With a hard fork that occurred on November 10, 2017, Particl is a cryptocurrency project that is looking to shake up the market with their privacy and anonymity centered blockchain.
In this interview, Deepak Parmar chats with Paul Schmitzer, Head of Communications, about the goals and visions of Particl, their upcoming milestones, and how Particl will impact the world by utilizing powerful blockchain technology.
How would you describe what Particl is to someone who has never heard of it before?
Particl is a blockchain project that is building a platform focused on privacy, for a decentralized future. The framework we are developing has a utility token, PART, that can shift between 3 states of privacy depending on the desire of the user.
- “Public” which is Pseudo-Anonymous; similar to Bitcoin. This is the default state of PART. The amounts and addresses of PART sent or received can be seen and followed.
- “Blind” which is Confidential; enabled by Confidential Transactions (CT). CT blinds/hides the amount of PART sent or received.
- “Anon” which is Anonymous; enabled by Ring Signature Confidential Transactions (RingCT); similar to Monero. RingCT hides the amount & the addresses of PART sent or received.
PART has intrinsic value because it is the fuel of the platform, grants voting rights to holders (self-governance) and can be loaned to the network (staking) for passive income (currently 5%).
Particl’s privacy framework will support decentralized applications (Dapps). The first Dapp is a P2P Marketplace scheduled to be community tested in the first quarter of 2018.
The native marketplace, currency tokens and suite of encrypted communication tools offer unfettered access between buyers and sellers worldwide. Our privacy tools allow two parties to interact in complete anonymity without the need for any 3rd parties.
What are the long term visions and goals of the Particl project?
When people think of privacy on the blockchain we want Particl to be at the tip of their tongue. Having a privacy coin is only part of the solution. Without an infrastructure, use cases and intrinsic value, cryptocoins are just fads. This is why we are building a secure protocol/framework that privacy startups can build on.
Can you discuss the Particl hard fork that was scheduled for November 10?
Particl had its first planned hard fork on November 10. This was a scheduled hard fork that was set into motion in September with our release of Particl Core 0.15.0.2. Besides merging Bitcoin 0.15.0.1 changes, the development team brought over Cold Staking from our test environment.
Cold Staking required a protocol change to the codebase that would cause nodes running older versions of the software to not validate blocks from nodes running newer versions of the software. Changes are made all the time to our codebase and many times, like when we brought Confidential Transactions to the Bitcoin codebase for the first time on a public project, we can make the changes by soft forking.
Typically, projects shy away from hard forks because they are disruptive but with Particl being a young project, it is an easy method to test cutting-edge technology like Cold Staking or RingCT (testing now) and then merge onto livenet so the entire crypto ecosystem can benefit from it instead of staying a research item with no real world applications.
For the non-technical person, please explain what it means when you say the Particl PART token will be the first proof-of-stake token that is quantum resistant.
This is directly related to Cold Staking on Particl. While other projects have “cold staking”, Particl’s innovation is completely different.
Cold Staking is basically a staking node, a wallet and a smart contract. On Particl, once activated, Cold Staking allows a user to earn passive income on the PART in their offline wallet thanks to a smart contract with a staking node that has 0 PART and is online 24/7. The smart contract is a multi-signature script.
On other projects that have a feature they call cold staking, they can also have coins in a wallet while a node that is empty is validating coinstakes for passive income. A big difference is that both the wallet and staking node need to be online all the time for it to work.
The way Particl’s Cold Staking is quantum resistant revolves around the vulnerability of the public information being broadcast to the network during staking. Typically, a staking node sends the hash of the public key (pubkeyhash) to the network to claim the coinstake. Theoretically, a quantum computer can intercept that public key hash and solve for the private key of the sending address; effectively granting access to the coins inside.
By using a multi-sig smart contract, Particl nullifies this attack. In our case, the staking node is in contract with the wallet that has all the PART. Once activated, this wallet can be offline on a Ledger or paper wallet, safe from harm. The staking node still sends the pubhashkey to the network but is from a wallet with 0 PART in it, eliminating the disaster of losing your coins.
Who do you see as your competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
In the collection of privacy coins, we see our competition as Monero or Zcash. But there are more similarities with these “competitors” than differences, especially with Monero who uses the same cryptographic proofs Particl (Bitcoin protocol) does to leverage RingCT (which Monero developed for Cryptonote protocol) and provide unlinkable and untraceable transactions. We respect the true privacy Monero and Zcash are developing for their users versus “privacy” gimmicks.
One difference with Particl and the rest of the privacy coins is that we are building more than a coin. Particl is a privacy platform, a framework for privacy Dapps, communication, commerce and currency. The intrinsic value of PART is found in it being the utility coin within the privacy platform, earning passive income, granting voting rights, fueling smart contracts like our 2-person trustless escrow (MAD).
What impact will cold staking have on the Particl community and its ecosystem?
Marrying Proof of Stake and Smart Contracts, essentially upgrading Proof of Stake, to battle the future threat of quantum computers is a pretty cool thing! In the grand plan of Particl, it is just another tool the team is offering PART users to protect their coins which offer passive income, voting rights and future uses.
What are the biggest challenges that the Particl team has encountered?
Saying “Hi!” The influx of new blockchain projects and the massive amount of money raised has made 2017 a crazy year from the inside perspective of people working on the projects. Not to accuse the space of being greedy, but we’ve found it extremely hard to get any kind of coverage for the cool stuff we’re producing and releasing without having tons of money to buy said coverage.
If this was 12 months earlier, I’d feel better about about the spread of information and growth of community, but we live in a different world that has teams with seemingly unlimited funds, exchanges and services now demanding exorbitant fees for inclusion and speculators more worried about candlesticks than the blockchain revolution. That’s been the biggest challenge.
How will an anonymous blockchain platform such as Particl have beneficial use cases that will propel blockchain technology forward?
Privacy is a human right. Businesses in the tech world we live in need data, personal data, to bring big returns to their shareholders. Centralized companies don’t care about privacy and they are really good at convincing you to not care about it either.
We’re building an anonymous, open source, decentralized privacy platform on the blockchain because it is the vehicle beautifully created to return sovereignty to the individual.
In the Particl Marketplace for example, we are creating a truly private peer-to-peer environment that is self-governing, free of regulation and censorship, free from 3rd party services piggy-backing on an agreement that should be between 2 people; buyer and seller.
Where do you think blockchain technology will be in 5 years?
In 5 years, I think we’ll see the second wave of decentralized projects. The pioneer phase is right now and Particl is excited to be part of it. Next year we’ll begin to see the first Dapps begin making impacts in our centralized world and we’ll learn a lot in the 5 years they are growing, refining and maturing to the users who use them.
Is there anything you would like our readers and potential future investors to know about Particl?
Particl is currency agnostic, meaning it will support the use of many cryptocurrencies with the intent of being an inclusive platform.
A decentralized privacy platform focused on free markets cannot be limited by its own built-in token system. Our goal is to lower barriers of entry and reduce friction in online shopping, allowing for easier adoption by buyers and vendors anywhere in the world.
Our definition of “crypto-friendly” is improving the use case for all cryptocurrency tokens, providing increased liquidity and value across the sector.
You can learn more about Particl through the following links: