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Court Evaluates Cryptocurrency Privacy Following DeFi Education Fund's Request

DEF advocates for the Fourth Amendment revision considering cryptocurrency privacy, influencing future U.S. digital rights.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023, 09:34 am UTC

The DeFi Education Fund (DEF) recently petitioned a U.S. court to factor in the distinctive elements of blockchain tech while assessing the constitutional privacy rights of cryptocurrency users under the Fourth Amendment. This move was in defense of James Harper, as he contested the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

On October 20, DEF presented their arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Their main contention: the government shouldn't be allowed unchecked access to cryptocurrency user transaction records.

Back in 2017, Harper became a central figure in a broader digital privacy discussion. He was among the 14,355 Coinbase patrons who had their data shared with the IRS, courtesy of a court directive. This event propelled a more significant discourse on the need for fortified digital privacy safeguards.

Highlighting the importance of evolving with the times, DEF emphasized that existing interpretations of the Fourth Amendment may require adjustments. This is to ensure a fair equilibrium between the government's probing capabilities and an individual's right to digital financial secrecy.

Drawing attention to the Carpenter vs. United States case, DEF emphasized the principle that the Fourth Amendment should curtail the government's ability to fetch data from third-party entities such as Coinbase.

A crucial point DEF underscored was the inherent traceability of cryptocurrency dealings on public ledgers. They stressed that it's feasible to link real-world individuals with their online pseudonymous profiles.

This kind of reach isn't just about numbers. DEF expressed concern over the depth of the insights obtained, stating that the government's data requisition offers an in-depth, almost diary-like glimpse into Harper and 14,354 other individuals' lives.

According to DEF, such profound insights surpass what's usually accessible via conventional bank archives. As a group, DEF's primary goal is to enlighten decision-makers on decentralized finance's merits and push for transparent regulatory guidelines in the decentralized finance sphere.

The ultimate judgment in the Harper vs. Werfel and Internal Revenue Services case holds immense significance. Many believe it will establish a benchmark for digital privacy protections and investigative protocols in the U.S.

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