Distributed Dialogues: Weighing In on Privacy Implications

At the recent Distributed 2018 conference in San Francisco, Rick Lewis and Dave Hollerith from the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network interviewed a host of different personalities in the blockchain space about digital privacy.

First, the team interviewed David Chaum, one of the forefathers of cryptocurrency as we know it today. Starting from these humble beginnings, Chaum describes a brief history of the earliest days of digital money, as he built much of the enthusiasm for cryptography himself. His brief account of his work in the field gives a huge amount of insight into the culture and passion for privacy that eventually birthed modern cryptocurrency.

Reuben Yap, chief operating officer of ZCoin, spoke about some of the cultural challenges in being the first real private cryptocurrency in Malaysia.

Yap believes that the most important way to emphasize this concept of digital privacy to a skeptical audience is by putting the issue in financial terms. As Yap puts it, people expect a higher degree of privacy from banks regarding the value of their assets, and he believes that he can tap into this expectation on a greater scale. The platform of ZCoin ultimately seeks to give crypto financial systems an equal expectation of privacy that regular banks would, and this ambitious goal sets it apart.

Finally, Patrick Byrne, founder and CEO of Overstock.com, talks about the path that led him to cryptocurrency as well as what he’s observed entering the space as a mainstream investor. Seeing the overreach that many investment firms are capable of in securities trading, Byrne envisions a model of using blockchains to make transactions much more equitable. His experience provides a firm basis for a mistrust of current Wall Street practices, and a way to use blockchain smart contracts to enforce regulations on privacy.

These interviews and more will be periodically available on the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network over the next several days as the team from Distributed Dialogues releases interviews on a great number of topics in the crypto space from the Distributed 2018 conference.

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