The launch of a new Arkham project to trade data on cryptocurrency wallet owners has raised questions about the ethics of disclosing such information
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance reported on July 18 that it has completed the public sale of tokens of the Arkham Intelligence (ARKM) analytics service. The token trades opened at $0.05, but shortly after the start of trading on the exchange, the ARKM rate soared to $0.75.
Arkham Intelligence has developed its own platform to visually analyze data in the most popular blockchains. With its help, you can view data about cryptocurrency wallets and movement of funds. And in doing so, matching wallet owners and analyzing their actions. This is applicable, for example, for investors when studying the chain of transactions of successful traders. Or for exchanges and law enforcement agencies when tracking the movement and conversion of stolen cryptocurrency.
Wide functionality and successful marketing strategy. Which includes a referral system and airdrop of future tokens, helped the project attract a user base.
Together with the announcement of the launch of the token, which received the ticker ARKM. And its distribution via airdrop and presale on the Binance Launchpad platform, the developers also announced the launch of the Arkham Intel Exchange marketplace. And on which the token will be used. On the site will be organized data marketplace, where buyers will be able to put up a reward for information. Which can be obtained from the analysis of cryptocurrency wallets, including for the identification of specific individuals who own these wallets. The service itself is promoted under the banner of ” deanonymizing the blockchain.”
This provoked a wave of discontent in social media discussions. And the company began to be accused of an unethical approach to personal data and privacy.
Despite the fact that data on all transactions in blockchains is public. But linking them to real people is often difficult. And privacy for many people is one of the fundamental factors in using cryptocurrencies as opposed to existing banking and payment systems.
There is no direct prohibition on “de-anonymization of blockchain”. However, it is related to the personal data of users on the web. And which clearly did not give consent for someone else to have access to them. Our experts believe that it will be important to distinguish between the personal data of users on this platform and those that they have provided to exchanges.
From an ethical point of view, this approach infringes on the basic principles and fundamentals of blockchain. Such as privacy and simultaneous transparency. When law enforcement obtains information about user accounts on exchanges.This becomes a kind of restriction of rights for the greater good. In the situation of selling data, not everything is so clear-cut. Because sellers and buyers operate with other people’s data, obtained not always in a legal way.
Our experts believe that many ordinary users will not be happy to find themselves and their wallet in such a database. This increases the risk that a person will become an object of attack of fraudsters. And they will know who owns the wallet and how much money he has.
Law enforcement agencies, cryptocurrency tracking systems or private researchers could act as such a platform’s services.
At the early stage, the use of the service will be limited to a narrow circle of users, our experts believe. Cryptocurrencies were created as an alternative to centralized systems. And many users want to remain anonymous and do not want to disclose data about themselves and their transactions. On the other hand, regulators have policies aimed at disclosing user data for the sake of their own safety. And they are introducing mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures on marketplaces to identify malicious users and hold them accountable.
A promising technology that would help both parties. According to our experts, the Zero Knowledge Proof (ZK) protocol is a promising technology that would help both parties. With it, it is possible to develop a technological solution that balances human privacy for the general public. And by allowing limited fragments of data to be disclosed to government agencies.
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