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Edward Snowden Talks Privacy as the Basis of All Freedom at Bitcoin Conference

TL;DR: Notorious government corruption whistleblower Edward Snowden continued his appearances at cryptocurrency-related conferences, giving a keynote address via satellite from an undisclosed location in Russia. He drilled-down on the subject of money and the surveillance state, arguing, “Privacy gives us agency as individuals.”

Edward Snowden Talks Privacy and Money

A noticeably excited host, Naomi Brockwell, introduced this year’s keynote at a cryptocurrency conference in San Francisco, 26 June 2019. “I just introduced @Snowden at a conference. I have reached peak life,” she tweeted. On two large screens, and to a packed warehouse audience, Edward Snowden appeared suddenly, wearing his famous eyeglass frames and dark sportscoat.

In preface to his prepared remarks, Snowden referenced an earlier panel that so happened to coincide with his talk’s theme. “We just heard from Erik Voorhees,” Snowden recalled. “He founded ShapeShift, which had no KYC until it was forced to. This is the status quo. This is how banks and states work. Bitcoin is free money. Bitcoin is freedom from permission. This is the foundation of all rights.”

Edward Snowden

Indeed, for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the tech’s rub is that it actually makes tracking transactions and payments easier. The meme for years was bitcoin is anonymous, but, of course, that’s far from true. Virtually from the start, then, there’s been an under-the-hood battle between coders and developers to increase bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymity toward a greater form of financial privacy. In recent months, projects such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) have brought the concept of privacy further along.

“Privacy,” Snowden urged, “right now is for the professional, experts, and the rich. Privacy right now is a privilege. What we need is privacy, not as a privilege, but as a right.” The BCH community flatly agrees, and part of the cash-like features of the coin include teams working on tools such as CashShuffle and SideShift AI. Both pick up and deepen where ShapeShift and Voorhees left off in attempting to align their business with government regulators and minders. Meanwhile, second-layer solutions designed to be used with bitcoin core (BTC) have already been found to be tracking users.

Edward Snowden

Snowden also took an opportunity to remind the audience, “The story of 2013… the servers I used to transfer the evidence to the journalists was paid for using bitcoin,” referencing his famous history, smuggling detailed files which disclosed massive surveillance officially denied by US law enforcement officials at the time. “Privacy means that you belong to yourself, and not to society,” Snowden quipped. “You are allowed some measure of freedom of speech today […] When it comes to trade, you aren’t afforded that same freedom […] Bitcoin is the first free money […] The world doesn’t need another 1st national bank, it needs a 1st post-national bank.”

DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH. 

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