Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, is recently making the news more often due to the Merge and Ethereum’s development process. The Canadian programmer recently proposed a stealth address idea for ERC721 tokens. Nonetheless, it appears the idea does not sit well with the majority of crypto proponents.
Vitalik Buterin proposes NFT transaction anonymity
Taking to Twitter, Vitalik Buterin revealed a proposition he made on Ethereum’s research platform, ethersear.ch. The idea aims to make transactions involving transfer of ERC721s from sender to recipient private. ERC721s are non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Vitalik Buterin called the proposition “a low-tech approach to add a significant amount of privacy to the NFT ecosystem.” In essence, the concept makes it possible for an NFT owner to send the NFT to another party without anyone else knowing who the new owner is besides the new owner themselves.
While the idea promises privacy, some crypto proponents highlighted the fact that it defeats the purpose of transparency. One of the major selling points of blockchain is the transparency it provides when transactions are made. The transparency and immutability features of blockchain technology attracted investors into the space.
A Twitter user noted that Buterin’s idea could lead to an increasing rate of criminal activities involving crypto. They mentioned “endless money laundering, tax evasion, tax loss, harvesting opportunities” as potential products of the idea.
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Vitalik’s proposal oddly similar to Litecoin’s MWEB upgrade
Another user mentioned that the idea would be unhealthy for the NFT space, likening it to Litecoin’s privacy upgrade MimbleWimble. They noted that, like Litecoin’s MWEB, the approach Buterin proposed could be unacceptable to exchanges in different countries. This is because some law enforcement agencies in certain countries would want to be able to track transactions.
Litecoin’s MWEB upgrade faced similar reactions. Following the launch on May 19, five major Korean Crypto exchanges delisted LTC. They cited compliance with regulations regarding anonymous transactions as a major reason.
On June 13, Binance announced that it would not be supporting the Litecoin MWEB upgrade. The exchange warned that any asset sent through MWEB would be lost. Additionally, Gate.io also noted that it would not support the upgrade, adding that the platform doesn’t entertain anonymous transactions.
Buterin’s proposal might receive the same treatment, as warned by some proponents. However, a few users welcome the idea, and argue that it could mark a turning point for the NFT space.