Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, helped launch Zcash in 2016. Snowden is known as the “sixth person” who used the pseudonym, John Dobbertin. He confirmed his role in a short video shared with Forbes. This short video is actually a documentary by Zcash Media.
Snowden, in the video, says cryptocurrency is generally seen for its cryptographic properties of it being used to make sure that it’s a fair ledger. He described Bitcoin as an open ledger. But the problem is that one can’t truly free trade unless he or she has private trade. A free society is not possible without free trade.
The whistleblower’s interest in privacy-protecting technology caught the attention of Zooko Wilcox, the co-founder, and CEO of the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company. Snowden, at an even on privacy at Brad College, had described the role of privacy technology like the TOR internet browser that obscures identities. The former computer intelligence consultant agreed to work with Wilcox for the privacy coin Zcash. As homage to Han Dobbertin, the late German cryptographer who tracked down weaknesses in cryptographic algorithms, Wilcox assigned Snowden the pseudonym, John Dobbertin.
Over the years, Snowden has publicly discussed privacy coins on multiple occasions. In September 2017, he tweeted that Zcash is the “most interesting” alternative to Bitcoin. In February 2017, Snowden clarified that he had not been paid to support Zcash and this was reiterated by Wilcox. The whistleblower believes that privacy for Bitcoin is still an “open disaster”.
The revelation of Snowden being part of Zcash’s launch comes at the time of Wilcox releasing a software update – called Halo – for the privacy coin. This update removes the need for these ceremonies altogether. Sean Bowe, an engineer at Electric Coin Company, says users will be able to use Zcash without relying on a trusted setup. Wilcox said that as part of the second generation Zcash, it has made it past that stage of human evolution.