Cryptocurrencies should improve privacy features offered to users

Cryptocurrency projects need to maximize the privacy offered to users to prevent fraud, extortion, or worse!

Cryptocurrencies should improve privacy features offered to users
Cryptocurrencies should improve privacy features offered to users
  • Jonathan Zeppettini, Strategy Lead at Decred, believes that cryptocurrencies should offer privacy features to users.
  • He added that privacy with regard to financial transactions is not negotiable.

Privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash have had tough times in recent years. Japan and South Korea have already banned privacy cryptocurrencies, and Dubai joined the list last month.

Despite the backlash, Jonathan Zeppettini, Strategy Lead at Decred, believes that privacy features should be available to users.

Cryptocurrencies should provide privacy features to users

Zeppettini pointed out that the cryptocurrency space has lost its way when it comes to providing privacy features to its users. When commenting about this, he said;

“Privacy is a fundamental right, and every cryptocurrency should seek to maximize the privacy offered to users. In many instances betraying information about transactions a user is involved in may lead to fraud, extortion, or worse. The notion that only criminals would want to hide what they're doing is patently absurd. Nobody should be comfortable with placing their entire financial history and spending habits on the Internet for all to see, which is essentially what blockchains that do not offer strong privacy are doing, if the coins are actually being employed as money.”

Dubai became the latest to ban privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and ZCash, joining Japan and South Korea on the list. While reacting to this news, Zeppettini lamented that it is unfortunate that privacy coins are facing backlash from some governments across the globe. He stated that;

“It's unfortunate to see privacy coins such as Monero and Zcash banned by the Dubai government, to truly unlock the potential for cryptocurrency to be used as a medium of exchange, you have to embrace the use of privacy-maximizing technology. It's similar to how we use encryption such as SSL when we connect to websites where we input personal information, or how your text messages over iMessage, Signal, or WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted. Most governments respect the right of citizens to have private communications. Financial transactions exist in a similar vein. I do believe that over time more governments will reassess the situation and realize that everyone is well served by strong financial privacy.”

The crypto ecosystem needs to continue preaching about privacy

According to Zeppettini, crypto enthusiasts should continue preaching about the need for privacy. Doing so would ensure that privacy, freedom, and decentralization will take center stage in the crypto industry once again. Zeppettini said;

“We just need to keep repeating the message that the expectation of privacy with regard to financial transactions is not negotiable. It's something that you have always had by default if you used paper bank notes, and cryptos considered "privacy coins" are simply reimplementing the user experience of physical cash for a digital world, it's a natural evolution. The tools have been built, so there's no putting the genie back in the bottle. With decentralized exchanges now being more common, governments are going to have their policy options significantly constrained by technological reality. As a community, we should always strive to use and promote technologies that protect users to the maximum extent possible, whether that be via coin mixing, which is possible with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Decred, or with on-chain privacy, which is offered by Monero and Zcash.”

On the tech side, Zeppettini said crypto projects need to do everything necessary to improve privacy. He concluded that;

“A decade ago, Bitcoin was seen as something that was only useful for criminals, but today it's widely accepted that the vast majority of activity is completely legal, and the appeal of Bitcoin is the reduction of friction it allows for in financial transactions. Privacy is merely another feature that can enhance the utility of this technology. My feeling is that in the end, the market is going to decide, and governments will need to adjust their policies accordingly, so as users, we can have an impact by using these technologies whenever possible and by doing things as simple as asking merchants to support coins that offer strong privacy or even using such coins among friends and family to further normalize it.”

The need for privacy by users could spur further technological developments in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.