On Bitcoin Cash’s second birthday Thursday, Craig Wright penned a brief article entitled “PII in the Bitcoin World.” The subject of personally identifiable information (PII) is massive right now due to the Equifax data breach scandal.
Outside of the title, the post does not explicitly mention Bitcoin or blockchain even once. In the industry, this tactic is occasionally referred to as “clickbait.”
Nevertheless, the thrust of Wright’s article falls in line with his long-standing anti-privacy agenda, particularly as it concerns cryptocurrency technology.
“I mean, honestly, if all you do to manage the security of your finances is hide your head in the sand and leave trust to obscurity, then you deserve all that such an approach brings with it. I may seem uncaring and I may come across as cruel here, but really, it is a simple process to actually protect your information.”
Personally identifiable information is a serious matter in finance. Centralized organizations like Equifax will probably always have data breaches.
Generally speaking, businesses require permission to access it.
The Bitcoin blockchain, by nature, obscures your identity. Just as it’s difficult to know who gave someone a dollar or a coin, it takes a bit of detective work to figure out who sent a Bitcoin payment – unless they want you to know.
There are many ways to expose yourself in Bitcoin. If it’s a concern, people generally suggest using additional tools. Either another cryptocurrency, something like XMR.to, or even a specialized wallet like Samourai or Wasabi.
Later blockchains such as Monero have taken the concept of obfuscation much further, in some cases making it impossible to know the details of a transaction without a “view key.”
It’s no surprise that such powerful technology worries regulators and legislators. The typical crypto libertarian response is that existing institutions like law enforcement are already empowered to prosecute the myriad of potential crimes.
After the recent Equifax debacle, in which nearly 150 million Americnas had their data compromised and were offered a choice of credit monitoring or a paltry check, the potential of blockchain technology becomes obvious yet again.
The difference between a blockchain security-enabled model and the traditional one is that, with blockchain, you can cryptographically force the information’s owner to authorize each use of the data – and the data never has to leave their possession.
Such applications of blockchain technology do not appeal to a certain subset of crypto believer, apparently including Craig Wright. Wright also asserts that it doesn’t matter if your personal information is exposed.
As a wealthy person, he might consider that information such as health records would come in handy for someone trying to do him harm.
“[T]he issue is not whether a criminal can buy your information, but rather if they can steal money from you. […] For a dollar a week, I have any changes to my credit file reported to me. I can stop applications cold. I have had three attempts to apply for loans under my name, and I do not hide any information (privacy is dead). Each time I have been notified. I have lost nothing but the time to send an email with a dispute notification.”
So the man who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto says your privacy doesn’t matter much. Wright has repeatedly said that, in his view, Bitcoin should actually be a boon to snoops and law enforcement agents, rather than an impediment. (Paraphrasing.)
Privacy advocates should probably take notice. If Wright’s vision of the blockchain ever takes root, and privacy coins, as well as non-SV versions of Bitcoin, are eradicated, the blockchain era might have ushered in George Orwell’s 1984.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.
Last modified: June 23, 2020 2:39 PM UTC