The National Security Agency (NSA), a national-level intelligence agency of the US Department of Defense, has been tracking suspicious Bitcoin transactions. And now the NSA might be creating its own cryptocurrency.
The agency could be developing its own quantum-resistant “crypto,” according to Anne Neuberger, the director at NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate.
NSA to Create Its Own “Crypto”
A tweet from Bloomberg security reporter William Turton revealed that Neuberger commented on NSA’s crypto-related plans during the 10th Annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit, held in Washington DC.
Although the exact reasons for why the NSA might be launching its own digital currency are not clear, several analysts have argued that, in the future, quantum computing could pose a threat to existing crypto and blockchain-based platforms.
As noted in previous reports, quantum computing might advance to the point where it would be able to crack existing cryptographic systems that are used to secure data, including the private keys to users’ cryptocurrency holdings.
NSA Might Be Developing Crypto Technology, Not A Cryptocurrency
Notably, Neuberger’s recent statements could also mean that the NSA might be focusing its research on developing quantum-resistant crypto technology, and not necessarily a cryptocurrency.
The NSA’s new Cybersecurity Directorate was established in July. Its mission is to “prevent and eradicate threats” to National Security Systems and the Defence Industrial Base, according to the NSA. The Directorate will begin its operations on October 1, 2019.
Before taking on her current role at the cybersecurity unit, Neuberger was in charge of NSA’s Russia Small Group.
The NSA has prioritized Bitcoin surveillance activities, according to classified reports reviewed by The Intercept in 2018, which were reportedly shared by Edward Snowden, an American whistleblower who has previously leaked highly classified information from the NSA (while working as a US Central Intelligence Agency contractor).
According to an NSA memo, the agency has been collecting private information including Bitcoin account passwords, device identifiers, and users’ internet activity.