The last few months have demonstrated that Bitcoin is really, really not anonymous. Take, for example, Aleš Janda's website WalletExplorer. Janda's site claims to accurately identify not only individual addresses, but the entire wallets (composed of hundreds or even thousands of addresses) used by big names like BTCJam, Silk Road and Silk Road 2, Satoshi Dice, BitPay, BitcoinFog, and dozens more.
Silly me. I thought that generating new addresses – practicing what's called “Bitcoin hygiene” – prevented this sort of thing.
Whether or not WalletExplorer is accurate, the fact that it even could be is cause for concern among many. Darkcoin's rebranding to Dash couldn't have come at a more ripe time.
Taking the Darkness Out of Privacy
“But if you have nothing to hide, why do you need privacy?”
So goes the common refrain of suspicion, which insinuates that anyone who desires privacy must be hiding dark and sinister deeds.
The truth, in contrast, is that the desire for privacy is a deep part of the human psyche. Without the ability to conceal both information and self, it's been shown that humans drastically alter their normal behavior and can even go insane. The Panopticon prison layout was designed to elicit these very responses from prisoners.
Dash's team seems to understand this implicitly. Lead developer Evan Duffield told IBTimes:
Recently it became apparent that our branding was getting in the way of our mission, so we started investigating rebranding. We believe Dash, which stands for digital cash, is a great representation of what we want to become.”
And how does Darkcoin-turned-Dash achieve this digital cash status? In short, Dash is what Bitcoin would be if Bitcoin had a transaction mixer (tumbler) built into its protocol, and if its confirmation times were instant.
Will Merchants Bite?
Some of Bitcoin's bigger headlines came about when big-name merchants started to accept it: Dell, Expedia, Overstock, etc. Will the same happen with Dash now that the word “dark” is out of the picture?
Dash has been accepted at several online drug bazaars and casinos for most of its year-long lifespan. But the merchant list doesn't stop at plants and gambling. Other Dash-accepting merchants include Boleh VPN, Amagi Metals, Crypto Pets and Misconduct Wine, to name a few.
Duffield projects that Dash will continue its growth trajectory from drug and gambling markets:
“That's the way that Bitcoin started and it eventually moved away from that and more into legitimate areas, so I'm guessing that [Dash] will go the same route.”
Whether one finds plant-buying and card-playing to be “legitimate” or not, Dash's new wallet is now available for download.
Did you enjoy this article? You may also be interested in reading these ones:
- DarkCoin Introduces Trustless Instant Payment Confirmations
- Darkcoin: Not Just for Drugs Anymore
- Op-Ed: A Business Case for Privacy in a Crypto Economy