Edward Snowden Identified to Have Played Active Role in Zcash Privacy Coin Creation

UTC by John K. Kumi · 3 min read
Edward Snowden Identified to Have Played Active Role in Zcash Privacy Coin Creation
Photo: Edward Snowden / Instagram

Snowden has on numerous occasions made mention of privacy coins including his September 2017 tweet that highlights Zcash as an alternative to Bitcoin.

Zcash, a privacy coin created in 2016 to hide the financial transaction information of people involved as well as the public key is known to have been launched by six participants. However, only five of them including “CoinCenter researcher Peter Van Valkenburgh, and bitcoin core developer, Peter Todd” were known. Each participant according to the report received a silver of the private key required in creating the cryptocurrency in a process called “Trusted Setup”.

According to Electric Coin Company SVP Josh Swihart, the whole process had to do with each of the six participants generating the key, then ensuring that it is safe from counterfeiting when each of them is honest enough to destroy their part of the key.

The sixth person identified as John Dobbertin was, however, unknown. According to a recent report, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been identified as the sixth participant who actively helped in setting up Zcash following a recent video made for a documentary by Zcash Media.

“When we look at cryptocurrency, we generally see the cryptographic properties of it being used to make sure it’s a fair ledger, but not that it’s been used to ensure that it’s a private ledger. Bitcoin quite famously is an open ledger. The problem with that is you can’t have truly free trade unless you have private trade. And you can’t have a free society without free trade,” he said.

Snowden has been living in exile in Russia after leaking about 9,000 classified and unclassified documents by the government spying on its citizens. Interestingly, his interest in privacy-protecting technology has been very clear. In an event on privacy technology held at Bard College, he explained that privacy technologies like the TOR browser play a crucial role in hiding identities and giving users a democratic sense of being alone.

Snowden has on numerous occasions made mention of privacy coins including his September 2017 tweet that highlights Zcash as an alternative to Bitcoin. In 2019, he re-emphasized his statement that he has never been paid for his support for Zcash. Two years after launching Zcash, Snowden used the Dobbertin identity to participate in a more secure ceremony that had 88 people involved, and each person was asked to choose their security protocols.

“When it came to this concept, they needed many people in many places, all cooperating in the hopes that just one of them might not be compromised, might not work against the public interest, and that that was necessary for the ceremony to succeed, I was happy to say sure, I’ll help,” he said in the Zcash video. “But the best step forward beyond the ceremony is to remove the need for it entirely,” he added.

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John K. Kumi
Author John K. Kumi

Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.

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