Edward Snowden – NSA whitleblower who weighed in on anonymity-centric virtual currencies, naming Zcash the “most interesting Bitcoin Alternative”.
The former U.S. intelligence contractor that leaked out National Security Agency (NSA) data showcasing that the agency was taking notes (spying) on citizens that were not part of any investigations, is now serving as the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board of directors.
Snowden briefly shared his thoughts about cryptocurrency in a thread posted on Twitter, stating that “Zcash’s privacy tech makes it the most interesting Bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin is great,” he added, but “if it’s not private, it’s not safe.”
Despite community and mainstream belief, Bitcoin’s transactions and its technology is not very anonymous as in the act of a currency, while using blockchain tracing software law could establish the identities of individual wallet holders. There are services like cryptocurrency tumblers that could be used by privacy-conscious to mask transactions, however the features often charge a fee and many are not aware of its existence. The Segregated Witness (SegWit and the malleability fix) is predicted to add privacy features to the network but it could take time.
When asked about his thoughts on Monero, another prominent cryptocurrency that advertises the ability to make anonymous transactions, Snowden stated that it was a “great project, but the problem with amateur crypto is mistakes happen and have huge consequences for people like me.” Because Zcash was created by professional academic cryptographers, he feels more confident that the technology is truly secure.
Snowden’s comments echo those he has made in the past. In 2015, he stated in an interview that “Bitcoin by itself is flawed,” citing concerns over the ability to directly link addresses to a person’s identity, as well as the perceived threat of 51% attacks. Last year, he apparently mentioned Zcash as a “solution to the surveillance risks of Bitcoin” during a video conference talk, according to Zcash founder Zooko.
Zcash is now in the 15th place as the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization trading at a price of $288. This week – with no fault of its own – the digital currency took stage after a Bithumb employee and his or her associates allegedly initiated in insider trading before the news that the Korean Exchanges would add Zcash to its platform.