Edward Snowden has said that even if Bitcoin’s allure fades, decentralized currencies’ utility in transferring value outside of traditional banking networks will continue with newer iterations.
“That belief is how cryptocurrencies move enormous amounts of money across the world electronically, without the involvement of banks, every single day. One day capital-B Bitcoin will be gone, but as long as there are people out there who want to be able to move money without banks, cryptocurrencies are likely to be valued.”
The exiled American whistleblower cited the opportunities that are possible when human financial freedom is enforced globally through code, rather than restricted by a traditional financial system operating as a system of control.
“Let’s say Bank of America doesn’t want to process a payment for someone like me. In the old financial system, they’ve got an enormous amount of clout, as do their peers, and can make that happen. If a teenager in Venezuela wants to get paid in a hard currency for a web development gig they did for someone in Paris, something prohibited by local currency controls, cryptocurrencies can make it possible. Bitcoin may not yet really be private money, but it is the first “free” money.”
Snowden also pointed to the more inclusive and broader reach that digital currencies have compared to legacy payment systems that use the dollar. When asked whether he believes Bitcoin had long-term intrinsic value, Snowden said the only differences were Bitcoin’s non-compelled participation, limited supply, and belief by a growing segment of the population in the currency as a “bona fide means of exchange.”
“You’re one of the world’s unbanked people. Maybe you don’t meet the requirements to have an account. Maybe banks are unreliable where you live, or, as happened in Cyprus not too long ago, they decided to seize people’s savings to bail themselves out. Or maybe the money itself is unsound, as in Venezuela or Zimbabwe, and your balance from yesterday that could’ve bought a house isn’t worth a cup of coffee today. Monetary systems fail.”
According to Snowden, the hype around cryptocurrencies and blockchain boils down to everything being easily ‘tracked and verified’ and the only remaining question is whether their implementation will be compulsory or voluntary.