“From the most evil of people is the two-faced person who shows one face to one group of people and a different face to another”

Muwatta Mālik

For some, this statement may sound rather trivial because it is already a legal reality in Europe, but outside of it, it is not an uncommon phenomenon: Especially some smaller companies or sole traders prefer to hide behind a pseudonym.

I came across a provider the other day that offers a Bitcoin payment service for online stores and takes fees for it. When I wanted to see who is behind it and under which jurisdiction this provider operates, I did not find a single hint on the otherwise professionally designed website. No imprint page, no mention of business details in its terms of service or privacy policy. When I asked in a chat group where this provider was recommended and raised the issue of why the provider appears anonymously, I only received a reference to a so-called hacker name and “that he is well-known in the scene”. He was. I searched that nickname and couldn’t find anything about him except a software repository and a social media account under the same name. Needless to say, I didn’t consider the otherwise interesting offer.

It’s always strange to meet someone that projects one thing online and something completely different in person. It is even more disturbing when this happens in online business. In the real world, in local stores, the retailer or supplier is always known. You know the name of the owner of a store (or at least you can find out easily), the address of the store and you have usually seen him in person. This old principle doesn’t change when running an online business.

In the EU there is therefore the imprint law, which basically means that you have a dedicated page on your website, where complete name, address, other contact details such as email or phone number and also verifiable tax numbers of the business owner are displayed. This information must be also in the terms and conditions page, because with their acceptance you conclude a contract with the provider and both parties should logically be known when concluding a contract.

To conclude:

Whenever a contract of any kind is concluded between two or more parties, i.e. a voluntary transfer or exchange of rights takes place, the respective contracting parties must be known by name and domicile. This is indispensable for protection under civil law and criminal liability in the event of breaches of contract.

Anyone who thinks they can avoid this by appearing anonymous should be excluded from any business dealings and not taken seriously.


This Article is part of the Ethical Website Creation series.

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Ethical Website Creation

Ethical Website Creation is a way to create websites that take into account all the rights of the user and actively protects them, through the choice of technology or method of implementation.

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Targeted at Muslim Web Developers and Muslim Business Site owners!

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