U.S. President Donald Trump has previously spoken out against Bitcoin but he probably would never have imagined that his own justice department would unwittingly get involved in promoting the cryptocurrency. But they are, according to the American whistleblower hiding in Russia, Edward Snowden.
Specifically, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Department of Justice’s Civil Division has filed a lawsuit against Snowden, an ex-employee of the Central Intelligence Agency and ex-contractor of the National Security Agency seeking to prevent the whistleblower from profiting from the sales of his recently released book, Permanent Record.
Per Snowden, the U.S. government’s intentions are a positive development for Bitcoin.
While Snowden did not extrapolate over what he meant, it can be inferred that he was referring to the censorship-resistance qualities of Bitcoin. Unlike money sitting in a bank which can be frozen or seized by governments, Bitcoin is immune from that especially with the use of cryptocurrency mixers as this obfuscates the digital trail making it hypothetically impossible to determine who owns which coins. And because it is decentralized, governments can’t take down the network.
This is not an idle concern for Snowden as the U.S. government is specifically targeting the money he will earn from the sales of Permanent Record. While announcing the civil lawsuit the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger stated that “this lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”
The Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division also emphasized this saying “we will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations.”
These qualities of Bitcoin are not an accident. The pseudonymous named creator of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto pointed out in the early days of the cryptocurrency stating that it would offer a ‘new territory of freedom’ to its users:
Yes, [we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography,] but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.
As previously reported by CCN.com, during the Bitcoin 2019 conference Snowden disclosed that he had anonymously acquired servers used to leak government data that made him (in)famous using the cryptocurrency.
During the same conference, Snowden also praised Bitcoin for its decentralized and borderless nature that allowed its users to freely send money all over the world without interference from governments.