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Innovations in the crypto space appear daily. Whether through decentralized applications or new ways to implement and use nonfungible tokens (NFTs) within decentralized finance, blockchain technology is innovating at the speed of light. The only thing missing? Widespread adoption. One thing holding this back is the very public nature of the blockchain. DeFi, as it operates now, lacks meaningful privacy. In order to catalyze broad adoption for businesses, governments and individuals, those executing blockchain transactions should expect regular, consistent privacy.
First, we need to define what privacy means. It does not mean pseudonymity, which cryptocurrency purports to have now. Meaningful privacy means that a personal financial account will not be traced and an individual’s wealth will not be exposed. It means a business can protect trade secrets. Privacy means a government’s finances are the business of its people — not the business of dangerous neighbors.
Cryptocurrency is just that — a currency. With the Canadian trucker convoy and the Russian war on Ukraine bringing about a crypto vibe shift, it will continue to be treated as a currency regardless of whether it is regulated as one. It is a financial asset, and our current understanding of personal financial privacy supports the move toward privacy across DeFi. The European Union has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation, to which every internet entity operating within the EU is beholden. On a more traditional level, fiat banks have multiple privacy protocols, many of which are subject to human error. Privacy is natural, and often unvalued until it is removed.
It’s impossible to deny that corporations and large traditional financial institutions are pivoting to crypto, with news that giants such as Commerzbank are applying for crypto custody business licenses. Corporate treasuries are starting to see the benefits of using crypto for solving a problem that has plagued them for decades: instantaneous cross-border payments. Lack of privacy for those transactions will stunt broader adoption because until the privacy of such institutional transactions is secured, it will remain a niche offering.
Companies have a right to protect trade secrets, including those related to finance and payments to employees and contractors. Hedge funds, which will benefit enormously from moving assets onto the blockchain, must be able to protect their financial movements. If every asset movement can be tracked, private businesses are unable to protect themselves, and competition is diluted. It is just as reasonable to expect privacy in business as it is to expect privacy for individuals. As crypto experiences wider adoption, it will continue to be stunted every step of the way until the problem of privacy is solved.
The good news is that it is possible for privacy in DeFi to be both responsible and secure. We all know that regulation is growing, and as frustrating as they can be for the Wild West of blockchain projects, guardrails can enable growth. People do not trust something they do not understand, so when regulations come, they signal that the people leading governments know what’s happening and what needs to be overseen. That is a good thing. Governments can — and should — regulate crypto exchanges, fiat on- and off-ramps, and individuals who are subject to local, regional and federal laws wherever they reside. Privacy does not threaten or disable regulation. Governments codify privacy on social networks. Why should financial networks be an exception?
The bottom line is that once DeFi is secure and can be used privately, people will feel more comfortable using crypto. Because people do not trust something they do not understand, we have to invite them using the paradigm of expectation that comes with other financial endeavors. Another way we can invite people into the space is by disconnecting the argument for privacy from the discussion of anonymity. This will help resolve the problem new adopters face when they falsely consider crypto to be an easy way to facilitate illegal transactions. Until there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, DeFi will remain a risky venture for both private parties and businesses.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Kieran Mesquita is chief scientist at Railgun, a decentralized smart contract project that brings privacy to cryptocurrencies operating seamlessly with DeFi. He has an extensive background in developing technologies for blockchain and DeFi projects. He was an early adopter of Bitcoin and one of the first people to develop its GPU mining software.
BitMEX Spot, the new trading platform to buy and sell crypto launched by one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, BitMEX, has made a strong entrance in the first days since going live, hitting over $10 million in 24-hour trading volume following the launch.
The new spot exchange offers seven cryptocurrency pairs versus Tether (USDT); Bitcoin (XBT), Ethereum (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), Uniswap (UNI), Polygon (MATIC), Axie Infinity (AXS), and ApeCoin (APE). Ultimately, more trading pairs, along with other user rewards and benefits will be rolled out later this year.
Alexander Höptner, CEO of BitMEX:
“Spot trading from BitMEX has been highly anticipated within the crypto community, and this encouraging start is a reflection of resilient market demand from institutional and retail traders even in the current environment. We look forward to welcoming more new users to the spot exchange and continuing to offer them an expanding crypto ecosystem that supports their trading strategies; whether that is spot, derivatives, or interest-bearing products.”
This launch of BitMEX Spot represents a significant milestone for BitMEX’s ‘Beyond Derivatives‘ strategy it announced last year.
Genia Mikhalchenko, Vice President, BitMEX Spot:
“We have received a very strong response from our existing traders and an influx in sign-ups and trading from new users. We thank the crypto community for the support and feedback they’ve given us in the first few days following the launch of spot, and we’re going full speed ahead with our ambitions to list even more assets on the exchange. We have also loved the enthusiasm we’ve seen from traders responding to our $1 million sweepstakes, which lasts for the next two months.”
Mike Novogratz, the billionaire founder of crypto asset management firm Galaxy Digital, has told his followers that his LUNA-inspired tattoo will serve as a reminder to remain humble in the world of venture capital investing.
Following the fallout of the recent LUNA / UST meltdown, Novogratz penned an open letter on Wednesday, telling his followers that: “My tattoo will be a constant reminder that venture investing requires humility.”
It was on Jan. 5 tha Novogratz first showed off his wolf-themed tattoo to his 461,000 Twitter followers in an enthusiastic demonstration of his support for the now-collapsed Terra ecosystem.
— Mike Novogratz (@novogratz) January 5, 2022
Terra’s UST stablecoin, which relied on an algorithm to maintain a peg to the U.S. dollar, collapsed last week, sending the price of its sister-token LUNA from $60 per token to $0 in less than 72 hours. The collapse wiped approximately $40 billion dollars from the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
“The collapse dented confidence in crypto and DeFi,” said Novogratz in the letter, “whenever money is lost in such an abrupt fashion, people want answers.”
He said that despite last week’s “heart-wrenching” market pandemonium, the crypto industry looks stronger than ever and wouldn’t be going away any time soon.
“This does not mean the crypto market will bottom and head straight back up. It will take restructuring, a redemption cycle, consolidation and renewed confidence in crypto.”
He explained that Galaxy Digital invested in LUNA in Q4 2020 using balance sheet capital, and clarified that the firm’s treasury never used UST.
“Our team’s initial thesis for investing in LUNA was centered around the expansion of blockchain-native payments systems.”
According to an update from Galaxy Digital released on May 13, the firm expects to post a $300 million loss in net comprehensive income as of May 11, bringing the partners’ capital to $2.2 billion — a 12% decline from March 31.
Pantera Capital, one of the original investors in Terraform Labs, revealed today that it had cashed out roughly 80% of its LUNA investment well before the TerraUSD collapse. According to Pantera partner Paul Veradittakit, the firm managed to turn $1.7 million into approximately $170 million.
We managed that position down over time as it became increasingly profitable/large, in order to maintain a diversified portfolio. We initially invested in LUNA because of the progress we saw in developer adoption, the payments usage, and the broader ecosystem being built on Terra
— Joey Krug (@joeykrug) May 18, 2022
It’s not just Novogratz getting inked — crypto-themed tattoos have grown substantially in popularity with crypto tattoo-related Google searches surging by 222% in 2021. According to data from Crypto Head, more than 900 people worldwide have inked themselves with the Bitcoin (BTC) “B” while Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ethereum (ETH) tattoos are on the rise.
Fireblocks, a blockchain infrastructure & crypto tech provider, announced today the launch of a new, dedicated ‘Web3 Engine’ with a suite of tools for developers to build DeFi, GameFi, and NFT products.
Also, Fireblocks’ new web3 engine allows developers to easily build dApps on top of Fireblocks’ tech stack or securely access the full range of existing web3 apps.
“As we already provide a secure platform and a suite of dev tools for businesses to build digital assets and crypto businesses, unlocking access to web3 was an important next step. Now, with a fully tailored experience for connecting to web3, we aim to accelerate the launch of a new wave of super apps.”
– Michael Shaulov, CEO of FIreblocks
In order to interact with web3 applications, users have to connect to these websites via a crypto wallet. Any mismanagement of private keys will create a security risk that could put billions of dollars of user or investor funds at risk.
As the emerging sector becomes a more appealing target for hackers, Fireblocks is enabling the next generation of web3 companies like Animoca, Stardust, MoonPay, Xternity Games, Griffin Gaming, Wirex, Celsius, and Utopian Labs with the ability to provide the highest level of protection against human error and malicious attacks by hackers.
For gaming studios, NFT services, and institutions planning to build web3 products, Fireblocks provides a comprehensive and secure suite of web3 solutions.
The new Fireblocks’ Web3 Engine includes:
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