Nick Szabo, Elizabeth Stark, Snowden All Sound Off at Blockstack Berlin Event

Today, March 2nd, the “new internet” project Blockstack kicked off its blockchain-focused speaker event in Berlin, Germany, where thought leaders like smart contract pioneer Nick Szabo, Lightning Labs co-founder Elizabeth Stark, and former C.I.A. employee Edward Snowden headlined the talks.

Impressive Line Up

The Blockstack Berlin event certainly didn’t have any shortage of interesting speakers, as several titans in the cryptoverse and beyond held a slew of provocative multi-disciplinary talks on March 2nd.

From Santiago Siri’s “Crypto Politics: Beyond the Nation-State” to a council discussion on digital art featuring Chris Burniske, there was a little bit of something for everyone.

Nick Szabo: Trust Is Weakness

Unsurprisingly, living cypherpunk legend and ether sub-unit denomination inspiration Nick Szabo went all-in on trustlessness — the vanguard hallmark of blockchain tech’s potential.

Szabo defiantly dubbed trust as a “vulnerability” that must be mitigated by software that “minimize[s] vulnerability between users,” a la Bitcoin.

Szabo also hawked on the subject of censorship, arguing that money itself ceases to truly be money the more its use can be censored.

Stark Highlights Early Growth of Lightning Network

Lightning Labs co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Stark is clearly the face of the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s proposed layer-two scaling solution.

As such, there was no one better to walk the Blockstack Berlin crowd through the development of Lightning than her. Presenting a map of the growing network so far, Stark stressed that progress has been promising. Just another reason for bitcoin enthusiasts to feel the future is nigh, right?

Snowden Bemoans Crypto Wars

As it stands, the cryptoverse is a very political and tribal place. As saturation grows and competition increases, projects and their fanbases are starting to bitterly feud more and more in the ecosystem.

You’ve got the Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) scaling wars. You’ve got Ethereum trying to hold off its promising smart contract platform competitors. On and on it goes, and everything becomes quite campy.

It’s that tribalistic dynamic that Edward Snowden, who’s become more vocal on the cryptoverse in recent weeks, called out at Blockstart Berlin, calling the dynamic an “enormous mistake” per fellow speaker Chris Burniske.

Mistake or not, the schisms in the community seem poised only to grow in the coming months.

But Snowden hits the nail on the head: civility is in short supply in the cryptocurrency space, and that’s going to have all sorts of repercussions down the road.

Oh, and more CryptoKitties, of course.

What’s your take? Do you agree with Snowden’s and Szabo’s comments? Sound off in the comments below. 

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