Edward Snowden highlighted the importance of privacy as it relates to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies during a virtual discussion at Consensus 2022

Edward Snowden said he was “a big fanbitcoin, but he believes its lack of privacy could lead to its long-term failure. The US whistleblower said that there are multiple crypto-assets that can be thought of as gold-like cash rather than currencies.

The American whistleblower expressed concerns about the financialization of the crypto space, but added that he sees huge promise in this technology.

Edward Snowden talks bitcoin

Edward Snowden says he believes in the crypto movement, but he thinks there are major hurdles to overcome in the coming years.

During a virtual interview at Consensus 2022 in Austin, the American whistleblower and President of the Freedom of the Press Foundation shared his thoughts on the promise of emerging technology and issued a clear warning about the dangers of a world without financial privacy when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Snowden, who made international headlines when he leaked classified National Security Agency documents detailing US citizen surveillance practices in 2013, described the public nature of bitcoin as a “fundamental flawand said the biggest reason he might fail is because he’s not private. “It fails as an e-money system because money is largely meant to be anonymous“, he said, referring to the white paper on bitcoin (Satoshi Nakamoto introduced bitcoin as “a peer-to-peer electronic money system“).

Although he said he saw issues with the bitcoin blockchain, Snowden clarified that he was “a big fan” of this technology and made a comparison between gold and cryptocurrencies, noting that the borderless nature of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general is “an amazing thing“. Shortly after the discussion, Snowden posted a tweet describing gold as “a bitcoin that cannot be sent over the internet“.

He also cited several other innovations in the cryptocurrency space, including privacy currencies Zcash and Monero. Snowden recently revealed that he was involved in the creation of Zcash under the pseudonym of John Dobbertin.


Expanding on his take on the promise of crypto technology, Snowden added that many crypto assets are “closer to money” than currencies. “People don’t understand the difference, but money is a thing that holds value, a token that can be traded and is not independently controlled by a central authority“, did he declare.

He also warned of the dangers of the financialization of the crypto industry. He said space was becoming more and more divided”because of the financialization of crypto-currencies” and hinted that he thinks users aren’t focusing enough on the technology itself.

[Les utilisateurs] don’t think primarily about what the networks are that are going to serve us for 100 years for the transfer of value“, did he declare. “I worry about a world where our money is used against us“.

Snowden said he hoped to see people have access to “free money in the sense of independence“. In what could be interpreted as support for the broader crypto ecosystem rather than a specific asset, he suggested that having multiple assets that can act like money was good for the world. . “I think the more competition the better.“, did he declare.

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