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Is There a Future for Cryptocurrencies Without Privacy Features?

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The vast majority of crypto assets have no default privacy features, raising questions about how viable this approach is. Everyone in the financial industry can benefit from privacy-oriented solutions, and cryptocurrencies should not be an exception.

Why Privacy Is Needed In Finance

There has been a notably higher demand for financial privacy over the past few years. Initiatives such as PrivacyRightsNow illustrate that point perfectly. The goal is to have consumers achieve a higher degree of privacy rather than keep empowering financial institutions and governments. There are many good reasons why financial privacy is a must and should, in theory, be a fundamental right for all humans.

The first significant issue in the current system comes through telemarketers. As if unwanted emails about loans, savings, and other financial services weren’t enough, telemarketer calls make things even more problematic. Whether banks and their affiliates sell this information to telemarketing companies will always remain a guessing game. However, there have been incidents of financial institutions and their affiliates sharing customers’ financial data with telemarketers for a fee. 

A second issue is the growing threat of identity theft and stalking. As consumers’ financial details are exposed online, criminals can leverage these details to perform identity theft. As the sharing of social security numbers is not entirely uncommon, a very serious problem is created. In the United States, it is no longer allowed to share SSNs with other companies, even though there are still over 400,000 identity theft cases every year.  Additionally, there is the threat of stalking, as criminals may keep snooping on one’s financials without the victim ever being the wiser. 

Unfortunately, it is complicated to achieve financial privacy through normal means. Banks and governments will not necessarily adjust their operations because a few million people are unhappy. As such, more and more people explore cryptocurrencies, an industry with perceived privacy. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. 

The Current State of Privacy Coins

Many people think that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other public blockchains all offer privacy by default. Unfortunately, that is not the case, although users can be pseudonymous when using wallet addresses. However, thanks to the growing popularity of blockchain analysis firms, linking a pseudonymous wallet address to a real-world identity is a lot more straightforward. As a result, there is no absolute privacy to speak of in most coins, although there are exceptions.

Some currencies provide privacy, either at the protocol level or by having users opt-in. Monero leads the privacy and anonymity race, as it has undergone multiple evolutions to provide financial privacy efficiently. Dash, a currency formerly focused on privacy, is now tackling the payments channel. ZCash, PIVX, and others all have some degree of privacy, with varying success. However, all of these currencies suffer from exchanges delisting them for the sole purpose of being privacy-oriented in some shape or form.

Despite this uphill battle, one should never give up on financial privacy. If the eCash project is an example, there is a future ahead for privacy coins. However, that will only be possible through scaling, censorship resistance, and protection from inflation. Privacy alone may no longer be sufficient in this ever-changing financial paradigm. Building sound money first is essential, and eCash opts for that route while introducing optional privacy for those who want it.

To expand the ecosystem, the team also intends to support the Ethereum Virtual Machine, allowing for the development of financial applications, products, and services. Its proof-of-stake consensus layer removes the need for miners, making it different from Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The biggest change is how it will only have two decimal places instead of eight. Lead developer Amaury Sechet feels that a lower unit price can lead to higher bull market appreciation. Personally, I think eight decimals works fine, even if it is a bit confusing to newcomers at first. Opting for two decimals can make more people acquainted with the concept of digital currency. 

Protecting Against Inflation And Censorship

In the current financial industry, everyone who owns money is subject to inflation. Whether one wants to admit it or not is irrelevant. Governments and banks continue to print and spend money like there is no tomorrow. Although that approach can give a short-term boost to domestic economies, it will always lead to inflation. For consumers, that means losing purchasing power, requiring them to earn more money to pay for the same goods and services.

Sound money, on the other hand, will protect users from inflation. Precious metals are often considered a store of value as their prices do not diminish. Cryptocurrencies would be a worthwhile addition to this list were they not so volatile. For me, Bitcoin and other public crypto assets can never be considered a store of value until they achieve the status of “sound money”.  Unfortunately, these assets will always be liable to a sudden appreciation of depreciation in value.

Changing that narrative will usher in the next generation of crypto assets. While some may see stablecoins as sound money, they often are not. Most stablecoins are backed by fiat currency reserves, the same currency that is subject to inflation. As such, one’s stablecoin holdings are equally subject to inflation. It baffles me how few people seem to grasp that concept today.

Rather than non-privacy coins and stablecoins, building sound money will serve a second purpose. It is crucial to protect consumers from censorship. Giving them a say about how they manage and spend their wealth is very different from today’s financial system. banks can prevent customers and corporations from completing purchases for arbitrary reasons.

 Moreover, if one tries to express an opinion online and accepts payments through traditional means, payment processors will stop working with you. WikiLeaks witnessed that first hand, yet Bitcoin offered a viable solution. Imagine if a solution offers optional privacy, sound money, and censorship-resistance all rolled into one? I cannot wait to see what the future holds in this regard.

Closing Thoughts

The future of cryptocurrency will require some degree of privacy to protect consumers from prying eyes and censorship. At the same time, the focus needs to shift to provide sound money capable of avoiding inflation. Creating a new currency that will not act as volatile as Bitcoin or Ethereum – even on a good day – will not be easy, but it is possible with the right fundamentals. 

I expect great things in the field as new infrastructure is already under development. However, although I remain a big fan of Bitcoin, no one can look past its shortcomings and inefficiencies. Better ideas and concepts will emerge, providing consumers with the solutions they require in this digital age. That doesn’t mean Bitcoin will go away, as some of these under-development features may be integrated in that protocol over time.

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AI

Amazon Wants a Leader For Its Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Unit

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Amazon seems determined to maintain its reputation as an innovative company and is looking to experiment with cryptocurrencies through a digital currency payment and blockchain unit.

According to an announcement posted on Thursday, Amazon is looking for a blockchain specialist to lead its Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy.

The Payments Acceptance & Experience team is seeking an experienced product leader to develop Amazon’s Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy and product roadmap … You will work closely with teams across Amazon, including AWS, to develop the roadmap, including the customer experience, technical strategy and capabilities as well as the launch strategy.

What Amazon is Looking For

The expert must have at least an MBA or equivalent degree, 10+ years of business or technology experience, team management skills, understanding of data and metrics, and good communication skills.

The corporation did not disclose any salary offer. The person must be based on or willing to move to Seattle, Washington.

Amazon seems to be convinced of the need to innovate in the field of payments and finance. The cryptocurrency and blockchain development team is a sign of the company’s interest in exploring these emerging technologies to offer better financial products.


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According to an email shared by Business Insider, Amazon’s team confirmed its interest in exploring an approach to the world of cryptocurrencies. Still, they did not specify whether it would be through the development of a proprietary currency or through the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment:

“We’re inspired by the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space and are exploring what this could look like on Amazon … We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments, and hope to bring that future to Amazon customers as soon as possible.”

An Old Relationship With Crypto

Amazon’s interest in the world of cryptocurrencies isn’t new. Back in 2017, it purchased, at least preemptively, a number of domains linking its brand to cryptocurrencies, including amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com, and even amazonethereum.com.

However, at the time, Patrick Gauthier told CNBC that the e-commerce giant did not have much interest in cryptocurrencies and had no plans to support crypto payments.

In fact, the Pay With Moon plugin that allowed payments on Amazon with Bitcoin through Lightning Network had to change its business model to instead allow its users to purchase virtual credit cards instead of paying directly on Amazon’s site.

Also, as Cryptopotato reported in February this year, Amazon launched a job offer for a new payments system involving “Digital and Emerging Payments (DEP),” although they did not mention a direct relationship with Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency either.

This time, however, Amazon seems more willing to go public with its casual relationship with cryptos.

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AI

Fintech Giant Zip Co to Provide Cryptocurrency Trading Services

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Amazon seems determined to maintain its reputation as an innovative company and is looking to experiment with cryptocurrencies through a digital currency payment and blockchain unit.

According to an announcement posted on Thursday, Amazon is looking for a blockchain specialist to lead its Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy.

The Payments Acceptance & Experience team is seeking an experienced product leader to develop Amazon’s Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy and product roadmap … You will work closely with teams across Amazon, including AWS, to develop the roadmap, including the customer experience, technical strategy and capabilities as well as the launch strategy.

What Amazon is Looking For

The expert must have at least an MBA or equivalent degree, 10+ years of business or technology experience, team management skills, understanding of data and metrics, and good communication skills.

The corporation did not disclose any salary offer. The person must be based on or willing to move to Seattle, Washington.

Amazon seems to be convinced of the need to innovate in the field of payments and finance. The cryptocurrency and blockchain development team is a sign of the company’s interest in exploring these emerging technologies to offer better financial products.


ADVERTISEMENT

According to an email shared by Business Insider, Amazon’s team confirmed its interest in exploring an approach to the world of cryptocurrencies. Still, they did not specify whether it would be through the development of a proprietary currency or through the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment:

“We’re inspired by the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space and are exploring what this could look like on Amazon … We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments, and hope to bring that future to Amazon customers as soon as possible.”

An Old Relationship With Crypto

Amazon’s interest in the world of cryptocurrencies isn’t new. Back in 2017, it purchased, at least preemptively, a number of domains linking its brand to cryptocurrencies, including amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com, and even amazonethereum.com.

However, at the time, Patrick Gauthier told CNBC that the e-commerce giant did not have much interest in cryptocurrencies and had no plans to support crypto payments.

In fact, the Pay With Moon plugin that allowed payments on Amazon with Bitcoin through Lightning Network had to change its business model to instead allow its users to purchase virtual credit cards instead of paying directly on Amazon’s site.

Also, as Cryptopotato reported in February this year, Amazon launched a job offer for a new payments system involving “Digital and Emerging Payments (DEP),” although they did not mention a direct relationship with Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency either.

This time, however, Amazon seems more willing to go public with its casual relationship with cryptos.

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Source: https://coingenius.news/fintech-giant-zip-co-to-provide-cryptocurrency-trading-services-24/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fintech-giant-zip-co-to-provide-cryptocurrency-trading-services-24

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Blockchain Startups Raised over $4 Billion in VC Funding in Q2 2021

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Most blockchain-based startups have seen funding from venture backers, despite the current cryptocurrency market downturn, recording over $4 billion in Q2 alone.

This massive venture capital backing is in keeping with the established trend of VC funding for blockchain firms as investors look to be part of the new wave of disruption associated with decentralized finance.

VC Backers Continue to Dole Out Funding for Blockchain Startups

According to CNBC on Thursday (July 22, 2021), venture capital investors seem not to worry about the volatile nature associated with the crypto market, especially with the current slump in market prices. Bitcoin, which reached an all-time high )ATH) of over $63,000 back in April, is trading within the $33,000 range, losing over 50% of its ATH. Ether price has also suffered a slump after getting to over $4,000 in May.

Meanwhile, data from CB Insights, an analytics firm, revealed that the total funds received by different blockchain companies are $4.38 billion. The figure signals a more than 50% increase from Q1 2021, and almost a ninefold growth compared to Q2 2020.

In May, major fintech company Circle received $440 million from VC backers, making it the largest venture capital funding in a blockchain company. Meanwhile, Circle is planning to go public through an alliance with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Concord Acquisition Corp. The merger, if successful, will put Circle’s valuation at $4.5 billion.


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Ledger, a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, raised the second-biggest round in Q1 2021 with $380 million. According to an interview with CNBC in December 2020, the company’s CEO Pascal Gauthier noted that the cryptocurrency market was gradually maturing, with institutional investors showing interest in the emerging industry.

Speaking to CNBC, CB Insights senior analyst, Chris Bendtsen :

“At the current rate, blockchain funding will shatter the previous year-end record — more than tripling the total raised back in 2018. Blockchain’s record funding year is being driven by the rising consumer and institutional demand for cryptocurrencies. Despite short-term price volatility, VC firms are still bullish on crypto’s future as a mainstream asset class and blockchain’s potential to make financial markets more efficient, accessible, and secure.”

Institutional Investors Seek Exposure to Crypto Industry

The record inflow of funding for blockchain firms is coming from both traditional VC funds and blockchain-focused funds alike. Some asset managers are even creating blockchain venture arms for both early and late-stage funding of projects in the industry.

As previously reported by CryptoPotato in June, venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz announced the launch of a $2.2 billion cryptocurrency fund. According to the company, the new fund would be distributed across various crypto and blockchain startups.

Blockchain Capital raised $300 million for its Fund V LP back in May, with PayPal, Visa. hedge funds, and others participating in the capital raise.

Meanwhile, the trend is continuing in Q3 2021 with massive funding deals. Recently, major cryptocurrency derivatives platform FTX secured a record $900 million in its Series B funding, causing the company’s valuation to grow to $18 billion.

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CNBC

WhatsApp says NSO spyware was used to attack officials working for US allies

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The NSO Group has denied that its spyware was used to compromise many politicians’ phones, but WhatsApp is telling a different story. The chat giant’s CEO, Will Cathcart, told The Guardian in an interview that governments allegedly used NSO’s Pegasus software to attack senior government officials worldwide in 2019, including high-ranking national security officials who were US allies. The breaches were reportedly part of a larger campaign that compromised 1,400 WhatsApp users in two weeks, prompting a lawsuit.

The reporting on the NSO “matches” with findings from the 2019 attack on WhatsApp, Cathcart said. Human rights activists and journalists were also believed to be victims.

The executive was responding to allegations that governments used Pegasus to hack phones for 37 people, including those of women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Those targets were also on a 2016 list of over 50,000 phone numbers that included activists, journalists and politicians, although it’s not clear that anyone beyond the 37 fell prey to attacks.

NSO has strongly rejected claims about the hacks and the list, insisting that there’s “no factual basis” and that the list was too large to be focused solely on potential Pegasus targets. It also directly challenged Cathcart, asking if the WhatsApp exec had “other alternatives” to its tools that would help thwart “pedophiles, terrorists and criminals” using encrypted software.

Cathcart, however, didn’t buy that explanation — he pointed to the 1,400 people as possible evidence that the number of targets was “very high.” Whatever the truth, it’s safe to say WhatsApp won’t shy away from its lawsuit (or a war of words) any time soon.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/whatsapp-nso-spyware-attack-215334253.html?src=rss

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