Edward Snowden Touts Bitcoin as U.S. Government Tries Sues Him

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Edward Snowden changed the world when he revealed some of the deepest secrets of the National Security Agency (NSA).

In 2013, he decided to abandon his stint as a Central Intelligence Agency employee and subcontractor with (presumably) terabytes of files that would change how society views governments. He fled to Hong Kong, then to Russia, which was a journey in which he released documents to the world that shook the system.

Due to his attempts to disarm the world’s governments and corporations of using digital tactics to gather data and to control, Snowden has been championed by many in the Bitcoin industry. The Bitcoin industry, as you likely well know, is rife with libertarians and cypherpunks.

Edward Snowden

On Tuesday, Snowden gave a nod to the Bitcoin community, tweeting in support of the cryptocurrency after a run-in with the U.S. government.

“Permanent Record” Put On Blast By U.S. Government

Snowden’s story has been a fascinating one for many around the world. Almost like a thriller, the former government employee made away with state secrets like a James Bond movie. So, it should come as no surprise that Snowden decided to write a book about his escapades.

This book, “Permanent Record”, has been touted as a memoir about a “man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance”.

But this book about risk became a fresh risk to Snowden on Tuesday. In a fresh civil lawsuit filed against the asylee, the Department of Justice contended that the book and his commentary on intelligence matters are “in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA”.

While the suit didn’t seek to block the publishing of the book, which is currently the world’s top seller on Amazon, it is currently seeking to reclaim (seize, rather) the proceeds of the book’s sales.

Snowden’s latest tussle with the American governments came literally a day after he expressed the goal to return home to the United States, calling this his “ultimate goal”. He even went as far as to say that he would be find spending life in prison, admitting to breaking the law, as long as he “at least [gets] a fair trial”.

“Good for Bitcoin”

Of course, this move made many think to the alternative ways in which one could fund Snowden’s work without it being directly routed to the government’s coffers. The most obvious of these ways is Bitcoin.

In a tweet seemingly posted in response to the lawsuit news, Snowden wrote that “in conclusion, this is good for Bitcoin”. While the short but sweet message made no mention of the lawsuit, it was published after the NSA whistleblower went on a retweeting spree about the lawsuit.

Indeed, this is good for Bitcoin. Unlike fiat monies, Bitcoin cannot be directly seized by a government if stored correctly, and more importantly, cannot be censored or stopped.

Not the First Time

The libre characteristics of Bitcoin have led Snowden to laud decentralized money and decentralized technologies more broadly on multiple occasions. Speaking to Ben Wizner, his personal lawyer, Snowden said last year on blockchains:

“Imagine that instead of today’s world, where publicly important data is often held exclusively… it’s in a thousand places with a hundred jurisdictions. There is no takedown mechanism or other ‘let’s be evil’ button, and creating one requires a global consensus of, generally, at least 51 percent of the network in support of changing the rules.”

On Bitcoin specifically, he has lauded its potential to be used to empower individuals who value privacy. Yet, he has kept his sentiment on the cryptocurrency somewhat level-headed, claiming that in the long run, the Proof of Work model is likely to be more detrimental than not.


I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact

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