What does PRISM mean for Bitcoiners on Dropbox?

Alice Truong
Jun 8, 2013 at 17:39 UTC
Updated Feb 4, 2019 at 22:04 UTC

The internet is all abuzz over PRISM, the top-secret National Security Agency program that has allowed officials to tap into the servers of Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other major tech companies to extract users’ emails, chats, photographs, documents and connection logs.

Of particular interest to Bitcoiners, Dropbox was listed as a company that would come on board with PRISM, a move that would compromise the psuedo-anonymity that is one of the cryptocurrency’s main appeals.

Though it’s advised against in the Bitcoin wiki, it’s possible to use Dropbox to backup Bitcoin data.

“You still want Dropbox to connect your Bitcoin address to your identity?” asked TurdFerguson on reddit.

“I’m switching away from Dropbox right now,” said mmmspotifymusic in a reply to the thread.

Many fans of the digital currency have been lobbying the cloud storage service to accept bitcoins. Just last month, CoinDesk wrote about how the Votebox suggestion feature on Dropbox received more than 100,000 upvotes, though the company has yet to respond. This campaign had spread to other parts of the online world, including reddit, the Bitcoin Forum and even Twitter.

Of course, accepting bitcoins and trusting Dropbox are two separate issues. And some are still advocating for the cloud-based storage company to accept the digital currency.

“Just because you don’t want to use Dropbox because of PRISM doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t accept bitcoin for those who don’t mind,” wrote boonies4u on reddit.

Unomagan offered his two cents on what acceptance would do for the currency: “(A)nyone with half a brain (would) want Dropbox to accept Bitcoins. It would raise the price and worth of Bitcoins (visibility).”

While some online users chimed in to say they’re sticking by Dropbox by adding a layer of encryption on their own, many are scrambling to find alternative backup services. Emerging as viable replacements are two companies that have been mired in legal troubles in the past: BitTorrent Sync, which is based on the BitTorrent protocol and encrypts traffic using a private key derived from a shared secret (note: It wasn’t the company, but rather its users, who faced lawsuits for copyright infringement), and Mega, which founder Kim Dotcom launched in January, a year after his previous venture, Megaupload, was shut down.

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