“Zcash for me is the most interesting right now, because the privacy properties of it are truly unique, but we see more and more projects that are trying to emulate this and I think this is a positive thing,” he said during the Blockstack conference held in Germany earlier this month. (See also: Zero Knowledge Proofs Could Boost Bitcoin Adoption on Wall Street.)
Zcash uses complex zk-SNARKS technology, also known as zero-knowledge cryptography, to ensure privacy of transactions. Its founders claim that it is impossible to decipher the sender and recipient of transactions using Zcash. As of this writing, it is the 25th most-valuable coin, valued at $877 billion in crypto markets. Investment firm Grayscale has forecast a $60,000 price target for Zcash by 2025. (See also: The 6 Most Important Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin.)
'The First Is Not the Best'
During the talk, Snowden touched on the utility of cryptocurrencies within society. He called money the “first concrete database” because it can easily be tracked. This makes it amenable to regulation because monetary transactions are not possible without state regulation. But he doubted whether that would be the case going forward because it was not possible “humanistically.” He also equated trade with communication because money is used to conduct it. “Money is a different layer, quality of exchange,” he said. “You are passing your time a different unit of account.”
But the use of a public blockchain, as is the case with bitcoin, is a structural flaw with cryptocurrencies. “That is simply incompatible with having an enduring mechanism for trade, because you cannot have a lifelong history of everyone's purchases. All of the interactions be available to everyone and have that work out well at scale,” he said.
To that end, he also said that bitcoin will not last forever. “When you think about it, the first browser created was not the best one,” he said.
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