Cointelegraph spoke to Ryan Taylor aka Baby Giraffe, Director of Finance at Dash about the new phenomenon of private-centric cryptocurrency.
Cointelegraph: What brought about anonymous currency?
Ryan Taylor: I think privacy became an issue for users once Blockchain analysis started to become more widespread several years ago. There’s been a real shift in the attitudes of the public on the importance of privacy, especially when it comes to something as private as their finances.
I think revelations of email hacks, the Edward Snowden leaks, and other government snooping all contribute to a greater awareness and demand for better privacy in communication and financial transactions.
It’s likely this demand and awareness is what's contributed to the growth of privacy-centric solutions.
CT: What does privacy mean to you?
RT: Privacy is a fundamental human right, yet it’s being eroded by technology from aerial drones to monitoring of our digital profiles. Thankfully, technology can also contribute to privacy, and that’s why it’s so important to help level the playing field between individual rights and mass-scale monitoring of the population.
CT: What is so dear to anonymous crypto lovers?
RT: I think if you asked them, they would say anonymity is an essential thing. But that shouldn’t have to come at the expense of everything else. What good is a cryptocurrency for example, if it doesn’t interface with anything? At the end of the day, money is an essential tool for everyday life. It should be both useful and easy to use. Many users place too much value on the technical aspects of an anonymity solution, but when the rubber hits the road, they actually care more whether they can use it. We are mindful not to ignore the other aspects of creating a valuable ecosystem that will delight users.
CT: Do you think Bitcoin will be forced by the current upsurge of anonymous digital money to go anonymous?
RT: I believe that Bitcoin’s issues are more drastic than matching a single feature of other coins.
Bitcoin lacks the mechanisms even to address a question like whether to make a significant change to their protocol such as anonymity.
So, I don’t think any one feature will force Bitcoin to change. More than likely, a coin like Dash that offers users a variety of features will eventually overtake Bitcoin, and it will take a major event like that to persuade the network to incorporate radical change.
CT: With an ever increasing government's interference & prying into people's private affairs, is anonymous digital currency the future?
RT: It’s not yet clear how the digital currency landscape will evolve, but it will ultimately be up to user and business demand. While there is certainly a demand for fully anonymous solutions, there is also the need for fully transparent ones. There is also a conflict between the interests of many users for greater privacy and governments which would like greater access to our private affairs. Although governments could not stop decentralized currencies from operating, they are certainly not powerless in influencing their use. After all, they have tremendous power to regulate the entry and exit points to the legacy financial system - connections which are very much needed to provide a useful service to customers. So, I think you will see a variety of solutions emerge to meet different demands from the market.
On one end of the spectrum will be solutions in which anonymity is of paramount importance, even at the expense of usability. At the other end, you might see solutions which seek the regulatory endorsement, for use cases in which privacy is of little consequence, or transparency is actually a desirable attribute.
There will likely be several successful solutions along this spectrum, but certainly, these solutions will improve privacy compared to existing options.
CT: What is your reaction to those state-worshippers who are convinced Anonymous Virtual money are a conduit to money laundering?
RT: The internet can distribute child pornography or an online education. Likewise, digital currencies can facilitate good or evil, as can old-fashioned physical cash.
Digital currency's use for good is expanding rapidly, so, I think over time the stigma from Bitcoin’s association with the dark web is likely to fade.
There are other projects actively courting the dark web, and I think that approach damages the industry and impedes our collective progress.
CT: Is it possible for the state to crack down on anonymous digital coins?
RT: Certainly, it is possible. I don’t think governments can hope to eliminate anonymous currencies, but they can certainly contain them in meaningful ways. For example, they could target centralized businesses that seek to integrate them such as exchanges, retailers, financial institutions and money transmitters to the extent that they become effectively useless or too expensive for the business to maintain. I’m sure that governments will react very differently to the emerging technologies, and I suspect governments will need to balance the threats and economic benefits that can derive from consumer demand for privacy. Crack down too hard, and they risk driving businesses and economic growth to other geographies.