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“Your Expectations of Privacy Are Too High” (But They Shouldn’t Be)

Every bitcoiner has a responsibility to themselves and their community to establish the following precept: We are not guilty simply because we own or use bitcoin.

The post “Your Expectations of Privacy Are Too High” (But They Shouldn’t Be) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Republished by Plato

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Bitcoin mixing, the practice of scrambling one’s bitcoin with others in order to obscure the connection between an individual’s identity and coin address information, has seen a number of innovations over the last decade. Some of the early mixing efforts took the simple form of two coin holders privately agreeing to swap coins in like amounts and led to the formation of transaction aggregation services, crypto tumblers, Lightning, and the practice of moving coin balances through interim coins like Dash or Monero, or others. There are also logless VPNs, Tor, and using HD (“Deterministic”) wallets. Each of these practices comes with a set of costs and benefits, and none are perfect; thus, many cryptocurrency users and devotees employ several or all of these means to maintain their anonymity. 

And so it is that the recent arrest and indictment of DropBit CEO Larry Harmon several weeks back sent a chill down the spines of crypto users and privacy entrepreneurs alike. 

Between 2014 and 2017, Harmon operated a custodial tumbler service, Helix, a sidecar to a darknet search engine called Grams and eventually to the darknet marketplace AlphaBay (among others). This service allowed users to search, buy and sell on the unindexed deep web with new addresses generated for each transaction. 

The indictment against Harmon claims, among other things, that over 350,000 BTC was received into custody, tumbled and then transmitted by Helix without a license from the Superintendent of the Office of Banking and Financial Institutions of the District of Columbia (some of his customers having been located there), without being registered with FinCEN (the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), and in violation of a number of federal laws. 

Tired Tropes

It’s worth remembering that right about the time that Harmon was arrested — in fact, the day before — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke before the Senate Finance Committee. Applying such classic and time-worn euphemisms to cryptocurrencies as being a “crucial area” (translated: “a crackdown is about to begin”) and calling for increased “transparency” (translated: “your expectations of privacy are way too high”), his speech was capped off by words that many of us have long expected: that bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies more generally, pose a national security threat to the United States. 

The problem, of course, is that the putative threats mostly represent entrenched interests and institutions situated high in the edifice of state power. While one can understand that large firms and legacy institutions (a particular one of which is characterized by an intractable quasi-government ownership structure) would rent-seek to prevent their displacement by competing ideas, technologies and new institutions, that understanding takes a form similar to that which accompanies seeing nations go to war or watching a bully victimize a smaller, weaker person: It occurs, it may even be inevitable, but no one should stand aside silently.

Issues of KYC and AML

The implications of this newly reinvigorated push has implications for all bitcoin and crypto owners and users — the overwhelming majority of which have never transacted upon (let alone visited) the dark web. At present, individuals are not responsible for knowing the precise history of their coins. But if laws relating to the responsibility of a purchaser to ascertain whether their property has been stolen or not extends to crypto, or (more likely) if exchanges decide to include blockchain analysis in the measures they undertake to “reasonab[ly]” ensure that they are vigilant against money laundering, the fungibility of bitcoin will be damaged. There is no established standard against accepting coins with mixing in their histories; yet if it becomes the modus operandi, many coins will be rendered unusable. 

If one purchases, sells or even receives a coin which, unbeknownst to them, contains a “laundered” history or objectionable material (your imagination suffices), is legal culpability triggered? 

How much personal responsibility does one bear for knowing the recent (or, indeed, all) transactions a coin or other crypto asset in their possession has been party to? Can coins which have been mixed in the past or been part of illegal transactions be seized in the same way that funds and other sorts of property can in civil forfeiture proceedings? 

The particulars of the Harmon case also involve other issues which perennially plague the crypto community, and specifically that exceedingly important part of our community which seeks to broaden the commercial usage of crypto: KYC/AML. I personally believe that one can do far more to further the cause of liberty (of which crypto is a key component) from outside of a jail cell than inside one. Thus, however begrudgingly, not running afoul of existing laws is critical; indeed, anyone who truly understands the power of the state would and should counsel adherence to the rule of law. But parallels between the massive expansion of two nearly contemporaneous government initiatives, the “Bank Secrecy Act” (October 26, 1970) and the so-called “War on Drugs” (June 18, 1971) over half a century cannot be ignored. 

Personal Responsibility and Bitcoin Privacy — For the Greater Good

But every individual who has ever owned or used bitcoin has a responsibility to themselves, to fellow bitcoin owners and proponents, and to the many who would use bitcoin to establish the following precept: We are not guilty and do not concede any guilt whatsoever, by virtue of the simple fact that we own or transact in cryptocurrencies. We will not be accused, nor will we recognize suspicious overreach in the face of seeking to maintain privacy in our transaction histories. 

And we make no apology, whatever arguments are made or caveats flung, for seeking the rights to privacy which are enshrined not just in the Constitution but more importantly in the natural order. If there is indeed a “national security interest” at stake, it begins not with monetary innovation but vastly more fundamentally: with the predictable mobilization against technological, financial and social innovation by states and their factotums.

This is an op ed contribution by Peter C. Earle. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.

The post “Your Expectations of Privacy Are Too High” (But They Shouldn’t Be) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/your-expectations-of-privacy-are-too-high-but-they-shouldnt-be?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=your-expectations-of-privacy-are-too-high-but-they-shouldnt-be

Blockchain

Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks to Accept Dogecoin Payments

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American basketball team Dallas Mavericks will now accept payments for tickets and merchandise in Dogecoin via the leading cryptocurrency payment processor, BitPay.

Prior to the announcement, it already supported payments in cryptocurrencies, including BTC, BCH, ETH, USDC, GUSD, PAX, and BUSD. Its billionaire owner and Shark Tank star, Mark Cuban, cited the ‘very important’ reason behind the newest addition.

All Bark And Some Bite

Meme-inspired Dogecoin is finally getting some utility to go with the massive hype of recent. The digital asset, which features the face of the Shiba Inu dog from the “Doge” meme on its logo, has been added to the list of payment options on Dallas Mavericks’ online shop.

As a result, the team’s fan base, Mavs Fans for Life (MFFLs), can now purchase game tickets and merch using dogecoin.

According to the Dallas Mavericks, the decision is purely consumer-centric and is targeted at leveraging cryptocurrencies to “expand business sales opportunity, reduce high fees and increase payment transparency and efficiency.” Mavs’ billionaire owner and bitcoin skeptic-turned proponent Mark Cuban revealed the ‘earth shattering’ reason for accepting dogecoin payments.

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“The Mavericks have decided to accept Dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets and merchandise for one very important, earth shattering reason, because we can! Because we can, we have chosen to do so. We have chosen to do so because sometimes in business you have to do things that are fun, engaging and hopefully generate a lot of PR. So we will take Dogecoin, today, tomorrow and possibly forever more. For those of you who would like to learn more about Dogecoin we strongly encourage you to talk to your teenagers who are on TikTok and ask them about it. They will be able to explain it all to you,”

While institutions are just getting caught up in the bitcoin frenzy, Dallas Mavericks is one of the early institutional adopters. The Dallas-based NBA hotshot started accepting bitcoin payments nearly two years ago and has continued to align itself with newer developments in the digital space.

Fun Over Intrinsic Value?

Mark Cuban’s reason for accepting dogecoin payments is based on the digital assets’ central theme – fun. He told Forbes last month:

“Dogecoin is less than a dime. You can buy $1 worth or $10 worth and have fun watching it all day”

He further stated that the digital currency has no intrinsic value, adding that he bought some for his son for educational purposes.

His earlier comments have led to strong suggestions that he is solely interested in reaping off the PR surrounding dogecoin of late.

Bitcoin Over Gold, Cuban Tells Schiff

Mark Cuban was quick to rebuff anti-bitcoin remarks made by the gold proponent and Chairman of SchiffGold, Peter Schiff, this week. The agelong precious metal advocate took a jab at wall street bitcoiners, tweeting that he never knew smart investors could be “dumb enough to buy bitcoin.”

In response, Cuban correctly pointed out that while a technology-backed store of values like crypto are dynamic and can transition into advanced applications, gold is simply static.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/mark-cubans-dallas-mavericks-to-accept-dogecoin-payments/

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Blockchain

Binance Coin, Neo, Enjin Price Analysis: 05 March

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Binance Coin was heading towards $205 after Bitcoin fell below $49k on the price charts. Neo also moved below a strong level of support, with bearish momentum likely to push the price to as low as $32 over the next few days. Finally, Enjin pictured buyers’ exhaustion after making remarkable gains over the past week.

Binance Coin [BNB]

Binance Coin, Neo, Enjin Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: BNB/USDT on TradingView

The bounce from $210 to $270 towards the beginning of March was not a recovery as sellers asserted themselves around the $270-mark and took control of the market. Since then, they have pushed BNB below the $230-retracement level. The $200-$205 zone is the next area of interest where the market’s bulls could take a stand.

The Awesome Oscillator pictured bearish momentum on the rise as it crossed over into bearish territory on the 4-hour chart. The OBV also noted steady selling pressure over the past few days.

A bearish retest of $230 can be used to enter a scalp short position, with take-profit at $205 and a stop-loss of $236 or $240 to give a little more breathing room.

Neo [NEO]

Binance Coin, Neo, Enjin Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: NEO/USDT on TradingView

As the Volume Profile Visible Range showed, while the Point of Control at $37.13 (red) has been a level that bulls have tried to defend over the past week, it appeared to have been ceded to bearish pressure in recent hours. The MACD formed a bearish crossover and dove under zero on the charts.

The 38.2% retracement level and the 50% retracement level at $35 and $32, respectively, are levels that can witness NEO bounce. However, as the VPVR highlighted, the $30.5-$32 zone will be the next area of notable trading activity and the area where NEO is more likely to find strong support, than at $35.

Enjin [ENJ]

Binance Coin, Neo, Enjin Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: ENJ/USDT on TradingView

In hindsight, it is quite simple to spot bullish exhaustion, but quite hard to be certain of it in real-time. The candlewick up to $1.51 for ENJ was followed by a strong momentum bearish candle, and this development confirmed that ENJ bulls have run out of steam, at least in the short-term.

The Stochastic RSI dove into the oversold territory while the RSI also began to drop lower from extremely overbought values, registering a value of 69 for the most recent, closed trading session.

The next level of support for ENJ was the 23.6% retracement at $1.07.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/binance-coin-neo-enjin-price-analysis-05-march

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Decentralized Companies Are the New Norm and It’s the DAO Revolution That’s Making It Possible

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The way people work has continuously evolved over the past couple of decades, thanks to increased penetration of the internet and advancements in communication tools that continue to make remote work possible. However, only recently, after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, did many organizations realize the viability of remote working as employees continued to work from home amid lockdowns imposed by respective governments.

The crypto industry is not new to remote working as most projects are developed and run by multifunctional teams whose members are scattered across geographies. Interestingly, these decentralized teams complement cryptocurrency technology, whose core attribute is all about decentralizing information.

The leading crypto exchange operator, Coinbase, recently became a decentralized company. The company decided to decentralize itself after operating for a while as a remote-first business that encouraged employees to work from anywhere in the world. According to Brian Armstrong — CEO and founder of Coinbase, the decision to become a decentralized company was influenced by the success of its remote-first approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. It made them realize that an overwhelming 94% of the workforce believed that working remotely was beneficial. It gave them autonomy, flexibility, and the ability to focus while enjoying personal time. The employee-friendly work policy has, in turn, helped the company attract some of the top talents from all over the globe. Overall, it is said to have increased engagement, belonging, learning, and creativity among the team members.

When it comes to decentralized businesses with a global workforce, traditional ownership structures and a top-down approach to governance may not be the efficient option. By empowering people at different levels to participate in the decision-making process, businesses can become more versatile and adapt to changing scenarios on the ground. DAOs, short for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are created to democratize the entire process. In 2016, a company called the DAO was launched on the Ethereum blockchain. The company’s life was short-lived following security issues that resulted in a hack, forcing its suspension and a hard fork of the blockchain. However, the short stint of this new application of blockchain technology successfully proved the DAO concept, leading to further developments.

DAOs are programs that are designed to enable organizations to function without having a hierarchical management structure. Instead, it allows the community of stakeholders in a project or a business to take part in various roles necessary to ensure the entity’s smooth functioning and growth. In return, they receive rewards in recognition of their contributions to the ecosystem.

DAOs Evolving with Web 3.0

In the evolutionary journey of the internet, the next step is referred to as Web 3.0. It is all about the decentralization of tech infrastructure, relying extensively on collaborative actions where anyone can contribute or consume information without restrictions by a third party. Businesses staying relevant in this age will need a new organizational structure to communicate and manage decentralized collaborations. This evolution will be made possible by integrating fully-functional DAOs. However, most of today’s DAOs are limited to voting shell structure, which leaves room for lots of improvements in the segment.

The availability of full-function DAOs will make it easier for businesses planning to go the Coinbase way to create and manage a decentralized company. It is just a matter of time before technical limitations concerning complexity and scalability of smart contracts governing DAOs and associated high gas costs are overcome to drive the adoption of decentralized collaboration and governance.

The Metis DAO Way – The Future of Collaborative Organizations

Solving the issues hindering widespread adoption of DAOs is Metis – a layer 2 solution based on Ethereum blockchain. By using a combination of Optimistic Governance and a suite of microservice tools, Metis brings in scalability, affordability, and accessibility to easy-to-use DAO infrastructure.

Creating a decentralized company on the Metis DAO platform is a simple 3-step process. A DAO on the Metis platform allows collaboration between users through an embedded trust mechanism utilizing staking bonds to ensure all participants’ accountability. Further, for transparency and auditability, Metis implements a decentralized business credentials system that evaluates collaboration history to assign Reputation Power which is directly linked to eligible incentives.

As a layer 2 solution, Metis will be handling all transactions on the tailored Optimistic Rollup side chain that aggregates multiple transactions into a single roll-up block whose hash will be committed to the Ethereum blockchain by a smart contract. By doing so, the number of entries to the blockchain is drastically reduced, lowering the gas fees necessary to maintain the DAO. Further, it will include many governance and management embedded templates on layer2, including task management, knowledge management,  event management, chatroom, forum and many more functionalities, accessible over a simplified, user-friendly web interface.

Metis is all set to become the go-to platform for creating Decentralized Autonomous Companies/Corporations with all its features for the new Web 3.0. In the coming days, Metis will be organizing a token airdrop and public sale, offering an opportunity for the community to become part of the new movement.

 Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/company/decentralized-companies-are-the-new-norm-and-its-the-dao-revolution-thats-making-it-possible/

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