Snowden Talks Crypto

A well-known whistleblower, Edward Snowden, gave his opinion on cryptocurrencies and discussed some issues surrounding crypto community during Blockstack Berlin 2018.


The first crypto-related question came from famous crypto expert Peter Van Valkenburgh, who asked if Snowden possessed any cryptocurrencies himself. Snowden admitted that he used bitcoin back in 2013 to anonymously purchase servers to distribute the data to journalists. He was a bit critical about the current state of bitcoin, though:

“I don’t think bitcoin will last forever,” said Mr. Snowden. “The first browser created is not the best browser that we have ever seen. Bitcoin does important work, and I do think it will have enduring value for a long time”.

He then went on to state that the protocol is not updated properly and that it might start losing to its competitors. In Snowden’s opinion, the concept of the public ledger is “incompatible with having an enduring mechanism for trade”, which came as a surprise to many.

“You cannot have a lifelong history of everyone’s purchases, all of their interactions, be available to everyone and have that work out well at scale.”

When asked about his crypto favorite, he said:

“When we talk about which cryptocurrencies are interesting to me, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Zcash, for me, is the most interesting right now because the privacy properties of it are truly unique. We see more and more projects that are trying to emulate this, and I think this is a positive thing. Monero is out there, and I’ve used Monero just like everyone else.”

Snowden criticized crypto community for being too attached to particular projects and becoming hostile to each other. In his view, “new and different projects should be encouraged” so that the crypto ecosystem could grow.

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