Dr. Craig Wright: Addressing PII on the blockchain
One debate that has raged about public blockchain has been regarding personally identifiable information (PII). Advocates of anonymity have suggested that PII should not be saved to the blockchain, as it opens up users to a risk of theft and identity theft. As Dr. Craig Wright argues in his latest article, “PII in the Bitcoin World,” this is simply not the case.
Simply enough, hiding away PII doesn’t do much at all to protect someone against potential attack. “PII is not about privacy, it is about stopping unauthorised applications and changes to your credit file,” Dr. Wright notes. “As such, the issue is not whether a criminal can buy your information, but rather if they can steal money from you.”
Those who have pushed for anonymity on the blockchain, like the developers of SegWitCoin (BTC) or the dark coin Monero, have argued that the best way to keep users safe from this thread is by keeping users obscure. This is a total misconception though, and as Wright points out, one that the world has already solved. “There are real controls that stop the problem and which are not ones that can fail catastrophically as obscurity does,” he notes. “We are talking about things such as credit monitoring.”
Citing an existing credit service, Wright notes that he’s already protected from the dangers that come from his identity being public:
For a dollar a week, I have any changes to my credit file reported to me. I can stop applications cold. I have had three attempts to apply for loans under my name, and I do not hide any information (privacy is dead).
This is a problem created by those who aren’t looking at the situation clearly. Theft doesn’t occur because PII is safely guarded or readily available; it occurs because the safeguards against abusing stolen PII information are either not taken advantage of, or insufficient. “It is about time we address the cause and implement solutions that actually solve the problem,” Wright notes.
The Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain promotes privacy, but not anonymity. While users will have a right to maintain their privacy when using BSV, some PII will always be available, just by the nature of how Bitcoin was designed to work. The solution to this problem isn’t in removing the PII, which in effect is putting the burden on the potential victim to hide as best as they can, but just like with Wright’s credit monitoring service, put so much sunlight on the issue that theft becomes unthinkable. “We only win when we actually find controls that solve the problem and not ones that look at the symptoms,” he concludes.
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