CIA launches in-house R&D arm, highlights blockchain as research area

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced a new research and development unit on Monday, dubbed CIA Labs.

The initiative “brings CIA officers together with the private sector and academia to research and develop science and technology solutions in support of CIA’s mission,” according to a press statement. “CIA Labs conducts multidisciplinary research, development, testing, and engineering to address new challenges; adapt, improve, or accelerate the production of existing solutions; and solve persistent scientific and technological problems in new ways,” the agency explained.

Among the areas of research are “distributed ledger/blockchain-enabled technologies,” though the statement does not go into much detail beyond that simple description. It also mentions virtual/augmented reality, robotics and quantum computing, among other areas. 

A report from the MIT Technology Review posited that the effort will provide a means for CIA officers to “publicly file patents on the intellectual property they work on—and collect a portion of the the profits.”

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