Unpopular Opinion: Privacy isn't illegal.

LeoFinance
14 days ago
12 Min Read
2309 Words

I have nothing to hide!

Said no one that understood the situation they were in.
Never, under any circumstances, waive your right to privacy.
Period. The end. You can stop reading now: you did it.
Good job.

Don’t Be a Target — Trade Behind a VPN

I read this article when it was published on March 18, 2021, and it's been in my queue ever since. Finally getting around to rehashing this situation. In many regards it is blatant fear-porn and advertising for NordVPN, but a lot of the points made are valid. Plus it's a really short read.

The premise is very simple. When you are your own central bank, you had better start beefing up your security. If you can't do it yourself, outsource it to the professionals. That's what using a VPN is all about (and hardware wallets, for that matter).

What happens if you end up being a multi-millionaire at the end of the year? Do you really want to be broadcasting that information for all the world to see? What did we learn from the Ledger hack? Death threats were made. Kidnappings were attempted. You can't put the toothpaste back in the bottle. Protect yourself!

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It seems like more than half of the people I talk to in crypto Discord have serious anxiety when it comes to using a VPN. Especially when that 'shady' activity is paired with proxying their IP address to another country and using a non-KYC exchange like Binance or Huobi. Binance is especially relevant because it's the easiest way to get funds onto Binance Smart Chain, so all the CUB kiddies now have a huge incentive to get access to this portal.

It isn't hard to set up a VPN. You download the app and click a button. However, people are acting like it's some complicated hacker shit and want nothing to do with it.

Why?

My guess is because these people do no understand the law or what a VPN actually does. VPN stands for virtual private network, and all you're doing is sending your internet bandwidth across encrypted channels to a server (node) that specializes in protecting your privacy. It's kinda like having another firewall for internet security, if that firewall was an entire server somewhere in another country who's only job is to protect your privacy.

As stated before, it's somewhat foolish to be involved in crypto without having at least this rudimentary kind of security. You are the last line of defense when it comes to protecting your keys. Do you really want to make yourself a target and expose what you're doing to prying eyes around the globe? lol use a VPN, dammit.

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Now, my @hextech witness partners say it's pretty easy to set up your own VPN. I wouldn't know anything about that because I'm still a complete newbie when it comes to operating a node. Most people just pay the $5 a month to some other company for their services, but obviously if you knew what you were doing and actually controlled the VPN node directly you wouldn't have to trust anyone but yourself to run it.

Of course you'd probably be running it off of an AWS server you rented from Amazon so there are many layers of trust involved in these scenarios. Getting a fully decentralized solution is quite difficult. Regardless of all that, better to trust a company who has a reputation of protecting the privacy of its users than nothing at all.

The laws!

So a lot of people just assume that proxying your IP to another country and using Binance is illegal. Spoiler alert: it's not. The same is true about playing online poker when it was made "illegal". These laws do not apply to the individual, as it is too difficult to regulate laws in a decentralized manner like that. Just look at what happened with P2P file sharing: that was impossible for the courts to contain. Instead, they make it illegal for the centralized agencies because that is exponentially easier to do. If you want to stop a drug-ring, you take out the kingpin, not constantly attack the small-time local dealers.

Regulations

For the most part, again, regulations do not apply to the individual, but rather they apply to the institutions and servers providing the service. Code itself is protected by freedom of speech, while actually running the code is the thing that may or may not be legal. In the case of online poker, it was made illegal for the banks to transfer funds to (and accept funds from) various poker sites like Full Tilt, Pokerstars, PartyPoker, ParadisePoker, AbsolutePoker, etc.

As an American, it's very hard to play at these sites because when you go to cash out the KYC information will give you away even if you masked your IP address while you were playing. I haven't checked in a while, but perhaps Bitcoin cashouts make it much easier to do skirt the regulators. Doesn't really matter to me personally, as I patently await a decentralized crypto alternative.

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In the context of crypto and centralized exchanges: it is not illegal for you to use Binance, but rather it might be illegal for Binance to provide service to you. This is a HUGE distinction. You can't personally get in trouble for using a non-KYC centralized exchange, just like you personally can't get in trouble for playing online poker. It's the institutions and servers providing the service that will get in trouble if they get caught and prosecuted. Again, they are the ones running the code that is illegal in some countries, but not all. The borderless nature of the internet makes this stuff harder to regulate, but that doesn't stop them from trying.

Therefore, when it comes to using a VPN to access Binance from the United States by proxying your IP address to say: Norway, the primary party being protected by this action isn't actually yourself, but Binance itself. When you use a VPN, you protect Binance corporation on a very real legal level, and they will allow you access to their accounts knowing full well they are about to turn a profit in exchange for very little risk. Even if Binance knows for a fact you're from America, they'll still provide you with service because they don't actually give a shit about following regulations. They care about profits and and securing those profits by covering their own ass legally: a VPN accomplishes this. Capitalism.

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Shadow banking has never been easier, and it's 100% legal from the perspective of the end-user individual. The only entity that can get caught doing something wrong is the non-KYC exchange that provided their services across borders to a government that didn't allow said service. Use a VPN to protect all parties involved, and there is no problem. Above all else: there is no risk to yourself no matter what happens.

Of course when you have access to shadow banking accounts whose only requirement is an email address, the opportunity to break the laws in other ways are vast. If you end up laundering money, evading taxes, or not declaring assets to the IRS, that's a completely different story. You can obviously still get in trouble for these blatant offenses, but the chance of actually getting caught is pretty low. The IRS is underfunded and constantly hamstringed by design. They operate mostly through fear and the fact that most people attempt to obey the law (out of fear or otherwise).

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I'll just use the LEO bridge!

We don't want the bridge to be popular!

It sounds counterintuitive, but we actually don't want this bridge to be super popular. If it attracts too much attention it will just get shut down by the regulators and IP blocked just like every other non-KYC exchange. Sure, maybe by that time we'll have a more decentralized solution for hosting services like this, but that isn't the case now. Again, using a VPN to privatize online activity helps protects all parties involved. Use a damn VPN.

Express VPN

This is one I'm looking at for more consistent service. You can always use free VPNs but they have extreme bandwidth limits that will run out quickly unless you only turn it on during the rare occasions that you need to proxy your IP address. Again, as someone that uses crypto, we should probably all be more careful with our data than the average person at all times, not just when we are using Binance.

Express VPN is one of the more expensive options. I'm not even going to link the website because I don't want to shill any particular service. You can buy like a year's worth of unlimited service for around $100. There is even an option to pay with Bitcoin.

If $100 sounds expensive you can connect up to five devices on the same account for a lot of these VPNs. That means technically if you find 4 other people to share it that's only $20 a year. Again, Express VPN is more expensive than average, as many of the other options are only $60 a year: split 5 ways would be $1 a month. It's not expensive, and could end up providing much more value than the cost.

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Cool PowerPoint, bro!

Again, the IRS is underfunded and largely powerless in many situations by design. We want the IRS to be just competent enough to catch the bottom-feeders and blatant offenders and scary enough to compel most citizens to pay their taxes out of fear or the idea that they are "doing the right thing". Surely I could write an entirely new post just on that topic.

The rich and powerful keep the IRS hamstringed on purpose so they can get away with fraud on a massive scale without having to worry about getting caught. Assuming they aren't so powerful that they are the ones making the laws in the first place that allow corporations to avoid taxes legally and save themselves billions of dollars a year. Shit rolls down hill.

Again, if you are involved in crypto, it is literally impossible to obey the law, because the laws attempting to govern crypto are like 100 years old. The Howey Test? Are you serious? 1933? Get out of here with that shit. Crypto will continue to evolve a thousand times faster than the law can keep up. All we can do is make our best guess as to what we actually owe the government.

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The way I explain it is this analogy:

Imagine you've been sold a new car and there is a cop driving behind you. There's a big red button on the dashboard. You push the button and the car starts flying around. The cop is confused... that can't be legal! Yep, you didn't have a permit to fly. You broke the law. Oops.

But why was there a big red button on the dashboard that allowed you to fly around in the first place? That's just crypto. Devs are running around doing cool permissionless stuff because they can. That's why. This tech can't be contained. This is only the very beginning.

Looking at Cub, Leo, and Hive, it's literally impossible to keep track of all this stuff. Liquidity Pool Automated Market Makers? Creating new money at the click of a button? Multiple types of interest rates? Non-tradeable assets like vests? Any crypto can be turned into any crypto without any regulatory oversight or official tracking?

Looking at AMM specifically and the CUB farms, you might trade your CUB and BUSD for random LP tokens. Is that a tax event? When you remove the LP tokens they'll be worth a different amount of CUB/BUSD. Is that a tax event? The farm is creating income. That's gotta be an income tax event, right?

But then again the liquidity of new coins is so low and the security of these network is so unknown how can you even estimate the value of a CUB token in the first place?

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What happens if a judge told me I was a tax evader because I didn't pay income tax on CUB inflation? What happens if precedence was set? What happens if I then airdropped that judge (or anyone else I wanted to money attack) with a new crypto that had thin liquidity?

I could use that established court precedence to airdrop the judge billions or even trillions of dollars that he would then owe taxes on. Who's the tax evader now: fucker! As we can see, the system of laws trying to govern these new asset classes is going to fail over and over again on every level. Just the fact that crypto is legally 'property' shows the system is broken. Crypto very obviously isn't 'property' and the laws that govern 'property' are not going to work on dozens of levels. Everyone is simply playing a guessing game at the moment.

Use a damn VPN.

Stop trading on KYC exchanges.
The law is grossly unclear.

Conclusion

Privacy is not illegal, no matter how much the powers that be want us to think it is. Waiving your right to privacy is always a mistake, as anyone who's been wrongfully convicted of a crime can attest. There is nothing to gain from talking to police or waiving our rights: ever.

"I have nothing to hide" is a very illogical response to privacy rights. We live in a digital future where every company attempts to monetize our digital souls and profit from them. Do we really want to be exploited in this manner and turned into little piggy banks for Big Tech? Pass.

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Don't let the vampires suck your life away.

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta