- Apple and Google pose systemic risks to crypto by being potential tools for government surveillance, reports Balaji Srinivasan.
- The availability of Bitcoin for struggling governments may become a pivotal global political concern.
- Desperate governments may compel tech companies to locate private keys, says the investor.
In a recent tweet, crypto investor Balaji Srinivasan warned that Apple and Google pose systemic risks to the crypto industry.
Srinivasan highlighted the potential danger of these tech giants being weaponized by the government, enabling them to backdoor iPhone and Android devices in order to extract private keys.
The American entrepreneur continued in a thread that the rise of social media and its impact on global politics was unimaginable a decade ago, just as the significance of the President of the United States tweeting would have seemed far-fetched. Similarly, as El Salvador embraces Bitcoin in 2023, it may be difficult to fathom that in the coming years, the availability of Bitcoin for financially struggling governments could become a pivotal global political concern. However, this possibility cannot be dismissed.
Srinivasan added desperate governments, facing a lack of funds and the need for Bitcoin, may resort to compelling tech companies like Apple and Google to help locate private keys on their platforms. This would allow the governments to access and appropriate any stolen funds for their financial needs.
This isn’t cyberterrorism, it’s cyberwar.
The crypto expert asserts that the ongoing situation involves CEOs giving lawful orders to hack their own customers, similar to what occurred with 140 million Russians designated enemies of the state in 2022. This highlights the concerning trend of tech companies turning against their former clientele.
The tweet concludes noting that billions of iPhones, Android phones, Mac laptops, Chrome browsers, and online platforms like Google Docs and Gmail could be potential targets.
While defenses are challenging, according to Srinivasan, Tim Cook’s stance on encryption and resistance to compromising user security may offer some hope. Linux and Linux-based exchanges could also provide partial solutions, but broader social and political considerations may be necessary.