Saturday, August 13

Edward Snowden defends decentralization to Ethereum co-founder

Key facts:
  • For Snowden, a cryptocurrency project that centralizes decision-making is unreliable.

  • According to Wood, the problem is not in centralization, but in the tools that condition it.

Renowned cybersecurity expert Edward Snowden had a discussion with Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and Parity Technologies, about the importance of decentralization in cryptocurrency networks. Snowden was adamant against centralization, while Wood was less so.

On Friday, December 3, an online conference cycle known as DeData took place. The event was organized by BlockDown and served as a stage for Snowden and Wood to have the opportunity to share their opinions regarding different technological advances related to cryptocurrencies, blockchain and web3.

The high point of the conference shared by Edward Snowden and the Ethereum co-founder was when they delved into their views on decentralization in cryptocurrency networks.

Snowden has always insisted on the importance of privacy and decentralization of power in different aspects of life current, such as communication, the administration of personal and public data, finances, among others. In fact, it is for being true to these ideals that Snowden has been persecuted by American justice.

Wood, for his part, is not as radical as Snowden when it comes to decentralization. According to him, the existence of a supreme authority in which a community must trust and that ensures compliance with the established norms is usually necessary. Ironically, the Ethereum co-founder kicked off his involvement by extolling decentralization in Bitcoin.

Decentralization according to Edward Snowden and Ethereum’s co-founder

According to Wood, Bitcoin’s decentralization and allegiances are the properties that have made it an unstoppable force. Regarding the allegiances of this cryptocurrency, Wood explained that he used that term since Bitcoin arose without there being a legal framework that delimited it. There was no regulation that proclaimed its use was legal, but there was no regulation that claimed otherwise.

Bitcoin would not exist today if all its nodes were agglomerated in the same central server.

Gavin Wood, cofundador de Ethereum y Parity Technologies.

Snowden mentioned fully agreeing with Wood on these words. However, disagreements between the two would come later, when the former US government employee spoke about his lack of confidence in some projects that are issuing stablecoins.

For Snowden, a project based on Bitcoin technology that issues some type of stablecoin or “stable cryptocurrency” and that, in turn, enables the possibility of authoritatively creating blacklists of users, does not deserve to be recognized as the issuer of a stablecoin; given that, that plenipotentiary and censorious aspect makes him unstable, both to the project and to its product.

After illustrating his point, Snowden closed this part of his participation by asking “Who else should have the right to spend your money but yourself?” This referred to the fact that if there is someone with enough power in a network to take away the freedom to spend or keep a cryptocurrency from its owner, then it is not a reliable project.

Wood replied to Snowden’s words by saying that, in his view, the problem is not in the stablecoins or in how the projects that issue them work. For him, there is nothing wrong with having people in charge of regulation and censorship in such a network, as long as there are tools that clearly delimit the power of those who hold these positions.

Decentralization has been one of Bitcoin’s core values ​​since its founding. However, there are contexts in which, according to Wood, centralization can be beneficial under certain parameters. Source: Pixabay.

The Ethereum co-founder added that if someone was not satisfied with the way the network was working or the project they were involved in, they should simply quit and try another that better fit their expectations.

In response to Wood’s comments, Snowden referred to the risk of letting projects proliferate in which their leaders claim an excessive amount of advantages compared to their collaborators and followers. In fact, at the beginning of the conference this idea had already come up from the cybersecurity expert.

According to Snowden, today there are many platforms using Bitcoin technology that end up replicating the structure from which we have been fleeing. Hierarchical systems in which the helm is in the hands of a few and users have no choice but to fully trust their decisions, without the opportunity to actively participate in the development of the project.

At the end of the conference, even though Snowden and Wood maintained their antagonistic perspectives with each other, a high level of tolerance, respect and, one might say, even mutual admiration was always maintained.

The arguments presented by both participants in favor of decentralization, in some cases, and centralization, in others, are perfectly valid. So, it could not be said that there was a winner in this debate, but rather a presentation of ideas with a logical and clear background; which are worth keeping in mind when undertaking a cryptocurrency project or analyzing an existing one.

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