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  • Writer's pictureGideon Samid

"The right of Payor and Payee to Exchange Value Privately Shall Not be Abridged" (New Amendment?)

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

Let's fancy a new amendment to the US Constitution (The 28th). Or at least launch a public debate over the right to pay digital money in a private fashion. This proposed amendment is not needed today when US dollar banknotes are passed around freely and privately. Alas, as we migrate to cyberspace physical cash will become extinct, and safeguarding the basic right of payment privacy rises to cornerstone status for cyber freedom. Unchecked the digital dollar will be designed with total payment exposure so that every American will be tracked 24/7 through their payments, much of it will be done automatically including via the Internet of Things. The government will then have the power to choke and paralyze every citizen, by simply invalidating their transactions -- large and small. Neither the first amendment, nor the second amendment will be any good, if we cannot pay to pass our word to others, nor buy ammo to make our firearms useful.

It's not a question of technology. We have the means to impose total surveillance, and we have the technology to secure payment privacy. It's a political question. Government, well wishing as it may be, is inherently inclined towards gathering more information regarding its citizens. Without a popular rising to safeguard payment privacy, we will be denied its benefit, and find ourselves lured into payment convenience that comes at the price of behavioral nakedness.

The Internet of Things is engulfing us more and more, we will soon be walking around connected to personal devices that pay and get paid as we go through our daily business. Every minute move will be monitored, surveyed, known -- and will be used against us, if it serves the powers that be.

I am worried because it sounds geeky and abstract. It is not easy to realize how critical payment privacy really is, because while we lost it for most of our transactions, we can still shove a twenty dollar bill to a person next to us, and enjoy the privacy of the act. But soon this might not be an option.

The digital money community is diverse and we have diverging opinions on everything, but I hope that we can unite around the foundational freedom wherein two law-abiding citizens can exchange value privately. We can do it in a framework that emulates the 4th constitutional amendment in cyberspace. Namely, a court order will be able to pierce such payment privacy. We want to establish a fair balance between preventing abuse and upholding proper use. And we can. Again, the issue is not technology. It is a matter of first appreciating the fact the freedom in cyberspace is hinged on payment privacy, and then creating a grassroot movement to signal to our representatives that we expect them to safeguard this privacy for us.

Please forward -

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