Antonopoulos: Why Bitcoin Privacy Is Understated


Antonopoulos: Why Bitcoin Privacy is Understated

On a London Real Academy interview hosted by founder and host Brian Rose, security expert and digital currency expert Andreas Antonopoulos emphasized the importance of bitcoin privacy and how current banking systems are negatively impacting the general population.

Also read: Andreas Antonopoulos: ‘The Open Blockchain Will Change This World’

Recently, India and Spain have been two of amongst many countries that have implemented extreme capital controls to eliminate illicit transfer and trades of money. Regardless of the intentions of the authorities, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement, in particular, to demonetize 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes has led to an economic shock as citizens continue to struggle to fund daily operations using cash.

Why Regulations Against Criminals Fail to Work

Throughout history, efforts of various governments and regulatory bodies to impose tight regulations on the flow of money have negatively impacted the innocent, or the 99% of the population that works to support the economy and society of their countries, instead of cracking down on criminals.

Governments and authorities continue to dismiss the actuality of criminals and criminal activity. If cash or major assets like gold are banned, criminals will continue their operations based on other important assets or stores of value.

Tide detergent stolen by criminals to purchase drugs
Tide detergent stolen by criminals to purchase drugs

For instance, during the interview, Antonopoulos described the Tide detergent controversy in 2013 as an example. A few years ago, criminals traded Tide detergent for drugs like cocaine due to the government’s crackdown on cash. Regardless of regulations, criminals will always search for alternative methods or emerging technologies to fund their operations and to obtain anonymity.

“Criminals will have privacy,” said Antonopoulos. “The question is whether the rest of us will. Criminals will use these systems. They’ll will bribe corrupt officials, and they will bypass the rules. They will deal in gold or Rolexes or cars,” Antonopoulos continued.

More importantly, Antonopoulos explained that strict regulations like the ones the Indian and Spanish governments are beginning to impose are affecting non-criminal users, or the general population.

“Changing the way money works only ends up punishing the innocent. Criminals will always have privacy. What we should be doing is not to know your customer rules. What we should be doing is know your banker rules (KYB) and know your government (KYG). Because guess what, they’re funding the war criminals, they’re funding the terrorists, they’re paying the arms dealers, and they’re doing it using the banking system that they’re supposed to be doing an oversight on,” Antonopoulos stated.

Importance of Bitcoin Privacy

Brian Rose, founder, and the host of London Real, further emphasized the importance of bitcoin privacy or financial anonymity in general, as he explained that spending habits offer a wider and more descriptive overview of individuals in comparison to other information such as browser data.

In the foreseeable future, Antonopoulos firmly believes that the only way people will develop awareness against surveillance of financial networks is when individuals become prosecuted for their spending habits. Until the majority realizes the importance of financial privacy and the fact that some governments will use financial data to control its population, the need for privacy will be dismissed.

“If you give the government power over money, they will use it and in countries where the government is the criminal, they will use it to oppress people. Separating state and money should be a no-brainer. It is not yet. I hope we don’t have to learn that lesson the hard way,” said Antonopoulos.

What do you think about the necessity of bitcoin privacy?  Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of IC2CCTV, KPCC

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Joseph Young

Joseph Young is a tech, financial and bitcoin journalist based in Hong Kong. He works with leading media and publishing companies to introduce innovative ideas, concepts and technologies. Young also led various digital development firms in South Korea and the Philippines, designing websites and mobile applications for leading Asian corporations.

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