Crypto Conversation: 'Careless' Ethereum Users May Be Blowing Their Cover

A new academic paper shows how users may be jeopardizing their anonymity.
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What's hot in crypto this week? 

Ethereum (ETH). It is the pioneer for blockchain-based smart contracts, and still the prominent platform used by developers to build decentralized applications. Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically execute when specific conditions are met. Running them on a blockchain removes any possibility of downtime or third-party interference, making them extremely useful for exchanging money, content, property, shares, or anything of value.

ETH is Ethereum’s native currency, used as "gas" to pay for network transactions. It currently boasts a market cap of just under $30 billion, with a 24 hour trade volume of $19.77 billion. 

Why? 

A recent academic paper revealed that Ethereum is losing its privacy, because people are “carelessly” connecting their real-world identities to their on-chain addresses. 

Unlike Bitcoin, which creates a new address per transaction, users on Ethereum have one account that keeps track of their transaction history. This difference has often been glossed over, which the paper argues has left many users, unknowingly, wide-open to the possibility of full-scale surveillance.

How has ETH’s FCAS score changed? 

ETH FCAS has gone down 8-points (-0.83%) in the past 10 days, due to a 10-point (-1.02%) drop in User Activity. Developer Behavior also lost 8-points ( -0.83%), while Market Maturity remained stable. 

Cryptocurrency of the Week: 0609

What's Flipside's take?

It’s important for users to be aware of Ethereum’s account-based model so they can take steps to keep their anonymity. If they do not act quickly, the report argues, there’s a chance they could lose their right for financial privacy completely, and for good. 

Current behaviors beg the question: Do users really care about their anonymity? Rather than discarding accounts, many users are in fact customizing them, using the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) to give it a human readable name. Not only that, but many publicize their ENS names on their social media. In the end, researchers were able to link more than 1.1 million transactions to over 4,200 addresses, where they knew the real people.

But here's some perspective: The use-cases that really matter for Ethereum to keep scaling will come from corporations. And those larger groups do care about privacy. The good news is that Ethereum is arguably the largest smart-contract platform around, which gives it the leverage it needs to attract businesses by offering variants of its platform. 

Firms like Clearmatics, Consensys, BlockApps and JPMorgan’s  (JPM) - Get Report Quorum are all enterprise ethereum variants. Now the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is focusing on enforcing common standards that would bring interoperability between them. 

The Flipside Crypto Asset Score Tracker provides institutional and sophisticated retail investors the ability to track over 500 cryptocurrencies' fundamentals. FCAS Tracker is currently free to a select group of new users as it continues to develop the product. Visit Flipside here to gain access to Flipside Analytics.