The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been reportedly monitoring the bitcoin blockchain with an eye on identifying users on the distributed network.
According to a report by the Intercept on Tuesday, the media outlet has received classified documents from the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden which indicated bitcoin surveillance remains a top priority for the agency.
Documents further hint that the NSA 's agenda may go beyond just tracking the bitcoin public ledger, with the agency actively analyzing the global internet and scraping softwares to undermine the pseudonymity of users.
For instance, one memo from the NSA, the report cited, suggested the agency has collected private information such as bitcoin user passwords, internet activity and device identifiers.
According to the report, the NSA has been monitoring the internet activities of bitcoin users since 2013 through a program with codename as OAKSTAR. MONKEYROCKET, another sub-program under OAKSTAR, the NSA may be moving closer to pinpoint users who initiate a cryptocurrency transaction.
"SSG11 analysts have found value in the MONKEYROCKET" one memo reads ".
This article was previously published under Q147657 and is supported by the authoritative website.
The news comes at a time when the U.S. government has voiced concerns via lawmakers and law enforcement agencies over the illicit use of cryptocurrencies in terrorism financing and money laundering.
NSA image via Shutterstock