Digital privacy is important. It’s important because privacy is a primary building block of freedom — it’s hard to have any kind of meaningful social fabric without it.
In some senses, it’s difficult to talk about privacy because it’s deeply personal and becomes an abstraction when considered on a large scale.
In a way, privacy is like a resource that is taken for granted and often poorly managed until it’s gone. And only in its absence can we understand the real value of the ability to control and guard aspects of our digital identity.
To complicate matters, our idea of privacy continues to shift. Privacy in an analog world meant one thing, but as our lives become increasingly connected by the internet, the idea of privacy is becoming more elusive.
But it doesn’t have to be. Now, with technologies like cryptocurrencies, tools are finally available that allow for the best of both worlds: For the first time, we can traverse the internet freely and also protect our data and information. (For the crypto purists, this statement will sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, because not all cryptocurrencies are completely private. However, some cryptocurrencies, like Monero, Zcash, and Dash, to name a few, are developed with privacy as a core).
Four reasons why digital privacy is important
- Privacy is currency: Data is massively valuable. The corporations that are the lords of the internet aren’t insanely lucrative companies because of the services they provide. They are juggernaut companies because of the amount of data they are able to harvest and monetize, often at the cost of individual privacy. This current system exists because there are intermediaries between the data we provide and the service we are trying to access. The beauty of true cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, is that they allow people to interact without those intermediaries, which ultimately means that people will better be able to retain the full value of the data they are producing. Already we are seeing a slew of services, ranging from social media platforms to financial systems that are being built in a more decentralized fashion, which ultimately helps individual users retain control of their data.
- Privacy is control: Privacy isn’t about hiding or about obfuscation. It’s about control and power. Centralized systems (like most of today’s financial and internet infrastructure) rely on centralized systems, which require users to give something up to use the services (often this means that users give up control of how their information is used). Blockchain-based infrastructure, on the other hand, allows users to access services while still retaining control of their assets or data. A non-custodial crypto wallet is one example.
- Privacy is identity: The internet is vast and variable. People should be able to control what kinds of details they want to reveal and when. Again, systems built on public blockchains give people choices about privacy.
- Privacy is a firewall: In a recent CryptoBite conversation, Zcash founder Zooko Wilcox said: “Well one thing about privacy is that it’s too late to take it back after you’ve been hacked.” As our lives becoming increasingly digitized, it’s important that our privacy technologies and tools also evolve so that we are adequately protected — not only from today’s threats but to the privacy threats that will only grow as the digital transformation continues.
Privacy at Abra
Privacy is a core building block for everything happening at Abra.
All Abra wallets live on the Bitcoin blockchain, so they are as private and secure as Bitcoin itself. The wallets are non-custodial, which means Abra users control the keys via a recovery or seed phrase.
In this model, the model we believe will play a massive role in the future of universally accessible finance, Abra users get to maintain and control their privacy while also being able to interact on a global platform with new and interesting investing capabilities coming soon.