After our recent look at privacy and the community directed altcoin Decred, we wanted to learn a little more about the company and currency, so we sat down with co-founder and project lead, Jake Yocom-Piatt.
The first thing I have to say here folks is that I was immediately impressed with the transparency of Decred and their willingness to meet and answer questions. It was a refreshing different experience.
Not only was Jake willing to take time out of his busy day to meet with me, he was more than accommodating as far as timing and answering any questions we had. And I have to say that while my initial research piqued my interest with Decred, the interview solidified my view that this altcoin is here to play and may have what it takes to stay in the “game” for quite some time to come.
The Decred Lowdown
As we’ve discussed, we know that Decred is different because it’s not only open sourced, but because of its hybrid mining process (both PoS and PoW) and governance model. However, with this and what you’ll see below, it really seems like Decred is a sleeping giant at the moment and is very undervalued. It recently enjoyed a good run and is still far from its highs.
With this in mind, I asked Jake what the biggest projects that holders and potential Decred investors should be excited about, and he was happy to share four points that should definitely be considered.
First of course, is the privacy implementation. Jake revealed that a lot of time, research, and man hours went into Decred’s privacy infrastructure and in the official statement, he shares exactly how they made the decision to utilize CoinShuffle++ and how they’re addressing stakeholder’s privacy concerns.
Decred in 2020
Jake was also really excited to share that the Decred Decentralized Exchange (DEX), is coming along nicely and we should see something in Q1. The reason that Decred is moving in this direction is because they felt that most DEX options just “weren’t doing it quite right,” according to Jake.
What it comes down to, is that a good DEX platform “needs to be non-custodial” and it needs to be turnkey, meaning that “anyone can start it up” and it needs to have “pseudo-random order matching.” The idea being, “anytime you have first-in/first-out order matching, you could end up getting front-run by high frequency traders.”
This of course is just the first cut, the minimum viable product is going to be delivered and working sometime in Q1 of 2020.
Decred has a bunch more privacy features in the pipeline as well. When they implemented the recent privacy features with CoinShuffle++, they had to restrict it to command line users and people that are nominally tech-savvy. Going forward, they plan to integrate that privacy into all of their wallets so that “people all have the option to opt-in to privacy.”
According to Jake, “there’s a whole series of changes that need to be made to make that happen” and added that this will be going on for the next 6 – 9 months.
Another big change for Decred in 2020 is that they are going to decentralize the treasury. The stakeholders govern the project, so even though Jake is the project lead, the major decisions for the project (e.g. consensus changes) have to be made by the stakeholders. Of course Jake is one of the stakeholders himself, but he alone couldn’t “ram anything through.”
Decred already has several types of governance on the system. As mentioned above, they have the ability for stakeholders to vote on consensus changes, but they can also use the PoS to “punish bad miners” and vote on project funding and what projects they take on. The fourth piece of this for Decred is decentralizing control of the treasury funds.
10% of every block in Decred goes to a treasury organization, which is currently a centralized corporate entity and that is going to be replaced by a smart contract once this work is done. Decred’s centralized treasury controls around 600,000 Decred currently, which is around $10M worth with today’s exchange rate. This bankroll allows Decred to keep the project turning over month after month and year after year without having to seek out external funding.
Another step on their way to becoming a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
Finally, another exciting change for Decred is the Lightning Network. It’s incorporated in their new release candidate for release 150 RC2 (available now) and it includes support for the Lightning Network within their graphical client. This is being deployed and Jake and the team will be building up the Lightning Network over the next year or so.
Other Questions for Decred
Jake and I spoke for about half an hour and he shared a lot of great info about Decred. Here’s a short excerpt of some of the rest of our conversation.
Decred isn’t on Coinbase yet. Is this because of Decred and its privacy stance?
Yes and no. There’s been several conversations with Coinbase and while there’s been a little progress, there’s nothing new to report. If we get listed on Coinbase, great. If not, we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing.
What is the main utility of Decred today? Further, who are the intended consumers?
Decred’s goal is to create something that is simple, not confusing, and doesn’t require excessive tools and is adaptable. With the infrastructure that Decred has designed, if something changes in the future, we’re not stuck with one privacy system. Conversely, if something breaks, it doesn’t mean that the privacy is undone.
Of course another big difference with Decred is the way Jake and the team implemented it. While Monero, ZCash, and the MimbleWimble coins initially focused on privacy first, Decred figured “let’s see how they do and what works and doesn’t work.” What they found was rather scary.
ZCash, Monero, and the scores of other altcoins building in this manner “have a very serious shortcoming. If we look down the road, say 10, 20, or 30 years” because they won’t be able to “prune their blockchains, or at least the areas that are private as in the case of ZCash.”
Jake went on the explain that this means that “you need to keep every single transaction” because you cannot tell “which ones are spent and which ones are not.” Whereas with Bitcoin, you can, and then “ignore all of the old spent transaction outputs.
Decred wanted to keep that ability to prune and add privacy “in a creative way.” They overlayed privacy with the staking process within Decred because half of Decred is “locked up in Proof of Stake. So that’s a lot of coins,” and on a “daily basis roughly 1.8% of the entire Decred issuance is used to purchase new Tickets.”
By layering the privacy over the top of that PoS protocol, Decred gets “privacy that has very different properties and a much better anonymity set than a lot of these other projects that offer opt-in privacy.”
That’s a Wrap
With Jake being so willing to talk and share information about Decred, there were a ton of questions I thought of… after we got off the call. So, we hope to have him on one of our weekly video chat sessions very soon.
However, in the meantime, as a high level overview of Decred, consider the following.
- Security model (dominant hybrid PoW/PoS coin)
- Quasi-DAO (funding AND ability to distribute funds)
- Dev quality (expand network capabilities AND fix issues)
- Adaptability (soft fork AND hard fork capability)
- Competitive moats in open source = big deal
Decred will outperform coins that:
- Aren’t dominant in their security model
- Don’t have enough funding to build and distribute funds fairly during both bull AND bear
- Don’t have the brainpower to build new features AND fix old issues
- Can’t update software as needed over time
Decred is the only crypto to account for switching costs. If you leave the network, you’re not just selling a currency. You’re also surrendering your claim on voting rights, staking dividends, and access to a burgeoning treasury.
Exiting the network is akin to losing citizenship rights with all the benefits that come along with it. There are no substitutes out there that empower each participant to retain and exercise those rights in a non-delegated way.
As we always say — do your homework and make informed decisions on any investment. However, at this point we definitely think that Decred is one that you should be looking closely at.
I have a feeling Decred is just getting started.