Notorious whistleblower Julian Assange spoke glowingly about Bitcoin during a technology conference in South Africa on Wednesday, calling the currency “the most intellectually interesting development in the last two years.”
Bitcoin’s cryptographically enforced trades have fundamentally changed the way that financial transactions take place, Assange said during the Net Prophet conference held in Cape Town, noting that the currency has broken the traditional model of legally enforced financial agreements.
Speaking via WeChat Livestream at the conference, Assange noted that Bitcoin has contributed to the breakdown of single-player dominance in the internet sphere.
As the web has developed, certain sectors have come to be monopolized by a single corporation (think Amazon, Google, and Facebook), creating challenges for smaller entities to gain traction in the market.
Assange also argued for decentralization of financial organizations, saying that the lack of regulation of cryptocurrency encourages creativity and innovative new startups in the digital financial sphere.
He predicted that the most influential new technology developments in the near future, inspired in part by the success of Bitcoin, will pop up in the financial sector.
Assange, who is best known as the founder of whistleblowing website Wikileaks, is currently living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted refuge after being charged with rape and sexual assault in Sweden and put under criminal investigation under the United States.
The former hacker headlined Cape Town’s Net Prophet conference on Wednesday, a technology convention founded by the local nonprofit RAMP Foundation as a means for social investment within the local web-based economy.
Simon Dingle, the host of a weekly technology show on national radio station 5FM, also spoke at Wednesday’s conference alongside a number of other guests, including South African game designers Danny Day and Marc Luck.