Exclusive Interview- Group behind El Salvador’s Wallet Hack Explains Its Motives

April 24, 2024

Recent concerns about the security of El Salvador’s Chivo Bitcoin wallet have ignited debates within the cryptocurrency community—where ideals of freedom and decentralization are celebrated. In the midst of these swirling allegations and stark official denials, The Shib Daily secured a rare and exclusive interview with the notoriously elusive hacking group CiberInteligenciaSV, known for its incursions into organizations and government entities.

The group, which recently swept into the public eye by releasing sensitive data from the government-backed Chivo wallet, was clear its motives were far from malicious.

From the digital shadows, a representative from CiberInteligenciaSV shared: “Many believe that we are a political opposition, that a foreign government finances us, but no. We are simply people concerned because the country is heading toward a totalitarian state and it is a form of protest. Also, you are aware of our activities, you see that this is the least,” illustrating a deep-seated worry about the country’s trajectory toward authoritarianism—a sentiment that echoed throughout the interview and resonant with a broader societal disquiet in El Salvador.

The Chivo wallet was initially celebrated as a step toward financial modernity by introducing Bitcoin as a legal tender. However, the hacking group accuses it of becoming a tool for governmental overreach, centralizing control over cryptocurrency transactions and infringing on user privacy—actions starkly misaligned with Bitcoin’s foundational principles of privacy and autonomy as crafted by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto.

The member of the group refused to reveal their name, or even a pseudonym, for the interview, which was carried out on Telegram, dismissing the question with “We hate labels like that.” The group’s responses were in Spanish and are reproduced here as translated by Google.

When asked if their opposition was to the use of Bitcoin as legal tender, the group member clarified, “No, what we are against is the use of the state wallet as an attempt to centralize Bitcoin; monitor, and analyze your users. Bitcoin was not designed for that.”

The conversation then veered toward governmental overreach. “To register you need an identification number, biometric identification, and Identification document. Everyone who wanted to ‘win’ the $30 that the government is giving away, has to leave their personal information. These transactions are being managed by internal protocols. The government also has the power to block funds without prior notice. The funds can just stay for years in limbo since they don’t have physical offices where people can go to,” the member explained, alleging the state adopted an invasive approach in managing crypto transactions.

Political concerns formed a significant part of the conversation. CiberInteligenciaSV expressed concerns over the erosion of democratic norms under President Nayib Bukele’s administration, labeling the political climate a “suspicious democracy.” While acknowledging that Bukele had “done positive things for the people,” the group was critical of the potential long-term effects on democratic integrity.

The group challenged Chivo Wallet’s response to the leaked information as “fake news,” asking, “What is a leak, if not exposing that which should have remained confidential?”

The CiberInteligenciaSV member then offered a cryptic message about the Chivo hack, which seemed to imply that the the information was already leaked before the group made it public: “To all the people who follow us, the thing is that we never try or will try to leak [already] leaked information; if someone claims to be our member and tries to do so, be careful, they are an imposter.”

“Our beginnings are uncertain but It was founded for the same reasons that I explained above,” they added, confirming the group’s presence across Latin America and its commitment to promoting transparency and better data protection measures as a form of protest against the technological revolution.

The CiberInteligenciaSV member ended the interview with a warning about power: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The Shib Daily has reached out to the El Salvador government for a response to the allegations made by the hacking group. This article will be updated when a response is received.

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