The non-profit civil liberties foundation EFF have called-out popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to provide more transparency to increase the company’s accountability.
In a blog post written by Hayley Tsukayama – EFF’s legislative activist – concerns are raised about an increase in government intervention within this area of the financial sector via the process of requesting user information from several payment processors.
These requests often come without any third-party mediation, accountability assessment or quantitative tracking. If left unchallenged, these actions pose a genuine threat to the democratic privacy and free expression of liberties that exist on these platforms.
Tsukayama adds that “these are difficult decisions with serious consequences, and they should not be made in the dark.”
She continues on, making the point that this duty of accountability is well-overdue in the case of Coinbase. In contrast, competitors Kraken have for three years shared public knowledge of their transparency data for all users and market participants. 2019 detailed 710 accounts of information requests from third-parties.
U.S. v. Gratkowski, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that law organisations and entities do not require a warrant to approach cryptocurrency exchanges in regards to acquiring financial transactions. Despite this, third-party platforms still need to provide users with assurances that privacy is sustained at all times.
“It should stand up for its users and also use its market power and influence to show others that transparency reports are an industry standard for all cryptocurrency exchanges” says Tsukayama.
Cryptocurrency was birthed in shadows of anonymity. Nakamoto’s elusive disguise complimented well with the new financial culture it surrounded. The days of government interference were over so it seemed, replaced by a more transparent, innovative and non-censored decentralised progression of finance.
However, as this market becomes more popular within the mainstream and governments begin to claim stake, the transition of these organisations from old ways to new will continue to result in clashes of opinion and policy.
As manual cars driven on a futuristic auto-driving, Musk-inspired highway would slow down the progression of traffic, so does intervention of governments with their century-old dogmas into a tech market thriving in youthful futurists.
Many users place enormous value on the right to data privacy and freedom of speech whilst interacting with cryptocurrencies. However, if certain platforms cannot provide the safe-space for this despite public and market outcry, users may begin to look elsewhere.