Chelsea Manning sceptical’ about Bitcoin’s economic impact

Chelsea Manning became interested in Bitcoin while the project was in its infancy, but not due to the disruptive intentions of its users or any supposed payment networks.

The American activist and whistleblower who leaked sensitive material about the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts to Wikileaks in 2010 said that Bitcoin appealed to her enthusiasm for encryption and the mathematics behind information security. She had read about it in email chains and was fascinated by its rise.

Early on, Manning described Bitcoin as “a nice, gimmicky little instrument that is a proof of concept” as opposed to “a method to become wealthy soon.”

Chelsea Manning, who handed WikiLeaks sensitive papers relating to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2010, spoke with Stacy Elliott of Decrypt about cryptography and privacy, decentralisation and governance, and her work with Nym.

She regarded Bitcoin more as an experiment in constructing cryptographically-based networks as a decentralised method of storing information than as a method of accumulating wealth via the accumulation of code. She is still cautious today.

Manning told Decrypt, “I’m interested in the technology, but I’m hesitant about the economics.” “I don’t understand how a system that swiftly loses value can be sustained.”

Manning proceeded by stating that the technology may be utilised to change the electronic transfer of information, particularly in terms of privacy, message content protection, and source verification. When Bitcoin’s economics started to dominate the discourse, her excitement waned.

“I went away because I discovered that many people don’t grasp the technical elements or security and privacy consequences of this technology, but they regard it as a cool brand,” she added.

Manning now works on the security side of the Nym privacy infrastructure project, which leverages blockchain technology and its own native currency to power a data-encrypting network.

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