As you likely know, the data of citizens are being pushed into the hands of a small set of companies. And this isn’t good.
The oil of the 21st century, data is what drives today’s society; everything you do online is logged and used—often under the guise of “improving your life.” Sometimes, services don’t even ask for permission when gathering your information.
Sure, data collection has benefited society—think Google Maps and airport security. The centralization of data, however, is a slippery slope. Just look to George Orwell’s “1984,” in which the society of Oceania, where everything is tracked by a digital panopticon, is depicted.
Orwell’s fictional society eliminates individuality by outlawing thought-crime. Corporate attempts to aggregate data are a step in converting our society to 1984’s.
Just look at the Cambridge Analytica scandal, during which the political consulting firm managed to glean into the lives of 87 million American profiles without their permission. When a loss of privacy affects the democratic process, that’s when you know things have gone too far.
In short, privacy — which has actually been classified as a fundamental human right by the United Nations — is on its way out the door. And unfortunately to those that value it, there are few individuals, companies, or governments stepping in to stem the already-fleeting sense of privacy.
Donating $75 Million to Reintroduce Privacy Into Society
Enter “Unknown Fund.” Announced in a press release published to an independent website on November 13th, a group of “ordinary” though anonymous people (seeming crypto whales) plan to invest and donate some $75 million worth of Bitcoin to companies and non-profits looking to aid privacy rights:
“The anonymous organisation Unknown Fund has announced that it intends to invest and donate $75 million in bitcoin to startups which directly or indirectly support the idea of anonymity. Preference will be given to the following niches: protection of personal data, tools for anonymity, cryptocurrency and blockchain,” the release reads.
Explaining why this fund is needed, the individuals wrote that the “protection of personal data [is] one of the main challenges for modern man,” adding that the use of data has “already become a powerful tool for manipulating people.” Referring to the aforementioned Cambridge Analytica debacle and others like it, the anonymous wrote:
“Using as examples the ultra-targeted advertising used in Brexit campaigns and in the last presidential elections in the United States, one can see how easy it is to manipulate public opinion with enough personal data.”
While it seems that the Unknown Fund partners will be giving funds via Bitcoin to any company that is working to bolster the privacy of citizens, it seems that there will be a natural focus on blockchain cryptocurrencies. The press release notably cited “blockchain and cryptocurrencies” as key technologies to “protect the rights and freedoms of people,” while also mentioning that the $75 million will help the creation of a “new environment, a new and honest monetary system, and to make the world a better place” — the rhetoric of many Bitcoiners.
This is far from the first time that Bitcoin whales have come together to create a charitable fund. In the midst of the previous bull run — which brought Bitcoin from $1,000 to $20,000 in a jaw-dropping turn of events — a user going by “Pineapple” donated dozens of millions to a number of charities and non-profits to help the causes of education, water safety, and others.
This time around, the seeming whales have coalesced around the idea of privacy. And in this writer’s opinion, that is just as important as equal opportunity and other pressing issues in today’s society.