Natalya Ivanovna Kasperskaya, branded Kaspersky in the West, is a Russian IT entrepreneur, President of the ‘InfoWatch’ group of companies and co-founder and ex-CEO of antivirus security software company ‘Kaspersky Lab’. Photo: Sergei Bobulev/TASS
A bit over а month ago, Natalya Kaspersky gave a rare interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda, following her presentation entitled “Modern technologies – the basis for information and cyber-wars” at ITMO University in St. Petersburg, where ITMO stands for the Saint-Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.
What follows, is a compilation of excerpts from both Ms. Kaspersky’s interview and presentation. Translation, interpretation and hyperlinks, where appropriate, are mine.
“In the last two years we constantly, in closed mode, encounter a large number of specialists in cryptography, cryptocurrencies, digital money. Most of them are merely enthusiasts and “evangelists” of the blockchain. They love this new world, they expect to work in it, achieve some remarkable results — in a word, to change the world.
However, all of the above, nevertheless, converge on several basic provisions:
- The architecture of bitcoin was described in the White paper of American intelligence long before the appearance of the mythical Satoshi Nakamoto;
- Both the texts and code of “Satoshi Nakamoto” are overflowing with Americanisms. This is typical American product — experts easily determine the country-specific programming style, the tools used, the programming code design, as well as English language used in the technical notes and comments;
- The very implementation of bitcoin (design and programming) is a huge undertaking. Obviously, this wasn’t created by a lone genius, but by a group of highly professional cryptographers over several years — there are many man-years invested, no doubt.
“Now then, where can a group of professional American cryptographers work for several years, why and whatever for? Where do you think expert cryptographers work these days? What kind of jobs they have? Obviously, they work predominantly in various special services agencies.
“However, one shouldn’t be spooked by it. After all, many new technologies that came to us from the US — GPS, TOR, and actually the Internet itself — are USA military developments that eventually were commercialized and made available “to the masses”.
“Obviously, this is advantageous: you invest military money and military intelligence, then commercialize, thereby supporting private American companies and developing their business. Take TOR as an example, the military system originally developed as communication tool for spies. It was privatized and released, and then Chinese dissidents crowded in, and crime followed close behind — drugs deals, weapon sales, child porn, contract killings…
“Might as well, the bitcoin story was a similar one. Of course, this is an assumption, but not nearly as far fetched…
“It’s not only about bitcoin, though. I think that the entire infrastructure of the blockchain and cryptocurrency has been developed in the USA. Control over cryptocurrencies can be achieved through the creation of super-corporations with super-technologies in key locations, as was the case with the Internet, and also through stock markets, startup funding etc. And what country is doing better in this regard than USA — in the Valley and beyond”.
“Bitcoin is a project of American intelligence agencies, which was designed to provide quick funding for U.S., British, and Canadian intelligence activities in different countries. [The technology] is ‘privatized,’ just like the internet, GPS, and TOR. In fact, it is ‘Dollar 2.0’. Its rate is controlled by the owners of exchanges.”
Ms. Kaspersky talks about risks following development of blockchain technologies and bitcoin as currency.
- Is it possible to control the circulation of money within the country?
- Is transparency of transactions ensured?
- Is there any influence of the government on the exchange rate?
The answers to all three questions are negative. Bitcoin currency is not tied to any country or government, thus regulated by no one. Transparency of transactions in bitcoin is nonexistent — it is impossible to establish reliably who pays to whom. This goes against the trend of transparency of transactions around the world. And, finally, the bitcoin stock price is based solely on the expectations and enthusiasm of speculators, hoping to make money on a “new financial instrument,” while bitcoin is traded on foreign exchanges.
Further, Ms. Kaspersky’s interview is becoming more “country-specific”. She explores the numerous pitfalls and dangers of bitcoin/blockchain for Russia and its economic trends. If interested, look for the original interview, in Russian, here.