As Society has grown, so has the idea that the safety of the majority can only be achieved by personal sacrifices enforced by a governing body – the state. Within any given western society, there are many sacrifices each participating individual must make, but the greatest sacrifice by far is our privacy.
The concept of privacy has evolved over the course of human history. In ancient times, privacy was not a widespread concern, as people lived in small, tight-knit communities where personal information was often shared openly. It wasn’t until the rise of urbanization and the growth of cities that privacy became a more pressing issue.
In the Middle Ages, privacy was primarily a concern for the wealthy and powerful, who could afford to build private chambers and living spaces. The concept of a private life became more widespread during the Renaissance, as individuals began to value their personal autonomy and the right to keep certain aspects of their lives separate from others.
As our society has expanded and our ability to connect with others has advanced to the point where anyone, anywhere, at any time can communicate with anyone else in the world, our personal privacy has been gradually eroded. This erosion has been brought about by those in power who claim that it is necessary to safeguard our safety.
But is it worth it? How safe do we really want to be, and what price are we willing to pay for such protection? And… has this sacrifice of our privacy been about protecting ourselves from each other, or has it been more about protecting ‘them’ from us?
The Erosion of Financial Privacy
The erosion of financial privacy is a relatively recent phenomenon that has been driven by a combination of technological advances and government policies. Prior to the 20th century, financial transactions were largely conducted in cash, which provided a high degree of anonymity and privacy. However, the rise of electronic payment systems and digital currencies has made it easier for governments and corporations to monitor and track financial transactions.
The first major step in the erosion of financial privacy came in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the US government passed the USA PATRIOT Act. This legislation gave law enforcement agencies broad new powers to monitor financial transactions and track down suspected terrorists and criminals. In particular, it allowed the government to access financial records held by banks and other financial institutions without a warrant. The Patriots Act was replicated throughout the western World under similar names providing much of the governments of the World absolute authority over its peoples wealth.
In the years since the PATRIOT Act was passed, governments around the world have continued to expand their surveillance capabilities, often in the name of combating money laundering, tax evasion, and other so-called ‘financial crimes’. For example, the European Union has implemented a series of directives aimed at increasing transparency in financial transactions, including the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the Common Reporting Standard.
At the same time, the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has provided new opportunities for individuals and organizations to conduct financial transactions anonymously and outside of traditional banking systems. However, governments and law enforcement agencies have responded by cracking down on these currencies, arguing that they are often used for illicit activities like money laundering and drug trafficking. Governments have created entire teams of people dedicated to tracing transactions on the blockchain to individuals, making transparent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum less desirable for those requiring private transactions.
Financial privacy is facing its greatest threat yet, and it’s already in motion. The buzz around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) has been growing for some time now, with proponents touting the many benefits they offer. These include more efficient distribution of social welfare, targeted measures against tax evasion by the wealthy, simplified tax returns, and enhanced government control over economic policy. However, the reality of CBDCs being rolled out across the globe is far from rosy – at least not for us, the common people.
CBDCs are poised to fundamentally change the way we conduct financial transactions, and not necessarily for the better. They could spell the end of financial privacy as we know it, with governments and central banks gaining unprecedented access to our financial activities. This could be used to combat financial crimes like money laundering, but it could also give them a level of insight into our spending habits that borders on intrusive.
Moreover, CBDCs could be designed to include features that make it easier for governments to manipulate the economy and control the money supply, at the expense of our privacy. Negative interest rates and other measures could incentivize us to spend our money, eroding our financial privacy in the process.
Finally, CBDCs could be used to distribute social welfare and other financial assistance more efficiently, but at the cost of our personal information. This could give governments access to sensitive data that we might not be comfortable sharing, further eroding our privacy.
In short, the widespread adoption of CBDCs is a worrying development for anyone concerned about financial privacy. As these digital currencies become more prevalent, it’s important that we remain vigilant and push for safeguards to protect our privacy and security.
Privacy by Default
Fortunately, there are solutions out there. While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been ruled out as a way to transact privately, cryptocurrency is still the best way forward at this point.
Bitcoin operates on a public blockchain, which means that all transaction details, including the sender, receiver, and amount transferred, are visible to anyone. In contrast, Monero is a private cryptocurrency that utilizes advanced cryptography to obscure transaction details, making it extremely challenging to trace them back to the sender or receiver.
The primary difference between these two cryptocurrencies is the level of privacy they offer. Bitcoin transactions can be traced back to their origin, while Monero transactions are designed to be completely anonymous. Monero uses a technology called “ring signatures” to mix the sender’s transaction with those of other users, making it impossible to identify which transaction belongs to which user. This makes Monero a more private and secure cryptocurrency compared to Bitcoin.
Monero has been by far the most dominant and used truly private cryptocurrency, but there are other solutions in the space.
Pirate Chain, with its appropriate ARRR ticker is based on the Zcash protocol, which uses advanced cryptography to provide enhanced privacy and security features. PirateChain is designed to provide complete anonymity to its users, making it an ideal choice for those who value their privacy using a proven technology.
PirateChain uses a unique technology called zk-SNARKs, which allows users to transact without revealing their identities. This technology is used to shield the sender, receiver, and amount of each transaction, making it virtually impossible to trace transactions back to their origin.
In addition to its privacy features, PirateChain is also highly secure. It uses a proof-of-work consensus algorithm, which ensures that transactions are verified and processed securely. It is also resistant to 51% attacks, which are a common threat to many other cryptocurrencies. Unlike Zcash, PirateChain transactions are private by default. If for any reason you want to make a transaction public, you can do so, but you must explicitly choose to do so.
The Panther Protocol
For a long-time privacy orientated transactions have been utilized through an entirely independent cryptocurrency such as Monero or PirateChain, each with there own blockchain and independent from other cryptocurrency assets. But, what about the massive token-space on the Ethereum Blockchain?
This is where the Panther Protocol comes in. I’ve discussed this protocol many a time before, so I won’t go into to much depth here.
The Panther Protocol uses multi-asset shielded pools as the primary function for enabling privacy.
Multi-asset shielded pools(MASP) are a type of privacy-focused asset pool that allows for the shielding of multiple types of assets, including tokens of different standards such as NFTs. These pools are designed to support tokens of many kinds and sources, making them a great boost to privacy. They are composed of various assets and allow users to deploy tokens to smart contracts seamlessly. Multi-asset shielded pools are also built with mechanisms to align the incentives of users, rewarding those that contribute to shielding by adding tokens to the pool.
MASPs are part of a broader trend towards privacy-focused DeFi solutions. They are designed to provide a way for users to pool their assets together in a way that hides the identities of the individuals involved and the amounts of the assets being traded.
One of the key benefits of multi-asset shielded pools is that they allow for the inclusion of a wide variety of assets. This can include everything from traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to more specialized tokens like NFTs. By allowing for the shielding of multiple types of assets, these pools can help to create a more diverse ecosystem of privacy-focused solutions.
It important to understand what Panther isn’t:
- The Panther Protocol is not a cryptocurrency.
- The ZKP token is fully transparent just like any other ERC20/PLG20 token – it has no privacy features in and of itself.
The Panther Protocol simply offers anyone to transact with any crypto-asset in a private way. Panther vaults ensure the security of cryptocurrency assets and provide zAssets as a result. These zAssets are backed by their underlying assets on a one-to-one basis, meaning that for each zUSDC, zETH, or zBTC, a fully collateralized synthetic of the respective asset is generated privately.
I’ve briefly mentioned Namada before in our VIP element chat… so what is it?
Namada is a privacy-focused protocol that allows for shielded transfers of any asset, whether it’s fungible or non-fungible, across different platforms like Ethereum or IBC-compatible chains. With Namada, you can transfer assets like ETH, DAI, or NFTs from Ethereum or ATOM or OSMO from any IBC chain, with low transaction latency and fees. It’s a proof-of-stake L1 for interchain asset-agnostic privacy and is Anoma’s first fractal instance.
Similar to the Panther Protocol, Namada utilizes Shielded Pools as its primary function to enable privacy.
I won’t get in to the technicals to deep just now, though if you re interested in learning a little more about Namada, a good place to start is HERE
At present, there is no token available, but it will be released soon with the ticker symbol NAM. Once I have more information on how investors can acquire it, I will post an alert in the VIP Element group.
One way I do know that investors can get some FREE tokens is by stocking up on a little Zcash. All Zcash holders at the time the Namada genesis block comes into existence will be airdropped NAM tokens. Exactly how much, I do not know – however it has been proposed that shielded Zcash holders will be dropped more than unshielded wallet holders.
For more on this visit HERE
The best way to promote privacy and fight against the continual attempts to remove it is by using privacy-focused tools as much as possible. In this newsletter, I’ve covered the privacy-oriented options for transacting value, but there are other tools available to protect your privacy in other ways. For example, you can use privacy-focused messaging applications like Element or Signal, VPN services like ProtonVPN, and email providers promising increased privacy, such as ProtonMail.
If your privacy is important to you and you’d like to learn more, we do a one-on-one session on just this. You can book your session here
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