Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly granted citizenship to United States National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who had been residing in the country since 2013.
According to a Monday report from Reuters, Putin signed a decree effectively changing Snowden’s legal status in Russia from a permanent resident to citizen. The NSA whistleblower has been in exile from the U.S. following him leaking thousands of classified documents to journalists, but continued to speak on issues including national security in addition to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
While Putin has taken legislative action in Russia seeming to curtail the use of crypto — including banning the assets as payments in a July law — Snowden has frequently spoken on the benefits of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). The whistleblower and now Russian citizen revealed in 2019 that he used BTC to pay for the servers he used to release the infamous documents from the NSA leak, and said in April he played a pivotal role in creating privacy token Zcash (ZEC).
“I don’t care if you’re in the United States, I don’t care if you’re in Germany, and I don’t care if you’re in Russia, I don’t care if you’re in China — it is a global trend where we see government doing more,” said Snowden in DeData Salon fireside chat from Sept. 23. “They have greater capability because of technology acting as a magnifier of pre-existing power. It allows them to increase their leverage, right? They’re leveraging their influence to try to sort of act and compete not just within their own borders but globally and now we have those levers starting to press on each other and it’s causing sort of problems and conflicts all over the world.”
This story is developing and will be updated.