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This article was published on June 21, 2022

Edward Snowden on the crypto crash: ‘When the ground has cleared, things will grow again’

The sector needs a reset

Edward Snowden on the crypto crash: ‘When the ground has cleared, things will grow again’

Edward Snowden’s faith in cryptocurrencies hasn’t faded during the current market crash. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Snowden believes crypto winters separate the scams from the legitimate uses.

“The only people that remain are the people that are either using these networks functionally… or the people who are there for the long term,” the whistleblower said at TNW Conference 2022.

Snowden has unique experience of crypto’s practical benefits. The servers that he used to leak documents about government surveillance were paid for with Bitcoin.

When the ground has been cleared, things will grow again.

The former NSA and CIA contractor was attracted to Bitcoin’s pseudonymity and utility. These are values that persist through market fluctuations.

“It still works whether the price is $60,000 or whether the price is $6,” he said.

Despite these benefits, Snowden has raised alarm about Bitcoin’s “disastrous” privacy. He’s also wary of treating cryptocurrencies primarily as investments.

“Everybody’s talking about getting rich and things going to the moon. How is that going to happen if no one is actually using these things functionally? And they work well — they work better every year for the purposes they’re actually intended for.”


Snowden also raised alarm about attempts to centralize digital payments. He wants to foil these efforts by returning to the spirt of crypto pioneers who pursued purpose over profit.

That mentality could transform other pervasive systems.

Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, can’t build global social networks and metaverses on his own. Countless users, employees, and investors have to direct their skills and time towards his ambitions.

“We need people to recognize that these systems do not exist without their participation — particularly those who are specialists,” said Snowden.

Any resistance, however, will require sacrifice. But in crypto, the current crash provides an unusual opportunity to reset a sector.

“It’s like a forest fire,” said Snowden. “When the ground has been cleared, things will grow again.”

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