ZCoin’s Reuben Yap Talks On Privacy, Mastercard, Crypto Winterbr>
Mastercard has filed a patent with claims that it has developed a new way of keeping cryptocurrency transactions private by obscuring addresses and amounts.
Reuben Yap, the COO of privacy coin Zcoin, scoffed at the notion of a centralized authority granting anonymity.
“It is unsurprising that payment giants like MasterCard want to tap into the benefits of blockchain – but at what cost to our financial privacy? Their proposed privacy scheme doesn’t solve the problems of mass surveillance as they can still control and have oversight over all transactions.”
“Let’s not forget, financial privacy is a pillar of our civil rights. This is not only under threat from malicious cybercriminals but from enterprises who have access to our data and funds. Countless data breaches have proven time and time again that we cannot trust institutions to keep our data private.”
“User data would still be at risk. From what we understand of Mastercard’s patent, the proposed system would rely on centralized servers to obscure the transaction data. Simply put, user data would still be controlled by a central authority and vulnerable to hacks from a single point of failure.”
Yap answered a few other Block Tribune questions on his coin and privacy issues.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: We live in a world that is increasingly shrinking our privacy, and adding consequences such as travel restrictions and other controls. How will your company enable that to be overcome?
REUBEN YAP: Zcoin primarily protects financial privacy by making it harder for your identity and your financial history to be revealed when transacting through our blockchain. However, as a blockchain with privacy features, it can also be used to enable anonymous voting, polling or even as an anti-censorship tool by posting permanent and immutable content.
Most recently the Thai Democrat Party became one of the world’s first to use blockchain technology in a live and large-scale e-voting system. Using Zcoin’s blockchain, helped to improve voter participation and transparency and also marked the first time a Thai political party selected its leader with input from its members.
There are varying degrees of financial privacy but there is a reasonable expectation that not anybody can check your financial history or balances. Banks and institutions are traditionally tasked with protecting this but we have seen countless data breaches that prove that having a centralised authority is just not enough.
Data on most blockchains can also be difficult to protect since the records are public for everyone to see and data researchers are already quite adept at identifying real-life identities or grouping together transactions.
Zcoin’s takes it a step further with its various protocols and mechanisms which enhances privacy and anonymity. We must ensure that financial freedom is safeguarded as we build this new digital economy.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: You’re critical of Mastercard’s recent patent application. Are companies like that capable of giving up centralization?
REUBEN YAP: The main reason we are critical of Mastercard’s recent patent application is not because they are centralized but because the idea is not particularly innovative, nor is it an entirely new concept. Essentially they’re applying for a patent on a centralized coin mixer that will allow them to have full visibility of transactions, hence not true privacy.
Patents have been one of the most abused types of intellectual properties especially when it relates to software or mere ideas.
Blockchain technology was birthed by open source and so many technologies – including great privacy schemes – have also been accessible and free for people to build on. Instead of giving back to the community and contributing to the research that blockchain technology came from, Mastercard has typically been hostile to cryptocurrency projects and patenting these technologies seems contrary to the spirit of open source.
Blockchain’s primary function has always been to remove middlemen and companies like Mastercard are the very antithesis to blockchain technologies.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: We’re seeing something of a crypto recession, which has led to layoffs and some companies shuttering. What do you see happening in the next three months?
REUBEN YAP: We are already seeing many crypto projects fail as they run out of funding and I think this will continue to be the case over the next couple of months. Less genuine players will be weeded out during this season and those that can weather this storm will come out stronger.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What’s the one thing you wish the public understood about cryptocurrency and/or blockchain in general?
REUBEN YAP: A lot of the public conversation around cryptocurrencies have been around its volatility, overnight millionaires, drastic drops, or use in money laundering. This is a misconception that we need to do away with.
I wish the public could see how cryptocurrencies serve as a totally new currency with a unique way to show ownership. Ownership has always been about possession or identity-based systems but cryptocurrencies don’t need either. You remember a password or store a private key and you never have to tie your identity to it or physically hold it. Decentralized cryptocurrencies also empower the everyman with true financial freedom as they can operate or transact outside of the traditional banking and political spheres.