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Bitcoin Privacy Service zkSNACKs Ceases Operations, Prompting Concerns in Bitcoin Ecosystem

In a recent announcement, zkSNACKs, a prominent player in the Bitcoin ecosystem, revealed its decision to discontinue its CoinJoin coordination service.

This move, impacting users seeking enhanced privacy in their cryptocurrency transactions, has stirred discussions within the community and raised questions about the future of privacy-enhancing tools in the United States.

Max Hillebrand, CEO of zkSNACKs, shared insights into the decision exclusively with Cointelegraph. He cited the evolving legal landscape in the U.S. as a key factor driving the cessation of the CoinJoin service. Amidst regulatory uncertainties surrounding cryptocurrencies and privacy tools, maintaining compliance became paramount.

The closure of this service has also sparked reactions from notable figures, including former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who expressed disappointment over the loss of a tool known for its privacy features.

Hillebrand emphasized the importance of the CoinJoin service in enhancing privacy within the Bitcoin ecosystem, acknowledging the setback its discontinuation represents. Despite this, he assured users that Wasabi Wallet, developed by zkSNACKs and incorporating the CoinJoin feature, will continue to operate as a standard Bitcoin wallet, without the privacy-enhancing service.

While alternatives such as Tor integration and custom coin selection still offer privacy benefits, Hillebrand acknowledged that the level of anonymity provided by CoinJoins remains unmatched. The closure of zkSNACKs’ CoinJoin coordination service also impacts other products and services within the ecosystem, including Trezor Suite and BTCPayServer, which will cease to offer the service to their users from June 2024.

In light of these developments, concerns linger about the broader implications for user privacy and the future of privacy protocols in the cryptocurrency space. Hillebrand refrained from speculating on potential crackdowns in jurisdictions beyond the U.S., underscoring the uncertainty prevailing in the regulatory landscape.

CoinJoin, as explained by Hillebrand, operates by combining multiple inputs and outputs from different users into a single transaction, obscuring transaction details and enhancing privacy. Wasabi Wallet, known for its rigorous privacy features, was launched in 2018 and has since been a favored choice among privacy-conscious users due to its robust architecture and commitment to anonymity.


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