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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.

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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

PARSIQ Integrated Into Polkadot For Smart Triggers Across the Relay Chain

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[PRESS RELEASE – Tallinn, Estonia, 11th May 2021]

PARSIQ, a platform that monitors data and automation across blockchains, bridging both on and off-chain apps and sending out user alerts once transactions are executed, now offers compatibility for smart triggers with the Polkadot Relay Chain.

A smart trigger is effectively a smart contract that is deployed into the PARSIQ ecosystem. It allows triggers from external chains to be passed to off-chain systems. It collects data across a variety of chains in real-time and then constructs an indexed composition of actions in any one chain in the process of reverse-engineering. It can validate and process a huge amount of real-time data simultaneously via its distributed data management layer by utilizing chain-specific feature extraction.

Building a Bridge

PARSIQ shares the same ideology as Polkadot, which is to bridge data across a huge network of chains, leaving all chains completely equal to one another, where each chain has its own personal real-world uses and strengths. This is a model which builds strength from numbers and enhances usability by combining the entire group of chains into one strong network.

PARSIQ, rather than being a chain itself, is the bridge between the chains and between off-chain applications too. Developers can build their own smart triggers using PARSIQ. These smart triggers react to events, plus they are able to store and alter data and also to learn from the data as they grow.

The platform, in addition to monitoring data and creating alerts, can also be used to deploy bots, as well as for areas like monitoring AML, performing automated accounting, and more. Each developer’s data stream is completely unique with its own branding retaining as well as its pricing structure, even while it is growing and learning from the entire network.

PARSIQ is now integrated across all of the major blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Celo, Dash, and Algorand, to give users a way to simplify the automation of all their processes and applications off-chain, on-chain, and even across Layer-2 chains.

About PARSIQ

PARSIQ’s smart triggers have far-reaching functionality, including monitoring transactions, assets are withdrawn from a user, sent to other users, transfers exceeding a pre-set level, and many more. Developers can use the PARSIQ platform to build their own smart triggers for data workflow automation, storage, and learning here:

https://portal.parsiq.net/signup

Examples of workflows include:

Alerts of DOT transactions as they happen

Bridging events in the Polkadot Relay Chain (as well as other chains) with a simple user interface

Monitor data flow and create advanced analytics from the data

Alerting to strong potential trades

Usage for traders, platforms, and market researchers to build strong, data-backed pictures of the markets.

About Polkadot

Created by one of Ethereum’s founders, Dr. Gavin Wood Polkadot’s goal is to take blockchains to a state closer to Web3, where all on-chain activity is shared across a variety of chains. It is an intersection capable of translating architecture into one heterogeneous language for customizing side chains to connect with public blockchains.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/parsiq-integrated-into-polkadot-for-smart-triggers-across-the-relay-chain/

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Blockchain

Raze Network Kicks Off Testnet Phase With UI Community Voting

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[PRESS RELEASE – Singapore, Singapore, 11th May 2021]

Raze Network, the first Polkadot-based privacy protocol, is bracing to engage community members with our first testnet. Early birds will be able to provide feedback on the quality, function, and overall experience of the Polkadot-based privacy protocol.

This huge milestone clears the way for ‘Razers’ and collaborators to easily test drive the newest features and allows plenty of maturation time for these new features to be fully tested.

Our team already started designing the user interface of the privacy protocol we promised to launch. However, we want to resort to the collective wisdom of our community on how to actually bring this to realization, thus launching this UI Community Voting Campaign.

The beta testnet marks the latest step forward in Raze Network’s overall mission to enable the broader community to contribute to the evolution of our trustless decentralized privacy protocol.

Raze Network’s applications present the decentralized finance (DeFi) community with a cross-chain middleware solution on Polkadot for concealing transactions when operating on decentralized exchanges.

With a clear vision and solid use-case, the protocol-based solution leverages the Polkadot ecosystem to offer the required privacy layer for the crypto sphere. The privateness protocol aims to guard anonymity for all the DeFi stack on the Polkadot.

To achieve higher participation during the testnet, Raze Network is organizing a number of events, competitions, and challenges to encourage participants to actively test critical components of our ecosystem. Specifically, we will airdrop 1,000 $RAZE tokens to 10 lucky voters based on how many entries they generated to vote for the best UI style.

$RAZE is set to be the lifeblood of the Raze Network, designed as a utility token to represent participation in the ecosystem.

The launch of Raze Network’s UI testnet comes on the heels of several other recent milestones, including a robust set of developer resources and partnerships that continues to expand.

Just in April, we announced the strategic listing of Raze token on the popular DeFi platform, Uniswap. This listing closely follows our completed triple IDO event on three launchpads.

Interestingly, apart from going live on DEX exchanges, $RAZE tokens will also soon be listed on several tier-1 centralized exchanges.

This networked testnet release allows Raze to continue working with our partners towards the mass adoption of decentralized applications and smart contracts.

Since its inception, Raze Network sought to develop an infrastructure that is easy to understand and smooth to navigate. One where even new users can reap the benefits of a cross-chain middleware solution for anonymous transactions, payments trading, and mining.

Although the token launch is done, the real work starts. Most recently, we have completed the development of mint, transfer, and redeem contracts in Solidity. Currently, we are testing how to deploy these contracts on EVM.

Also, the major front-end and client modules that can invoke the aforementioned contracts have been developed.

About Raze Network

Raze Network is a Substrate-based cross-chain privacy protocol for the Polkadot ecosystem. It is built as a native privacy layer that can provide end-to-end anonymity for the entire DeFi stack. The Raze Network applies zk-SNARKs to the Zether framework to build a second-layer decentralized anonymous module.

It will then be imported as a Substrate-based smart contract. The objective of Raze Network is to enable cross-chain privacy-preserving payment and trading systems while protecting the transparency of your assets and behaviors from surveillance.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/raze-network-kicks-off-testnet-phase-with-ui-community-voting/

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Blockchain

First Spot: Coinbase’s App Surpassed TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook on iOS in the US

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Coinbase’s mobile application has become the most popular app on iOS in the US. With its rise to the top, it has surpassed some highly utilized applications like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and more.

Coinbase Tops US iOS Chart

According to data from SensorTower, the mobile application of the largest US crypto exchange has taken the first spot in terms of the most popular free apps on iOS in the country.

The app enabling users to buy, sell, or simply hold various digital assets has climbed with several spots in the past few weeks.

As of writing these lines, TikTok – the Chinese video-sharing social networking giant that saw the light of day in 2016 takes the second spot.

Further down the list is YouTube, followed by other social media giants like Instagram and Facebook. Interestingly, Robinhood’s app is not even in the top ten. The iOS application of the financial services company takes the 12th spot.


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It’s worth noting that the top 50 free iOS applications have two Coinbase representatives. The exchanges’ wallet app is the 46th most popular application, which places it ahead of Uber, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.

Coinbase’s Rise

Taking the aforementioned first spot only validates Coinbase’s popularity boost in the past year or so. The company took full advantage of the ongoing crypto bull market, which has seen prices exploding.

Consequently, the firm reported a massive increase in terms of user base, volume, and revenue in the first quarter of 2021.

These impressive results came shortly before Coinbase became a publicly traded company. As CryptoPotato reported in mid-April, the firm’s shares (COIN) launched on the giant US exchange – Nasdaq.

Although some of the early backers sold off their stocks and prices suffered in the month that followed, Coinbase only intensified its aggressive expansion. In the latest endeavor, the firm agreed to acquire Skew – the popular crypto analytics company.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/first-spot-coinbases-app-surpassed-tiktok-instagram-and-facebook-on-ios-in-the-us/

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