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It's another day in so here's yet another intensely bizarre and dystopian story related to cryptocurrency company. Haseeb's Background. Haseeb: I'm a software engineer by background and I'm now an investor. I run Dragonfly Capital, which is a global crypto. HYPEBEAST Crypto animated wallpaper | free OC Crypto with his ever so slightly cartoony graphics standing infront of a photorealistic. DEANONYMIZATION TECHNIQUES FOR TOR AND BITCOINS

Mastercard's head of crypto, Raj Dhamodharan, pushed back against these claims - telling me that the company is "constantly adding value". While Strike's announcement was a big deal for the US, you could argue that international attendees didn't get that "rabbit out of the hat" moment. The city of Prospera in Honduras - and Madeira in Portugal - did reveal that they're planning to adopt Bitcoin. But Samson Mow, an entrepreneur who is devoting his time to helping nation-states embrace this cryptocurrency, told me on CoinMarketCap's podcast that it's "difficult" for most countries to take the plunge like El Salvador did because their presidents and prime ministers lack influence.

President Nayib Bukele once described himself as "the coolest dictator in the world". At times, the speakers on stage at Bitcoin did sound a little cultish - with some downright scaring people by claiming major currencies like the US dollar will implode in a matter of years. Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas brandished a banknote and said: "This thing is literally useless Bitcoin has a fixed supply of 21 million coins, and because of this, its supporters firmly believe that the cryptocurrency protects investors against inflation.

Many in the industry have been fiercely critical of central banks for increasing the amount of money in circulation, and warn that consumers are only going to see their spending power erode further in years to come. There was also fierce criticism of central bank digital currencies CBDCs - with the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve weighing up plans to build digital pounds and dollars respectively.

Bitcoiners hate these proposals, and claim they have the potential to be even worse than cash. Mr Salinas suggested CBDCs could give banks unprecedented control - and even stop people from buying cigars or staying out past 2am. They close your capacity to spend your money. Talk on stage also regularly turned to "orange pilling" - the term that's used to describe encouraging people to invest in Bitcoin for the first time. Although such talk is perfectly normal in the rather macho world of crypto, it might be extremely off-putting to everyday consumers.

Bitcoin has faced a barrage of criticism from the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, with the latter famously describing it as "rat poison squared". But speakers passionately argued that these men come from a position of financial privilege - and live in advanced economies with free speech and relatively stable countries.

One panel led by the Human Rights Foundation claimed Bitcoin is viewed differently in nations ravaged by war, weak currencies, hyperinflation or authoritarian regimes. Indeed, the US Senate recently heard evidence from one Ukrainian refugee who said they preferred to receive Bitcoin over international cash transfers because it could be used immediately.

The Bitcoin blockchain's energy usage is regularly cited as a cause for concern - and rightly so. The process of verifying transactions and minting new coins, known as mining, gobbles up a lot of computing power. But many of the speakers at this conference were dismissive of the network's carbon footprint, with some advocating for Bitcoin to use even more energy. In their eyes, the electricity that's used to power the thousands of machines that keep this network going is essential because of the benefits that the blockchain delivers.

They question estimates that suggest Bitcoin has a bigger carbon footprint than a small country, and say previous forecasts about its future energy use have been well off the mark. The CEO of the Bitcoin mining company Core Scientific, Darin Feinstein, pointed to an article written by the World Economic Forum in predicting that - by - "Bitcoin mining could be consuming the same amount of electricity every year as is currently used by the entire world".

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player. Mr Feinstein went on to claim Bitcoin's energy use is "inconsequential" and is a "fraction of a fraction of a percent" of what the world consumes. A bold claim for sure - but a word of caution: getting accurate data on this is far easier said than done. Many Bitcoin miners also claim that they are intensive users of green energy - and they're actually helping drive innovation in renewables.

The Bitcoin Mining Council, which aims to deliver "transparency" in energy use, estimates that London and Washington have both softened their tone on cryptocurrencies lately. While Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants to make the UK "a global cryptoasset hub" , US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order calling on his government to examine the risks and benefits of digital assets.

This doesn't mean Bitcoin is out of the woods. Huge question marks remain over its energy use. And while many transactions can be traced on the blockchain, there are fears BTC can be used anonymously for money laundering, sanctions evasion and the financing of terrorism. The full force of regulation is yet to be felt - and while Bitcoin is unlikely to be banned altogether, tough rules could make it very difficult for people to own Despite the fact that it's still a minnow on the world's financial scene, its supporters are adamant that big things lie ahead.

One crypto CEO, Fred Thiel, said during the conference: "Bitcoin is going to evolve into something much bigger than I think most of us have envisioned. Its adoption is going to creep into every aspect of trade, every aspect of commerce, finance, saving, investing. Given Bitcoin's current size, this almost feels like declaring a nine-year-old footballer will one day become the world's best striker. Sure, there's some promise With million users out of a population of eight billion, Bitcoin has a long way to go if it wants to achieve global adoption.

Buying this cryptocurrency remains a fiddly, convoluted process for those who aren't technically minded, but it is getting easier. There are also worries about BTC's volatility, scams, and the prospect that it can be stolen - with no customer service number to call. But those in the Bitcoin world are aware of all these challenges - and say they're determined to tackle them. The cryptocurrency's demise has been predicted hundreds of times over the years, and it has a reputation for proving naysayers wrong.

Any tokens users may have in their digital wallets are, for all intents and purposes, worthless. Some hoped to get in early on what could become the next Bitcoin. Others had lost jobs or income during the pandemic. Some became desperate as civil war threatened to reignite around them. Most just wanted the free money—at least one only wanted to buy lunch. Many suspected it was a scam, though few could risk passing it up in case it was not.

Ruswandi fit into several of these categories. He had lost much of his work as a furniture maker during the pandemic and spent his free time trading stocks and cryptocurrencies and frequenting crypto-related message boards and exchanges. But he quickly had doubts. Neither the company representatives on site nor the village officials could answer even basic questions about Worldcoin. After doing more research online and coming up empty, he came to conclude it was a scam.

He believed the mysterious giveaway was a mass data collection effort disguised as some kind of secret, offline airdrop—a tactic in which cryptocurrency projects release free tokens to encourage adoption. The human body is not a ticket-punch. There were also questions about hardware security. So it's usually an economic question…if this project is as successful as they want it to be, then it's going to become more profitable to try and tackle.

Others remain unconvinced that Worldcoin can actually reach everyone in the world—and instead, serves as a distraction from ongoing work to create new identity paradigms. For Blania and his team, the criticism misses the mark. Rather, our goal is to use the data for the sole purpose of developing our algorithms to minimize fraud and enhance user privacy.

Representatives of Worldcoin used a range of questionable tactics and enticements to bring in new users, according to many of the people MIT Technology Review spoke to. So instead they ran an AirPod giveaway contest to encourage registration that resulted in some 20, sign-ups.

During the minute sessions, Worldcoin staff were too busy registering the dozen or so students, helping them download the app and sign up for emails, and finally scanning their biometrics, to provide information on cryptocurrency, Worldcoin itself, or how participants could give or take away consent. Students did, at least receive their allotment of Worldcoin, which would vest weekly.

More recently, in roughly 20 villages in West Java that hosted recruitment events, many new users, like Iyus Ruswandi, were attracted by giveaways. Mulyana says that Irma paid him a fee of 2, IDR around 14 US cents, at the time of writing for each person successfully scanned. For their part, villagers were not told that at least some of their officials were being paid to promote Worldcoin; in fact, many thought the event was run by the government itself , as Mulyana, the school principal, recalled.

Some villagers now doubt that they will receive any money at all now that late January, the time when they were told Worldcoin representatives would return to the village to hand out funds, has come and gone.

Nor has the ability to trade Worldcoin from the wallet appeared, for those digitally savvy enough to navigate the app. The orb operators we spoke to often mentioned how little information they received from the Worldcoin representatives who recruited them, even as they were made acutely aware that their payment was tied to the number of people they could sign up.

Worldcoin said that it provides its country-level orb operators with a code of conduct, which sub-operators must also abide by, and that it is moving away from commissions based on number of sign-ups. Bryan Mtembei was one such operator. Ultimately, Mtembei's need for money overrode his concerns; he says that he signed up between and people, at 50 KS 44 US cents per scan.

And he wasn't alone. Willis Okach, a college student in Nairobi recruited, like Mtembei, to become an orb operator after his own scan, also got involved because of the money. Any individual who does consent to our collection and use of their biometric data may revoke their consent at any time and this data will be deleted. Sometimes, new users were asked to provide additional personal data, which Worldcoin claims it never requests. Almost all of the people we spoke to were asked to provide email addresses to log into their wallets even after Worldcoin introduced a QR code for sign-ins.

Some were asked for phone numbers as well. But things like this will always be optional. When we shared these comments with interviewees, they did not recognize their own experiences. Mtembei emphasized that personal details were never optional, and there was no way to sign up at his orb without both email and phone. In fact, according to its launch blog post, Worldcoin is unavailable in either the United States or China due to regulatory constraints, while Bloomberg reported that it has also shut down field tests in other countries, including Turkey and Sudan, for similar reasons.

Worldcoin has, however, signed up a number of users in the US at demos held at cryptocurrency conferences, though the company does not consider its US activities to be a form of field testing. This presents its own challenges. Enacted in , the GDPR requires that data subjects be fully informed about why their data is collected, how it will be used, who will be processing it, where it will be transferred, how they can erase it, and how they can stop its processing.

Further, GDPR was written to be extraterritorial in scope, meaning that a company registered in Delaware and headquartered in San Francisco, like Worldcoin, is not exempt. That is, however, exactly what Worldcoin has claimed in its data consent form , which—until MIT Technology Review submitted its list of questions—asked users to accept the following statements:.

It added that it employs a data protection officer, and that it has conducted a data privacy impact assessment—though it has declined to make either the officer or the assessment available for public scrutiny. Beyond the ethical questions, though, lie more practical ones, like: how well does Worldcoin actually work?

For some test users and orb operators on the ground the answer has been, not well at all. Sometimes, this was due to issues with the orb. Orbs were also prone to malfunctions, slowing down recruitment processes and requiring repair in Germany. Meanwhile, the transition from a web-based wallet to an app-based wallet has caused a number of users to appear to lose either their entire accounts or all of their coins.

For others, the app has proved buggy, draining battery life or leading them into in a spiral of loading and reloading. Rodriguez, the Chilean security guard, has been trying to resolve his wallet issues since shortly after he was scanned. After signing up in February, and being asked to input his email, phone number, and use a QR code, the app was creating such performance issues for his phone that he deleted it entirely.

When he tried to re-download the app, he found that his username no longer existed. To fix it, he was told by a local orb operator, he would have to find the orb and re-scan his biometric data. But if Worldcoin works as the company claims, re-scanning his iris would simply result in the orb linking his iris with his old iris hash. Then there are the instances of identity spoofing that the orb has been unable to detect. In mid, one businessman in Indonesia was able to register and access the wallets of over users after they had been scanned and verified as human, and transfer out their contents—held in Bitcoin at the time.

When we began reporting this story we noticed that three of the five countries initially cited as case studies for successful field testing—Indonesia, Sudan, and Kenya—were classified as low or lower-middle income by the World Bank. The power and economic differentials seemed ethically fraught, so we began digging. We wanted to know: what was it like to serve as an early user in this global crypto experiment? What did the participants actually understand—or what were they told—about cryptocurrency, Worldcoin, and the ramifications of giving up their biometric data?

Did they provide informed consent—and what would that even look like in this context?

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