Former Coinbase Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Balaji Srinivasan, has expressed apprehension about the possibility of governments utilizing technology giants like Apple and Google to seize cryptocurrencies from their citizens. Srinivasan suggests that as world governments face potential bankruptcy within the next decade, they may use Bitcoin (BTC) to finance their operations.
While he believes that the US government may lack the capability to execute a 51% attack on Bitcoin, he warns that Apple and Google pose significant “systemic risks” to the cryptocurrency space, media reports said.
Srinivasan argues that rather than attempting a 51% attack, the federal government could potentially compel tech companies to search for private keys on their servers, devices, and browsers.
This would involve hacking into customer accounts and transferring any seized funds to the cash-strapped government. Srinivasan parallels a scenario that unfolded in early 2022, where numerous tech companies turned on their former Russian customers after they were designated enemies of the state.
While the former Coinbase CTO suggests that China might have the capability to execute a 51% attack on Bitcoin, he highlights that most mining activities occur outside of Chinese borders, making such an outcome less likely.
Srinivasan comments on Apple CEO Tim Cook for his stance on issues such as end-to-end encryption and resisting governmental pressure in initiatives like on-device scanning for child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Cook’s resistance in these areas leads Srinivasan to believe he may also stand up to governments seeking access to private cryptocurrency keys.
In March, Srinivasan gained attention in the crypto world by placing a million-dollar bet that Bitcoin would reach $1 million within 90 days. Although the cryptocurrency traded around $27,000 at his wager and maintained a similar price earlier this month, Srinivasan ultimately paid $1.5 million to close the bet. He later clarified that the purpose of the bet was to raise public awareness regarding the monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve.
As the crypto industry continues to evolve, concerns about potential governmental interference and its impact on the security and privacy of digital assets persist. Srinivasan’s remarks serve as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the crypto community and the need for continued vigilance to safeguard the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.