Polkadot’s blockchain, created by Gavin Wood, after he left Ethereum, has a new privacy function. The tool uses soulbound tokens and zero-knowledgeproofs (yes, those things that Vitalik Buterin dreamed up) to limit the amount information crypto users are willing to share when transacting on-chain.

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In particular, has collaborated with Linea’s team to create a “zero knowledge soulbound tokens (zkSBT), which will allow users selectively reveal their identities when interacting on the blockchain.

The new Cosmos NFT Standard – named ICS-721 as a tribute to Ethereum’s ERC-721 NFT Standard – will unlock a non-fungible type of asset that can traded across blockchains.

These stories aren’t connected in any way (different technology, different chains, and different use cases), but they do share a common trend: winter is a time to build. This is a cliche but it’s worth repeating because it shows the ingenuity of crypto.

Cross-pollination has taken off in crypto. Other industries, such as the free and open-source movement, have been sharing information for years.

Vitalik Buterin posted a blog in mid-2022 about soulbound tokens, a blockchain-based curriculum that tracks a person’s achievements and cannot be sold or traded. He invited anyone to experiment with the idea. The Extremely Metal moniker may have attracted a lot more attention to SBTs, and others were inspired to write about the revolutionary nature of such a token.

Ideas are not expensive (inspiration comes when it pleases, and money cannot buy it), but they’re harder to create. It’s fascinating to see a real-life deployment.

The crypto industry is a place where a lot of technology experimentation happens. This could be because there’s still so much money floating around or because the people it attracts are very innovative.

This is most evident in zero-knowledge cryptography (ZK), which has been a part of academic research for the past 30 years. The term was coined by computer scientists Shafi, Charles, and Silvio (the Algorand guy). Crypto was the first to use ZK-proofs in a commercial setting, despite the fact that the concept of the system is quite simple – allowing one party to prove that a statement is “true”, without having to reveal all the cards. Now, it’s used to scale Ethereum, secure wallets and the new Polkadot tool.

It’s true that the real honor belongs to those who fought for open-source software, saw the potential of the technology and the pressures to commodify them, and pushed for researchers to publish their code and share their findings under permissive licenses. They are people like Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux and Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly who have helped to build the internet that we know today.

Because so much crypto is open-source, it is susceptible to abuse. This allows spammers at the lowest level to fork projects indefinitely and create meme coins. At a more frightening level, nation-state actors, including North Korea have turned the abuse of permissive Blockchain tools into a significant source of income.

Open source code is likely to do more good than harm, whether you are a Bitcoiner or a FOSS zealot such as Richard Stallman, who wrote the “GNU Manifesto,” arguing that giving users the control over their computers is a fundamental moral principle.

It’s important to highlight the benefits of cryptocurrency at a time when it is being targeted by regulators, especially in the U.S. Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier just announced today a roadmap for to open-source more parts of the hardware wallet following pressure from the cryptocommunity over its proprietary “Ledger Recover”.

Open-source software increases transparency and may also lead to more competition and lower prices. If they want people to pay for products that would otherwise be free, tech companies must drive innovation. OpenAI, the former non-profit dedicated AI safety which is now a glorified Microsoft plug-in, is an example: CEO Sam Altman said that the company had no moat to stop the proliferation of open and free AI alternatives. (This was something Google executives actually said).

Some people may not be convinced of the benefits that “open collaboration” can bring. I personally could see the argument for keeping certain technological secrets secret, such as how to enrich nuclear weaponry. And basic intellectual property rights should also be protected. Wouldn’t you like to live in an open world?