Edward Snowden, the famous Whistle-blower, known for revealing the existence of PRISM, a clandestine mass spy program perpetrated by the US government over his own people, was interviewed a few days ago by Ben Wizner for McSweeney's magazine , The End of Trust (McSweeney & # 39; s Issue 54). In it, he talked about the benefits of encrypted money and blockchain technologies by proving to be quite enthusiastic about Bitcoin's potential to change the way society works.
Snowden: "There Is No Takedown Mechanism" on Blockchain
Snowden, which Mr. Wizner describes as "the explanation of the clearest, most patient and less condescending technology"He never met, he started the interview explaining how the blockchain is basically a "New type of database" where users write a "story that can not be manipulated".
"Look, the reality is that blockchains can theoretically be applied in many ways, but it is important to understand that, mechanically, we are discussing a very, very simple concept, and so the applications are all variations on a single theme: verifiable accounting. Hot …
Imagine that instead of the world today, where publicly important data is often kept exclusively by GenericCorp LLC, which can and does play God with it at the expense of the public, It is in a thousand places with a hundred jurisdictions. There is no mechanism for removal or other "Let & # 39; s Be evil" button, and the creation of one requires a global consensus, generally, at least 51% of the network to support the modification of the rule. "
Cryptocurrencies may have a limited fundamental value … but even the cash is missing
In addition to being a fervent supporter of the role of cryptocurrencies as tools to promote transparency in different aspects of everyday life, Snowden referred to Bitcoin, explaining why it can be a crucial component of today's economy despite the opinions about its lack of fundamental value:
"What makes a small piece of valuable green paper? If you're not cynical enough to say" gunmen ", which is why legal tender money is treated differently from Monopoly money, you're talking about scarcity and shared belief in the utility of the currency as a store of value or means of exchange.
We pass outside the paper currencies, which have no fundamental value, to a more difficult case: why is gold worth much more than its limited but real uses in industry? Because people generally agree that it is worth more than its practical value. This really is.
Cryptocurrencies based on Blockchain like Bitcoin have a very limited fundamental valueAt most, it is a token that allows you to save data in the blocks of the respective blockchain, forcing all those participating in that blockchain to keep a copy for you. But the lack of at least some cryptocurrencies is very real … The competition to "extract" the few that remain involves hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment and electricity, which economists love to support are what in reality is the "backs" of Bitcoin.
Yet the hard truth is that the only thing that gives value to cryptocurrencies is the belief of a large population in their usefulness as a means of exchange … As long as there are people out there who want to be able to move money without banks , cryptocurrencies are probably to be evaluated."
PoW and PoS: not perfect, but do the job done
Regarding the characteristics of the most important consent mechanisms, Snowden comments that neither PoW nor PoS are perfect. Everyone has his pros and cons; however, he said that both carry out their mission and provide security to the network despite having attacked the problem from different points of view.
While explaining the characteristics of PoW as a consensus mechanism for Bitcoin's blockchain, Snowden suggested that popular cryptocurrency could exceed Satoshi Nakamoto's expectations:
"The flaw in all this brilliance was the failure to take account of Bitcoin's success. The reward for winning a round, once worth only a few cents, is now about a hundred thousand dollars, making it economically reasonable for people to divert huge amounts of energy and data centers full of computer equipment, to maths – or "mining" – competition. Godzillas of city-sized calculations are poured into this competition, bringing down the difficulty of the problems beyond comprehension. "
Is Snowden optimistic about the Blockchain?
The interview ended with a more than obvious answer to his optimistic sentiment regarding the future adoption of cryptography and blockchain technologies. When Mr. Wizner asked him, "Are you optimistic about how the blockchains will be used once you've left the experimental phase?" Snowden answered with a simple but powerful answer:
"What do you think?"