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Privacy's moment of Clarity

In this week's feature we're looking at why privacy matters, and how crypto is finally going to make "big data" work for the average person with the use of private smart contracts.

Harry Hamburg
Harry Hamburg
15 min read

There still isn’t a whole lot going on in crypto at the moment.

So instead of scraping the barrel and trying to find some relatively interesting stories, I’m going to republish a longform piece I wrote about how privacy-focused cryptos will change the world.

It goes over the problems we face today with big tech and big data and centralisation. And it shows how privacy-focused cryptos will (hopefully) change all that and give the power back to the people.

As I say in the piece, right now, most people thing “privacy” is a dirty word. But it’s actually essential to a functioning society.

If after reading this issue, you want to know more about some promising privacy-focused cryptos, you can read my deep dives on the following projects:

Mina Protocol – which uses zero-knowledge proofs to achieve the things I talk about in this issue.

Aleph Zero – which uses two different kinds of privacy technology in its smart contracts, and is arguably even more advanced than Mina Protocol.

Monero – the only true digital cash.

Of the three, it’s probably best starting with my Mina Protocol deep dive, because that lays the foundations of zero-knowledge and why it’s so important.

Now on with the issue…

I had what alcoholics refer to as “a moment of clarity”

“I was sitting here eating my muffin and drinking my coffee and replaying the incident in my head, when I had what alcoholics refer to as ‘a moment of clarity’.”

– Samuel L Jackson, playing Jules in Pulp Fiction.

If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction, you’ll know exactly what “incident” Jules is referring to.

If you haven’t, well, I won’t ruin it. But suffice to say, it was serious enough to make him rethink his most closely held views and decide to change his path in life.

As he said, usually this “moment of clarity” happens to alcoholics or addicts. But it is actually much more universal than that.

These profound moments surface in all our lives. Something happens – usually something that could have ended your life – and it gives you a whole new perspective on the world.

These moments of clarity tend to be life changing. It may cause a person to end a marriage, change careers, start a family, give up destructive behaviours or relocate to another country.

I’m sure if you haven’t had one of these moments of clarity yourself, you’ll certainly know people who have.

The one thing they all have in common is they cause a paradigm shift in a person’s behaviour, which usually blindsides many people who know them.

My question for this month’s issue is, what happens when an organisation, an industry, or even a whole society has a moment of clarity?

Because over the last few years, events have been lining up, pointing to a potential paradigm shift in the way we view our privacy.

And, as I’m sure you can guess by now, a number of crypto projects are laying the foundation for this shift to take place.

When it does, the way we interact with businesses and institutions will be forever changed.

And as you’ll see today, that time is fast approaching.