Contributor privacy and opsec

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First of all: Bitcoin is good for you and the rest of the world, and dealing with Bitcoin is, in itself, perfectly fine and natural. This means that when you privately trade on Bisq, you are most probably doing nothing wrong, on the contrary you are furthering the ideals Bitcoin was created for, even if someone might try to convince you otherwise.

There are parties though that would rather have Bitcoin either disappear, or be turned into the ultimate mass-control tool (the latter being a very realistic scenario, given the peculiarities of the blockchain and its workings). This might, in turn, lead these parties to act in such a way that Bitcoin itself doesn't prosper, or projects around it disappear completely.

Bisq contributors, as "key" elements for Bisq's well being, might be among the targeted elements for the above reason, and for this, other than for best practices regarding privacy on the internet, it is advisable they act accordingly, first and foremost for their own safety, and then for Bisq's.

This article will not be a duplicate of existing, well written resources about privacy on the internet, like this one:

Rather, this will be a short heads up to aspiring contributors, but really, anyone, to follow some simple principles.

  • Assume any online service will keep all the information about you that you allow it to obtain (browser/PC information via javascript, OS preferred language, obviously your IP, cookies...) and store them for the long term even after you think you deleted them
  • Assume that anything you do, say, or write, will be used against you, even if it was innocent and apparently inconsequential at the time

An "affordable" way to being able to do and say almost anything you would want to, is to remove the ties between your real ID and your internet ID:

  1. Use Tor
  2. Create a whole new virtual identity, with emails and usernames that you don't use for other personal things
  3. Keep that identity in check with itself, and never mix things you do and say with that, with those you do and say with either your real ID, or other IDs you might have created

These are just the basics: do your own research, privacy is not easy to obtain as everything which is free, is usually at the cost of it; privacy is also inconvenient, as everything which is convenient and free also comes at the cost of your privacy. So start with small steps, learn to develop a routine, and then progressively document yourself, for example on guides like the one linked above.

For starters, avoid linking your real ID, or even an existing alternate ID, with what you do on Bisq, but rather prefer building a whole new identity.