Edward Snowden, the world’s most famous whistleblower known for exposing the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive surveillance agenda in 2013, has something serious to say about Bitcoin.


In brief:

Speaking at Blockstack event in Berlin, Edward Snowden expressed his views about bitcoin and stated that public ledger is Bitcoin’s big flaw.

Edward Snowden, the world’s most famous whistleblower known for exposing the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive surveillance agenda in 2013, has something serious to say about Bitcoin. Speaking at Blockstack Berlin 2018 event via a webcam, Snowden discussed his opinion about the new technology.

According to him, bitcoin’s central flaw may not lie in its transaction rate limitations, but in its public ledger. He has warned that Bitcoin’s public ledger is a “long-lasting flaw” with huge implications for the overall privacy of the virtual currency.

He said, “Everybody is focused on the transaction rate limitations of bitcoin being its central flaw, and that is a major one, but I would argue actually the much larger structural flaw, the long-lasting flaw, is its public ledger. That is simply incompatible with having an enduring mechanism for trade. 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. The limitations of how people engage with these cryptocurrencies are the limiting factor on the apocalypses we’ve had from it so far, a natural relief of pressure on it.”

The whistleblower believes that though bitcoin will last for a long period of time, it will not last forever. While revealing his personally preferred cryptocurrency, Snowden stated,

“When we talk about which cryptocurrencies are interesting to me, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, zcash for me is the most interesting right now, because the privacy properties of it are truly unique, but we see more and more projects that are trying to emulate this and I think this is a positive thing.”

Discussing the use of technology by dictators and launching of state cryptocurrencies, like Venezuelan Petro, he said,

“It’s not a question of if they will be, it’s a question of when they will be. It’s a question of how do we design competing systems that are simply so attractive that they will not be ignored by the global consumer base, but also the governments themselves who are seeking to compete against them will not simply be able to outlaw them and have that be meaningful.”

Moreover, he expressed his concern that the growing popularity of a public ledger that documents every transaction history, may result in governments banning the technology.

The statement came at the time when reports of leaked documents surfaced disclosing that the NSA may have used it surveillance technology to track the blockchain ledger as well as individual bitcoin users.


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