If you think that you are a free citizen in a free country, think twice. Governments of any political regime — be it democracy, totalism or dictatorship — seek to know as much as possible about people on their controlled territory.
Hopefully, they use all those details about your bank transactions, phone calls, and movings around to maintain a secure and equitable society, and to prevent bad guys from doing bad things.
Our personal information is supposed to be confidential. It means that an operator that got it from you cannot disclose it to third parties. However, all too often these privacy requirements are not observed. Not only does our confidential information flow freely from hand to hand, but also it can be used against us by any governmental authority at any time.
It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but the latest announcement made by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner proves the point that confidentiality of our data is a big issue.
The Commissioner urges Canadians to pay for marijuana in cash even if they buy it at licensed outlets and provide as little personal data as possible to avoid problems when traveling to countries where cannabis is illegal.
While any personal information collected by retailer should be kept confidential, the state officer admits that no one will guarantee you that.
Privacy-Focused Coins Offer A Solution
Privacy coins like Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), and Zcash (ZEC) to name a few, offer the luxury of transaction anonymity. These protocols use sophisticated cryptographic techniques to obscure the sender’s address, the receiver’s address, and transaction amount if the participants choose to stay anonymous.
This feature might come in handy for Canadian cannabis buyers who want to keep their private doings from the prying eyes of foreign governments. According to Mati Greenspan from eToro, Canada may see an increased demand for privacy coins.
Indeed, when paying with privacy coins, you are not required to disclose your name, age, or address, or any other personal information that can be used to identify you. Moreover, due to transactions non-traceability, payments cannot be linked to your wallet address, which makes identification even more complex.
While cash offers about the same level of privacy, coins are more convenient in a situation when buying something online. Also, it obviates the need for personal contact.
Or Do They?
However, these privacy coins come with disadvantages.
First, governments are not happy to have them around. They take steps either to legislate them out of existence or dispel their anonymity. Thus, recently, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a call for technical solutions that would allow tracking privacy coins like Zcash and Monero. The FBI also laments Monero’s non-traceability and dreams of cracking it. As a result, their practical application is often limited.
Second, you still need to buy the coins somehow. If you do so with your credit card, you are still at risk to be identified and challenged with awkward questions by the authorities that do not approve of privacy coins. However, they will still have no idea what you have bought or done with those coins unless they decide to beat this information out of you.
Finally, privacy coins have a low level of adoption. You cannot buy anything you want with Monero or ZCash, because not so many stores or outlets accept them as a means of payment. Getting back on the Canadian issue, you won’t be able to hide your cannabis purchases with digital coins as they are not accepted by the outlets licensed to sell weed. Hardly surprising, as the Canadian government knows the potential value in owning the personal information of the individuals making purchases.
Do you think privacy coins have a future? Have you ever bought anything with Monero (XMR) or Dash (DASH)? Please share your experiences in the comments below.