Bitcoin’s dramatic rise over the course of the last few days has seen the internet rumour mill run riot once more with an array of conspiracy theories ‘explaining’ the reasons behind its sudden increase.
So we decided to reach into the archives to dig up some of the more popular Bitcoin-related conspiracy theories of recent times.
I. Bitcoin was predicted by Nostradamus
That was the intriguing idea covered by British periodical, the Express, in January of this year. The piece referred to several quatrains from Frenchman Nostradamus’ Les Prophéties, published in 1555, which allegedly refer to Bitcoin. And to add to the intrigue, none actually do.
One such quatrain reads, “How we will see a great nation sorely troubled and the holy law in utter ruin, Christianity governed by other laws, when a new source of gold and silver is discovered.”
Nostradamus’ vague reference to a “new source of gold and silver” appears to have been sufficient in itself to justify claims of a Nostradamus-Bitcoin connection. However, whilst vague references and loose innuendo may not constitute concrete proof, thankfully they do meet with the Express’ own editorial requirements for running with a story.
II. Bitcoin is a US Government creation
That was the claim made by Pablo Escobar’s younger brother, Roberto, who founded his very own cryptocurrency – Diet Bitcoin – back in March of this year.
In the project’s white-paper, Escobar explained that the world would eventually learn that Bitcoin was a creation of the US government, and that the CIA was preparing to dump its stash of Bitcoins en masse in order to reduce its value to zero.
No real explanation was offered by Escobar as to why the US government would want to do such a thing, leaving a seemingly large gap in its logic that leaves us wondering why this particular story hasn’t been covered by the Express.
III. Satoshi Nakamato is a time-travelling artificial intelligence machine
That was the claim covered by online futuristic journal futurism.com and – intriguingly – not the Express. Apparently, a block hash on Bitcoin was generated in June of 2018 which carried a highly improbable number of leading zeroes, leading some to speculate (naturally) that it could only have come from the future.
Add in some Unified Field Theory which we couldn’t quite understand and apparently you’ve got yourself proof of a time-travelling artificial intelligence machine that has decided to mess with our minds.
What you also have is proof that some people do not distinguish between the probability of one particular person winning the lottery from that of someone somewhere winning the lottery.
IV. Bitcoin was foretold by the Bible
A story which – thankfully – did receive coverage from the Express this time, albeit only three lines at the end of yet another take on the Bitcoin-as-AI-Terminator-Type-Machine-Come-to-Kill-Us conspiracy.
“The conspiracists shockingly believes [sic] that bitcoin is part of a “final beast system” which is taking over the world through hard infrastructure,” the Express explains, for once acknowledging a source for its story whose credentials, unfortunately, did not meet on this occasion with its own rigorous standards for good grammar.
V. Satoshi Nakamoto is known to Edward Snowden
One that we, er, invented ourselves and which happened to be our April Fool’s Day publication earlier in the year. In our defence, we will point out that our intentions were noble – we wanted to challenge claims that the Express has too much of a monopoly on this kind of nonsense.
We received an email in the hours following publication from the lawyers at Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept to inform us that our claims were unfounded, and were asked to remove a reference to the name of an Intercept journalist that we had cited as a source for the fictitious story. Yikes.
We removed the reference – not because we had received a hard-nosed email from a no-nonsense lawyer, but because we like Glenn Greenwald, in part because he does not work for the Express.