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Anonymity in crypto raises alarm

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Anonymity in crypto raises alarm

At work, he makes an exception for privacy. On calls with clients, he often uses his real first name to introduce himself, concerned that traditional business executives might be uncomfortable working with someone known only as a legend. goes.

Over the past year, venture capital firm Paradigm has also hired engineers and researchers working anonymously; They appear on the company’s staff pages under pseudonyms. The most recent hire was a crypto engineer who goes by Transmission11 and attended high school “in his spare time,” according to his company bio. (Paradigm spokesman Jim Prosser said the employees’ bosses knew their identities.)

In interviews, anonymous crypto entrepreneurs and engineers gave several reasons for hiding their names. Some feared that a regulatory action could put them in the cross hairs of law enforcement. Others said they dislike the attention or are concerned that their growing wealth could make them a target of thieves and hackers.

Anonymous entrepreneurs often take extreme steps to keep their identities private, using voice-changing software on calls or requiring business partners to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Few venture firms are willing to invest in them anyway. Last year, 0xMaki, a developer who helped run major crypto project SushiSwap, raised $60 million from a group of venture investors including Ms. Wu, without disclosing her real name. (The deal fell through after members of Sushi Swap — a so-called decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, in which individual investors hold significant sway — raised concerns about funding.)

Last summer, the unnamed founder of Alchemyx, another major crypto project, raised $4.9 million from a group of venture firms led by CMS Holdings. CMS founder Dan Matuszewski said he never asked the leader of the project, which uses the pseudonym ScoopyTroops, to reveal his identity.

“Many of these people have had reputations over the years,” Matuszewski said. “Don’t think it makes a ton of sense for them to run away with the money and run away.”

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