On Saturday evening, the privacy advocate and well known whistleblower, Edward Snowden, spoke out against some criticism stemming from the Human Rights Foundationâ€™s Alex Gladstein. Snowden attacked the tribalism taking place in the crypto space and said that some people â€œlose sight of the world beyond their cave.â€
Alex Gladstein Calls Snowdenâ€™s Interview Clip a â€˜Disasterâ€™
Just recently, the Human Rights Foundationâ€™s (HRF) Alex Gladstein had some words to say to the former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. Gladstein didnâ€™t like the statements Snowden made in a recently published video, when the privacy advocate criticized bitcoin (BTC). Itâ€™s not the first time Snowden has given BTC a scathing review that knocked BTCâ€™s ability to scale and privacy.
For instance, on December 25, 2020, Snowden explained that BTC developers have had years to address scaling and privacy in a video with the popular Youtuber, Naomi Brockwell. The famed whistleblower said he was â€œpuzzledâ€ and developers have â€œhad years to do it.â€
Snowdenâ€™s latest critique of BTC stems from an interview he did at Decryptâ€™s Ethereal 2021 conference. Following the video, Gladstein an outspoken proponent of BTC said that the Snowden video clip was a â€œdisaster.â€
â€œRespect Snowden for his work on privacy and criticism of CBDCs. But this clip is a disaster. TLDR: Taproot makes Bitcoin privacy worse, Lightning is â€˜shenanigans,â€™ attacks core devs, hypes NFTs + privacy coins (except monero which he trashes). When Snowdencoin? Say it ainâ€™t so,â€ Gladstein said. However, not everyone agreed with Gladsteinâ€™s summary of the video.
â€œJust watched the clip,â€ BlockTower Capitalâ€™s Ari Paul replied to Gladsteinâ€™s tweet. â€œWhat he says is very different from your summary. â€˜Great projectâ€™ w/known privacy vulnerabilities != â€˜trashes.â€™â€
But Gladstein wasnâ€™t impressed with Ari Paulâ€™s statements and again criticized Snowdenâ€™s commentary in his reply.
Snowden Fires Back
It didnâ€™t take long for Edward Snowden to respond to Gladsteinâ€™s tweet and the whistleblower trashed tribalism and BTC maximalism.
â€œThe 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,â€ Snowden replied to Gladsteinâ€™s statements.
â€œThis is such a profoundly misleading TL;DR of a privacy-focused talk that itâ€™s hard to call it anything but intentionally deceptive,â€ Snowden continued. â€œTo the extent I own crypto (unless and until it has been lost in boating accidents), I own more bitcoin than anything elseâ€”but despite the theoretical risk of harming the value of that ownership, I continue to criticize Bitcoinâ€™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,â€ he added.
Snowden further said:
Snowden: â€˜Only Privacy Guarantees Fungibilityâ€™
The former NSA contractor also said that privacy coins are â€œgreatâ€ but they donâ€™t have the dominance BTC has and called it â€œUltima Ratio Cryptum.â€
â€œThe central property of cash is fungibilityâ€”meaning a dollar spent by a plumber is honored equally to one spent by a sex worker: they are indiscriminable,â€ Snowden stressed. â€œAdversarial chain analysis of Bitcoinâ€™s public ledger reduces its fungibility over time. Only privacy guarantees fungibility.â€
Some people agreed with Snowden saying: â€œBTC core devs havenâ€™t prioritized privacy because real, inherent privacy would stand in the way of institutional adoption. Their main objective is institutional adoption and wealth absorption. Not personal liberty.â€ Software developer Jeff Garzik also wrote a comprehensive thread about Snowdenâ€™s most recent commentary and criticism toward Bitcoin developers.
Snowden even argued with software developer Matt Corallo on Twitter after knocking Gladsteinâ€™s critique. â€œTaproot nor Lightning come even *close* to addressing Bitcoinâ€™s privacy problems â€” and in fact even provoke arguments for how they hurt it (at least short term),â€ Snowden remarked.
As of 2021, the Lightning Network pales in comparison to the bitcoin used on Ethereumâ€™s network and Taproot already sparked disagreements over how to activate the upgrade. Moreover, Blockchairâ€™s lead developer, Nikita Zhavoronkov has criticized Taproot on Twitter and people have wondered if the meta-consensus problem can even be solved.
The podcaster and BTC maximalist, Peter McCormack, tried to use Snowdenâ€™s recent tweet as an opportunity to interview Snowden but got no response. Another BTC maximalist agreed that Snowden should accept McCormackâ€™s interview offer.
â€œEdward, you have nothing to lose by talking with Peter and others on his cordial, non-adversarial show, and your followers could hear many helpful insights they may never learn of if you donâ€™t. As a dev who is aware of the issues in play, I encourage you to consider his offer,â€ software developer Daniel Buchner said.
Check out Snowdenâ€™s entire video commentary below from Decrypt.coâ€™s Ethereal 2021 conference.
What do you think about Snowdenâ€™s response to Gladstein on Twitter? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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