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Edward Snowden on Crypto and Privacy: Bitcoin is Freedom Because It’s Permissionless

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In the wake of Facebook’s announcement that it will be launching its own crypto asset, while much of the focus has been on what the tech giant’s support might mean for mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and the rest of the asset class and emerging technology, it’s also brought about much discussion of privacy, decentralization, and much more.

The conversation of privacy was a widely-discussed topic during the recent Bitcoin 2019 Conference. There, NSA whistleblower and human rights advocate Edward Snowden spoke via teleconference where he talked of how unlike Facebook’s Libra, Bitcoin is permissionless, and therefore the only “free money.”

Edward Snowden Speaks at Bitcoin 2019 Conference on Privacy

The mysterious and pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto designed Bitcoin in the wake of the 2009 global economic crisis to address all of the problems he or she had with money. Of the chief concerns addressed were ensuring its supply couldn’t become inflated, and ensuring that no third-party or single actor could control the network or any transactions occurring on it.

By removing the need for a controlling party to verify transactions, Bitcoin’s network is trustless. It is also makes Bitcoin permissionless, which according to Edward Snowden – who spoke during the recent Bitcoin 2019 Conference – makes Bitcoin “free money.”

The former CIA whistleblower joked that his comment about “free money” isn’t in reference to the parabolic rise the crypto asset has experienced in recent weeks.

“Bitcoin is freedom,” according to Snowden.

Snowden used an example of the internet offering the guise of freedom of speech. He says the worst thing that could happen is that a user gets “deplatformed” or banned from sites like Facebook for abusing the site’s terms and conditions.

When it comes to “trade,” Snowden says, humanity hasn’t been afforded the same right to freedom, until Bitcoin. He adds that liberty is “freedom without permission,” something that is the foundation of all basic human rights, and when it comes to money, only Bitcoin can achieve this.

Privacy, he says, is the “agency” that gives us the power of over our own freedom.

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Tony Spilotro, Khareem Sudlow