ErgoHack VI Cypherpunk Finance: A Focus on Privacy
February 6, 2023
The Ergo Platform’s first major event of 2023 is just around the corner with ErgoHack VI - Cypherpunk Finance set to kick off on February 8th. This ErgoHack attempts to inspire competitors to revisit the first principles cryptocurrency was founded upon - an ethos that the Ergo Platform strives to embody. So what, or who, is a cypherpunk? Well, “cypherpunks generally believe in using cryptography and software rather than politics and advocacy to achieve freedom and privacy.” With Ergo, part of the blockchain’s design was inspired by the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right, and that this technology is uniquely designed to aid in the protections of certain privacies.
It can be argued that digital privacy has come under attack in recent years (some may suggest that it has always been under attack). The developer of Tornado cash was imprisoned and certain cryptocurrencies have been delisted from exchanges due to their inherent privacy features. Additionally, various centralized exchanges require KYC and other sensitive information from users in order to access the services they provide. While still respecting the regulations and laws of various jurisdictions, it can be argued that online privacy protections are severely underdeveloped. With Ergo, there is an opportunity to rewrite that script and explore the various tools that enable the blockchain to offer optional privacy features.
With Ergohack VI - Cypherpunk Finance, developers and entrepreneurs are tasked with designing mechanisms that ordinary citizens can use to protect their privacy and anonymity. They are also encouraged to explore building other types of tools that embody the first principles that Ergo was founded on (see Ergo Manifesto).
When it comes to privacy tooling, Ergo possesses sigma protocols which are a form of zero-knowledge proof. A zero-knowledge proof allows someone to prove that they know the solution to a problem without actually revealing the solution itself. Ergo has also deployed the use of a mixer within the ecosystem. With ErgoHack VI, the Ergo Foundation encourages applicants to take advantage of existing Ergo privacy features and to further develop open sourced privacy and/or DeFi tooling on the blockchain.
The Ergo Manifesto states that “Privacy must remain an option to protect the individual, and it does not have to be forced; let people make their own choices. Privacy is the ability to create barriers and erect boundaries to create a space for the individual. It is up to each what borders and boundaries they choose to make.” Depending on your upbringing and where you live in the world, you may question the need for strong privacy protections. Regardless of any freedoms you may enjoy, there is a need for certain privacy protections, especially in places where governments have eliminated the basic freedoms of their citizens.
The Ergo Manifesto states that “[Civilizations exist] under a continuous tension between what is best for society and what is best for the individual. The only real entities in a community are individuals, and all collectives, associations, and governments stem from individual participation and interaction. Privacy protects the individual from society. Privacy creates space to allow personal autonomy. Personal autonomy is the basis of individual rights.”
Ergohack VI - Cypherpunk Finance is calling on developers and project leads alike to build financial tooling that embodies crypto’s first principles. These first principles can include privacy tooling, decentralization, open sourced code, self-custody, security and transparency. At the end of the hackathon, all submissions will be judged by a jury that will then determine how the prize pool of 18k $SigUSD and 300k $Ergopad will be awarded.
ErgoHack VI starts in two days! Be sure to register soon to take full advantage of this opportunity. For more details and the registration form, please visit the ErgoHack website.