At a Blockstat event in Berlin at the beginning of March, Edward Snowden gave a webcam talk where he discusses his views on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Snowden does not believe that “bitcoin will last forever.” This, according to him, is due to a structural problem of the Bitcoin blockchain:
“Everybody is focused on the transaction rate limitations of bitcoin being its central flaw, and that is a major one. The much larger structural flaw, the long-lasting flaw, is its public ledger.”
Snowden believes that the fact that Bitcoin’s ledger is public is what could hurt the cryptocurrency in the long run. According to the whistle blower, a currency cannot possibly be scalable and durable if it registers every single transaction made on the network.
“That is simply incompatible with having an enduring mechanism for trade, because you cannot have a lifelong history of everyone’s purchases, all of the interactions be available to everyone and have that work out well at scale,” he said.
Mr. Snowden seems to be leaning towards privacy coins in term of cryptocurrency preferences:
“When we talk about which cryptocurrencies are interesting to me, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, zcash for me is the most interesting right now, because the privacy properties of it are truly unique, but we see more and more projects that are trying to emulate this and I think this is a positive thing.”
To the question: “Are you concerned about emerging technologies like blockchain being co-opted by dictators, by powerful entities, corrupt entities,” Snowden responded:
“It’s not a question of if they will be, it’s a question of when they will be. It’s a question of how do we design competing systems that are simply so attractive that they will not be ignored by the global consumer base, but also the governments themselves who are seeking to compete against them will not simply be able to outlaw them and have that be meaningful.”