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DEF Files Amicus Brief Supporting Crypto Users’ Rights

A crypto advocacy organization, the DeFi Education Fund, has requested a U.S. court consider the distinct blockchain technology characteristics when assessing the Fourth Amendment rights of privacy for crypto users. The fund formally submitted an amicus brief to the appeals court on Oct. 20, 2023, in favor of James Harper’s case against the IRS. The petition is part of a campaign to thwart the government’s unfettered access to cryptocurrency platform users’ transaction records.

Harper was one of 14,355 Coinbase users whose information was disclosed to the IRS in 2017, leading to a fervent push for more robust rights and protection of digital privacy.

The core mission of the DeFi Education Fund is to promote regulatory clarity within the DeFi ecosystem and to educate policymakers about the advantages of DeFi. It seeks to create an atmosphere that promotes innovation while guaranteeing the protection of user privacy and rights.

DEF stated that it was honored to support the industry by providing amicus briefs in instances that set precedents, such as Harper vs. IRS, which involved a John Doe subpoena to Coinbase and resulted in the IRS obtaining the personal financial information of more than 14,300 customers. According to DEF, it is critical that the amendment be reexamined in order to achieve an equilibrium between the investigative powers of law enforcement and a person’s right to preserve their financial privacy in the digital era. The amendment serves as a safeguard against unwarranted government seizures and searches.

Additionally, DEF used Carpenter vs. U.S. to support its claim that the amendment aims to limit the government’s access to data obtained through third-party entities. The group further elucidated that actual users can be connected to pseudonymous addresses since crypto transactions are traceable on public ledgers.

This had profound implications for the lives and privacy of Coinbase users and the case as well. According to DEF, the federal government’s request effectively implicated every transaction a user has ever made — past, present and future — revealing their personal as well as their political, religious and familial ties. DEF further stressed that the amount of knowledge gleaned from this data is much beyond that which could be obtained from conventional banking records.

The ultimate verdict in the case of Harper vs. Werfel and the IRS is poised to establish a significant precedent concerning digital privacy rights and law-enforcement measures within the United States.

Pioneering companies such as HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: HIVE) (TSX.V: HIVE) hope that the outcome of these cases don’t set precedents that stifle the growth of the crypto industry.

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