Privacy is a fundamental human right, and with society migrating away from physical to digital cash, we are losing one of the remaining ways to transact privately.
Bitcoin is an entirely public ledger, in that every transaction is broadcast to everyone running the Bitcoin software. Anyone can view these transactions, but there are ways to obfuscate your spends and make it more difficult, or even close to impossible to follow the trail of transactions.
Currently, the most widely used method for adding privacy to bitcoin is to use CoinJoin services like Wasabi or Samourai. These wallets allow you to add your UTXOs to a transaction along with numerous other participants. Coinjoin can significantly increase anonymity, depending on the number of other participants.
Originally put forward by Greg Maxwell in 2013, Coinswap is a somewhat different method of anonymising your footprint on the Bitcoin network. Chris Belcher recently took the idea and put together a proposal and has received funding from the Human Rights Foundation to develop it.
In this interview, I talk to Bitcoin developer Chris Belcher and Alex Gladstein, the Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation. We discuss financial privacy as a human right, Bitcoin privacy, financing devs and Chris’ work on Coinswap.