The encryption industry completely screwed up privacy

Privacy is a complex topic. Few people would argue that privacy is not important. It is usually more interesting to talk about controversial matters. Therefore, the limited arguments against privacy actually make the discussion somewhat boring and can easily be taken for granted.As the famous Edward Snowden Said: “Arguing that you don’t care about privacy is because you have nothing to hide, just like arguing that you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.”

But what if your privacy is not a priority? What if your privacy is not guaranteed? What if everything you do is continuously monitored?

You might fight back.

Unfortunately, this is actually the status quo of the cryptocurrency industry, and not enough people are fighting for privacy.

Transparency and privacy

When I first read Bitcoin (Bitcoin) White Paper In 2011, I fell in love with the vision of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Most societies have physical cash-legal tender-so what is the equivalent of physical cash in a digital society? Satoshi Nakamoto seems to have given an elegant answer to this question, and a trillion-dollar market has emerged around it. Sadly, Satoshi Nakamoto’s original idea fell through in at least one aspect, and that is privacy.

Fiat currency is private. When someone exchanges coins or paper money (also called “bills” in the US and Canada) for goods or services, only the two parties involved know about the transaction. If the goods or services are restricted to a certain age group (beer runs are not suitable for everyone), proof of identity is required. In addition, if you give a $10 bill to a lady at the local farmers market, she will not be able to check how much is left in your bank account.

However, transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain are completely transparent. This means that the transaction amount, frequency and balance are all open to the entire public. The Bitcoin white paper only spent half a page discussing privacy topics, and proposed solutions that do not always work as expected, especially for second-generation account-based blockchains such as Ethereum.

There are user guides on how to use Bitcoin to gain more privacy, but they are very complex, and tools that can be dangerous for users are usually recommended. There are also some blockchain networks designed with privacy as the default, but most do not support more complex programmability, such as smart contracts, which enables new use cases involving business logic. Decentralized finance (DeFi).

related: DPN and VPN: the dawn of decentralized network privacy

Leave privacy

Why has the blockchain community failed to make privacy its top priority? on the one hand, Privacy has retreated to the other three priorities: Security, decentralization and scalability. No one will argue that these three components are not important. But must they be mutually exclusive in terms of privacy?

Another reason privacy is not prioritized is Hard to guaranteeHistorically, privacy tools such as zero-knowledge proofs have been slow and inefficient, making it more scalable is a difficult task. But just because privacy is difficult, does this mean that it shouldn’t be a priority?

The last reason may be the most worrying.There is such a rumor in the media Encrypted transactions are completely anonymous. they are not. This means that many people have been actively using cryptocurrency because their transactions are private. As blockchain network analysis tools become more complex, the lack of anonymity is also increasing. So, when does privacy become important enough to make it a priority?

related: Bitcoin can no longer be regarded as an untraceable “criminal token”

Privacy finance

A friend of mine who has been working full-time in the crypto industry since 2015 asked me recently, “Is WTF PriFi?” PriFi, or “Privacy Finance”, is the crypto industry’s recognition that we have done a bad job of privacy. We messed up so much that after 12 years of development in this industry, we have just reached the point where privacy is important enough to have our own hashtag.

So, where do we start to establish more privacy to protect daily encrypted users and achieve digital privacy equivalent to cash?

The first step is More education. As society becomes more and more digital, privacy becomes more and more difficult to achieve. This first requires educating the media to understand the difference between confidentiality and privacy.Confidentiality is not wanted anyone Know something.Privacy does not want The whole world Know something. Confidentiality is a privilege. Privacy is a right.

The next step is Make privacy easier. Achieving privacy in encryption should not require clumsy workarounds, shady tools, or deep expertise in complex cryptography. Blockchain networks, including smart contract platforms, should support optional privacy, as easy as clicking a button.

The last step is Defend privacy. Privacy is a timely issue.recent U.S. Infrastructure Act Including a clause in Section 6050I of the extended tax law, which requires individual counterparties to collect each other’s personal information for cash transactions exceeding $10,000 and apply it to cryptocurrencies. Coin Center, a non-profit advocacy and research organization that supports encryption, is preparing to challenge the constitutionality of this encryption change. you can also, here.

With proper education, intuitive user experience, and motivation to prioritize privacy, we can defend our rights without being reckless and maintain reasonable privacy on our own terms.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are only those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Warren Paul Anderson Is the Vice President of Products at Discreet Labs, which is developing Findora, a public blockchain with programmable privacy. Prior to this, Warren led Ripple products for 4.5 years, working on XRP Ledger, Interledger and PayString protocols; RippleX platform; and RippleNet’s on-demand liquidity enterprise products. Before Ripple, Warren co-founded Hedgy in 2014, which was one of the first derivatives DeFi platforms to use programmable, custodial smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain.