Significance of Privacy in Web3: Restore Trust and Navigate Data Ownership

This panel at the 8th European Blockchain Convention emphasizes the importance of balancing privacy and surveillance, leveraging tools like self-sovereign identity and zero-knowledge proofs.
The 8th European Blockchain Convention discusses privacy and security in Web3.

Bryn Bennet, Co-Founder of Secret Agency DAO, moderated this privacy panel. Oskars Jepsis, CEO & Co-Founder of ALTER Network, Jaya Brekke, Chief Strategy Officer of NYM Technologies, and Fraser Edwards, CEO of cheqd, provided their insights.

Why Is Privacy Important?

Fraser believes privacy is essential in Web3 because current practices of putting personal information on ledgers can make it easy for others to trace someone’s behavior on-chain, potentially leading to negative consequences such as theft or loss of privacy. 

Jaya agrees by pointing out the irony in Web3 nowadays. She thinks Web3 aims to solve many problems in Web2, but she argues that there’s an even more urgent need to address the privacy concerns in Web3.

Oskars believes it’s necessary to give users a chance to choose whether to disclose certain information publicly. In his opinion, Web3 should allow users to have control over their data and monetize it, while also preventing unwanted tracking and data exploitation by third parties. 

“Most people want to know what to use and they want to protect their privacy. It’s just about making that information easily available and easily accessible to people.”
– Jaya Brekke, Chief Strategy Officer of NYM Technologies

The 8th European Blockchain Convention discusses privacy and security in Web3.

Balance Privacy and Surveillance

Fraser thinks that emphasizing the importance of privacy doesn’t mean that users are not disclosing any personal data, but having the choice to reveal certain information when necessary. He believes that we should go for the minimum disclosure, facilitated by self-sovereign identity (SSI) or decentralized IDs, and only reveal what is actually needed.

Agreeing with Fraser, Jaya thinks privacy and surveillance are not black and white. It includes a really complex field of actors, so she believes the key is to identify what data is visible to whom under what conditions. 

Zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, in her point of view, can be an innovative tool to achieve this balance. She is convinced that adding more privacy to the internet will also make it easier and less burdensome for companies. Privacy by default reduces the need to deal with sensitive data and compliance issues.

EBC23 panelists discussing the importance of privacy in Web3.

Simple Access and Education Are Key

Fraser and Oskars discuss the importance of an easy user interface and user experience (UI/UX) in Web3. Oskars mentions the potential use of picture-based encryption for wallet access while Fraser notes that simplicity and ease of implementation are key factors in encouraging the adoption of privacy solutions by developers and users.

Privacy is The Future of Web3

Fraser mentions a significant narrative shift in the Web3 space, where there has been an increased focus on topics like privacy, data ownership, and trust, as opposed to the previous emphasis on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Jaya also believes that privacy will be a significant theme in the coming years, with increasing awareness of its relationship to security, value, and data leaks. 

Watch the full panel discussion to understand why privacy is the future of the internet!

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