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- Terra researcher FatMan has claimed that Bitcoin mixing service Chipmixer is a CIA honeypot
- FatMan pointed to a number of perceived issues with the way that Chipmixer was founded and is being run to back up his claim
- The CIA is known to be involved in some crypto projects
The Bitcoin mixing service Chipmixer has been accused of being a “United States honeypot” according to the prominent Terra critic FatMan (@FatManTerra). In a tweet thread posted yesterday, FatMan pointed to a number of reasons why he believes that Chipmixer could have been created by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pointing to the way it was designed and certain elements of the way it operates to back up his claim.
? Today, I’m sharing my long-standing theory behind a US government covert operation designed to partially crack Bitcoin privacy and deanonymize transactions. I believe that popular Bitcoin mixer ChipMixer is actually a United States government honeypot. Here’s why.
— FatMan (@FatManTerra) November 23, 2022
CIA Known to be Involved in Crypto
In December last year CIA Director William Burns said that the agency had “a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency” on the go, news which has led to a number of claims and conspiracy theories in the past 12 months, some valid some not so.
However, FatMan believes he has struck upon a potential candidate in Chipmixer, which launched in May 2017 by a “brand new anonymous account” on BitcoinTalk. FatMan says that it soon became popular due to a combination of “offering mixing via fungible outputs, large reserves, a smooth UX, clearnet access, and true anonymity (when it came to external analysis).”
FatMan then lists a number of reasons why he’s “absolutely sure about” Chipmixer being designed and launched by the CIA, including:
- A donation model, which is “usually not a viable business model”
- Initial spending in the millions despite “zero revenue”, suggesting private bankrolling
- ChipMixer operators have “complete access to every transaction – deanonymized!”
- Some high profile users (e.g. Twitter hacker) have been caught after using it
- Chipmixer has survived a Bitcoin mixer crackdown totally unscathed
Not Everyone Agrees
Some were in agreement with FatMan’s assessment, although others were skeptical over his funding claims, whereas others simply dismissed the whole thing:
That they haven’t been busted is valid cause to be suspicious, however your financial cost reasoning is flawed.
Criminal organizations lose a significant proportion of their funds through traditional money laundering techniques.
— Stephen Morgan (@doublethink_sec) November 23, 2022
Are u related to Alex Jones?
— GregTheClown (@FGuy1984) November 23, 2022
While we won’t know for some time whether FatMan is right, and perhaps we never will, reports of an old white van suddenly screeching away from Chipmixer HQ the moment the tweet thread was dropped suggest that he could be onto something.