Problem/opportunity: Privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies and the ecosystem that they enable may experience a significant crackdown across the US soon. This is happening as China is rolling out its surveillance-friendly central bank digital currency, potentially making its use a condition for economic agreements with weaker international economic partners.
How serious or urgent of a need: Given regulatory speed, a crackdown on private coins that is "soon" may mean 2-5 years but by then we need a strong global public awareness that privacy is crucial for US and global consumers. The Chinese surveillance-friendly digital currency expansion will likely be faster.
What evidence do you have: Recent US House of representatives hearings that were suggestive of limiting actions on cryptocurrencies. China is continuing to push its digital yuan pilots: https://thediplomat.com/2021/07/where-does-chinas-digital-currency-stand/
Describe the solution at a high level: keynote seminars turned into podcast that establishes public awareness that the ability to cooperate privately is central to human freedom and crucial to enable a variety of communities to live flourishing lives. This aligns with the "media, narrative, and policy advocacy" stakeholder segment on the ZOMG whitepaper (https://github.com/ZcashFoundation/zomg/blob/master/whitepaper/ZOMG_whitepaper_v1.0_published.pdf)
Please be specific about who the users and stakeholders are and how they would interact with your solution: stakeholders who stand to benefit: US and global consumers at large, DeFi, and privacy-preserving currencies in particular
What is the exact form of the deliverable you’re creating? interviews with top privacy/ human rights activists, regulators, DeFi projects, consumers, and more on why shielded interactions should be a crucial part of our lives, and what we risk by giving them up. Topics we may cover include:
Why the global public should care: Global human rights activism that benefits from shielded transactions
Why the US govt should care: How non-shielded transactions lead to national security concerns vis a vis exploitation of US by external attackers
Why consumers should care: How future mass traffic analysis can lead to physical extortability of anyone who ever transacted using public blockchains
Why entrepreneurs should care: How public blockchains can enable anti-competitive behavior, e.g. by allowing the next Amazon to analyze the world’s transactions in detail to clobber rising products
Why DeFi should care: Major losses in DeFi due to bots doing traffic analysis of major public transactions on exchanges to frontrun them
Why the crypto ecosystem should care: Previously impossible cooperative arrangements enabled by zk, e.g. how recursive HALO zk proofs could enable scalable DEXs
Keynote seminars will be virtual, allowing high global live attendance and easy editing as a well-produced podcast
Anyone who is currently operating on public blockchains will be vulnerable to future traffic analysis getting better via ML techniques and may thus become a victim of physical coercion.
The public may end up not caring about their ability to interact freely despite strong reasons and narrative to the contrary.
Shielded interactions, in general, may have unintended consequences, e.g. by enabling entities to centralize power in unobservable ways.
I run a science and tech non-profit that has a monthly keynote podcast series with ~10k technology-oriented subscribers on Youtube, and up to 80k views per video, and a strong existing network with the proposed interviewees