Značka: Privacy

Crypto policy advocacy group warns of 'disastrous' provision in a new US bill

Jerry Brito, the executive director of non-profit crypto policy advocate group Coin Center, suggested U.S. residents call their elected officials over possible privacy and due process concerns in a new bill proposed by House leaders.According to a Wednesday Twitter thread from Brito, the America COMPETES Act recently released by House members contains a provision that he said would be “disastrous” for crypto users from both a privacy and due process standpoint. According to the Coin Center director, a section of the bill on the “prohibitions or conditions on certain transmittals of funds” proposed by Representative Jim Himes would give the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury “unchecked and unilateral power to ban exchanges and other financial institutions from engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.”Under the proposed framework, the Treasury Secretary would be able to employ the Bank Secrecy Act to require certain financial institutions to report information around transactions potentially connected to money laundering, as well as prohibit them from serving account holders with such alleged ties to illicit funds. The provision, according to Brito, would essentially bypass the existing checks and balances on the Treasury Secretary’s authority in this area.“First, the law requires that Treasury engage in a public rulemaking before instituting a prohibition,” said Brito. “Second, the secretary can impose a surveillance special measure through a simple order, but its duration is limited to 120 days and must be accompanied by a public rulemaking […] While not full due process, these limitations at least alert the public and gives the public some opportunity to comment on a special measure’s merit or constitutionality.”1/ IMPORTANT Included in the America COMPETES Act just introduced in the House, and which will very likely pass in some form, is a provision that would be disastrous not just for cryptocurrency but for privacy and due process generally. https://t.co/vLJLnIhQhB pic.twitter.com/1EC0SBaetk— Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito) January 26, 2022The America COMPETES Act cited cryptocurrencies being used for payments in ransomware attacks on U.S.-based companies. Removing restrictions from the Treasury Department’s “special measures” authority could have significant implications for individuals and companies operating in the crypto space, according to Brito and Coin Center research director Peter Van Valkenburgh: “[The law] would hand the Treasury Secretary unchecked discretion to forbid financial institutions (including cryptocurrency exchanges) from offering their customers access to cryptocurrency networks. The Secretary may not use this discretion immediately, but it is not power the Department should have.”Related: US Treasury says it must ‘modernize and adapt’ to digital currenciesThe balance between regulating crypto, providing pseudo-anonymity for users, and working innovative technology into existing financial systems is a delicate one. Brito’s call to have followers contact their representatives over potential privacy concerns may have some merit given current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s views on the space. During her confirmation hearing in January 2021, Yellen said crypto represents a “particular concern” for the U.S. Treasury, associating many token projects with “illicit financing” and money laundering.

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Secret Network offers $400M in funding to bring others in on the secret

Secret Network is offering $400 million in funding to grow its privacy-oriented ecosystem and expand user adoption.Secret Network is a decentralized ecosystem that utilizes trusted execution environments to enable private, secure computation over encrypted data. The ecosystem has four components: Secret Tokens, Secret Bridges, Secret Finance and Secret NFTs.According to a Jan. 19 announcement, the privacy-oriented platform is offering a $225 million ecosystem fund and a $175 million accelerator fund with support from 25 existing investors and partners, including BlockTower Capital, Arrington Capital, Fenbushi Capital, Outlier, Spartan Group, and Figment. The Founder of Secret Foundation Tor Bair told Cointelegraph the funding would further the network’s aim to “scale privacy-first, decentralized applications to global adoption by millions of users,” as he emphasized the importance of Web3 technology:“Privacy technologies are essential to ensure that Web 3.0 will be empowering and open, rather than an extension of the failures of Web 2.0.”The ecosystem fund will be used to expand the project’s application layer, network infrastructure, and tooling. The accelerator pool will provide non-dilutive capital, grants and incentives via its native token SCRT to quickly expand user adoption. Secret Network also revealed that numerous top-tier investment firms recently acquired SCRT positions and joined the ecosystem as critical stakeholders, including Alameda Research, DeFiance Capital, CoinFund, and HashKey.The ecosystem funding is a part of the Shockwave initiative, a vision for Secret Network’s global growth, which was announced on Jan. 12. Shockwave aims to cement the ecosystem’s standing as a privacy hub for Web 3.0.Related: Miramax sues Tarantino over ‘money grab’ Pulp Fiction NFTsBair said that a global, privacy focused network was an essential part of building a better internet:“Private-by-default networks and applications create choices for users and allow them to control and consent to how their data is used. The entire Secret community is dedicated to protecting users, providing security, and fighting against surveillance capitalism — a system that exploits instead of empowering.”The funding news follows Secret Network’s freshly launched auctions for a collection of seven highly-anticipated NFTs issued by Quentin Tarantino on Jan. 17. The collection consists of seven chapters of Tarantino’s original, handwritten screenplay of Pulp Fiction, the first chapter of which has been sold and will be announced on Jan. 24.

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ConsenSys launches Rollups for privacy-enabled transactions on Ethereum blockchain with support of Mastercard

On Thursday, ConsenSys, a prominent developer of Ethereum (ETH) software, announced the launch of enterprise software ConsSys Rollups. The service, designed on the basis of zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, is meant to protect specific transaction elements, such as account balances, sender and recipient wallet addresses, and transaction amounts to secure each user’s privacy.Zero-knowledge proofs enable the validation of sensitive encrypted information, such as personal data, by nodes without revealing the data underneath. Such cryptographic techniques have gained enormous popularity in recent years, as users fear their crypto transactions are at-risk of being tracked by blockchain forensic firms such as a Chainalysis. The nature of public ledger blockchains has made all transactions available for anyone to view since their inception, making their underlying tokens less private than physical cash transactions in certain ways.The Rollups feature would be able to support privacy-enabled CBDCs, decentralized exchanges, micropayments, and taxes. “ConsenSys Rollups enables vastly more scalability in addition to strong privacy protections to both enhance solutions for existing use-cases and enable new use-cases. This innovative solution will help accelerate the building of the future of finance”, said Madeline Murray, global lead of protocol engineering at ConsenSys. Mastercards’ engineering team helped in part to design the solution.Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Assets and Blockchain Products and Partnerships at Mastercard, added:We’re in the early stages, but are starting to see efficiencies in how permissions and private chain product constructs use open-source technologies. Our work with partners like ConsenSys will continue to advance this space.Mastercard has taken a slow but steady approach to cryptocurrency adoption. In an interview with Cointelegraph Editor-in-Chief Kristina Cornèr the day prior, Mastercard’s executive VP of market development Liza Oakes said the company is “looking at CBDCs, stablecoins, and how to support their developments.”Very excited to announce the launch of @ConsenSys Rollups in partnership with @Mastercard to provide enterprise-grade scalability + address the key challenge of scalable applications on the @ConsenSysQuorum tech-stackhttps://t.co/NE6kuDBYW4— ConsenSys (@ConsenSys) December 16, 2021

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SiennaSwap adds Bitcoin, Monero trading pairs in push for privacy-focused DeFi

Cross-chain DeFi protocol Sienna Network has enabled Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR) trading pairs on its decentralized exchange, giving users the ability to transact privately in two of the world’s most recognizable cryptocurrencies. Effective immediately, users of the privacy-focused SiennaSwap DEX will have the ability to trade BTC and XMR against the protocol’s native Sienna token, chief evangelist Monty Munford confirmed with Cointelegraph. The decision to incorporate Bitcoin and Monero transactions follows a “huge amount of requests for additional yield options” from both communities, he said. Sienna’s infrastructure is built on the Secret Network, a custom blockchain that supports private transactions but, perhaps just as critically, doesn’t endorse trading techniques based on anonymity. Regulators have cast a dark shadow over cryptocurrencies that provide enhanced anonymity, with several exchanges moving to delist privacy-centric cryptocurrencies XMR, Zcash and Dash earlier this year.As part of its mandate, Sienna Network is attempting to provide an environment where crypto transactions are kept private without the added stigma and regulatory implications of anonymity. [embedded content]Since launching on Oct. 7, SiennaSwap has generated over $254 million in cumulative trade volumes, further highlighting the growing popularity of decentralized exchanges. Cryptocurrency entrepreneur and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponent Roger Ver has come out in favor of SiennaSwap’s recent additions. “Maintaining privacy while enabling DeFi for Monero and Bitcoin is crucial and Sienna Network seems to be doing exactly that,” he said. Ver has long been an advocate for crypto-oriented privacy tools and their role in promoting freedom.People who are serious about protecting their privacy use long keys, and people who are serious about violating privacy try to pass laws restricting the length of those keys. pic.twitter.com/OKPcQ9YlnZ— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) August 23, 2018Related: DeFi privacy project Panther raises $22M in 1.5-hour public saleThe crypto industry as a whole has been criticized for not making privacy a tier-one priority. Although the media’s role in conflating privacy and anonymity (and thus nefarious behavior) is partly to blame, builders of the new economy have also favored other priorities, such as security, decentralization and scalability. Whereas privacy-focused projects had a strong presence during the 2017-18 crypto bull market, the 2021 market melt-up has been driven largely by DeFi, nonfungible tokens and, more recently, GameFi and Metaverse concepts. Sienna Network reiterated that privacy of financial transactions is not only a personal right but also a legal obligation in Europe and the United States.

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