Bitcoin and its users employ a variety of obfuscation techniques to increase their financial privacy. We visualize a representative selection of these techniques in Figure 1 based on their time of invention/creation and our assessment of their similarity to obfuscation vs. cryptography. We make several observations. First, techniques used in Bitcoin predominantly fall into obfuscation, with stronger techniques being used exclusively in alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins). Second, there is a trend towards stronger techniques over time, perhaps due to a growing interest in privacy and to the greater difficulty of developing cryptographic techniques. Third, obfuscation techniques proposed at later points in time are seeing less adoption, arguably a result of their increased complexity and need for coordination among participants (Möser & Böhme 2017).
ARTICLE 19 has issued a warning about the promotion of blockchain technology as a solution to censorship. In a report published today, the freedom of expression organisation identifies some of the risks that arise from the use of blockchain technology. It also identifies steps that states, public organisations and tech companies should take to ensure that human rights are protected when this technology is used.
The building of the blockchain is predicted to harken the end of the contemporary sovereign order. Some go further to claim that as a powerful decentering technology, blockchain contests the continued functioning of world capitalism. Are such claims merited? In this paper we consider sovereignty and blockchain technology theoretically, posing possible futures for sovereignty in a blockchain world. These possibilities include various forms of individual, popular, technological, corporate, and techno-totalitarian state sovereignty. We identify seven structural tendencies of blockchain technology and give examples as to how these have manifested in the construction of new forms of sovereignty. We conclude that the future of sovereignty in a blockchain world will be articulated in the conjuncture of social struggle and technological agency and we call for a stronger alliance between technologists and democrats.
Maqta Gateway has developed and launched Silsal — a blockchain-based technology that aims to improve efficiency in the shipping and logistics industry.According to Construction Business News, Silsal will initially be available to freight forwarders and their customers, with the new system being rolled out to “the rest of the trade community as a complementary tool to the existing mPCS (Maqta’s Port Community System).”Using an internal blockchain, Abu Dhabi Ports hopes to reduce paperwork, facilitate real-time status updates and accelerate information exchange.Silsal was developed internally in the Digital Innovation Lab of Maqta Gateway and has been field tested with strategic customers of Abu Dhabi Ports, as Construction Business News reports. CEO of Maqta Gateway Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri commented:
Censorship has a long history and is practiced in many societies. There have been book burnings by fascist regimes, religions censoring texts, and even social media is being monitored and censored by governments. Uncensorme.xyz is a decentralized, censorship-free communication platform that runs on blockchain technology. The inherent immutability of the technology allows us to store messages in the massively shared and spread database that is the blockchain. Any data stored in the blockchain is permanent, and therefore free from any form of censorship. Information wants to be free. Uncensorme.xyz is not only here for freedom of communication, but also the preservation of information.