Statement: Attacks on self-hosted wallets are attacks on privacy and the right to code

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 30, 2022

This statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (she/they), Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future:

“This week, the European Parliament will vote on an amendment to its anti-money laundering legislation. This amendment proposes collecting, recording and reporting self-hosted wallet information on exchanges over 1000 EUR. It will require compulsory identity checks and could end up entirely prohibiting transactions to private wallets. 

A self-hosted, private, or unhosted wallet is simply a cryptocurrency wallet where a user is in control of the private keys. In other words, a wallet where users have greater control over their privacy. Requiring that transactions with self-hosted wallets collect information in this manner will alter the privacy-protecting nature of these tools. While regulation of cryptocurrency, businesses and business practices is necessary, constantly targeting self-hosted wallets exposes that this is really about surveillance, not protecting people. Such legislation sets a dangerous tone that would be felt in the EU and beyond.

Bad policy harms human rights. We agree with our European partners that this particular vote should be paused. Any regulation of emerging technology must take a more thoughtful and human rights based approach that centers the needs of traditionally marginalized people and those at the mercy of authoritarian regimes. Companies and large cryptocurrency exchanges should have reporting requirements and be in compliance with the law, but criminalizing the creation and use of open source, peer to peer privacy tools is unacceptable. As governments around the world continue in their efforts to regulate cryptocurrency, we must be relentless in our defense of the right to code and privately store value on our own devices. To this effect, we have organized a letter with 27 other human rights and civil society organizations with values-forward principles for regulating web3 technologies here.”