Privacy - a "middle way" towards ethics?


Knowing there are important code forks to be decided upon in the math, this board has rumored that the team is or has been “stuck” on privacy / identity decisions that would play out on the code level …

It is easily visible that some ethical schemes , would include and support specific growth and endgame scenarios , ie: the span of benefitting criminals to hurting ethical investors , all the way toward delaying adoption by nations until very very very late …

I’m sure the team is working on a middle way… Is there any consensus ? Shouldn’t the functional values of the stakeholders and their government’s be set to intersect: “flexibly best” ? So that privacy as a fundamental option like it exists in the real, albeit currently corrupt world, would be chooseable by even anyone???

At it’s core, is it a lot harder to agree on than in the form of a distributed ethics market?

Just soliciting for some ouput, as , I’m sure, others may be wondering this as well.

If I’ve missed the boat or am off the mark completely , please be sure to say.

@MartinMKD , @cf_tom.kelly @Bullishdong @Chainomatic


I’m arguing that , we will all as a human race , eventually come to distributed ethical consensus on either separate or separate-together or unification lines … One would expect the coin to be able to adapt best to it’s users needs .

Ie , I may want to be recognized by my current government for my Ada holdings, and taxed according to my countries “just” and customary standard , and not , be automatically declared a criminal for holding it , ie being found by the govt that the instrument is a holding of an illegal item …

Obviously , cash and current world power brokers use privacy to secure their transactions. (More frictionless , more effectively powerful)

We know we are all waiting for a less corrupt future , but , while it is in the blockchains ability to be a fundamentally only destabilizing force toward corruption , shouldnt the ethical choices be left up to each user/nation to be set together ? To be capable of being multivariate over time ? If so, it should seem to a clumsy observer then that the chain would serve the stability of anyone who seeks it , which is , I think, appropriate. I would argue that the chain does not need to be revolutionary in this context , although it is revolutionary in so many other contexts, ie reliability and trustworthiness.

I’m just wondering if there is anything the dev team or the community has to contribute to this question .

Thank you all in advance.

For the record , I take platonic monist virtue ethics , to be a more flexible standard than say, a deontologic normative ethics , and a richer standard than utilitarianism.

To what direction does the chain intend to help acknowledge and help as it develops .
Hopefully “from all to all”?, So to speak?


There are many routes that I could imagine from my perspective. Ie:. Nation states and power brokers do not adopt or allow privacy by the coin , for a while, or certain states, not ever…

But, couldn’t privacy as a market benefit be set at it’s market , and in doing so, replace and add to any power broker’s value , decreasing the need for any of the crazy shell games that companies and schemes use at the moment? Simultaneously each individual could stake their ethical credences in the market as well.

I am hoping that the harmonizing of privacy and personal identity do not require a side chain.


And does one route leave us more vulnerable to more often 51% attack on assets attack? If so , is the time citizens put in to securing their forks their ethical virtue ?

Edit, forgot to call @Haskell-plus in here.


Cardano is as much an intellectual movement as it is a mathematical action. For when I cut at the heart of Cardano, I find people like you @Accelerandant, exploring man’s relationship to man. No other crypto has this depth and breadth of discussion, “from all to all” if we will but grab the ring in unison.

A current example, Idaho votes not to tax income from silver and gold sales:
“The Idaho State House today overwhelming approved a bill which excludes gains or losses on the sale of precious metals, coins, and bullion from an Idaho taxpayer’s taxable income.”

Cardano could adapt to such an event with ease, adjusting to Idaho’s view while maintaining backwards capability with less Constitutional stance states.

Have to go, cheers,


That is an awesome reply and I am humbled and honored by your words @Chainomatic, thank you.


You touch upon a very …touchy subject :slight_smile:

It seems to me that some trade-offs must exist between a person’s desire for absolute, Monero-like privacy, and the government’s desire to be able to stick its big snout into everyone’s business.

The way it is now, at least in the USA, unless you’re dealing -strictly- in cash for everything, you are leaving a paper trail that can be traced back to you, if push came to shove, for evidentiary purposes in case of an investigation. Most people, and by most I mean those who aren’t breaking the law on purpose, do not deal in cash and use credit cards, e-bank/e-pay systems, automated EFT/ACH, paper checks at the worst - all of it 100% traceable and mappable to a person or a legal entity (corporation, e.g.).

The question then becomes - as far as Ada is concerned - assuming we all can agree on what is right and what should be done, which is to aim for accountability, transparency, traceability/auditability - should we permit a cash-like, untraceable, fully anonymous system to exist within or be attached to Ada via side-chains if we want to shoot for maximum adoption because of Ada’s unprecedented, intrinsic security guarantees/provable security benefits?

My personal opinion - and that’s all it is, influenced by some libertarian thinking/views - is that yes, such systems should be able to exist as part of a wider Ada eco-system, if for no other purpose, to merely be able to absorb such transactions via Cardano SL would be a boon to proving the network’s flexibility/stability. Before Bernard Madoff was caught, real banks hosted his money. Does this mean they were all necessarily complicit only because they handled the transactions of a money-whoring criminal who will die in jail?

You could make the case either way I suppose, depending on whom you ask, but my answer is that banks can’t be held responsible, unless you can establish they had prior knowledge, of the actions of criminals who use them to conduct their dirty business.

In the same vein, Ada and Cardano SL, the lowermost layer that is currently active and will settle all transactions between parties, cannot be held liable, or rather, its stakeholders (me and thee) cannot be held liable because someone chooses to use it for conducting transactions that aid some criminal enterprise.

This is a well known moral dilemma - privacy vs security, or at least, it strikes us as a moral dilemma, and quick and easy answers aren’t really forthcoming. One has to identify as many trade-offs as possible between these two seemingly opposing goals and hopefully implement the protocol(s) in such a way where this can be “tweaked” - ideally speaking, depending on the use cases of actors in a widely heterogeneous, distributed network. Not everything that will hang off Cardano SL is going to be constructed in the same spirit as Ada. Banks may not want a permissionless ledger, in fact, they would probably demand a permissioned ledger. Cardano SL isn’t it and they’ll want to either run on another or brew their own. On the flipside, criminals will prefer Monero like currencies and coin mixers galore to be able to rinse their ill gotten gains.

My idea of how it might pan out is that a currency like Monero can exist as part of Cardano SL via some side-chain. Now, depending on who the target recipient is, a Monero sender may or may not be able to complete a transaction via Cardano SL only because the recipient will preclude transactions where metadata about the sender’s identity isn’t present, such as first/last name, location, citizenship/jurisdiction, etc. Thus, Monero’s benefits as part of Cardano may be obviated depending on the recipient’s criteria for acceptance of payments.

The converse - USD from a US bank to Monero, might be easier to complete. Would the bank allow it tho? Depends on laws. Can I withdraw some cash right now and give it to a drug dealer or a prostitute? Yes. Should it be possible via Cardano SL? If you’re going to imitate reality, and I don’t think we should deviate from our known reality/moral constraints, then you should be able to go US bank/USD->Cardano SL->Monero recipient. If you don’t allow it, criminals don’t give a s*it - they will find another way. So you might as well allow it, and hope they trip up on something else where you can catch them.

This is dialectics at its finest… and I don’t really know what the ‘right’ answer is. All I’m hoping is Cardano SL stays robust and true to its mathematical promises/proofs, that this year and next we catch up w/Ethereum’s capabilities, and eventually we tackle scalability in a BitTorrent-like manner…where it can scale and be sharded infinitely. I’m gonna leave the details to IOHK on how :).

Damn…your post got me going :). Thanks for sharing.


To my previous point about dealing in cash only - there is, at least in USA, many businesses that refuse to accept cash from customers. I remember walking into this Fedex branch, they would only take credit cards as payment and refuse cash. Enforcing moral/legal frameworks around financial transactions is not something one can cast a large blanket on… anyways, I’m out.


Thank you too @MartinMKD. I am headed for bed but I will respond more tomorrow when I have time. I love hearing views stated like you did there , that are compatible or close with mine , while being approached from a different context, you being you of course and a different person in a different situation. I think we have the same goals though or are in ethical agreement quite often.

To me , to respond to the guts of your point concisely here before tomorrow , I would say:. We view the situation – practically ! I never use cash and almost never ever demand “strict privacy” , but I do demand that option as my citizen’s right to privacy , even though I would not be a prime user (like a nefarious actor). I would even go so far as to say, I would pay for the right to privacy if I had to , with some of my economic , political, and ethical credence-bets. Currently, I enjoy what I consider an “unfair shake” with the us govt and stake by my taxes, and by my credit card reliance , that I would be able to trade a crypto asset for an “anonymous” asset, if an extreme situation called for it (ie a government appears that strongly disagrees with my ethics, or my identity is being stolen, or I wanted to make an anonymous gift, or, if for example, I was teleported into a rogue evil dictatorship that is perpendicular to my moral compass and I needed to get out, to serve a few examples).

I think privacy settings should be set by an arrangement of the stakers and the government, like they are ideally in democracies, but, I think also that they should be allowable and flexibly , openly set on the chain’s ethics predictions market or amongst it’s stakers ethical credences… but it seems slightly safer to have a built in, opt in …maybe that is monero , maybe I am asking too many of the “wrong” so to speak , questions.

I am satisfied with my country’s stance towards money privacy at the moment, being a citizen with no criminal history or intent, but the law may change , or I may want to emigrate to a different jurisdiction , societal wise , maybe one that denominates democracy and rights and spending power value in Ada.

I also have a keen hope that a predictions market daap will help an agent bet their beliefs and credences using the chain as an idea / ethics market maker so to speak.

This is all of course , to say at it’s heart, I seek the most openness, because I know that value resides in cardano.


Perhaps this is an issue that will be decided by which pool an actor stakes with and cardano doesn’t even need privacy settings !!!

For the mods who are reading, I am currently brushing up on zfc to bring me toward intuiting operator theory so as to construct an operating program that can bet it’s users credences . On the medium high chance I may turn out dumber or less rigorous than I anticipate, It is also my own credence , hoping to program for the qeditas project.

My friend tells me clojure is a more effective phase space “do-ing” tool than Haskell , but , I am trying my best to align my analysis to be outputtable in first order logic, and wanting myself and eventually, humanity, to be computably enumerable , to perform some plagiarism of the term. (@Haskell-plus)

For non math users, I mean to say I hope we can all discover what we want and believe is right , and share a balance of individual freedoms and goals, to recognize the most value. A lofty goal, but , the nature of “boxing and verifiable prior to run time” is a earth/cosmic size “ask” , but, I see that cardano can support that and am thrilled about that !


I am glad you brought my name into this conversation and I enjoy the play on plagiarism you make ;p , I think that @MartinMKD worked over a round of how I see side chains, but I would vote toward privacy options on Cardano that could be developed after staking if that is the best route, but it should be an option in some sense - if it was not - if you were to use Cardano in an interoperability swap (IS) then it would in some way record on your Daedalus or in the information needed to communicate with your Ddl (Daedalus) which if you really needed to be anonymous for one reason or another (I believe most people are good) than this record of transaction is not in your best interest, let us walk back through history, say in 1939 as a German resistant member, many many people relied on what would come of a transaction that “they” in no way would want to be on “their” Ddl as an IS if “they” were making the transaction if it was possible that “their” Ddl was subject to search - if there was no privacy option than funds from a wallet to the sidechain would be apparent and cause alot of focus on “them” and where the funds went.So lets play war game’s here and see exactly how crypto would support a member of the German resistance (or others) and let’s say everyone has a crypto wallet from a municipal area that contributed to the account that is in question, with no privacy, the member’s of the community that contributed fund’s to the transaction and would also receive the benefit of it and had full record of who contributed to the cause - stop - Easy - from a prosecuters stand point - “enough said” -, all member’s of the community die with prejudice forced against them - even the guy that did not contribute cause he contributed to the source that did… Game over, lots of real lives would be lost on a chain that did not have privacy in 1938 and now if a dictator made a violent run at rule, but if privacy can be a real thing in Cardano why would we not push for it as a community??? Do we really need Government acceptance? Or are we just looking for Government Interoperability? - I think we are looking for Government interoperability.


Thank you also. I appreciate the very thoughtful response. I think after more contemplation on this , I agree with you 100% , and it is simply that we are looking at government interoperability, on the one side of the issue.

Privacy control should be expected and set by the stake pool holders based on their desires, and the chain itself and devs should seek the most interoperable-ness that they can.

On the ethics front , I think we (ideators or builders) will then need to create an ethics market , staked at first, by whom we choose to pool with , and ultimately, in a charity donation sense, when a lot more dust has settled.

Distributed ethical consensus is something whose value will of course vary by culture. There is a medium time to wait before literally betting on normative ethical values, but at the same time, I can see now that we will be performing that same function when we choose our stake pool. :slight_smile:


I also think that, becoming “computably enumerable” as a society , should come in sync with an individual or group being “completely remunerable” , in that, their value can accrue most toward what they are and believe in (ie first, believe in yourself, notice your patterns, those of others , and be rewarded to the extent your belief is more correct… Like we are kind of engaging in a “meet and greet” process with Amazon, and we are pretending that the same process is reliably verifiable in our political systems).

In the end, everyone thus should benefit from “personal and societal ethical alignment”, and would be incentivized to do it , like we do in our current crude forms (like paying a candidate to lower our taxes, ha!).


This is well thought out as a truth that we all can place value in.

I would oppose this as I currently suffer bias for my unrefined humanist approach to life and am continually exposed to people that hold a faith and cannot get past my unbelief.

But I do not oppose any work that you would build on toward your contributions to decentralizing the world trade.


Thank you for the kind words and again I am humbled,

But I would ask as a rebuttal question (myself holding a mildly anti-agnostic mildly theist mildly deist view)… Wouldnt you (try) be first to place a bet on humans agreeing in unison on a certain value, say, the value of having a criminal law against unjust murder?

Or even, we would both surely stake on the idea of intellectual freedom, since, while you may not want to or be able to disregard your “unbelief” , we can all predict that there will be a certain amount of belief by a certain number of people.

For example , I hold a substantial intellectual grudge against David Chalmers… I staunchly disagree with almost everything his so called stance is about… But if you asked me to set aside $100 about this feeling, this belief (monism), which I gladly would… … I would stake $50 toward securing freedom, $30 on Chalmers ending up being proved wrong, and $20 on Chalmers’ view going on to exist simply because he is stubborn and will likely retain supporters.

That is to say, I would hedge my bets against an enemy of my ideals , but I would bet the most on people contributing money to freedom of debate. :wink:


I do not believe in unjust murder, no sane person kills another without provocation or by mistake in my book, I would be sorry to hear that one or the other has affected your life.
I do agree that as of now a certain number of people hold a belief dearly but I would not bet on it being a trend as information and science is improved on moving forward. And so I could not stake on it, but what I can stake on is the world wealth, the world wealth is beyond the reach of faith and crosses all boundaries when faith is involved , and so I could agree with you, I also could hedge my bets against a population of ideals, and I also could place my bet on freedom of debate - which essentially in my language is the essence of freedom.


So you are saying you would bet on the world wealth increasing in harmonic relation with science, and a corresponding forever decreasing value in certain “beliefs”. (At least, over a long time horizon) I respect that view , as being a valid play and maybe “The” play.

But I also would ask, is science really in the process of closing off belief ? I would personally bet against that. If anything , science has allowed us to increase the power of our beliefs, and, even when/if possible Chalmers is proven wrong, and we could theoretically on a long time span, transcend our physical existence , we would still hold substantial belief “in” that (monism/anti Chalmers/transcension). Given what science has shown us thus far (that it is likely impossible to rule out theism at all, and even with the power of a black hole’s Shannon value, it still may be impossible to rule out theism) … it is likely that even in this science dominated schema of post humanity, some beings (whether they are us or not) would place some amount of value in theism.

I don’t mean to open a religious debate. I find that religious debates are frictional and overly needlessly complex… I don’t necessarily mean to open a monism vs dualism debate , because I hope and expect you and I are on the same side of this, but, I think in general, to steal the context from you of “humanism”… that we should likely wager on people following their personal spiritual desires, after all, isn’t it human itself to hold a belief in the power of the [human] spirit?

Mostly I just am grateful for your response . I am keen to debate the values of normative ethical schemes among future humans and potential future SI, but that debate is playing out every day on and , aside from personally valuing virtue ethics , I don’t have a major stake in the ring yet, so to speak, as I believe SI is a little ways off yet and virtue ethics is the most interoperable.


I will not highjack the thread, and will return it to its coarse, would unethical schemes that include specific endgame scenarios that benefit criminals by their design and hurt ethically driven investor’s delay adoption by nation’s??
I think not, if the scheme get’s past the watchdog’s much like many have been able to do, any chain with simply arranged public info can move into a realm of true value. cause true value is truly held by the collector.


Thank you my friend, for not taking that bait (I apologise), and , indeed, I still retain 100% confidence in the chain and in all holders benefitting each other , and to that , I believe we are both making a virtuous or good play in this chain.


Wow, this is a nebulous discussion. To put it succinctly - I like the option of privacy and I don’t plan on using ADA for criminal enterprise. I think the ideal is something like what DASH offers: the choice of transparency or privacy.