In a time when not everyone is rushing to support Bitcoin (BTC), Edward Snowden is coming to the cryptocurrency’s defense. In 2013, Edward Snowden became famous for leaking information about the National Security Agency (NSA) on matters on surveillance previously unknown to the public. Here’s what this whistleblower, who has asylum in Russia, said about Bitcoin.
“I like Bitcoin transactions in that they are impartial,” says Edward Snowden.
In a recent interview with the ACLU, Edward Snowden delved into Bitcoin, crypto and blockchain with the Director of the ACLU and his friend, Ben Wizner.
Why does Edward Snowden like Bitcoin? Overall, he sees Bitcoin transactions as impartial. This means is that large banks are not involved; only the two parties exchanging funds decide what happens to their crypto. For example, banks would not process his own payments. Crypto does not discriminate.
Crypto will be valuable “as long as there are people out there who want to be able to move money without banks.”
More fundamentally, cryptocurrency only has value, as does gold or the US Dollar, as long as people agree that it does. “That belief is how cryptocurrencies move enormous amounts of money across the world electronically, without the involvement of banks, every single day,” explains Edward Snowden.
“Bitcoin has competitors.”
He lists Monero (XMR), a cryptocurrency with its own church, and ZCash (ZEC) as potential alternatives. Their advantage? Transactions on both these networks are private, by default.
Bitcoin may not yet really be private money, but it is the first “free” money.
In other words, you can exchange it with anyone, anywhere for any reason. How anonymous is Bitcoin? According to Edward Snowden, it isn’t private, just impartial and free to move around the world.
“If we don’t have private transactions by default within five years, it’ll be because of law, not technology.”
The technology for privacy coins is widely available—and already in use. In other words, the only obstacle to wider adoption is law.
“Blockchain is just a fancy way of time stamping.”
Blockchain technology, the protocol underlying Bitcoin, is merely a way to record when something happened—and guaranteeing that that information is accurate. And the more blocks you create on a blockchain, the more difficult to becomes to alter older data.
“We’ll see transaction rates for blockchains improve in the next few years.”
Snowden explains that Visa and MasterCard and a lot faster than Bitcoin right now. Specifically, they process thousands of transactions per second, while BTC averages around 7.
However, this will change, according to Edward Snowden. He explains, “We’ll see transaction rates for blockchains improve in the next few years to a point where they’re no longer a core concern.” For example, Nano (NANO) is 300% faster than Ripple (XRP).
“No more than twenty-one million bitcoins will ever be created.”
What is the value of Bitcoin? According to the famous whistleblower, part of its value lies in their coin cap. For example, people already own 17 million of the 21 million Bitcoin.
So what is cryptocurrency’s worth? “Competition to “mine” the remaining few involves hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and electricity,” added Edward Snowden, “which economists like to claim are what really ‘backs’ Bitcoin.”
Satoshi Nakamoto’s mistake was “the failure to account for Bitcoin becoming too successful.”
Edward Snowden describes this as “the flaw in all of this brilliance,” meaning the innovative process of crypto mining. Specifically, mining uses a lot of energy, and actually has a bigger carbon footprint than Switzerland, because every coin is so valuable.
“Blockchains: they might be that one tiny gear that lets us create systems you don’t have to trust.”
Edward Snowden seems to think that blockchain is more than a buzzword. At the end of the interview, he adds:
“You’ve learned the only thing about blockchains that matters: they’re boring, inefficient, and wasteful, but, if well designed, they’re practically impossible to tamper with. And in a world full of shifty bullshit, being able to prove something is true is a radical development.”
In an online community wherein it’s easy to lie, Edward Snowden sees blockchain as the potential arbiter of truth.
Bitcoin is Here to Stay
In his interview, Edward Snowden explained that Bitcoin, or some cryptocurrency with more privacy, is here to stay. This is because the desire to move money without bank involvement isn’t going away. And the more people believe something is worth, the more it’s actually worth.