Particl - The PART of the Deal
“Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.”
-- Eric Hughes, publisher of “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto”
It was somewhat surprising that the concept of cryptography was highlighted by a US government publication, namely the Data Encryption Standard (DES). This was a publicly available cryptographic algorithm endorsed by the government during the 1970s whilst at the time, many of cryptography’s secrets were well guarded by the NSA. By making DES public, the world of cryptography was now in the open for analysis and improvement of the science as a whole. The genie was well and truly out of the bottle.
In the 1980s, Dr David Chaum wrote extensively about transaction security, the need for untraceability and the vulnerability of paper-based-currency systems. Dr Chaum’s work opened the eyes of many as to the possible uses of cryptography and in the following years his ideas led to the formation of a group known as the 'Cypherpunks'.
The origins of the Cypherpunks date back to San Francisco in 1992 and from that time it grew into a global mailing list of over 700 members. The topics ranged from mathematics to cryptocurrency, from politics and philosophy to computer science. Two of the basic tenets of the group were privacy in communication and data retention. John Gilmore, who is one of the founders, said he wanted:
“a guarantee – with physics and mathematics, not with laws – that we can give ourselves real privacy of personal communications.”
Cypherpunks believe in favoring action over talk with the concept of Bitcoin making its debut in October 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown individual or group of individuals, sent a paper to the cypherpunk mailing list at metzdowd.com called:
“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Cypherpunks write code and believe that writing functional code is the best route forward towards bringing more liberty and privacy into the world via cryptography. and they are currently involved in enhancing privacy technologies As a result, we now find ourselves in an age where we can message each other, conduct business and make contracts all without knowing who the other party is.
Particl (PART) is a cypherpunk project which we at decentralize.today have been keeping an eye on since it's inception. The buzz right now is all about the impending release of V3 of it's decentralized marketplace, however, there are several highly significant developments on the main Particl platform which will have a significant bearing on the future operation of the marketplace.
One of these is the new 'Community Crowdfunding System' which is now being referred to as the CCS. Crowdfunding is nothing new but having it here is and it will become a great tool for this entire cryptocurrency community. It’s a true cypherpunk approach!
There are two aspects to the CCS.
The first is for those who wish to donate and make a proposal about something which will improve the Particl ecosystem. Any such proposal would be reviewed and voted on by the Particl community as a whole with any funding being held in escrow by the team and paid out as milestones are achieved.
The other aspect is for proposals of any kind which an individual or team would like to be crowdfunded by the crypto community in general. The flexibility of this CCS initiative by Particl allows for crowdfunding ideas which are not necessarily related to crypto. For instance, if you have a brilliant idea for a petting zoo it can be presented on the CCS. If successful, funding would be held in escrow by the team to ensure milestones are reached.
In an effort to maintain transparency and accountability, the CCS framework uses Github where all activities are logged for everyone to see. Any changes to the proposals can also be viewed, thus the required accountability to the Particl community is assured.
This is truly a new take on the whole concept of crowdfunding.
Read more about this at: https://ccs.particl.io/what-is-ccs/
An interesting future feature is going to be on-chain voting for protocol changes. The community has come up with plenty of ideas since the Particl project was launched in July of 2017. These range from the addition of new coins to the portfolio to the default number of RingCT mixins. Since these ideas and many others would require changes to the protocol, major agreement will be required among community members and the team to ensure the security of the network and the feasibility of the proposed protocol changes.
Another cypherpunk approach is atomic swaps and coin swaps within the UI. An atomic swap is a special cross-chain exchange which allows two parties that don't know each other to exchange cryptocurrencies without involving a 3rd party. The entire process is trustless, in other words even if you do not know the other party involved, you don't have to trust/know them, thus you cannot get scammed. The integrity of each swap is guaranteed by cryptography. Atomic swaps are already working between XMR (Monero) and PART (Particl).
This first atomic swap capability, XMR and PART, has been a well matched approach. This is because XMR is known to be an untraceable currency while Particl, on the other hand, has a private marketplace so you can shop with XMR without leaving a footprint. On the roadmap for this swap system is, of course, the addition of Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies.
Having an atomic swap function within a UI which can be used for crowdfunding and shopping is certainly a smart and useful move since any exchange or a 3rd party do not need to be involved. No one will see that swap plus your data remains 100% anonymous.
Particl does offer other swaps which are not atomic and has partnered with a couple of non-traditional exchanges.
One is StealthEx which facilitates instant, anonymous and limitless swaps covering over 300 cryptocurrencies. The instant nature of the transactions mean that deposits don’t have to be stored on the exchange itself. Users remain anonymous as they do not have to register or provide any personal information.
Another exchange which is onboard is Simple Swap, offering a floating and fixed rate exchange with no sign up required. These exchange functions will be available immediately with the V3 release and will allow swaps in any currency, including stable coins, into or from PART. This move is to get away from traditional exchanges about which we have heard too much over the years when it comes to hacking and exorbitant listing fees.
So I see this as PART of the deal, an Amazon/Alibaba replacement, crowdfunding, an exchange, swaps, community control plus many more cypherpunk-type tools on the way!
In next week’s Privacy Cookbook we will get the opportunity to explore the Particl marketplace and see how this will give the power back to the people in a cypherpunk way.
And if you want to know more about PART, go to particl.io and sign up for the community updates, exciting times ahead, we believe!