Cryptocurrency: Edward Snowden’s thoughts on Bitcoin angers maximalists

Whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed by Marta Belcherwhere he talked about privacy coins, crypto, NFTs, decentralization, and freedom of the press at the 2021 Ethereal Virtual Summit powered by Decrypt.

The 33-minute interview irked Bitcoin Maximalist Alex Gladstein, who took issue with Snowden’s on Bitcoin’s privacy issues and updates; so much for the hyped Taproot update.

“…Taproot does not fix Bitcoins privacy problem and there’s some arguments that it makes it worse..sort of fragmented addresses”,

An angered Gladstein immediately took to social media and wrote the following:

Respect Snowden for his work on privacy and criticism of CBDCs. But this clip is a disaster. TLDR: -Taproot makes Bitcoin privacy worse -Lightning is “shenanigans” -Attacks core devs -Hypes NFTs + privacy coins (except Monero which he trashes) When SnowdenCoin? Say it ain’t so.

Edward Snowden (right) and Marta Belcherwhere

This prompted Snowden to respond as below a few hours later:

The worst part of cryptocurrency transforming into dragon-level wealth is witnessing good people emotionally devolve into dragons themselves: so intellectually paralyzed by the fear that everyone they see threatens their hoard that they lose sight of the world beyond their cave.

  • This is such a profoundly misleading TL;DR of a privacy-focused talk that it’s hard to call it anything but intentionally deceptive.
  • To the extent I own crypto (unless and until it has been lost in boating accidents), I own more bitcoin than anything else—but despite the theoretical risk of harming the value of that ownership, I continue to criticize Bitcoin’s (and other cryptocurrencies I hold) failings because the public cost of doing otherwise would be orders of magnitude greater than that individual private gain. Moral compass.
  • Bitcoin’s disastrous privacy is the “missing stair” of cryptocurrency. Every expert understands it’s a problem, but—as experts—they themselves know how to compensate for the risk in their own personal interactions with Bitcoin, and therefore feel no urgency to actually fix it.
  • Privacy coins are great, but they’re too small and too easy to smother via regulatory actions like de-listing from exchanges. Only Bitcoin has immunity-via-dominance to delisting. It adopting privacy-by-design instantly normalizes financial privacy. Ultima Ratio Cryptum.
  • The central property of cash is fungibility—meaning a dollar spent by a plumber is honored equally to one spent by a sex worker: they are indiscriminable. Adversarial chain analysis of Bitcoin’s public ledger reduces its fungibility over time. Only privacy guarantees fungibility.

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