Around the world, the human rights to privacy and freedom are compromised online. With the unending attacks on encryption and the exploitation of our personal information, it can be easy to forget that the United Nations declared privacy a human right in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
In the United States, it’s hard to come to terms with the dissonance of how it’s a federal crime to open a piece of physical mail addressed to someone else, yet our communications with our friends are subject to warrantless search. Even “just” our browsing habits and trails of who we interact with and when (the metadata associated with what we do online) can reveal who we are as human beings: our fears, our relationships, our vulnerabilities. And having that information readily accessible makes us all targets.
Protecting Dissent and Freedom Online
Tor software has been, and continues to be, a vital tool for dissidents worldwide, including during the Arab Spring, but privacy and freedom online should not be a luxury. Human rights are not radical.
Even though it’s creeping up all around us and is a part of our everyday lives, no matter where you are online in the world, we cannot get comfortable with the erosion of our rights on the internet. We can’t come to terms with it. With the Snowden revelations, Cambridge Analytica scandal and myriad of data breaches, people are waking up to the reality of how deep surveillance capitalism has its claws. There are tools out there, including Tor, and new laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), but the protections are not comprehensive.
CCPA is meant to grant people the ability to see, delete and stop the sale of their personal data. This is a major victory, but companies are having trouble agreeing on how to enact it. It’s up for interpretation.
Digital Rights Should Not Be Up for Interpretation
At the Tor Project, we believe that sharing information is a personal choice. We think privacy should be the default online. We need an internet where people can exercise their intellectual freedom and curiosity without being exploited by big corporations for profit, targeted for their personal beliefs, manipulated for political gain or worse. By using Tor Browser, you can browse freely and privately, and with onion services, you can publish and share information all while retaining your rights as well. Onion services can be used to protect almost any online service, so we are preparing for their popularity to grow as the next step after HTTPS in securing the net.
While we and our friends around the world fight for better privacy laws, we are building an online experience that gives people back their rights to privacy and freedom online. Similar to Bitcoin, the backbone of Tor software is a decentralized network; there is no central entity to trust. This is the way forward. We can build a better internet and enjoy our rights, and the laws can catch up to us. You can help create this future by running a relay, making a donation or even just using Tor software.
Anonymity loves company.
This is an op ed contribution from Steph Whited. Views expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.
The post Privacy Isn’t Radical: How Tor Supports Dissent as a Human Right appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Bullish? On-Exchange Bitcoin Declines While Whales Accumulate (Report)
A recent report suggests that the amount of Bitcoin stored on exchanges is declining while BTC whales increase their holdings and that’s bullish for Bitcoin’s price.
The paper also highlighted that investors have a much larger time horizon for their holdings now compared to previous years.
Bitcoin Stored On Exchanges Drop
In its latest report shared with CryptoPotato on Bitcoin investors’ behavior, the popular research company Digital Delphi explored the number of bitcoins stored on cryptocurrency exchanges. The document indicated that if the BTC stock on platforms increases, it could put sell pressure.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case during bull runs, as retail investors often “leave BTC on exchanges and traders use BTC as margin collateral.” Alternatively, in case the asset price rises while the stock on exchange decreases, this typically implies an accumulation trend.
The report indicated that Bitcoin stored on exchanges marked an all-time high of 2.96 million in mid-February. Since then, the trend has reversed, and the number has dropped to below 2.6 million.
Digital Delphi argued that the reason behind this decrease of BTC on exchanges is because investors are most likely preparing for a longer-term holding period. More importantly, though, the paper highlighted a substantial decline in speculative trading interest in Bitcoin, while the HODLing mentality has increased.
“Unlike the 2019 price uptrend, which coincided with BTC stock increasing, this current trend has seen a divergence between BTC stock and price. This suggests a more sustainable move upwards for BTC, in comparison to that of 2019, as data indicates a holder base with longer time horizons.”
Bitcoin Whales Haven’t Slowed Down Accumulating
Digital Delphi’s data reaffirmed previous reports that Bitcoin whales, meaning addresses containing between 1,000 and 10,000 BTC, continue to accumulate large portions. The company outlined that whales have been on a shopping spree since the start of 2020, as their holdings have increased by 9% YTD.
Moreover, the US Federal Reserve’s actions to print extensive amounts of dollars since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated whales’ accumulations.
“Since the USD M2 supply expansion in March, there has been a 7% increase in whale holdings.”
According to the document, this only emphasizes the narrative that Bitcoin serves as a hedge against dollar inflation, and “the smart money is clearly betting on this.” It’s worth noting that prominent US investor Paul Tudor Jones III purchased BTC earlier this year to protect himself against precisely the rising inflation.
US Crypto Tax Avoiders Beware: The IRS Updates 1040 Tax Form
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seems to have found a way to block crypto tax evasion, following an update of its tax form.
IRS: No Excuses for Crypto Traders
According to the Wall Street Journal on Friday (September 25, 2020), the IRS is planning to alter its 1040 tax form. The revised tax form will see cryptocurrency holders give a straight answer about their crypto activities.
The IRS has been relentlessly pursuing crypto investors to disclose transactions, as it suspects that many taxpayers were guilty of tax evasion. However, the tax administrator looks like it has found a way to make all Bitcoin holders accountable.
Presently, the tax form will mandate crypto traders to answer a” yes or no” to the following question:
“At any time during 2020, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”
What makes the update interesting is the placement of the above question. Prior to the revised tax form, the question appeared in a section where taxpayers were not mandated to fill the answer. However, the question’s position in the altered tax form just below the taxpayer’s name and address leaves no room for excuses or oversight on the part of the crypto trader.
Reacting to the altered form of 1040 was Ed Zollars:
“This placement is unprecedented and will make it easier for the IRS to win cases against taxpayers who check ‘No’ when they should check ‘Yes”
There have been complaints in the past about the lack of a robust regulatory framework for crypto tax filings. In October 2019, the IRS published new tax guidelines that would supposedly make it easier for crypto investors to file taxes. The U.S. tax agency also sent reminder letters to crypto holders. Earlier in September, the IRS announced a payment of $625,000 to anyone who could crack Monero and Bitcoin’s lightning network.
Governments Keen on Crypto Taxation
While the IRS seems to have devised a means to trap crypto holders, more countries are introducing crypto tax laws and clamping down on offenders.
As reported by CryptoPotato in April, Spain’s tax administrator sent out notices to 66,000 crypto investors, as against the 14,000 notices sent in 2019. South Korea, on the other hand, has been unsteady about taxing cryptocurrency.
Earlier in 2020, South Korea’s Ministry of Finance and Strategy revealed that there were no intentions to tax crypto profits. However, reports emerged that the Ministry was considering imposing a 20% tax on profits from crypto trading. In June, the country’s Finance Minister called for the imposition of tax on cryptocurrency trading gains.
Australia’s tax agency, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), sent out reminders to 350,000 crypto traders in March about their tax obligations. According to the ATO, crypto investors were to keep a comprehensive record of their trading activities for ease of tax payment.
Chinese State Media Report: Cryptocurrencies Are The Best-Performing Assets Of 2020
Although China still categorizes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as illegal, several state-owned media outlets purportedly ran reports describing them as the best-performing assets since the start of the year.
Bitcoin And Crypto Run On Chinese Media
A popular state-owned media under the name Xinhua News Agency set the tone yesterday by citing a Bloomberg report titled “crypto is beating gold as 2020’s top asset so far.” Apart from summarizing Bloomberg’s narrative, Xinhua added that cryptocurrencies are “decentralized financial instruments” and concluded that they have become “the best performing asset class this year.”
Another digital asset coverage followed today on China Central Television (CCTV) – among the most popular broadcasting services in the nation. In a three-minute-long video clip, CCTV spoke about cryptocurrencies and emphasized on their year-to-date performance. More specifically, the clip focused on their 70% price increase this year.
According to a popular cryptocurrency commentator Dovey Wan, this “interesting propaganda” spread out among other outlets, being featured on all “avenues, newspapers, online media, and TV.” The advertised narrative was the same – that digital assets have been outperforming all other investment instruments.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao commented that people might not understand the significance behind this coverage, but “it is big.”
However, Wan raised a compelling question – what’s the real intention behind this move? After all, cryptocurrencies remain banned for official usage within the world’s most populated nation. She speculated that this coverage might have something to do with the Chinese central bank digital currency that’s reportedly being tested.
China Behind The Price Pump?
As CryptoPotato reported earlier today, green dominated the cryptocurrency field with the total market cap increasing by about $20 billion since yesterday.
Historically, news and announcements from China have undoubtedly impacted prices. As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise that the two-day media coverage promoting cryptocurrencies as the best-performing assets in 2020 has affected the market to some extent.
In late 2019, President Xi Jinping urged the country to accelerate its blockchain adoption. In the next few hours, the cryptocurrency field experienced some of its most impressive price pumps in history. Bitcoin alone skyrocketed by 42% in hours.
Less than a month later, country officials clarified that being pro-blockchain didn’t mean a positive attitude on cryptocurrencies. After reaffirming that digital assets are still illegal, their value plummeted in response.
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