hackers who have tried to uncover his identity. The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto
is followed like a conspiracy theory or myth.
--- wrote:
My instant reaction to things like this is to look at the human element,to see how easy it is for non-experts to use it (and thus how much it will be adopted), and for malicious experts to take advantage of loopholes and gullible people and machines (yay, now we can have cybercrime with cyber currency).
Digging into the wiki, it seems to be fairly easy to use, although understanding the mechanics behind it makes my head hurt. All that's necessary to get started is to download the Bitcoin client software. Using it to perform a transaction is fairly simple, too, according to the
Wiki: Suppose Alice wants to send a bitcoin to Bob: Bob sends his public key to Alice.
Alice adds Bob's public key along with the amount she wants to transfer to a message: a 'transaction' message. Alice signs the transaction with her secret private key. Alice broadcasts the transaction out over the bitcoin network for all to see.[...]Adoption and number of users are also significant in my mind. Having a currency market the size of a small city distributed around the world won't really matter, long-term, but if it can expand to be an accepted alternative currency everywhere... wrote:
Bitcoin does provide a more discreet form of a transaction. Transactions can be tracked but bitcoin's transactions do not possess identifying information without a private key. Better to use cash, but better to use bitcoin than any common form of electronic transfers. wrote:
"Bitcoin could become one alternative among many. "... and could threaten states' monopoly on money (if it does end up working) which could result in governments cracking down on it
[], or at least trying. if the currency does work and is impervious to government attempts at controlling it (it being p2p, "anonymous" and what not) it could become an interesting topic. We are not only talking about drug money here, but tax evasion, central banks losing some of its ability to create cheap credit through printing money (producing money/price inflation along the way), etc. on the other hand, this currency could be subject to wild price fluctuations... though if it were to work somehow (and maintained a
decently stable price level) it could become an alternate international store of value. perhaps these outcomes could be unintended consequences of the greek situation? Interesting topic to follow

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