The Blockchain and Our Privacy: Can the New Technology Help with Our Growing Privacy Problems?


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Privateness problems about the Web have been about considering the fact that it broke into the mainstream from the academic world. But, for many years, the voices warning us about the hazards inherent in it were considered minor far more than prophets of doom, paranoid maniacs yelling in the desert. But then, the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden popped up, seemingly out of nowhere, and transformed the recreation. 

Worries about privacy and the major-brotherish World wide web surveillance have skyrocketed just after Snowden’s revelations. The “marginal” troubles raised by the “prophets of dooms” so prolonged back are now central to several Web users worldwide. 

The principal problem in just about every concerned user’s thoughts is: what can I do to safeguard my privacy, then? So the natural way, utilizing a VPN is a person of the most widespread responses (these days, even The Pirate Bay’s web-site encourages its customers to adopt a VPN). So, it shouldn’t shock us how the VPN sector has exploded in new many years.

Covid-19 Even more Highlights On line Privacy Considerations

Then the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, pouring gas into the fireplace. Soon after that, on the internet digital functions grew exponentially as hundreds of thousands of folks globally observed them selves confined, needing to get the job done from home. They began performing every little thing as a result of Zoom conferences, and cloud computing. Learning on the fly about the privacy implications of their day-to-day routines.

So, the former indifference to privateness challenges has grow to be an obsession for lots of. Instantly, every thing we say or do has most likely tragic privateness implications, and the globe is in constant danger. 

And if every little thing and anything at all can impact everybody’s privacy, new systems have even extra prospective to do so, like the blockchain.

Blockchain technological innovation has been a subject matter as unstable as privateness – if not extra so. The tips powering Bitcoin’s construction crawled out of the cryptocurrency subculture into the pc science’s mainstream. It appeared that this new way of carrying out things had the probable to resolve each and every technological or administrative trouble. Then the buzz went down practically as promptly as it went up.

Renewed Interest in Blockchain? 

Some incredibly influential forces in the engineering entire world have remained adamant about their commitment to the blockchain. IBM, for instance, chose the Stellar Lumens blockchain as its system of option for blockchain tasks, and it’s remained bullish about it. Then the earth shook in panic as rumors went close to that Facebook’s Libra venture would be a blockchain built-in into the social community. And extra not long ago, we have viewed how other tech giants these as Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft are all putting jointly blockchain jobs to contend in the current market.

So, is the interest in the blockchain owning a renaissance? Probably not. It seems that the world’s top players hardly ever dumped their blockchain projects for the potential they just kept them less than wraps. There is continue to loads of religion in the blockchain’s probable to go close to, although it has remained very far absent from satisfying its claims.

The opportunity in the blockchain is not in question. It is there, and it’s massive. But as well numerous thoughts continue to are in the way of true mass adoption. Blockchains have implications for individual and information privacy, of study course. Some of people implications are peripheral, but some go to the main of the difficulty. So, that begs the following question: could private privateness be the concern that finally provides blockchain technologies correct into the coronary heart of the mainstream?

Is Personalized Privateness the Catalyst for Earning Blockchain Mainstream?

Before we go forward and try out to reply that issue, let us 1st critique the principles of blockchains.

Bitcoin is the blockchain that gets the most focus from lovers and skeptics alike. That’s since it was the initial just one to get there in the entire world, and the wild fluctuations that Bitcoin’s benefit has experienced over the yrs make it a spectacular tale at all situations. So it is Bitcoin’s worth that will get all the push, and as a result most people are lacking the issue: the star in the cryptocurrency environment is not Bitcoin. It is the blockchain alone.

bitcoin and blockchain technology

Picture: Source

The blockchain is the algorithm that allows Bitcoin (and just about every other cryptocurrency) to exist. It is the know-how that can develop and keep a secured, immutable, unhackable database (a ledger in most instances), and it’s that ledger that retains Bitcoin alive.

And yet again, the blockchain is the innovative ingredient in crypto, not the currencies. Blockchain programs extend much and away from handling electronic funds, even if it remains the use scenario that led to its existence.

And why is the blockchain the true star in the cryptocurrency movement? Mainly because it gives a method in which you can continue to keep a database pristine at all instances. It can make arbitrary alterations or person fraud exceedingly difficult to attain and even unattainable in apply if the community is large adequate. So a blockchain can authenticate anything that can be digitalized, even indirectly, devoid of any “trust gaps” in the system. 

How Can Blockchain Aid with Guarding Individual Privateness? 

Blockchain observers and lovers see a source that could become an alternate to items like passwords and usernames in the blockchain. Think about a blockchain in the potential that offers each and every one World wide web person in the entire world with a digital id. A person that is encrypted, protected, and unalterable without the user’s consent. And this identity certification will give you obtain to every little thing from your Gmail account to your health care records. The very same blockchain would continue to keep tracking your data and storing it. Since the blockchain architecture is all about basic safety and inalterability, all that details would continue to be safe and sound and protected at all times. And that’s the principle. Private privateness aided by blockchain could glimpse like that in the upcoming.

But every new technologies generally has to experience and triumph over generalized person resistance. So a applicable problem is, are we prepared to let the blockchain to build a digital watermark for just about every of us? Are we inclined? Will we trust it and help it if such a network comes alive?

Privacy vs. Security

If we’re going to speak about using the blockchain as the foremost instrument to defend privacy, then the 1st point for us to comprehend is that privateness and defense are two very different notions. So, let’s check out to occur up with doing the job definitions for both.


Privateness refers to your potential to make a decision what info other electronic functions can acquire about you. For illustration, are you ok with a web page analyzing the form of tracks you’re listening to each working day? Or figuring out what your favored pasta manufacturer is by analyzing your procuring decisions? What rights should you have to figure out all that?


Security comes next. Once that privateness-connected information is out there in somebody’s database, what is the database proprietor doing to make confident that it’s safe and that it won’t close up in the palms of hackers, 3rd get-togethers, or the government?

Privacy is a consumer right (not that it’s really respected by everyone, but it is, in basic principle). Security is a responsibility that all those who conduct data collecting (not that they honor it so generally, either, but, all over again, it is in principle) are supposed to observe, if only simply because it is in their best interest.

So the coin has two sides: privacy and security, and both are essential. Blockchain know-how is superb at a person, but not with the other one.

Let’s look at the next scenario: 

A consumer wants the selection to delete a bit of info about himself that the blockchain saved formerly. He just cannot. The blockchain’s databases, ledgers, or other electronic objects are unable to be altered retrospectively. A blockchain’s memory is great simply because its historical past has a copy in every single node in the network. In the words and phrases of Douglas Adams, “once that one thing comes about, it stays occurred.”

So how considerably of an advantage is this fantastic blockchain memory? Nicely, it by now flies in the face of the European Union’s Standard Facts Defense Regulation. This legislation areas the correct of just about every person to be “forgotten” as an essential priority.

EU GDPR chart

Graphic: Source

So, for instance, if I order a e book on Amazon right now that could grow to be shameful to have in the potential, that straightforward fact shouldn’t keep online to pester my foreseeable future existence endlessly. But if these problems became dominated by the blockchain, then the memory of that book would be there for good to make my long term miserable. We could examine if any electronic info storage procedure can actually overlook by natural means, but which is for a further day and a further article. 

For now, we will hold to the blockchain circumstance. So no, it does not fail to remember it never will. And this illustrates how a blockchain Huge Brother would be a amazing remedy in conditions of security but a bane for privacy legal rights.

Could there be a center-of-the-street option? 

Let’s imagine anything that a blockchain could control: the means to management when your data can be utilised in a individual function as an alternative of obtaining the capacity to decide out right away. This is a nuance appropriate with the blockchain philosophy, and it could make improvements to everybody’s data expertise.

Moving Ahead

But let us not get in advance of ourselves. The scenarios we’ve described so far are what we could have with the present blockchain technological know-how. But the blockchain is in its earliest infancy, it’s in the diaper stage even now, and as it grows up and matures, it could offer you us a little something significantly extra nuanced and versatile to support with privateness and safety. So let us not throw the infant out with the bathwater however. The plan to learn is that, at this stage, the usefulness of blockchains to guard personal privateness is very limited, as we (or the EU polices) want it to be.

Centuries ago, gold and silver were wealth. They saved value. In today’s earth, gold, silver, authorized tender, and numerous other matters hold value too (Bitcoin, for instance), but there’s a new participant in the environment: information. There is worth in facts in today’s economy.

For illustration, each individual time you carry out a lookup on Google, the server appreciates it, keeps a file, and suppliers it in a database. Why? Mainly because it is aware how to put that piece of data alongside one another with other types about you and monetize them. If you present a valued client ID at your grocery shop, any person tracks that facts simply because it is really worth one thing to them.

And which is nothing! When the World-wide-web of points results in being commonplace, all your devices and toys will present insane quantities of details about you to anyone ready to fork out for it. And this is the context in which a blockchain results in being a very important software in private privacy security.

Empowered or imprisoned?

A blockchain can empower buyers to decide on the bits of knowledge they want to be out there and who ought to have them. No, you simply cannot alter them once they’re out. So, if they visited a web site with questionable articles, the environment would know (the fraction of the entire world who cares, at the very least).

But they could have the solution to turn off accessibility to that server so that nobody finds out. This would keep genuine until eventually the blockchain in problem receives hacked, of course. And hacked, it will be till it has more than enough nodes scattered about the earth so that no single agent can ever safe management of much more than 50% + 1 of the network, which is what a hack desires.

Can Blockchain technologies be hacked?

So, of course, blockchains can even now get hacked. And no, it is not uncomplicated. And when they are as huge as Bitcoin, for example, it’s not possible in practice. But until eventually the theoretical possibility stays there, the risk for privacy safety prevails. And even the theoretical prospect a hacker has of disrupting a blockchain will become irrelevant when complexity will come into the equation.

But let’s not get sidetracked. The blockchain holds huge probable for protecting private privateness and data. But having a blockchain-primarily based answer for this issue is years in the long run. Also, that variety of job would will need eager coordination from governments, businesses, buyers, and regulatory authorities prior to it can transpire.

The most possible situation is that we will see pieces of a alternative coming alongside one another in the next several many years as the most tech-savvy providers begin to set ahead blockchain experiments that present partial protection to their prospects. But it will be at minimum five several years (getting quite optimistic) before we can see a blockchain-dependent encrypted id services pop up as a practical professional substitute.

Is Blockchain the solution to our privacy worries?

So the massive issue stays: can blockchain be the personal privateness safety option we all want? Indeed, it could be. It has the seeds of the remedy in it so that the fruit could remedy the issue in the upcoming. So the response is: of course, perhaps, sometime.

But as items stand nowadays, even one year is also long to hold out for anything. The electronic earth moves also quick by now. So if what we want is anything that will help issues right right here and now, then blockchain is not it. Regrettably, nothing at all will assistance us improve our privacy security a lot more than the partial answers we presently have in the very current.

Anthony Gaenzle

Anthony Gaenzle

CEO at Gaenzle Marketing

Anthony is CEO and Founder of Gaenzle Marketing. He is a two-time posted author, electronic internet marketing influencer, and technologies fanatic. He has helped makes the two massive and little expand and prosper throughout many industries through strategic marketing strategies and introducing highly effective technology answers to strengthen productiveness and aid them mature.

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