Although many laud Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other preeminent crypto assets for their decentralized, non-censorable, immutable, and secure decentralized nature, privacy is a concern for most projects. While Bitcoin transactions, for example, are pseudonymous, blockchain analytics firms have historically scrutinized data to determine the identity of crypto’s bad actors.
While the flagship cryptocurrency has been slow to curb such invasiveness, its little brother, the one and only Litecoin, may be making moves to fix public blockchains’ abundant privacy qualms.
Litecoin Looks To Offer On-Chain Privacy
Former Coinbase executive Charlie Lee, the fervent leader behind the Litecoin Foundation, recently took to Twitter to make a surprising announcement, which garnered thousands of likes on the social media platform.
After hinting at the introduction of fungibility- and privacy-centric features to his brainchild for months, Lee confirmed that he would be working on implementing Confidential Transactions (CT) into Litecoin’s blockchain.
Fungibility is the only property of sound money that is missing from Bitcoin & Litecoin. Now that the scaling debate is behind us, the next battleground will be on fungibility and privacy.
I am now focused on making Litecoin more fungible by adding Confidential Transactions. 🚀
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) January 28, 2019
In subsequent tweets and a blog post, it was confirmed that the implementation of CT, a soft-forkable network addition originally proposed by Blockstream’s chief executive, Adam Back, could occur “sometime in 2019.” Lee, backing his shift in strategy, noted that activation of CTs would be “the final hurdle for cryptocurrencies to become ‘sound money’.
For those who missed the memo, CTs drastically increase the privacy and traceability of blockchain-based transactions by encrypting inputs and outputs. Monero uses a variation of the base technology to disallow the tracking of XMR transfers.
As this development spread across crypto’s community wildfire, industry commentators quickly took to their respective soapboxes to touch on Litecoin’s push to harness fungibility. Luke Martin, a leading crypto trader, noted that it will be “great to track” the progress of Charlie Lee’s newest project, quipping that it will be interesting to see if Litecoin can continue to be a pseudo-testnet for Bitcoin.
Hasu, an independent crypto researcher, noted that it is good to see a Bitcoin-esque project add CT before the ‘real deal’ implements it, so the tradeoffs can be “seen in the wild.”
Monero Dev: Financial Privacy Is A Human Right
Litecoin’s renewed push for on-chain confidentiality comes as South African entrepreneur Riccardo Spagni, one of Charlie Lee’s dear friends & a prominent Monero (XMR) community member, touted the importance of privacy. According to The Block, who reported on the matter, Spagni revealed in an event at Davos, Switzerland that privacy isn’t criminal, but the “natural state of things.”
Spagni did acknowledge that society has made a move to value convenience over privacy, but remarked that this ability to welcome in corporations, merchants, and governments to handle the reins of “big data” isn’t right. To back his point, likely issued to a crowd of Wall Street hotshots with a vested interest in traditional systems, Spagni noted that targeted crime, eerily efficient advertising, and a lack of financial security can be catalyzed by the oversharing of sensitive information.
The Monero proponent then drew attention to the five pillars of crypto privacy — unlinkability, untraceability, cryptographically valueless, passively hidden, and optionality — before doubling-down on his enamorment with working on a privacy-concious project.
Title Image Courtesy of Descryptive.com Via Flickr