How Important Is Financial Privacy?
The desire for financial privacy is at a record high. Remember the Panama Papers? That hasn’t been so long, yet we have another leak on our hands – the Pandora Papers. Regardless of what side of the divide you might be, these leaks point to one thing: the desire for privacy by the rich and powerful.
So why is the common man not bothered about financial privacy? The stats are staggering: people aren’t worried about their financial privacy, which is quite alarming. The ‘I have nothing to hide’ excuse makes no sense.
Why Is Financial Privacy Valued?
While many sniffed at the content of the Pandora Papers, financial privacy is the crux of the matter. The wealthy seek out these safe havens to avoid multiple challenges associated with having your wealth in the public domain. Exploitation, extortion, inflation, and other issues have necessitated the need for financial privacy and the rich aren’t playing around in that area.
Financial privacy doesn’t just protect you financially from the vices of this world, there’s the convenience angle that attracts the rich and famous. If financial privacy were to be difficult and time-consuming, most of those listed in the Panama and Pandora Papers won’t even consider such. This explains why tax safe havens have many subscribing to their services.
Snowden’s work unearthing the unscrupulous activities of NSA with giant tech companies acting as accomplices remains an eye-opener. Edward’s work was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for privacy. Imagine everyone’s fury when they found out conspiracy theorists were right all along about the government snooping on their calls and social media activities? Interestingly, the NSA owned up to its role in privacy infringement claiming if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of.
Investigating the financial activities of persons of interest is one aspect of the invasion of privacy orchestrated by the NSA. Under the guise of counterterrorism, the NSA has affected the biggest privacy theft with the backing of the US. And this isn’t just limited to calls and contacts, it also affects financial dealings and transactions done by people.
How Our Privacy Was Compromised
With the events of 9/11 fresh in the minds of the Americans, the US government attempted to forestall a repeat of such a catastrophe. Sadly, privacy invasion was believed to be the best tool to accomplish this. The NSA was saddled with the responsibility of breaching the privacy of as many people as possible through whatever means, and this was sanctioned by Congress.
The modus operandi of the NSA is to collude with global tech companies (most are domiciled in the US) in collecting data of just about everyone. Of course, those in government will be exempted as is the norm. So while everyone is still bitter about Facebook leaking personal data to Cambridge Analytica, that practice didn’t start recently. Your data has always gone to the biggest bidder – the United States Government.
Snowden’s revelation also went further to confirm that NSA doesn’t only tap the fibre optic cables of its accomplice telecom agencies, it has access to servers of tech companies. So they can cherry-pick the data of users as they deem fit. Regardless of whatever you might have done to protect your privacy on those social media platforms, the biggest predator – the United States Government – still has access to everything.
There’s a reason why Edward and Julian are wanted persons in the US – they reveal a deeply rooted government plot to use individual data for their nefarious activities. With the extradition of Julian to the US for charges in the works, the US government privacy invasion habits might have only just begun.
Where Does Blockchain Come In?
Peeking at blockchain, you’d never consider the digital ledger to be supportive of financial privacy. Satoshi never envisaged the privacy of transactions in the creation of Blockchain. All transactions on-chain are visible to everyone. That transparency isn’t compatible with the financial privacy desired by many. If your transactions and wallet balance are visible to anyone, there’s no confidentiality in place.
In comes DeFi protocols to save the day. Or so we thought. But these decentralized finance platforms haven’t done anything about protecting user privacy. Perhaps that’s beyond their paygrade. They leave more than a paper trail, which makes everything a cakewalk for the privacy invaders.
Several privacy projects have risen to the challenge of fighting privacy invasion by all the parties involved. And blockchain is the tool used. But how can something so transparent like the digital ledger fight privacy abuse? Well, lots of privacy projects have found ways to support financial privacy without losing sight of the performance perks of the blockchain. Raze is one such project.
The Coming Of RAZE Network
One of the reasons why blockchain has gotten a lot of stick is that anyone can see your balance, track your transactions as easily as looking at the block explorer for that chain. Raze Network achieves its privacy preservation by applying zkSNARKs to the Zether framework to build second-layer claims through the combination of Zether’s E-bullets – a zero-knowledge mechanism – and the novel Shrub Merkle algorithm. Raze puts an end to such a situation. By creating an account on the network, you can mask your wallet address, so no one else can keep a tab on its transactions.
Raze is also extending its coverage to DeFi. The decentralized finance community hasn’t done a lot to cover the tracks of users. RAZE will be providing users of these DEXs with the opportunity to transact anonymously.
Financial privacy shouldn’t be the exclusive privilege of the rich and powerful. Everyone should enjoy financial privacy, and blockchain despite its extremely transparent setup – can make that happen through privacy projects like Raze.