The National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, Edward Snowden whose leaks sparked worldwide debate around internet surveillance, reportedly played a secret role in the creation of the privacy-improving cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC).
The ex-US defense contractor was granted asylum in Russia and has since then sought refuge there after the U.S. charged him with ‘spying’.
As per reports, he was formerly involved in the 2016 ceremony as revealed in a video set to be released on Thursday by Zcash Media. Zcash Media is an outfit that produces educational materials about the privacy coin.
The leaked video from Zcash Media of Snowden, revealed him discussing the need for a privacy-oriented alternative to Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin quite famously is an open ledger,” he claims. He further said that the problem with Bitcoin is that one can’t have truly free trade unless it’s a private trade. Thus, one can’t have a free society without free trade.
Snowden along with Zcash creator Zooko Wilcox, Coin Center’s Peter Van Valkenburgh, Bitcoin core developer Peter Todd and two others developed Zcash’s trusted setup.
However, Snowden wasn’t given crypto or any other compensation for his involvement in the project , as he did it as a ‘service, public good’.
In this process, each of the six members received a fragment of the private key required for creating the cryptocurrency.
Initially, Snowden’s identity was kept redacted under the pseudonym “John Dobbertin”.
The conclusion of the creation ceremony includes destroying the keys.
If someone has access to this key, they can counterfeit Zcash without anybody knowing about it. Hence, a setup where the key could be generated by six different parties is needed.
If any party was honest and destroyed their part of the key, then it would be safe from counterfeiting.
Snowden’s brother Zooko further disclosed that Snowden wasn’t the only controversial figure who helped with the creation of Zcash.
He said that while designing the setup ceremony, Zooko visited Julian Assange in London and asked for his advice on how to design the crypto. The WikiLeaks founder asked them to emphasize and prioritize the part about air-gapping the compute nodes, which was ultimately done.
Zcash is a privacy coin because it controls zero-knowledge proofs.
The zero-knowledge proof is a type of cryptography that can be used to verify that a valid transaction took place without having to see the details. This technology will also be used by the scaling solution on the Ethereum blockchain, Polygon’s ID.