Our Universal Right to Privacy
The right to privacy is a universal human right. This right extends to digital privacy, financial privacy, or any data tied to a human. Personally identifiable information (PII) such as a user’s name, address, finances, photos, etc. is the sole property of the user. No entity should have access to such information without the user’s awareness and consent.
Privacy in Today’s Digital Landscape
Sadly, the digital world we live in today was not created with much consideration, if any, for user data privacy.
Since the advent of the internet and the rapid digitalization of social media, we’ve witnessed massive data breaches and the damage they inflict to both users (who own the data) and the respective platform (responsible for handling the data). In 2013, Yahoo was involved in a hack that impacted 3 billion user accounts. The Facebook — Cambridge Analytica scandal is another big example that led to public hysteria, Facebook boycotts, FBI investigations, and senate hearings. In response, legislation such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) has been designed to safeguard user data privacy by the power of law.
Rise of Blockchain & Related Privacy Concerns
Similar to how the internet led social media proliferation, blockchain is disrupting and digitalizing traditional commerce & finance. Blockchain technology enables trustless tamper-proof public record keeping. While the underlying technology is promising and delivers, the ramifications of broadcasting and recording all users’ financial data publicly and forever remain hauntingly uncertain.
Ethereum is the leading smart contract enabled blockchain with USD $57 Billion total-valued-locked (TVL) in DeFi (Decentralized Finance). Whenever users confirm transactions on Ethereum (not completed yet!), all metadata tied to the transaction (such as sender/receiver wallet addresses, token type, token amount, transaction time, etc.) is publicly broadcast. This makes it possible for adversaries to monitor users, so long as they verify the identity of the wallet owner. Moreover, whale monitoring tools exist that track only how certain users are managing their wallets.
As blockchain gains increased prominence, mainstream & media attention, it becomes imperative to build financial data privacy into the very core of the blockchains, lest we risk making the same mistakes made trying to rapidly digitalize social media.
The Beam Dream
Beam’s core mission is to build the best blockchain privacy solution that ensures max privacy & data confidentiality. The Beam Team has refined, implemented, and adopted various privacy protocols such as Mimblewimble, Dandelion & Lelantus-MW. While Beam is built to protect users from adversaries, it is also designed with compliance in mind for clear accountability and transparency.
Beam is a privacy-by-default DeFi enabled blockchain that never stores any wallet or transaction metadata on the blockchain. This is in contrast to traditional blockchains like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain (BSC), which publicly broadcasts & record all transactions’ metadata forever.
Building privacy protocols for blockchains is difficult. It’s controversial. It certainly is not the most lucrative or the most exciting development in blockchain. It also seems counter-intuitive and goes against the grain, when some of the largest blockchains today are public (Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, etc.). However, we must never forget that the right to privacy is fundamental and universal. Beam continues to champion this right to privacy, no matter the road ahead.
Curious to know how Beam uses a variety of privacy protocols to make blockchain data confidential & private? Read more here about how protocols such as Dandelion and Mimblewimble work
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