—— 21 days ago · 5 min read ——

A message to US and EU users

With the recent pressure to eliminate blockchain privacy tools such as privacy wallets and crypto mixers, Whir is at a crossroads. Increased regulatory scrutiny, especially from regions with strict overregulation such as the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), has created significant challenges for crypto mixers. As a result, we have to make a difficult request to our valued users from these regions: we kindly ask you to refrain from using our CoinJoin service.

The regulatory environment has recently become very hostile to blockchain privacy-enhancing technologies. Regulators in the US and EU have increased their scrutiny of crypto-mixers, also known as cryptocurrency mixers, creating legal risks and compliance burdens that are in stark contrast to our privacy-centric ethos.

The fundamental principle behind our coin-mixing service is to enhance the privacy and anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions for regular users. The CoinJoin protocol is not only a technical innovation but also a philosophical commitment to financial privacy and freedom, which are fundamental human rights.

Crypto mixers and recent regulatory actions

Increasing regulatory pressure has forced many privacy-focused services to reconsider their operations in these highly regulated regions. Notable examples include the Wasabi wallet and the Trezor hardware wallet, both crypto wallets disabling CoinJoin operations or limiting their availability in the US and EU regions. These decisions underscore the growing challenge of balancing user privacy with  regulatory compliance.

Another troubling development is the U.S. government's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which was proposed last year. This rule would impose new recordkeeping and reporting requirements on U.S. financial institutions and financial agencies. Specifically, it targets transactions where there is knowledge, suspicion, or reasonable grounds to suspect the use of Bitcoin mixers and CVC mixing. This means that U.S. financial institutions would be required to report all transactions that they believe involve the use of crypto mixers, adding another layer of oversight and regulatory burden.

By imposing burdensome compliance requirements, regulators are effectively forcing these services to choose between compromising their principles, leaving the US and EU regions, or ceasing to operate on the open web and moving to the dark web.

Why crypto mixers cannot adopt KYC

At the core of our CoinJoin service is a commitment to user privacy. We firmly believe in the fundamental right to financial privacy and have designed our crypto mixer, Whir, to ensure that users can conduct transactions without revealing their identity. Whir is the crypto mixer for everyday users, and this commitment means that we do not collect or verify users' personal information, making it impossible for us to comply with the latest KYC requirements imposed by US and EU regulators.

The regulatory overreach embodied in measures such as the NPRM and enhanced KYC mandates stands in stark contrast to our privacy policy. Complying with these regulations would require us to fundamentally change our service model and compromise the financial privacy that our users value the most. We are therefore faced with a difficult choice: comply and abandon our privacy-first principles, or maintain our commitment to privacy and exclude users from over-regulated regions.

Operating in the US or EU without complying with these regulations carries serious legal risks. Financial penalties, legal action, and even criminal charges can be levied against services that fail to comply with these strict requirements. Recent actions taken against Samourai Wallet and other privacy-focused services (Tornado Cash, Bitcoin Fog, Helix, and Blender.io) are a stark reminder of the potential consequences.

Our message to US and EU users

Given the current regulatory landscape, we are unable to comply with the strict KYC requirements imposed by the US and EU authorities. We believe in the no KYC crypto principle, and implementing such measures would not only jeopardize the privacy of our users but also violate the core values upon which our service is built.

As a result, we regretfully request that all US and EU citizens refrain from using our CoinJoin service. This request is not made lightly, and we deeply regret any inconvenience it may cause. However, we believe it is the only way to protect the privacy and integrity of our coin mixing service.

To our users in the US and EU, we appreciate your understanding and support. We hope that the regulatory landscape will evolve in a way that respects the fundamental rights to privacy and financial autonomy. Until then, we ask that you please refrain from using our CoinJoin service to protect both your privacy and our ability to continue to provide this important service to users in less restrictive jurisdictions. We remain committed to our mission and will continue to advocate for privacy and freedom in the digital age, where privacy is more than gold. We appreciate your understanding and support during these challenging times.

Conclusion

As regulators in regions such as the US and EU continue to impose overregulation, privacy-focused services like ours face an existential threat. The demand for compliance with KYC and other invasive regulations stands in stark contrast to our commitment to user privacy. We believe in the importance of financial privacy and the right of individuals to conduct their transactions without undue scrutiny. However, the current regulatory environment makes it very difficult for us to operate in these regions without compromising our principles, leading us to make the difficult decision to ask all users from these regions not to use our coin-mixing service. We remain committed to promoting the importance of financial privacy and exploring ways to provide our services in a manner that is consistent with both our principles and legal requirements.

Disclaimer: This article does not serve as a piece of financial advice or encouragement and inducement for the usage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Its primary role is informative, explanatory, and educational. The readers have to decide themselves whether to use or not to use these types of services.

Further reading

7 days ago · 6 min read

Crypto Mixers and the Fight for Privacy

Financial privacy is under increasing threat from stringent KYC and AML regulations. While these measures are intended to curb illicit activity, they also expose ordinary users to extensive surveillance and data collection, undermining their personal autonomy and security. As a result of these regulations, crypto mixers and privacy-focused wallets are being targeted, but what are the real consequences of losing financial privacy?

1 month ago · 4 min read

Crypto wallets disable CoinJoin

In recent years, the cryptocurrency world has seen a growing tension between regulators and privacy-focused services. Recent crackdowns on prominent players such as Tornado Cash and Samourai Wallet are sending shockwaves through the crypto industry and raising fears of over-regulation. The costs of oversight and control are high and, as usual, are passed on to ordinary users, who end up losing the ability to conduct crypto transactions privately.

2 months ago · 5 min read

CoinJoin protocol

We all know that Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, meaning that even though they don't directly reveal the real-world identities, they still leave a trail that can potentially be traced back to the users. This fragility of privacy poses significant risks, as once compromised, it can be difficult, sometimes very costly, or even impossible to recover. Let's find out more about CoinJoin, a privacy protocol designed to eliminate these privacy concerns.

Mix Bitcoins (3% fee)
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