Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Human Rights Foundation Funds Bitcoin Privacy Tools Despite ‘Coin Mixing’ Legal Stigma

By Leigh Cuen
CoinDesk
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

https://www.coindesk.com/human-rights-foundation-bitcoin-privacy-tools-developer-fund

On one hand, the bitcoin industry has matured to include traditional brokerages and institutional traders. On the other, bitcoin privacy tech is still shrouded in a legal gray zone.

Read the beginning of the article.

Critics like Reckless VR founder Udi Wertheimer and Jon Matonis of Cypherpunk Holdings, the latter of which invested in both the privacy-oriented Samourai Wallet and Wasabi-maker zkSNACKs, say blockchain analytics firms are overestimating the amount of illicit transactions when they flag mixed bitcoin. 

“Exchanges, banks and regulators are being sold a false narrative if they believe that this [analytics] technology provides reliable, or more importantly, actionable results,” Matonis said. “It is purely a dangerous game of probabilities and false positives, disingenuously overstated to peddle more forensic services.”

HRF’s Gladstein recently took Elliptic, another blockchain analytics firm, to task for its “surveillance” work. “The tools you’re building regardless of your intentions will be used for policing bitcoin,” Gladstein said during a panel with Elliptic’s Tom Robinson at an event this month. “At the end of the day what you’re doing is warrantless surveillance against people in other countries.”

For his part, Matonis’s investment thesis revolves around the belief the legal community will adopt compliance norms that don’t restrict or criminalize privacy-tech like mixers.

“The concern around mixing technology, or coin hygiene, stems from the flawed thinking that cryptocurrency transactions are identical to bank transfers using fiat currency,” Matonis said. “This is a grand societal battle that must be won by privacy advocates, not because it is a cute feature or a principled position, but because it is an existential economic necessity. A peer-to-peer value transfer system fails without underlying coin privacy at its core, because the entire system would lack fungibility if all coins were not treated equally the way paper cash is today.”

This is why some bitcoiners continue to work on privacy tech, regardless of exchange policies and other hurdles.

Continued growth

Meanwhile, CoinJoin usage continues to increase, with roughly 13,500 new Wasabi Wallet downloads this year.

So far in June, more than 10,000 fresh bitcoin were used in Wasabi CoinJoin transactions for the first time, the highest record since the all-time peak in August 2019 according to the Wasabi team. 

Overall, usage has more than tripled since May 2019, when roughly 9,764 total bitcoin were used in Wasabi’s CoinJoin transactions, compared to 35,697 total bitcoin used in May 2020, they said. 

And that’s not even to mention the few thousand bitcoin sent using other CoinJoin tools since the coronavirus began, including Samourai Wallet and JoinMarket. Generally speaking, usage appears to be up across the sector.

Matonis said as long as companies and public individuals focus on non-custodial, open source software, he believes privacy-tech projects will actually bear less compliance costs over time as the tools become normalized. For example, mixing protocols could become a “standard default feature” in bitcoin wallets. 

“Both the bitcoin industry and law enforcement need to resist falling for the myth of blockchain forensics as perpetrated by the blockchain surveillance firms,” Matonis said of companies that routinely flag mixed coins as suspicious. 

“Law enforcement methods will undoubtedly have to evolve beyond simply using money as an identity tracking device or simply relying on metadata through non-targeted driftnet surveillance,” he added. “This means employing real and sometimes cumbersome police work that doesn’t violate the rights of any individuals.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Blockchain Rock Interview with Jon Matonis

Blockchain Rock
Tuesday, March 24, 2020


We are back, and we open this new season with an outstanding guest: Jon Matonis! A legend of the crypto-world (and you’ll know why by the end of this episode): he’s the Chief Economist at Cypherpunk Holdings, a Forbes and Coindesk recurrent author, and the Founding and Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

This episode explores Jon’s story as well as the story of digital cryptography: starting from encrypted email, to Verisign, Digicash, eGold, and the work of the Bitcoin Foundation. We also discuss themes such as financial privacy and its importance to economic and political freedom, the Crypto Arms Race, the end game for Bitcoin, and the three primary functions of money.

Also available on Apple podcast:

Also available on Spotify podcast:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Maker of Wasabi Bitcoin Wallet Valued at $7.5M in First Equity Round

By Leigh Cuen
CoinDesk
Thursday, November 21, 2019


The privacy-centric bitcoin wallet Wasabi, launched by zkSNACKs Ltd. in 2018, just raised its first equity investment from Cypherpunk Holdings, a publicly-traded Canadian firm. 

Cypherpunk Holdings CEO Dominic Frisby said the firm invested $337,500 in exchange for a 4.5 percent stake, valuing the wallet startup at $7.5 million. 

“It’s extraordinary for a tech company, this early in its evolution, to have the revenues that Wasabi already has,” Frisby said. “It’s one of the only forms of a crypto wallet that have a revenue model.”

Although the zkSNACKs team didn’t respond to requests for comment, co-founder Adam Fiscor previously told CoinDesk the company’s mixer transaction fees earned 14 bitcoin in July 2019 alone (roughly $112,000 by current prices). It appears Wasabi Wallet processed at least 5,373 mixed CoinJoins in July, August and early September. If that trend continued for 12 months, it would put revenues at over $1 million. 

This newest addition rounds out Cypherpunk’s holdings, which include roughly 2,000 monero and 180 bitcoin, Frisby said, in addition to equity in the rival privacy project Samourai Wallet (valued at $6.6 million, based on Cypherpunk’s $100,000 investment for 1.5 percent equity) and the blockchain startup Chia, founded by cypherpunk legend Bram Cohen. 

“Both wallets, and privacy-enabling services, have very impressive network effects in that the more participants there are, the more private each participant is,” Cypherpunk’s CIO Moe Adham said. “Wasabi is well-positioned to capture much of that market … not only for personal use but also for enterprises.”


Friday, November 1, 2019

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. Becomes Lead Investor in Samourai Wallet

Press Release
Newsfile
Monday, June 3, 2019

https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/45183/Cypherpunk-Holdings-Inc.-Becomes-Lead-Investor-in-Samourai-Wallet

Deal Emphasizes Cypherpunk's Commitment to Funding Outstanding Privacy Technology

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - June 3, 2019) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce it has become the lead investor in Katana Cryptographic Ltd., whose main product is Samourai Wallet

Katana Cryptographic is an early-stage, London-based computer software company, focused on developing privacy technologies. Katana has developed numerous algorithms and actively maintains open source software designed to mitigate against common surveillance tactics and enhance transactional privacy.

Its main product, Samourai Wallet, is described by the coinsutra.com as "the most secure and privacy-centric Bitcoin wallet currently available in the market." Samourai is still in alpha-mode, but it already has a user-base of 27,000. Full-release 1.0 is expected before the end of June.

Katana's founders, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill, were, respectively, Product Lead and Lead Mobile Developer at blockchain.info between 2013 and 2016, overseeing the growth of the user-base from from 1m to 6m.

Other Katana privacy technologies include Open Exploration Tool, RicochetStonewall, Whirlpool and Dojo.

Commentating on the investment, Cypherpunk Director Dominic Frisby said: "We met with Katana, and were most impressed with the technologies they are developing and with Katana's commitment to privacy. We share similar values, so are delighted to be able to aid the future development of Katana's products from such an early stage. This deal shows the edge that we at Cypherpunk have."

Cypherpunk Chief Economist Jon Matonis added: "As transactional privacy by default becomes the norm in digital wallets, Samourai may be leading the way in fungibility innovation and maintaining proper coin hygiene."

Katana's CEO Keonne Rodriguez commented, "Katana is excited to have found a partner in Cypherpunk Holdings. We look forward to their partnership and support as we continue executing on our mission to deploy easy to use, privacy enhancing software on the Bitcoin blockchain. Financial sovereignty is more important now than ever before, with the freedom to transact being tantamount to freedom of speech. Cypherpunk Holdings have demonstrated their commitment to these core values and we look forward to working on delivering this vision with their support."

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. is a vehicle set up to invest in companies, technologies and protocols, which enhance or protect privacy. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. The stated mission of Cypherpunk Holdings is "to become the world's leading privacy-focused investment vehicle." This is a seed capital investment of US $100,000.

Cypherpunk's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "HODL".

More details, and the latest company presentation, can be found at the company website: https://cypherpunkholdings.com/

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in the blockchain and other sectors and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact:
Marc Henderson,
Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.,
Office: 416.599.8547

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc Announces Appointment of Jon Matonis as Chief Economist

Press Release
Newsfile
Tuesday, February 13, 2019

https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/42804/Cypherpunk-Holdings-Inc-Announces-Appointment-of-Jon-Matonis-as-Chief-Economist

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - February 13, 2019) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that Jon Matonis has joined the company as Chief Economist.

Jon Matonis is a monetary economist with a particular focus on non-political digital currencies and privacy technologies. His career has included senior influential posts at VISA International, VeriSign, Sumitomo Bank and Hushmail. He was a founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Commenting on his appointment, Matonis said, "The financing and support of privacy technologies is more important now than ever before in history. I am honored to join the team effort at Cypherpunk Holdings in funding those critical projects that not only should prevail, but that must prevail."
Cypherpunk interim CEO, Marc Henderson, said, "Jon Matonis is one of the foremost intellects in the blockchain, cryptocurrency and privacy technology sector. This appointment at such an early stage in the evolution of Cypherpunk Holdings shows the scope of what we are looking to achieve with this company. We are delighted that Jon is onboard with that. Things are starting to move forward, and we are very excited. We are hoping to make further announcements in the coming weeks."
Cypherpunk Holdings Inc is a Canadian-based holding vehicle set up to invest in companies, technologies and protocols, which enhance or protect privacy, as well as freedom and trust. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in and acquisitions of businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. The company believes privacy will be an increasingly strong narrative across the technology sector going forward.
The stated mission of Cypherpunk Holdings is "to become the world's leading privacy-focused investment vehicle." More details, and the latest company presentation, can be found at the company website: https://cypherpunkholdings.com/.
Jon Matonis is an economist and e-Money researcher. He serves as an independent board director to companies in the Bitcoin, the Blockchain, mobile payments, and gaming sectors. He has been a featured guest on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Al Jazeera, RT, Virgin Radio, and numerous podcasts. As a prominent fintech columnist with Forbes Magazine, American Banker, and CoinDesk, he recently joined the editorial board for the cryptocurrency journal, Ledger. His early work on digital cash systems and financial cryptography has been published by Dow Jones and the London School of Economics.
Matonis advocates worldwide for Bitcoin to a wide variety of audiences, including members of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, SWIFT, the US Department of Justice, retail payment networks, major financial institutions, financial regulatory bodies, mobile money issuers, iGaming operators, information security firms, hedge funds, gold investors, and family offices.
The Company has today granted a total of 900,000 options to purchase shares of the company at a price of $0.07 per share until June 1, 2023.
Following its recent name change to Cypherpunk Holdings, the Company's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "HODL". The new name references the important contribution of the Cypherpunks and the Cypherpunk Manifesto to the development and ultimate emergence of cryptocurrencies.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in the blockchain and other sectors and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.
Investor Relations Contacts:
Marc Henderson
Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.
Interim President and Chief Executive Officer
Office: 416.599.8547

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Featured Articles and Writings of J. Orlin Grabbe


James Orlin Grabbe (/ˈɡreɪbiː/; October 8, 1947 – March 15, 2008) more commonly referred to as J. Orlin Grabbe, or just JOG, was an American economist and prolific writer with contributions in the theory and practice of finance. He was known by his book International Financial Markets, and for mathematical models for options and derivatives used in international finance and foreign exchange.

Grabbe wrote articles and essays about personal freedom and governmental abuse, and was an editor of Internet magazines such as the Laissez Faire City Times. Born and educated in the U.S., he pursued his business interests around the world. He died from heart failure around March 15, 2008 in San José, Costa Rica. [reprinted from the Wikipedia page of James Orlin Grabbe]

 

Featured articles and writings of J. Orlin Grabbe (archived):
https://web.archive.org/web/20110724003357/http://orlingrabbe.com:80/?page_id=1462637635

Read this first for background:
https://web.archive.org/web/20110709112450/http://www.orlingrabbe.com/dcguide.htm

Wikipedia Page of Digital Monetary Trust
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Monetary_Trust

Ambassador College and Harvard graduate, economist, physicist Orlin Grabbe dies:

Quantum Tantra obituary:


J. Orlin Grabbe Memorial Archive:

AgoristRadio.com:
https://web.archive.org/web/20130729094232/http://agoristradio.com/

Cypherpunkd Episode 042: “Bitcoin Mania 4″ – The Social, Economic and Political Disruptive Technology of Bitcoin with Austrian School Economist Jon Matonis (I had the privilege of being interviewed by Hiro White of AgoristRadio.com):
https://web.archive.org/web/20110819123324/http://agoristradio.com/?p=446

Listen to the SoundCloud version:
https://soundcloud.com/jon-matonis/cypherpunkd-ep042



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Original Email from Satoshi

Nakamoto Studies Institute
March 5, 2010

https://nakamotostudies.org/emails/satoshi-to-john-matonis/

The following email from Satoshi was shared by Jon Matonis. Jon regretfully claims to have lost all other correspondences with Satoshi.