Yesterday, Edward Snowden explicitly and publicly stated that he uses Zcash.
Zcash is the opposite: a decentralized, functional chain with a specific (and useful) purpose: enabling private transactions, something it does extremely well, even now (years later). I actually used it back then, and it worked.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 21, 2021
Why Edward Snowden supports ZCash
Snowden is famous for his fights for freedom and free and public access to information, so it is not surprising that he supports Zcash.
Zcash is one of those cryptocurrencies defined as having a “high level of privacy”, because it allows the information contained in its public blockchain to be encrypted. In particular, it allows the amounts of transactions and the addresses of the sender and recipient not to be made publicly readable, even though the transactions are recorded on its public blockchain.
Snowden vs Zucco: privacy issues
Yesterday, Giacomo Zucco criticized Snowden on Twitter for supporting Zcash despite the fact that it is, in his opinion, a centralized “garbage-coin”, and for unfairly speaking out against Bitcoin’s lack of privacy.
Snowden responded by stating instead that he considers Zcash to be a decentralized and functional blockchain with a specific purpose: to enable private transactions.
He also added that he admires Zcash because it has shown what cryptocurrencies could concretely do to help citizens, reiterating his criticism of Bitcoin regarding “its enormous on-chain privacy problem”.
“What I want to see is a world where anyone can pay for anything, anywhere, at any time. That doesn’t happen without privacy”.
Zucco, however, went on to point out that Zcash is actually a project run by a US-based centralized company, which is even threatening to sue people who use their logo. He also called Zcash
“a shitcoin w/ built-in centralized ‘taxes’ & many red flags as possible privacy honeypot”.
The point is that Zucco, a well-known Bitcoin maximalist, argues that Bitcoin is truly decentralized, unlike Zcash, and that it also allows for some privacy protection, if you use the right tools (mixers, LN, etc).
The privacy of Bitcoin
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that there is no single company behind Bitcoin, but many companies contribute independently with their developments. Moreover, the level of privacy achieved with LN is much higher than with privacy-coins, since transactions are not recorded on the public blockchain, and thanks to the Taproot update it is also possible to make the opening and closing transactions of LN channels indistinguishable.
This conflict is not likely to end anytime soon, as it has been going on for years, with Bitcoin maximalists unlikely to accept that other crypto projects deserve more credit than Bitcoin.