The push for full privacy and anonymity, as opposed to psuedoanonymity as currently offered by Bitcoin, within a digital currency network has reached a fevered pitch in recent months. Recently, source code from a previously secret NSA program found in Germany known as xKeyScore has shown the specific search terms, websites, and email chunks that will result in all data from your IP being pulled and saved in NSA databases for future cracking and snooping. Just visiting sites or reading articles about privacy-enhancing software such as the Tor Project, the Linux Journal, or Tails puts you on an NSA list (If you don’t know what any of those are, you’re probably safe).
Blockchain technology, as XCurrency is proving by doing, is the bleeding edge solution to this Orwellian problem now approaching the fringe of public consciousness. XCurrency is attempting to provide a solution to the two biggest hurdles currently facing the technological advancement of digital currency to functionality levels never before seen. The two hurdles are anonymity on the network and the ability for the network to scale to what is now being called “Bitcoin 2.0” or “Blockchain 2.0” technology. XC claims to have presented a solution to both.
From their intentionally named Independence Day announcement:
“XCurrency is a ground-breaking platform for private transactions, communication, and services. It differentiates itself from other cryptocurrency projects with its boldly pragmatic, real-world approach. It must run (and stake) on mobile phones, therefore it must be bloat-free and eminently scalable. It must be POS-integrated. It must be bulletproof. And it must be flexible. Over the past few weeks XC has rocketed toward these objectives by laying the technical foundations for a versatile platform in the form of a live, working app that demonstrates its privacy technology to the world. And this technology is ground-breaking.
The quest for “anonymity” has taken centre stage of late in altcoin design, and at present several technologies aim to achieve it. However, anonymity is a formidable technical challenge, and to date proposed solutions have either caused unworkable blockchain bloat, unwieldy transaction times, or have encountered unexpected forking problems.”
XC nodes have the following immutable characteristics which many, many people are beginning to realize they want and need:
(a) Use end-to-end encryption to support transaction broadcasting, secure messaging, and true P2P anonymous transactions.
(b) Upon this is built an optional mixer that testing has shown to eliminate any record in the blockchain of a link between sender and receiver.
(c) This mixer is a revolutionary “multi-path” implementation that employs multi-sig to route fragments of transactions down separate paths through the network, compounding anonymity while adding redundancy and security.
(d) Communication between nodes is optionally via TOR, which obfuscates users’ IP addresses.
The result is a layered approach to privacy that nullifies each potential attack vector in a flexible, modular fashion:
Several projects’ anonymising strategies currently have an unworkable blockchain bloat problem. Technologies like ring signatures and zero-knowledge proofs currently lack a way of avoiding this. XCurrency uses standard transactions, but multi-path then achieves an extremely high level of privacy with a high degree of prunability, avoiding bloat.
No (semi-) centralisation
Because every XC wallet can function as a node, XC avoids what Bitcoin core developer Gregory Maxwell has recently called a security “chokepoint” in some other coins’ use of semi-centralised nodes to forward transactions. This strategy is compounded by the need to hold a very large amount of coins in order for a node to function – a problem which is resolved by the small, random transaction sizes of XC’s multi-path architecture.
No prisoners’ dilemma
Building privacy upon Bitcoin-based technologies by forwarding transactions is problematic because malicious actors can steal transactions instead of forwarding them. Furthermore they can snoop on the broadcasting system and publish the identities of senders and receivers. XC resolves these issues through multi-sig and through end-to-end message encryption.
Not limited to only payments
Bitcoin’s elegance may be its greatest strength, but it introduces significant challenges in implementing additional blockchain-based functions, like secure messaging and decentralised cloud storage. XC’s “platform” approach incorporates this objective from the outset. As such, XC represents a comprehensive approach to a Blockchain 2.0 architecture.
XCurrency Is Unexpectedly Transparent Given Their Stance On Privacy
In a sign of commitment to transparency, XC has released their roadmap for future development. Their Rev. 2 will start on 7/7/14 and will include a website launch, social media revamp, and updated XC wallet logo. Rev 2.5 is where users will be able to send encrypted chats and messages with a new wallet user interface while XC’s marketing team prepares for Rev.3: XC Official Launch. XC has promised to offer huge bounties to anyone that can break their technology and has also committed to keeping everything open source.
Despite the XC team’s clear predilection for privacy rights, the team has recognized that anonymity of the key figures responsible for maintaining such an important project might be more of a bane than a boon. As such, the XC team has put their names and reputations behind the new network. XCurrency is not the only altcoin currently experimenting with the path-less-trodden: Proof of Stake. Furthermore, XC is definitely not the only altcoin currently making claims of a functioning anonymous network. Supporters of XC and XC’s competitors, such as Darkcoin, have exchanged harsh words in the past, which has in turn prompted the lead developers of both XC and Darkcoin to issue a joint statement reminding the mobs that everyone involved wants the same thing: To be free from the unwarranted surveillance of the NSA.