Should Our Steemit Wallet Holdings Be Private?

in #community4 years ago

Currently, anyone with your username can, at any time, view how much your wallet is worth, including how much you hold in liquid steem, steem power, and SBD. I saw a post today that recommended our wallets should not be view-able by everyone. The logic behind it was that this information could motivate someone to extort you, kidnap, etc. to force you to transfer them your hard earned Steem/SBD. With the recent increase in Steem prices, this is definitely becoming a more relevant topic. In the past, @Dan had said that they would be adding confidential transactions as well as privatizing account balances (not Steem Power). While I think this is an idea that could help decrease situations like this from happening to people with high valued wallets, I do not think this is the main issue that needs addressed when it comes to our privacy on Steemit.

Would it make that big of a difference?

Right now my account is worth about $250., I am not very worried that someone would take the time to try and find out who I am or my information in order to try and steal whatever money they could. I do however understand that someone sitting on a wallet of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth could be nervous that anyone can see exactly how much their account is worth at any one time. This being said, viewing an account's wallet holdings is not the only way to be able to find out that an account is worth a lot of money. When we see an account for the first time their reputation score is the second thing we see. It does not take much time on steemit to realize that someone with a reputation score of around 70 or higher most likely has a wallet on Steemit or elsewhere worth tens of thousands if not much, much more. Anyone can also see all an account's posts and more importantly how much they were paid out for every post they have ever made. Also they can calculate how much steem power an account has through how much their up vote is worth. Hiding wallets from the public would make it a little harder for someone to know exactly how valuable an account is but someone could still make a pretty good guess without seeing the actual numbers.

Why Is The Wallet Currently Not Private?

The creators of Steemit wanted the platform to be fully decentralized but also fully transparent. With the ability to view any activity from anyone at any time, we are able to, as a community, watch and decide if someone is being fraudulent or is abusing the reward system. In my opinion, with hidden wallets/transactions, it would be much easier to hide this type of activity that is so harmful to the platform.

Possible Solutions

I do think that knowing how much liquid steem and SBD everyone has is not necessary. However, knowing that this information is currently available to everyone, it might be a good idea to either power up or transfer out any unneeded liquid Steem/SBD. Holding more liquid Steem or SBD may motivate someone to plan out some type of criminal activity than if all your Steem is locked up in Steem Power.

To me, the main solution is to be cautious with what we are including in our posts and pictures. Many people include a lot of information about themselves in their introduction posts. Once this information is on the internet/blockchain, it is very hard to completely remove it. Similarly if someone is posts about where they are traveling to and post many pictures of themselves in these locations, it could open up this opportunity for a crime to occur. If we are all smart about the information we are posting, it should not matter if someone is able to see how much our wallets are worth as they will not be able to identify exactly who we are or where we are.

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What are your guys thoughts, does it make you nervous that anyone can see how valuable your wallet is at all times? Do you agree/disagree?

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primary problem I can see is that obscuring liquid Steem amounts and where they are allocated would require a structural change in how the Steem blockchain operated.

Fortunately, for anyone with a good amount vested in Steem Power, your would-be assailants are going to have to set up in your house for a while if they want all of your Steem. This is actually a good argument for recruiting whales :)

Part of the consensus requires an accurate accounting of all parties at all times. I am not a programmer, but this is my strategic understanding of what/why this would be a challenge. Would love to know if I am incorrect and there could be a masking technique. Anonymous voting would be rather interesting, since it would ultimately require that. A side chain could be possible, using SMT (in theory).

Best suggestion: don't hold liquid Steem if you don't have to or setup a number of 'mules', just like in #wow. Exchange liquid Steem/SBD for ZCash or Monero. That's what I'd be doing if I were crypto rich.

Haha that would be quite unfortunate if someone had to be kidnapped for a full 13 weeks till he was fully powered down and then released. I fully agree though, all the more reasons to power up your account!

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I do think that you have a good point on posting smart. It should be said for any internet site that you need to be careful with the information that you put online as there will always be people out there willing to take advantage.
You should never share exact details of location or personal info.
I wouldnt be too worried about people seeing my account as even in life you can see where the money is by the house, the car, the clothes. And as steem gains value a lot of people will have large accounts.

Bad idea to make wallets private. A lot of behaviors and results on Steemit are only understood when you know who is a whale and who isn't.

And you think if everyone knows who the whales are, and if those whales also use their real life identity, pictures, video, etc, that these human beings cannot be extorted by others, or coerced into delegating their SP to others, or into upvoting others?

The more the network knows who the whales are the less safe it is for the whales and to be a whale. That means the cost to being a whale with a flesh and blood identity could end up being higher than any potential benefit. If no one wants to be a whale, why would Steem Power gain value?

I suppose pseodo anon entities and corporations can be whales. In fact, the only way I could reasonably think of being a whale is to make my account a company. This is the same problem with Bitcoin mining which also doesn't scale. The case could be made that Steem is better without any whales but the fact is some will have bigger accounts than others, making those accounts bigger targets, with the biggest being the account holders who are most public.

I think you just made a strawman argument, to try to deflect from my point.

No where was I arguing that we need more visibility into who whales are, and I was not arguing they need to expose their real life selves and pictures, etc.

I was arguing that we are probably at about the right point as is. To give more anonymity to whales (or any others) than they have right now, would result in more havoc and chaos than we have right now on Steemit.

If you want to debate that point, fair enough. But no value debating your strawman.

And you think if everyone knows who the whales are, and if those whales also use their real life identity, pictures, video, etc, that these human beings cannot be extorted by others, or coerced into delegating their SP to others, or into upvoting others?

True, the risks you take. SP and follow a trail and have your password with a lawyer after you power up who know the protocol for giving the key out. Or a similar thing that would simply serve as a silent alarm to be triggered by a word or phrase, thee's plenty of imagination that doesn't require the centralization of power and lack of accountability for voting. That scenario is the perfect method for devaluing steem, leave the actors without recourse to their actions because there is the fear that they might be kidnapped or coerced, which manifests because they shared personal information to the public, on a public place, akin to driving a nice car.

You bought into and followed the strawman argument. Which was not my point at all.

I think we agree:

thee's plenty of imagination that doesn't require the centralization of power and lack of accountability for voting. That scenario is the perfect method for devaluing steem, leave the actors without recourse to their actions because there is the fear that they might be kidnapped or coerced, which manifests because they shared personal information to the public, on a public place, akin to driving a nice car.

I think there are several reasons to keep holdings private. Certain journalists and / or whistle blowers could be tracked simply by watching accounts. These are people that really need many of the aspects of this platform and I think it should be capable of protecting them.

Some people would like to keep income private to avoid taxes from their governments. I think there is nothing wrong with that. I would like to see platforms like this dissolve governments and I'm pretty confident they will.

There are likely plenty of unforeseen reasons as well. I appreciate transparency, but with blockchain tech, we can have that with privacy. That is its killer feature. We should use that.

Certain journalists and / or whistle blowers could be tracked simply by watching accounts.

That sounds ominousAF, what would that look like, on a hypothetical?

Some people would like to keep income private to avoid taxes from their governments. I think there is nothing wrong with that. I would like to see platforms like this dissolve governments and I'm pretty confident they will.

That's called Tax Evasion. If you want to challenge taxes the last thing you want to do is evade taxes, if you don't want to pay taxes there's exemptions and exceptions and procedure to Revoke your Benefits as citizen(a term of servitude) and therefore the burden of Taxes won't apply to your income.

Maybe the people who you follow or follow you would only be able to see your wallet instead of everyone on steemit. But i do agree that it motivates people to post better content on steemit. Good post

That is also a great idea. I think the owner of the account should be able to restrict who can access.

Yeah, except that whole Transparency of the Blockchain and it's transactions, as evident by every other blockchain out there..

It can be done in a way where it's not transparent to all parties. Blockchain wasn't designed for identity. Blockchain was designed for accounts to exchange value. Identity requires privacy. I think sure if Steem wants to only be pseudo anon then this will not matter but if Steem wants real identity and not bots or shill accounts then there has to be some privacy.

Restricting who can access what is the whole point of privacy. A blockchain will not reveal much if you use blind signatures and other techniques. Voting which isn't confidential is coerced. So Steem voters who use their real identity will be open to coercion. It is even possible some Steem Power holders could be forced by threat to upvote certain accounts.

How can you know every upvote is honest, legit, without coercion? It could be happening.

It can be done in a way where it's not transparent to all parties.

Yes Indeed, one party can hold the key, but then there's the whole "centralization".

Blockchain wasn't designed for identity. Blockchain was designed for accounts to exchange value. Identity requires privacy.

Indeed, we are talking about the transparency of accounts on every other blockchain and the transactions that are tied to identities.

You have all the privacy in the world, except you cannot have privacy for transactions or account.

I think sure if Steem wants to only be pseudo anon then this will not matter but if Steem wants real identity and not bots or shill accounts then there has to be some privacy.

Sorry but there's only identity, not Fake, false, psuedo or faux Identity.
Real Identity is kinda red herring because we cannot move past the fact that transactions are transparent and accounts as well, like on every other blockchain based on Decentralization and Transparency, which is pretty much every other chain.

Restricting who can access what is the whole point of privacy. A blockchain will not reveal much if you use blind signatures and other techniques

Except that the only reason to implement such things is to facilitate crime without any detection, which is why you need to centralize it to monitor and be able to "respond" to crime, and the benefits are completely outweigh by introducing the element of Centralization and obscuring accountability, both which are completely against what this platform is for.

Voting which isn't confidential is coerced.

That's quite a fantastic claim, do you claim that everyone is coerced into voting now? You've pretty much put a banner that says "Looking for programers for a fork" because no way in hell will a largely, by far, anarchist community ever bow down to a few whales who cannot find a good bank to stash their copious amounts of liquid wealth for safekeeping from their greatest fears.

So Steem voters who use their real identity will be open to coercion. It is even possible some Steem Power holders could be forced by threat to upvote certain accounts.

And that is fine, we cannot stop that from happening without fracturing everything that this platform, that blockchains and that transparency itself stands for. Find somewhere to stash your bank, k, I suggest SP. Fear is a motherfucker.

for people you follow - someone could just not follow anyone or only people they trust to not tell on them for their misconduct

for people who follow you - would only be one small extra click, wouldn't change much

Possibly it will be nice to have our wallet private yea because you cna't be expecting a thief to keep looking at your bank account and it reads a 33,000 USD they gonna try getting you but letting it private they may not need to hunt not saying its the best but that's own way of safety first

Nope just like any blockchain you can lookup and see how much each wallet holds. That's the wonders of blockchains everything is transparent.

this is a democratic community, base on vote. The idea other than what already exist in this community need to be compete before gaining consensus. This is a long journey for both side. choose between security and accountability in the spirit of transparencies!

Well said.. I guess I am a little biased because I don't value security as much with my account only being a few hundred bucks worth.. accountability all the way lol

Me tooo! Thanks

I feel like there are already too many fake accounts on here. I think it is a breath of fresh air when you come across an account that gives enough detail to know that the person is real. If I had to hide all of my personal info, my posts and stories would not have anywhere near the character they currently do. I appreciate the concept of everything being transparent. I also agree there maybe should be a better way to protect yourself if you are lucky enough to be a whale. -@bozz

I think the option should exist to make that information less accessible. I don't care if Steem Inc or some accountability company keeps a third key so they can access these records in the case of something truly criminal, but I do not see how Steem can scale without at least some layer of privacy.

Even Facebook offers more privacy.

Why not? what's the problem that you cannot see past?

If there is an option to make it less accessible then those accounts with a bad motive to make it private would do so, might as well just make everyone's private at that point. I think having a third party or steemit inc keeping track of stuff like that is a step in the wrong direction of why steemit was created, to be an almost fully decentralized platform which is why the community needs transparency to be able to come together to crackdown on abusive or illegial activity,

Facebook definitely offers more privacy options but at the same time the amount of information people put on their facebook accounts vs. steemit accounts is much more. On Steemit people choose how much information they put about themselves and maybe a solution would be more education for new users about the dangers of including too much information/picture of themselves.

Steem being decentralized yet provides no security? How valuable is that? Also it's open to coercion.

How can I know an upvote isn't from extortion? How can anyone know someone isn't being coerced into upvoting certain accounts? You wouldn't know. So whales could be extorted as we speak and you wouldn't know. Whales could also be extorted to delegate their SP and we'd have no way to know that either.

So Facebook has far more security.

On Steemit people choose how much information they put about themselves and maybe a solution would be more education for new users about the dangers of including too much information/picture of themselves.

Right. So Steemit is only for pseudo anon accounts. Thanks for confirming the fact that real identity+Steem can never work. Identity+Steem=open to coercion if the account is worth enough to make the effort work it to the bad guys. An account with millions in Steem Power very well might be coerced into spending that influence in ways the account holder doesn't want.

Right. So Steemit is only for pseudo anon accounts. Thanks for confirming the fact that real identity+Steem can never work. Identity+Steem=open to coercion if the account is worth enough to make the effort work it to the bad guys. An account with millions in Steem Power very well might be coerced into spending that influence in ways the account holder doesn't want.

yes It can work and has been working and keeps on working: Ned, Dan, need I go down the list of "real identity+Steem" more? There's tens of thousands I bet. But then again I'm just a fake identity.

Identity+Steem=open to coercion if the account is worth enough to make the effort work it to the bad guys. An account with millions in Steem Power very well might be coerced into spending that influence in ways the account holder doesn't want.

Wrong, Posting and allowing anyone to know your account balance including friends and family and especially them opens you to threat, even under your proposed system.

Having a nice house, or a nice car makes you a target as well, I understand what you want from steem, is the insurance of your bank. I suggest SP, or forking the network, if you build it around Privacy, they will come.. Be sure to have a great Support Center though #centralizationislife

No.

Nice and easy answer. You want to use the blockchain? That's the price you pay.

concise and well said, I like it.

That's not exactly how it works, but thanks.

Tell us how it has been working then.

What sort of arrogant fool would claim to have foreknowledge of what is not possible on a two year old platform within a 10 year old technology that has simply never been seen or considered before.

And if you're asking me to explain how a blockchain works, there are far better explanations than I'm willing to provide in someones comment thread.

Blockchain is thousands of years old. It's called Ledgers. People used to make them with knots on rope.

Nice try though but you can keep the egg.

Did you even read what I wrote or are you just trolling for fun?

Trolling is positing me as "what sort of arrogant fool" instead of answering a simple and simple to answer question with a direct and, simple answer, and then when pointed that the "technology" that is 10 years old has been around for thousands of years and told to "keep the egg" then you posit a question that disregards what I said as if I have to settle for your assertion now after I have asked you to demonstrate or tell us exactly how it works..

You took my invitation and threw it in my face then called me a troll, or you genuinely want an answer to your question, if so tell me, are you an idiot or do you chose to act like one from time to time?

some points:

  1. the arrogant fool I was referring to was @juxpost for his comment above.
  2. I had no idea if you were being genuine in your initial reply to me because you didn't specify what you were talking about.
  3. equating a blockchain to a simple ledger or some knots is like equating a telegram to the internet.
  4. I have no idea what you meant when you said "keep the egg". Still don't.
  5. I'm not even sure what you invited me to do or explain.

For the 5 reasons above, and your inability to recognize any of them, I assume you are trolling. If you are being genuine, I apologize, but I'm not tracking your train of thought here.

No, if they were private how could self-important self-elected steemit police make money with posts calling out others for making more money than them?

want to give a shoutout to anyone in specific?

Wouldn't it be best to just have it as an option?

  • If this is a democracy, 51% overrule the 49%.
    • If it is an Oligarchy (the devs decide), that's not really good either.
      • I vote for making it an option.
        Let people choose for themselves,
        but not force their choice on others.

Could be good but If there is an option to make it less accessible then those accounts with a bad motive to make it private would do so, might as well just make everyone's private at that point.

Apparently it's not a democracy if we can't even get a vote on this. The other thing is, and main reason I support privacy, is coercion is real. Why would we believe it's not happening already? Every public whale could already be coerced so how can we know which are using their Steem Power according to their wishes?

This is like voting, when you vote your votes are confidential to protect you from coercion.

How do we know it's not happening? Or why would we believe it is happening you mean?
Why would we believe that an elaborate scheme to coerce people to use their share isn't happening? How does it go, the absence of evidence is the evidence of absence?

In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.

Well, I disagree with you. Provided your password is safe, your wallet is safe.
This is my reason: The more I see other wallets worth hundreds or millions of dollars, the more I get motivated to work hard, rethink on how to boost my reputation, as well as my wallet.
The big-whale cum big-fish's wallets increased my curiosity to discover that no matter how you polish your contents/articles, if you don't monetise it, I bet your wallet gonna remain low for months or years.

Not sure if you read the whole pots but I had a similar opinion to yours, I do agree being able to view all wallets holdings is more beneficial and that there are other ways people can protect their wallets and privacy

The wallet isn't what needs to be safe. The wallet owner is what needs to be safe. There is a reason Satoshi Nakamoto stays in hiding. There is a reason why it's not a good idea to flash millions in crypto on Youtube. What happened to people who did that? Most got hacked.

Hacking isn't the only way people can gain control over you (and thus your account). Coercion, if they find out your real world identity, is a direct lever of control over you. It's not hard for someone who can control you to make you upvote certain accounts with your SP or delegate your SP. What is to prevent that kind of abuse?

There is a reason Satoshi Nakamoto stays in hiding,

And you want us to think that is because it's an actual person, least that the reason for hiding is ... copious amounts of wealth?

There is a reason why it's not a good idea to flash millions in crypto on Youtube. What happened to people who did that? Most got hacked.

So much for privacy. How many got hacked here though?

Hacking isn't the only way people can gain control over you (and thus your account). Coercion, if they find out your real world identity, is a direct lever of control over you. It's not hard for someone who can control you to make you upvote certain accounts with your SP or delegate your SP. What is to prevent that kind of abuse?

Then the problem is that they can control you, not that they cannot find you.

I'm curious how a crypto rich person with his identity out there is any different than any other well known business owner or celebrity etc. people are panicing that have a million dollar steem wallet and have a picture from their intro post that shows them in sunglasses, what about famous actors that we all know are worth multi millions and anyone can find at least one property where they spend time at

It's fear and nothing else. If you think instead of default to fear about such scenarios you could realize that there are countless solutions that people have been using as these fears are common and expected. The compromising of an entire foundational framework for these unmanifested and irrational concerns is not a solution but a unnecessary and irrelevant change that would doom the platform should it be implemented. Considering the problem that we are trying to solve it's obvious that this is not an actual problem, even if this manifests, and if we give into the fear of this "if all the whales are coerced" then I hardly think it would matter, regardless of privacy.

As I said you have all the privacy you need on steem, I'm sure there could be an app to encode data and posts that that only people with the key can view them, but that doesn't require changing anything to the platform but adding more functionality.

You got a 5.99% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @jamesdenny!

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Good Luck...please visited and vote ^_^

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