Bitcoin’s lack of privacy protections is ‘puzzling,’ says Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden is no stranger to controversies, with the former CIA employee and sub-contractor coming into the spotlight a few years ago after he leaked classified National Intelligence Agency documents. The leak in question and its revelations sent shockwaves around the world, making Snowden a marked man living in exile. Over the ensuing period, however, Snowden has always spoken in favor of Bitcoin and the larger crypto-market.
A few days before the cryptocurrency community was given a Christmas gift in the form of BTC breaching the $25,000-mark, Snowden sat down with Naomi Brockwell to underline his views on the world’s largest cryptocurrency, its utility, and its future.
According to the former CIA employee, nation-states have finally recognized cryptocurrencies, not by accepting them or even openly recognizing them, but by propping up alternatives in the form of CBDCs or Central Bank Digital Currencies. “Digital currencies are the next stage of money,” he said, adding that emerging CBDCs are just re-branded fiat currencies with no desirable properties for most people.
In light of rising inflation and ‘hidden taxes,’ one might expect Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market to be in a good position to fill the void. However, that hasn’t happened, with Snowden pointing out the lack of throughput and the lack of privacy available on the Bitcoin network.
“We know the Bitcoin network doesn’t support throughput. We know the Bitcoin network as it exists does not offer the privacy protections really necessary for these kinds of transactions at scale. And I think it should, and it could, and I think the developers realize that too.”
While Snowden did acknowledge the developers’ latest efforts to do this, he was also quick to point out that years have passed since the network came to be and the fact that this hasn’t happened yet is “frankly puzzling.” According to him, Bitcoin has some “well-understood flaws,” resolving which would allow Bitcoin to be adopted and used more freely and openly.
Given Snowden’s work and history, it’s understandable why he is so picky about privacy. It should be noted, however, that while he has spoken about Bitcoin in the past, he has also hyped up the use of privacy coins like Zcash and Monero, with the former CIA employee once stating,
“Zcash for me is the most interesting right now because the privacy properties of it are truly unique.”
While Snowden didn’t address the two cryptos in his latest interview, it would be interesting to get his views on the two now, especially after the likes of Chainalysis announced tools that would allow most Zcash transactions to be partially traced.