TL;DR: “Sorry but your hero is a #shitcoin shill,” Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of BTC-focused company, Blockstream, insisted. Mow was referring to infamous US government whistleblower Edward Snowden and the recent release of his book, Permanent Record, after enthusiasts urged Snowden to accept bitcoin to avoid further censorship.
Edward Snowden is a “Sh*tcoin Shill,” Says Blockstream CSO
At various points, Snowden was asked his opinion about bitcoin and its privacy prospects. He is widely recognized as something of a privacy expert, having worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA). It’s safe to write his entire reason for being on the bad side of the US government is due to exposing the lack of privacy most people in the world didn’t previously understand they suffered. His life was completely uprooted as a result, and for more than a half-decade Snowden has lived in exile under threat of prosecution and worse.
Also when prompted, Snowden has correctly explained BTC as a network is pseudo-anonymous, and in actuality is an incredibly easy tool for governments to employ should they have the savvy of chain analysis, for example. As a result, he has suggested what he considered at the time compelling privacy alternatives to BTC such as Zcash.
“Before you throw away money for @Snowden’s book,” the Blockstream CSO stressed, “just remember he recommended #Zcash for people needing privacy at a time when nearly all $ZEC transactions were unshielded.” It’s a particularly interesting tact for Mow to take, considering unshielded Zcash transactions are, well, BTC transactions as they exist now, and Mow has routinely referred to himself as a BTC maximalist (all other cryptocurrency projects are scams, etc.).
Support for zk-SNARKS Tech More Than Zcash
Developer Satinder Grewal put a finer point on Snowden’s Zcash praise, contending, “I could only understand @Snowden’s reason of zk-SNARKs being strongest in privacy transactions since it uses and based on complex cryptography. So, as I understood it was basically a support for zk-SNARKS tech, more than #Zcash coin itself.”
Nevertheless, that seemingly minor fault (to a BTC maximalist) was enough to dismiss Snowden and support of his book altogether. Permanent Record is a memoir of Snowden’s time in disclosing US government surveillance secrets. At the very least, revelations from Snowden’s whistleblowing led to a worldwide conversation about the role of privacy in government activity.
This week, the US Justice Department (DOJ) sued Snowden, attempting to seize all proceeds from Permanent Record due to a quirk in intelligence law. Such manuscripts must be submitted for review by government officials, the DOJ demands. This, in turn, prompted Bitcoiners to urge Snowden to accept cryptocurrency in return for the book to avoid what they perceive as more government censorship. “When I wrote this line on the third page of PERMANENT RECORD,” he tweeted, “I never imagined the government would underline it with a lawsuit on the very first day of publication,” and so “in conclusion this is good for bitcoin.”
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