Well known privacy advocate and whistleblower, Edward Snowden has sold his first NFT in an auction for a whopping 2,224 Ethereum (~$5.5 million). The NFT is an artwork with Snowden’s face made of the pages from the US appeals court decision that ruled NSA’s surveillance program illegal.
In case you don’t know, Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs allow users to buy and sell digital items which are verified using blockchain. Currently, NFTs support Ethereum ERC-721 and ERC-1155 Standard. Unlike normal currency or cryptocurrency, NFTs are unique and are not interchangeable. NFTs rose to popularity recently with the cryptocurrency boom and artists are now adopting them as a way to sell their work online. Recently, Twitter Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million.
Like Dorsey, Snowden will not be pocketing the cash and instead it will be donated to the Freedom of the Press Foundation where Snowden is President along with actor John Cusack, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Glenn Greenwald.
Commenting on the sale, Trevor Timm, Executive Director Freedom of the Press Foundation said:
We are grateful for the continuing impact of Snowden’s whistleblowing, and there’s perhaps no better reminder of that impact than the first ruling on the programs he exposed. We’re very excited to use the proceeds of this auction to help further our work developing and improving technology that can protect journalists and their sources, like SecureDrop, our open-source whistleblower submission system.
Edward Snowden released the following statement via the Freedom of the Press Foundation:
Emerging applications of cryptography can play an important role in supporting our rights. This auction will drive the development of valuable and privacy-protecting uses of encryption, to safeguard press freedom and serve the public.
Snowden currently lives in Moscow and was recently granted the permanent residency in Russia. Russia also made certain amendments to its laws that allowed Snowden to apply for a dual U.S.-Russian citizenship along with his wife Lindsay Mills. Last year, a US court ruled in favour of Snowden and held that NSA’s mass surveillance program violated the US constitution.