Edward Snowden Called Coinbase’s Overmatch “Toxic and Embarrassing.”


As society moved from dial-up modems to a near-constant online presence via smartphones, the way people connected to networks underwent a fundamental change. The Internet has become not only a place for people to access vast amounts of information and connect with others, but also a way for corporations and governments to gather vast amounts of information.

Edward Snowden says that this drift away from the roots of the internet is partly the result of corporations not putting their users first.

“We lost that Internet because we accessed billions of people and the people who provided the gateways for it didn’t have their best interests at heart,” he said in a candid, fireworks-filled talk to 75 attendees at Camp Decrypt in Napa Valley last month.

A former NSA contractor turned whistleblower is known for leaking information illegal mass surveillance program In 2013, he said he saw a similar trend emerging in the United States when it came to the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Snowden compared the way cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase connects with users to how Facebook became synonymous with social media.

“We see people taking advantage of the ignorance that makes a lot of people think about tapping into the Facebook app on their phone right now. [is] Think of the Internet and now that cryptocurrency is Coinbase or something equally terrible,” he said.

Coinbase is the only publicly listed cryptocurrency exchange in the US and the nation’s leading exchange by volume. CoinGecko. The company reported an average of 8.5 million monthly active users in the third fiscal quarter of this year, a 16% increase over the same period a year ago.

Snowden told Camp Decrypt attendees that Coinbase has brought regulatory compliance to the core ideals of blockchain-based networks — an innovation that could put power back in the hands of internet users.

“To those in the room who work for Coinbase, it’s really nothing personal, you’re just an example. [the] too submissive, too gentle,” he said. “Yes, you are still getting rich, you will make a lot of money, but have you actually defended the interests of society?”

Coinbase claims to have prioritized regulatory compliance since its early days and the company claimed working with regulators is key to the widespread acceptance of cryptocurrencies as an asset class.

“We’ve always believed that compatibility cannot be an afterthought for cryptocurrency to gain the legitimacy it needs for mainstream adoption – it must be at the heart of what we do,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Compliance with existing regulatory frameworks is not an option – it is a necessity.”

Snowden compared Coinbase to a company that sells products in the same way as a home improvement retailer like Home Depot, adding that its commitment to Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures helps them fight money. washing rules-is a drag in the crypto space.

“You don’t even build lawnmowers, you sell them, but great, you’ve popularized lawnmowers — lawnmowers are important, they’re valuable,” he said. “But when I go to buy a lawnmower, nobody asks me to grab my passport and scan my face, and for you to go along with that is frankly toxic and embarrassing.”

Snowden said that companies that want to attract individuals to the Web3 world must also do so in a manner that does not violate the ideals that drive people to the industry.

“My request to those on that big end of the pond is, if you’re going to cave, cave strategically,” Snowden said. “Leave room for protocol and the values ​​we all have to represent here.”

Coinbase said it has the same duties as other major financial institutions when it comes to vetting customers who interact with the company and implementing anti-money laundering policies. Many of its compliance programs are modeled after retail banks.

Company explains Its compliance programs, including monitoring the overall cryptocurrency market and detecting financial crimes, are designed to protect its customers.

Snowden expanded his criticism to include any cryptocurrency that tracks users’ funds.

“You don’t want to be in a situation where you can check that because that’s not your role in society, even [the] This is what the government says,” Snowden said. “That’s for the police, that’s for intelligence — that’s their job, and their job should be tough.”

Coinbase did not immediately respond to a request for comment Open the password.

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