Arkham Intelligence, a rising tech startup, has recently introduced a marketplace that permits the buying and selling of blockchain data. This move has ignited a firestorm among privacy advocates who argue that the anonymity integral to the blockchain and cryptocurrency world could be in jeopardy.
Merging Blockchain and Real-world Identities
The company boldly states on its website that the future of blockchain identity will be tightly tethered to real-world identities. By creating a marketplace where data on cryptocurrency wallet ownership and transaction histories can be exchanged, Arkham is, in essence, aiming to interlink these two worlds. This novel platform gathers online detectives, who acquire data from across the internet, and consumers who are prepared to remunerate for such information.
Arkham’s Objective: Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in the Cryptocurrency Realm
Arkham’s 23-year-old CEO, Miguel Morel, supports this venture as an instrument to foster transparency within the industry. He envisages the marketplace, or the ‘intel exchange’, as an avenue for sharing valuable information that could enhance risk management, expose fraudulent activities, and aid investment and trading strategies in the cryptocurrency sector.
Morel asserts that the crypto industry lacks a mechanism that motivates individuals to disclose helpful information to the community, leading to improved accountability. This viewpoint emerges in the backdrop of numerous security compromises and thefts that have plagued the industry.
The Emergence of a “Dox-to-earn” Controversy
Despite Morel’s portrayal of the initiative as an accountability and transparency tool, critics are skeptical. They have dubbed it a “dox-to-earn program,” hinting at a possible invasion of privacy that could potentially harm the crypto community. Appeals for a collective repudiation of the project reverberate in various digital spheres.
Arkham’s Operating Model Explained
Arkham’s operational framework is fundamentally simple. Users purchase the platform’s tokens and pledge an amount they’re willing to pay for specific information. Any blockchain analyst or crypto detective can respond to these requests. If the supplied information meets Arkham’s verification criteria, the bounty is awarded to the analyst. Besides, users can also auction data they believe others may value.
Opposition to the Model
The model has attracted substantial opposition despite Morel’s justifications. Critics, including Harry Halpin, CEO and co-founder of privacy-oriented startup Nym Technologies, have openly condemned the project, terming it “utterly disgraceful.” Disapproval of the model is also evident among social media users.
A Growing Entity Amidst Controversy
In the face of controversy, Arkham Intelligence is growing steadily. The company reports that its blockchain analytics platform, which features an AI assistant for data analysis, now serves more than 500,000 registered users. Its digital currency, known as ARKM, needed for posting bounties on the exchange, trades at about 60 cents, which suggests a market cap of $90 million.
The Enigmatic Figure Behind Arkham
Morel, the force behind Arkham Intelligence, remains somewhat of an enigma, adding to the intrigue around the company. While the startup has attracted prominent investors, including venture capitalist Tim Draper, much of Arkham’s operational details and personnel information remain undisclosed. As the crypto community finds itself split over Arkham’s new enterprise, the future trajectory of this contentious initiative remains to be seen.