Cryptocurrencies have taken the world by a swing in 2017. Bitcoin finally became a household name that even your 60 year old auntie is familiar with. Major bankers, leading investors and even central banks and governments started discussing the role of cryptocurrency in the financial system (if any). A sleazy myriad of speculations and false prophecies led the price of currencies like Ripple, Ethereum and king-of-crypto Bitcoin to move wildly and rapidly. While we at Ruin My Search History are completely indifferent to the prices, and even slightly amused by the BTC goldrush, the underlying concept behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is extremely relevant to internet privacy.
Our agenda and belief-system is that anonymity should be everyone’s default state and that governments should not be permitted to spy on its citizens if they have no real justification. Governments, from South Korea and USA to India, have set new limitations and bans on cyrptocurrency trading, which has honestly led us to believe that is some merit to the concept. I mean, if governments dislike the concept of decentralized currency systems, they think there is actually a reasonable chance that they can take off.
Governments are obviously fretting the option that cyrptocurrency will assist with tax evasion, but they’re also afraid to lose control. Centralized systems are the backbone of governments – your identity is composed of dozens of datasets, connected by one main identifier (ID #, Social Security #, Passport #, or whatever your government uses as a main identifier). The data collected on you by the social services is readily available for the police officer stopping you for a broken taillight; In the same fashion your online activity data is being collected by both commercial companies and governments and they create a central database on your profile.
Part of the activity monitored by both commercial entities and government is monetary transactions. It is actual one of the pillars of profiling. For governments, if you are have a good job, good credit score, able to spend a lot of money, you deem less prone flee the country, not posting your bail, and in general “a good productive member of society”. If you aren’t well-off, it’s the other way around. For commercial entities, it’s clear why knowing how much you are able to spend becomes the most important thing about you.
Transactions done via decentralized cryptocurrencies (not to be confused with currencies like XRP which are indeed a cryptocurrency but are not decentralized), unless government supervision forces all exchanges and wallets to collaborate in the same fashion as Bitfinex, are anonymous by nature. The transaction itself is transparently visible for everyone, but the personality behind the addresses isn’t.
Are you saying using decentralized cryptocurrency enhances your privacy?
That is precisely what I’m saying. If you use an anonymous means of payment, you prevent from whoever is collecting information about you to collect information about your financial transactions. Your profile would be less detailed and comprehensive in comparison to someone to who uses his credit card, Paypal, or via Moneycorp for financial transactions.
Should I use cyrpto or buy it?
This question is too complex and goes well beyond the scope of this article. There are a lot of things to consider, including taxation, ease of use, cost of buying cryptocurrencies, safety and security, long term economical forecasts, current regulatory status in your country of residence, and a bunch more. All I’m saying that in a certain sense, if you were to use cyrptocurrencies it would be more difficult to keep track of your financial transactions by whoever wants to spy on you. If you are looking for more conclusive answers in regards to online safety view our VPN guide.
Note: I put a small amount into several cryptocurrencies myself. I think it’s a noble idea, and I think it should be encouraged. I did not put a big amount in because I know how the world runs – governments are powerful and they can put the kibosh on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in a heartbeat.