Activists Use Crypto to Protect ‘Rap Against Dictatorship’ from Censorship


Anti-government activists in Thailand are utilizing crypto tech to assist stop authorities from censoring “Rap Against Dictatorship,” a controversial music video that has gone viral within the nation. The video, which excoriates Thai authorities and army authorities on quite a few social points, has achieved runaway success in Thailand, amassing greater than 28 million views on YouTube because it was launched on October 22.

‘Rap Against Dictatorship’ Finds a House on the Blockchain

“Rap Against Dictatorship” goes after authorities within the kingdom, lambasting them for his or her position in Thai issues comparable to government-level corruption, army high-handedness, censorship, and authorized double requirements, amongst different issues. Although feedback had been turned off on the video, it has gathered greater than 925,000 “likes” on YouTube and simply 25,000 “dislikes,” indicating that its message resonates with nearly all of viewers.

Spooked by the video’s potential to encourage anti-government public discourse within the nation which has famously repressive anti-dissent legal guidelines, Thai authorities have already responded with a sequence of actions geared toward making a chilling impact on any actions sparked by the video. The nation’s deputy nationwide police chief, Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, has warned that the video could also be breaking the legislation, and quite a few artists who created the video have been summoned to testify earlier than the nation’s Nationwide Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

In an try to stop the video from being misplaced to censorship, an unknown particular person has positioned “Rap Against Dictatorship” on the Zcoin blockchain utilizing an IPFS hyperlink embedded in a transaction on the blockchain. Zcoin is a privateness coin which is the primary full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, not to be confused with the Zerocash Protocol. The video now has a everlasting and indelible copy within the IPFS hyperlink on the Zcoin blockchain at block quantity 111089.

Talking in regards to the pioneering improvement, Poramin Insom, who’s the founder and lead developer of Zcoin, in addition to a Thai nationwide, mentioned:

“We don’t know who added the IPFS hyperlink to their transaction, however this hyperlink has been secured by the blockchain and can’t be eliminated or hidden. Moreover, by utilizing Zerocoin protocol, the Zcoin blockchain retains the hyperlink is personal and subsequently the identities of the importing events can’t be identified.”

Unique Interview With Zcoin Founder lately had a chat with Poramin to get his tackle what the event means for activism in Thailand and for the increasing utilization of blockchain know-how globally. Let’s say the Thai authorities succeeds in getting this video taken off YouTube, how will folks within the nation have the opportunity to entry it from the Zcoin blockchain?

Poramin: The first know-how behind that is Inter Planetary File Programs (IPFS) the place the precise file is being saved in a distributed method and replicated all through the IPFS community. It’s the IPFS hyperlink that’s uploaded on the blockchain as a type of uncensorable and everlasting bookmark.The best method to entry the file is to go to after which enter the IPFS hyperlink that’s embedded into the Zcoin blockchain on block 111089. This can play the video. This permits a straightforward to share hyperlink even whether it is blocked from YouTube. Even when the federal government blocks, it nonetheless could be accessed by downloading the IPFS program after which accessing the file utilizing that very same hyperlink. The position of Zcoin’s blockchain is merely embedding the hyperlink completely in a spot the place it can’t simply be taken down, whereas doing it in such a method (through the Zerocoin protocol) the place there isn’t any hint to who put up the hyperlink. Are Thai authorities conscious of the truth of non-censorship that the blockchain can create? What do you suppose their subsequent transfer can be?

Poramin: I imagine Thai authorities are nonetheless coming to grips on blockchain know-how, and though there have been many optimistic developments — for instance with regulation and licensing of digital exchanges — I believe they’re but to understand the complete implications of the know-how. It’s only a matter of steady engagement and training.

On this case, it’s really IPFS that does the storage, with the blockchain serving as a timestamp and “uncensorable bookmark” of kinds. The posting on the blockchain appears to be extra of a press release of the futility of censorship fairly than the rest.

For these evading censorship, the attract of blockchain is that it provides permanence. Web sites, social media and different locations could be blocked or introduced down, nevertheless it’s almost unimaginable to alter a public blockchain like Zcoin. Though different blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum can be utilized as effectively, they don’t cover transaction historical past, so a decided blockchain analyst should still have the opportunity to establish the poster.

Whereas I’m unsure how Thai authorities will react, I do hope they understand that blockchains change the best way data is disseminated, a lot akin to how social media previously decade or so has performed a pivotal position in politics. Makes an attempt to censor social media have usually been unsuccessful, maybe except for China, with its nation-wide implementation of its Nice Firewall. If this video’s everlasting file on the blockchain turns into a rallying level towards censorship and authorities malfeasance in Thailand, do you see comparable actions being taken in different elements of the world?

Poramin: The usage of blockchain for anti-censored content material is fairly low, as social media remains to be a way more handy and widespread [medium] used to incite public outrage in most elements of the world. Nonetheless, in China, the place they do achieve blocking and monitoring social media, blockchain was used to embed the textual content of a controversial open letter which spoke towards Peking College. There’s additionally an fascinating use case when Catalonia, who sought independence from Spain, used IPFS (not blockchain) to let folks know the place to vote.

I’m excited to see using know-how like Zerocoin, which permits nameless however verifiable voting or polling the place you’ll be able to show that somebody has participated within the vote, however not which method they voted. This implies folks can vote with out worry. This may be an amazingly highly effective instrument for governments and residents alike, and mixed with a everlasting recording of votes on the blockchain, permits for an unforgeable and nameless voting system. On the flip-side, what if somebody had been to use this performance to add one thing objectively fallacious like youngster pornography? Is there any protocol for coping with such an eventuality? Would that maybe assist the Thai authorities and different repressive governments all over the world to make a case towards blockchain know-how?

Poramin: Zcoin’s blockchain just isn’t internet hosting the content material itself, it’s solely internet hosting the hyperlink to the content material on IPFS. Additionally we’re technologically impartial and a public utility. As with the web, blockchain can be utilized for each good issues and unhealthy issues. On this case, I believe its potential and varied use instances are a lot larger. IPFS has some inbuilt mechanisms the place these operating IPFS nodes can optionally select to implement blacklists ought to they need to do their greatest to adjust to their native legal guidelines.

Additionally, for most individuals, you would want a block explorer and to know precisely which block to discover the hyperlink. In contrast to messages or political statements which could be made public and everlasting, youngster pornography hyperlinks would not likely make sense to be saved on a public blockchain as there are numerous different extra discreet methods to share it, comparable to on the deep net (not that we’re condoning it). There are millions of competing blockchains in existence. In your opinion, why was Zcoin chosen particularly to retailer this essential video?

Poramin: Zcoin is devoted to enhancing privateness, whether or not digital, monetary, or social. Our blockchain is designed to stop the publicity of identities or any shared knowledge, so its privateness mechanisms will naturally enchantment to these wanting to resist censorship. Whereas it was by no means Zcoin’s intention to be a platform for this particularly, it’s fascinating to see how the know-how can serve folks in many alternative methods. Zcoin has additionally had some vital publicity in Thailand, which can have additionally resonated with the one who posted the video on the Zcoin blockchain.

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