Doxing is the act of revealing personal information, such as names, workplace, phone number, address, etc., about a person online without their permission. In web3, it tends to whether the identity of an individual is anonymous or not.
The Long Definition
The modern word “doxing” (or “doxing”) was derived from the phrase “dropping dox” or “dropping documents”. This phrase became popular in reference to the malicious revenge tactic used by hackers in the 1990s, which typically involved the public revelation of the rival hacker’s true identity.
The term soon evolved to cover every form of cyberbullying that exploits sensitive or secret information, records, or statements for the exposure and harassment of the victim. For hackers, doxing could lead to physical harassment or even law enforcement trouble. For others, it may culminate in financial harm.
In the crypto-verse, doxing refers to the fact that a person is known to the crypto community. For the most part, doxing in crypto happens when a person chooses to reveal themselves, despite the risks that might follow.
A popular example of a person who doxed himself is Teddy Cleps, one of the early crypto investors to gain popularity on social media. Originally known as Crypto Freak, he decided to dox himself to take advantage of the business opportunities and brand collaborations available to a known person.
Likewise, creators of crypto projects often dox themselves to add credibility to their work. Knowledge of their experience and years of activity in the crypto space help sell the viability of their projects to the larger crypto community and reduce the chances of potential rug pulls.
Still, not every crypto personality or project team may willingly dox themselves. For instance, the founders of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection kept their identity a secret for years, until the identities of 2 out of the 5-man team were revealed by BuzzFeedNews.
Despite its many potential upsides, project teams and crypto investors may prefer anonymity in order to reduce their chances of becoming persons of interest for hackers.