Edward Snowden cautions that time is running out for Bitcoin privacy.

In light of recent actions by the U.S. government aimed at crypto mixers, Edward Snowden, renowned for his whistleblowing activities and staunch advocacy for cryptocurrencies, issued a poignant message via X on Thursday. He implored Bitcoin developers to place greater emphasis on enhancing privacy within the cryptocurrency’s protocol. Snowden emphasized that the window of opportunity to integrate robust privacy solutions at the protocol level is rapidly closing.

Edward Snowden cautions that time is running out for Bitcoin privacy, issuing a warning regarding the urgency of the matter.

“On X, I’ve been emphasizing to Bitcoin developers for a decade now the critical necessity of incorporating privacy measures directly into the protocol,” Snowden cautioned. “Consider this the ultimate alert. Time is running out.”

Snowden’s post on X, garnering over 8,400 likes, was prompted by Wasabi Wallet’s announcement regarding the closure of its Coinjoin service by zkSNACKs. The decision, as expressed by zkSNACKs, stemmed from the absence of clear regulatory guidelines in the U.S. regarding such services. In a statement, zkSNACKs conveyed the difficulty of the decision, stating, “This decision was made after careful consideration and with a heavy heart.” The company highlighted its commitment to operating within legal boundaries throughout its history but emphasized the need for greater regulatory certainty before proceeding further.

The U.S. tightens its grip on crypto mixers.

The shutdown of the crypto mixer, a tool aimed at concealing the origin of cryptocurrency transactions to enhance their anonymity, occurs amid heightened scrutiny from U.S. authorities targeting companies providing such services.

Last year, the U.S. government leveled charges against the creators of Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer, alleging offenses including money laundering, running an unlicensed money transmission business, and breaching sanctions.

Prosecutors assert that the crypto mixer was utilized to “clean” funds amounting to millions of dollars for the Lazarus Group, a state-backed hacking entity linked to North Korea.

Similarly, the Department of Justice (DOJ) apprehended the founders of Samourai Wallet, another crypto mixer, last month, citing similar allegations. This development has sparked concern within the crypto community about the potential classification of self-custody wallets as unregistered money transmission entities.

This heightened scrutiny raises the possibility of intensified regulatory actions against non-custodial crypto services in the future. Snowden also criticized the DOJ’s legal actions against the Samourai Wallet founders, underscoring the importance of bolstering privacy features in cryptocurrencies.

“The Department of ‘Justice’ has yet again prosecuted the creators of an application that reinstates financial privacy,” Snowden remarked. “The solution lies in ensuring that financial transactions default to privacy. Privacy should never be treated as an ‘exception,’ as doing so risks criminalizing it.”

Snowden has been involved in privacy advocacy for years. In 2013, the former computer contractor gained notoriety for disclosing highly classified data from the National Security Agency (NSA).

The whistleblower has consistently championed digital assets and recently praised Bitcoin as “the most significant monetary innovation since the advent of coinage.” His cautionary statement underscores the repercussions of inertia in the face of escalating regulatory pressures.

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