- The underlying issue of Bitcoin is that it is not private, according to Snowden.
- He cautioned about the consequences of the financialization of the crypto business.
Despite his worries, the American whistleblower believes that cryptocurrencies have great potential. Edward Snowden feels some key obstacles must be overcome in the next several years. Freedom of the Press Foundation President Glenn Greenwald spoke at Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas, today, and he strongly warned about the risks of a future without financial privacy for crypto.
Failing as an Electronic Cash System
The underlying issue of Bitcoin is that it is not private, according to Snowden, who made headlines in 2013 when he disclosed secret National Security Agency papers outlining monitoring methods of U.S. people. Referencing the Bitcoin whitepaper, he said, “It is failing as an electronic cash system because cash is largely intended to be anonymous.”
Though he acknowledged that Bitcoin’s public ledger had certain faults, Snowden claimed he was “very much a fan” of the technology and compared it to gold, saying that the borderless aspect of Bitcoin and crypto more generally is an astounding thing. Immediately after the meeting, Snowden tweeted that gold is “Bitcoin that can’t be sent over the Internet.”
Zcash and Monero, two privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, were also mentioned in passing. Zcash’s zero-knowledge proof mechanism struck Snowden when he first read its whitepaper, as he claimed earlier under the alias John Dobbertin that he had helped invent Zcash.
Snowden went on to say that many crypto assets are “closer to money” than currencies, further elaborating on his thoughts on the potential of crypto technology. Also, he cautioned about the consequences of the financialization of the crypto business. Because of the financialization of cryptocurrencies, he claimed the market was becoming more fragmented and implied that he feels consumers are not focused sufficiently on the technology.