There are a lot of problems in this world. So many important issues could be solved to improve the lives of countless individuals. So why is it that we dedicate so much of our time on building Wasabi Wallet?
First of all, why do we even work on Bitcoin? Well, because money is an incredibly important good for a prosperous society to function. When you hold money, every entrepreneur in your economy will happily solve any problem you might have. Saving your capital in money helps you sleep better at night, knowing that tomorrow you can buy everything you might need.
But, there is good money and there is bad money. If anyone forces you to use a specific money, then generally speaking it’s a bad one. Free people will choose a money that they deem good. Bitcoin is a common choice because it has a predefined and unchanging money supply, so nobody can print himself money and hand it out to friends. Cryptography protects the ownership of coins, which makes theft pretty difficult.
Bitcoin has sound economic principles and powerful cryptographic protocols with an unrestricted free market for anyone to start getting paid in bitcoin. Economically and technically speaking, bitcoin is unstoppable and will eventually be used by the overwhelming majority of all merchants.
However, there are other important aspects of good money, which currently Bitcoin is not optimally designed for. Specifically, the fungibility of money; that any coin has the same demand as any other coin. Merchants don’t care which specific coin they get paid in, as long as it is valid. But in bitcoin, a coin has a unique transaction history which is publicly known and verified by every node. This transaction history makes each coin a unique and non-fungible unit.
In the worst case, this open transaction history is the basis for a dystopian surveillance system. Where every transaction of the same person is clustered together and tied to his identity. Now, everyone is spying on everyone else and the choice of what to reveal about yourself to the world is taken from everyone.
It might be inevitable that bitcoin succeeds economically. But a future where people are in control of whom to tell about their sensitive financial transactions is still uncertain.
But not all hope is lost. There are so many tricks and strategies to increase the financial privacy of bitcoin users. The best thing is, most of them don’t even require any changes to the bitcoin consensus rules but can already be used today. Tor, block filter synchronization, coinjoin, coin swaps, lightning network and eCash; there are endless ways of improving the privacy, security and usability of everyday bitcoiners.
This is the reasoning for why we work on bitcoin privacy and why we focus on innovating at the edges with Wasabi, the privacy-focused bitcoin wallet.