It’s up to each person whether or not they want to doxx themselves. That is a question that many people who work in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, like developers, influencers, and investors, have to deal with.
When going into the crypto world, does one use one’s own name, or do they use an alias?
Consider the creator of RobinHood Inu, a reflection token that was released in February. Embrik Børresen is the person who came up with the idea.
When he started out, he thought about giving himself a pseudonym. This is what many crypto and blockchain founders do.
But Børresen, 22, who was born and raised in a small town, also served in the Norwegian military, where he says he learned a lot about the value of trust.
So, when it came time to start his new project, he used his real name.
It’s moral for him to show who he is, says to our Magazine.
Many of his friends don’t agree with him.
People who work on the DogeBonk project say that „pseudo-anonymity has been a part of the internet since it started, and I think it will stay that way.“
The pseudonym Ghostbro doesn’t make sense for them to reveal their true identity, which is called „doxxing.“
“It would essentially put a target on my back to people who might have lost money trading DogeBonk, or wish to steal from me either online or by actually coming to my house and threatening me or my loved ones.”
„We’ve already received threats,“ they say in the magazine. They’ve been subject to some „extremely obsessive behavior from people who truly hate our cryptocurrency.“
They’re not in a hurry to become „a flesh and blood figurehead that people can mess with.“
How much does one need to reveal about oneself in a world that isn’t controlled by one person? This debate has been going on at least some of the time since the beginning of crypto.
After all, one’s transactions are already on show in the form of a public key that anyone can see.
The question is: Do you really need to put a bullseye on your chest, as well?
Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented Bitcoin, used an alias that hasn’t been broken into. This is part of the crypto culture, and it goes back to when he used the alias.
Has it gone too far?
It may seem that pseudonymity is part of the deal in the cryptoverse, but it isn’t.
How many people who are „influencers“ on Crypto Twitter use fake names, like PlanB, Cobie, The Crypto Dog, and Rekt Capital, to spread their message?
Twitter’s famous person
Until 2021, they were called Crypto Cobain. Cobie is on their second handle, which they used until 2021.
People and businesses may not like it when people use fake names.
It can hide „rug pullers,“ fraudsters, money launderers, and other types of people who aren’t very honest.
Wonderland was a good example of this. It was revealed that one of the people behind that DeFi protocol, who went by the name Sifu, was convicted felon and co-founder of QuadrigaCX, a Canadian crypto exchange that went down under mysterious circumstances and lost $169 million in user funds.
There are many people who think that anonymous scammers are still out there, even though the crypto space has become safer and more user-friendly as it moves closer to becoming a normal part of everyday life.
1/ This needs to be shared @0xSifu is the Co-founder of QuadrigaCX, Michael Patryn. If you are unfamiliar that is the Canadian exchange that collapsed in 2019 after the founder Gerald Cotten disappeared with $169m
I have confirmed this with Daniele over messages. pic.twitter.com/qSfWNnQPhr
— zachxbt (@zachxbt) January 27, 2022
So dangerous, said Brian Nguyen, the crypto entrepreneur who lost $470,000 in what might have been a „crypto rug pull.“
They could be a good actor right now, but in two or three years, they could be bad.
When you see them, it makes you wonder what they’re afraid of.
This pseudo-anonymity thing might be time to think about it again.
As a community, crypto should be taken more seriously if people start revealing their identities. Hadar Jabotinsky is a research fellow at the Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology.
It is important because this is still a new, unregulated market, says Jabotinsky.
People trust each other, but rumors can spread. So, it’s better to use real names in this case.
It’s been common for people to be suspicious of people who don’t give their real name, and it still is in many places.
As a University of Texas finance professor John Griffin tells Magazine, „If people have to be anonymous, it makes you wonder what they’re afraid of.“
People who can’t or won’t answer questions about people „a lot of the time“ show that there is „some murkiness in what is being shown, even if it’s not a scam.“
If you’re running a scam, you can hide your identity to make it easier, venture capitalist Amy Wu tells Magazine. „This is a small percentage of crypto founders,“ she says.
Still, when they pull off a scam or rug-pull, „it tends to anger many inside and outside the community.“
Then, what can one say about the whole Wonderland thing then?
Patryn (Sifu) was Wonderland’s treasurer. She had been in prison for 18 months for credit card fraud.
Aaron Lammer, a DeFi specialist at Radkl, tells CND that „the lesson is that you have to be prepared for the worst. You have to be prepared for the worst.“
“Even if most people are well-intentioned in their anonymity, you may be masking a very bad actor.”
Part of the ethos
The reason many crypto influencers, traders, and developers post anonymously on Twitter and other social media is that each has a „very unique“ reason for doing so.
For developers and project founders, anonymity can be a way to protect them from the uncertainty of the law.
For traders and people who have power, there may be security risks.
Anonymity is part of the culture of cryptoculture, and I don’t think people need to explain why they want to be secret.
Some of the appeal of being able to keep your identity secret as more people start to invest in crypto could fade as more people start to invest in crypto and the deals get bigger.
If you want to get money from a venture capital firm, don’t go by the name „Loves2party420.“
When Coinnewsdaily asked him, Justin Hartzman, the CEO and co-founder of a cryptocurrency exchange in Toronto, told him.
“If you are running a multi-million-dollar protocol, it’s not wise to remain anonymous. You need to be visible to ensure that you won’t suddenly rug-pull and get away with it.”
Some venture capitalists won’t invest in a project if the founder stays anonymous, says Wu. But there are some situations where the founder chooses to stay anonymous, perhaps to keep with the Web3’s egalitarian spirit. The founder is still known by name to those in the more narrow investing community, including the VC firm that helped fund the project.
Is it even right to think that someone loses credibility when they use an alias?
People who use a nom de plume can’t make their own brand.
To name a few: Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot), and Dr. Seuss, to name just a few.
Ghostbro: „When people’s work is linked to a pseudonym, it’s just as important to keep their credibility there as it is to keep it with their real name.“
People’s behavior isn’t always good, especially when they’re on the internet.
Ysabel Gerrard, a social media researcher, says that „the majority of my adult survey participants use pseudonyms on social media to avoid scorn from those who might think their behavior was „unacceptable,“ both inside and outside of fan communities.“
No, but if pseudonyms make people more democratic, does that mean that they are bad?
„They don’t want to be in the way of the community,“ Wu tells Magazine. „They don’t want to let their personality get in the way.“
Most of the time, they want to be seen as just another person in a dynamic, new community, and a pseudonym can help them achieve this goal.
„You can still build up a reputation without revealing your identity,“ says Samson Mow, CEO of Pixelmatic and former chief strategy officer of Blockstream. „And you can also achieve and have a big impact on the world, as Satoshi Nakamoto did.“ This is what he tells Magazine.
There are more important things than a name or face.
Allowed to repeat the same fraud?
„On the other hand, it’s hard to deny that some scam artists can hide behind anonymity so that they can „repeat the same or different scams“ again and again.“
„There is a lot of this going on in crypto,“ says
As a result of the lack of information in the crypto world, Jabotinsky says that anonymity can lead to all kinds of market failures because there is so little information in the crypto world.
It makes it easier to do things like pump-and-dump schemes and other types of manipulation.
Scale also plays a role when you play around with avatars and the like.
People need to know who they are dealing with when they reach a certain level, like when a company’s treasury has $1 billion in it, says Hartzman.
As a whole, there isn’t that much fraud in the crypto world, Wu says. The number of big projects, like unicorns, which have a value of more than $1 billion but are still rare.
These aren’t the kinds of things that happen in most projects where pseudonymity could be a good thing for the everyday developer or founder, as well as people who have an impact on the project.
As it turns out, dealing with complaints is a lot of work, and investors have been known to get angry when businesses don’t work out or fail.
In Hartzman’s words: „Do you really want to spend your time and energy on these complaints, or even worse, death threats?“
When it comes to one’s job, anonymity might be a good idea, Hartzman says
Case in point: Zachxbt is the alias of the investigator who found out about the Sifu–Wonderland scam.
If you’re a well-known person, you might get death threats, says Hartzman.
When someone has that kind of information, being anon can be a matter of life and death.
Protection from regulators
Some founders, too, fear that regulators in their home country might come after them at some point. This is another reason to hide their identities.
Canada’s recent executive order on the Ottawa truckers got some people to think about what they should do.
As Mow tells the Magazine, „You never know what the government will do.“
If you use an alias and keep your name out of the public eye, you’ll „absolutely“ lower the chances of having your assets taken away. You never know when there will be another Executive Order 6102.
As long as Canada is able to freeze the accounts of peaceful protesters, asset seizures in any advanced Western country are possible.
Even though Børresen is a fan of „radical transparency,“ he understands why so many of his friends have chosen to hide their identities from the world.
„I think they are mostly afraid of being targeted personally, either to protect themselves and their families from being targeted online or in real life,“ says the author of this text.
He can even see himself doxxing himself one day.
There are many examples, such as:
“If RobinHood Inu really takes off, and, say, 10,000 people were aware of me as an individual, this would naturally alter how I interact online. If I was to invest in another project and attaching my name to it would affect it, then I would likely do so anonymously.”
Then, too, the blockchain world might be a unique case because of the way transactions are made public.
As Børresen points out, in traditional finance, people are more open about who they are and where their money goes, but the path it takes is often not clear.
„In crypto, there is a lot of anonymity for people, but every transaction can be traced.“
Ghostbro thinks that many people in the sector will keep a Chinese wall between their online persona and their IRL (in real life) persona. Lammer, on the other hand, thinks that even more people will do this.
As a whole, pseudonymity will be the wave of the future. It’s not just a one-time thing either.
„Crypto is probably ahead of the game, and in the future, more people will be able to do things without being tracked.“
Hartzman isn’t the same person as the other two people.
More than likely, things are coming together.
he says: „Times have changed.“
„As things stand, crypto businesses need to work with regulators to make sure there is a steady and long-term, widespread adoption.“
Visibility is the cornerstone of accountability, Hartzman says. Børresen, on the other hand, says that as decentralized finance becomes more common, the „perceived need for anonymity will likely lessen.“
Some things don’t really change.
People have always cared about their identities and reputations, and Griffin says, „People usually want to know who they’re dealing with.“
It’s hard to build a strong relationship when people aren’t known to each other, they say.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency are also growing up and changing. They’re becoming more regulated, and they’re attracting more users from outside the tech world who may not understand some of its more colorful traditions.
As more big businesses and institutional investors get into the space, some with fiduciary responsibilities, the love for avatars and fake names may fade.