Privacy is a rare commodity in today’s digital age. Whether someone places a piece of tape over a webcam or deactivates a social media account, almost everyone has taken steps to avoid the watchful eye of Big Brother.
Unfortunately, achieving privacy is not without its obstacles. You’ve most likely heard someone use the following argument to defend violations of privacy, ‘if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.’ This argument misses the point. Privacy is a legal right and, as a right, neither the government or a corporation should be able to breach it at will. Claiming your right to privacy isn’t important because you should have nothing to hide, is the same as saying the right to free speech does not matter because you have nothing important to say. Private citizens should not have to justify their thoughts and actions to a government; rather, a government should have to justify why they require access to this information.
Securing information has never been easier, with the rise of Blockchain technology. It comes as no surprise, then, that privacy in the Bitcoin space has become a very hot topic. Concerns about Bitcoin focus on digital wallets not being linked to individuals’ personal information and could, therefore, be used for nefarious purposes. While there may be a misconception that Bitcoin is only used by criminals on the dark web, to put things into perspective, 80% of all USD in circulation contains traces of cocaine.
With this in mind, here are 5 legitimate reasons why privacy, particularly in Finance, is important.
Privacy keeps the powers that be in check
Without putting our tinfoil hats on, it’s important to look at the big picture. Privacy, or the lack thereof, is what gives authorities power. Limiting access to our personal information is incredibly important for a society because it forces all stakeholders to trust each other. It simply isn’t fair to label Bitcoin adopters as criminals and demand access to all digital financial records and wallets. Respecting boundaries show that governments and corporations are operating in good faith.
Lack of privacy alters how we behave
If you knew someone was watching your every move, it would more than likely change how you behave. Privacy is a necessary component in a free and open society. If governments began monitoring your Internet activity, for visiting a cryptocurrency exchange, chances are you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so. Privacy spurs innovation and the sharing of ideas without the fear of persecution; something that is vital for the early stages of cryptocurrency adoption.
Your data is valuable, encryption keeps it safe
The controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is a perfect case study of how your private information can be mishandled. You can never really be certain that the data you provide to one company will not somehow end up in the hands of another. Data is one of the most valuable resources around, which is why hacks into corporations’ such as Equifax can be so damaging. Utilizing blockchain technology, sensitive financial information can be stored and secured seamlessly, accentuating the attractiveness of bitcoins and other digital currencies.
Control of your own wealth
Banks ultimately have control over the wealth that you store with them. They can freeze your accounts, reclaim property, and dictate whether or not you are eligible for a loan. Your financial decisions are completely dependent on third parties that require you to provide personal information before you can access their services. With Bitcoin, the blockchain, and cold storage wallets, you can act as your own bank without having to share your sensitive information with anyone. While the responsibilities that come with acting as your own bank may seem daunting, the financial freedom that follows may be worth the effort.
We’ve discussed a lot of big-picture privacy concerns, but privacy also extends to daily life. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can make everyday life just a little bit easier. Say you want to purchase something for your spouse as a surprise but, unfortunately they only accept credit and debit card payments. Your spouse has access to all bank statements as the account is registered under both of you. If the company from which you want to buy the present accepts cryptocurrencies, however, your purchase would remain a secret until its arrival.
Growing a small business is also a struggle with which many entrepreneurs are familiar. Providing your customers with multiple avenues of payment will potentially drive up sales. Many consumers are hesitant, however, to make a purchase online out of fear that their personal information may get stolen. Allowing customers to pay with bitcoins reduces the risk on the consumers’ end, and increases profit on the business’ side. A win-win.