Market Focus: Anonymity
As most working in the bitcoin space will tell you, Bitcoin is not anonymous, it is pseudonymous.
Now at first glance that statement feels a bit superfluous, a play on words if you will. Leaving the suggestion that the two might more or less be equivalent. However, as it stands there are some significant differences between those two positions and there is a whole market developing around finding ways to take transactions on the blockchain and make them (if not perfectly anonymous) closer and closer to anonymity with each added layer of security.
Case in point Darkcoin, utilizing what it calls “Darksend” manages to make it very difficult to track transactions through “the mixing of inputs and outputs going through the Darksend system. A user’s payment is automatically split into smaller denominations and pooled with the split-up payments of other users. Receivers of payments draw these denominations automatically from the pools until they have received the correct amount. Anyone viewing the blockchain will see payments being made but they won’t be able to see who paid who.”
So sitting at slot 7, with a little over 4.5 million units of DRK available at a price of 0.00638474 BTC per unit we end up with a marketcap of 29,260 BTC (14,790,424 USD). Suggesting that at the very least there’s 14 million dollars betting on the idea that the market just might want some anonymity features that Bitcoin, in it’s current form, cannot provide. Yet Darkcoin is hardly the only player in the anonymity game.
Just a few slots down in the 18th spot we have BitcoinDark (are you sensing a theme yet?) with a current 3,143,825 USD in terms of market cap. Relying on an “off- blockchain private network” to accomplish what it is calling “Teleport Technology”. Something that, according to Darkcoin developers, can be applied to any cryptocurrency thus potentially making the entire market anonymous in one fell swoop.
Yet my current favorite in the anonymity scene (if for no other reason than because it breaks the “Dark” name theme) is currently at slot 51, named ducKnote. A fork of Bytecoin, utilizing the same cryptonote technology it claims to “provide unlinkable and untraceable transactions”. While it is currently enjoying an opening burst, as many alt-coins do, sometimes opening burst continue on to become something more. Only time will tell if that can be said of ducKnote.
Last (but perhaps not least) on my list of anonymity focused choices is Icognito Coin, the community based relaunch of which was covered by our own Armaan Chandnani. Utilizing what it is calling “Bitkey Technology” it claims to create anonymity by handling the transactions in a Bitkey-transport layer. Whether or not that is sufficient to create actual anonymity is unclear to me at this time however should it prove a reliable method, Bitkey technology can be used on any and all cryptocurrencies currently in the market. Meaning once again, we can add anonymity to any coin, token, or share of our choice. If that is true then we can expect Incognito Coin’s current market cap (clocking in at 30,964 USD) to grow in time.
Taken individually or used altogether these technologies represent the base desire for all users to have the option of privacy when transacting on the net. While taken at face value this need might be misconstrued as a desire to do something nefarious or partake in something of dubious morality. The truth is, when taken in context with the world we live in today, where there is massive surveillance into our social and private lives. Where questionable economic sanctions dictate who is allowed access to resources and who is not. Taken in that context and suddenly the desire for anonymity begins to make sense.
The majority of users don’t want to commit bad acts. They simply want to be able to participate in an economy without bad actors tracking or controlling their participation. This might sound crazy but only because most people alive today do not remember a time when we didn’t simply assume all of our activity was being tracked. Most people have already forgotten what it was like to have genuine privacy. In the future everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes is not simply a catchy slogan, it’s an indiccator of market potential. It’s a problem to be solved and there are plenty of young, enterprising minds setting out to solve it.
While I can’t choose for you, I recommend backing at least one such group.
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