Stealth x Satoshi Club AMA
We are please to announce that we had an AMA with our friends from Stealth! James Stroud, Lead Developer and Co-Founder of Stealth, was in @Satoshi_Club at 10:00 UTC, 2nd of April.
The total reward pool was 200 USD and was split in 3 parts. Here is the recap of the AMA.
We have collected hundreds of questions from the community and have selected 5 of them.
Hi again friends. Our guest today is Dr. James Stroud – Lead Developer and Co-Founder at Stealth. Welcome dr. James. Thanks for taking the time to join us.
Hi, and thank you for this invitation!
For introduction, can you tell us briefly about you and abut Stealth?
My name is James Stroud, and I am the Co-Founder and Lead Developer for Stealth R&D LLC, a company that is dedicated to developing the Stealth cryptocurrency protocol and building infrastructure for it as well.
I earned a B.S. from UT Austin in Molecular Biology, then a M.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in New York, then a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and finally did a postdoc at UCLA. I then joined the faculty in Chemistry at UNM and stayed there until I got into blockchain.
I got into blockchain in 2013 during the enormous pump, where I bought BTC the top and watched it go down immediately. This left me not defeated but even more resolute to become good at trading. It also made me explore blockchain more deeply.
After a couple of months of studying the technology, I decided I had to participate somehow in any way I could, so I volunteered to help with some projects. The first thing I learned was to build the GUI (graphical user interface) clients.
I don’t know how many people that hold cryptocurrencies do it this way today, but when I first got into it, you typically had to download a full blockchain and run a server to use most coins. The server program, which I call a “client”, provided a GUI where you could send and receive coins. Building these for new coins was always a chore, and it was a good way for me to start to learn the details of cryptocurrency technology.
Soon, I decided that I wanted to launch a coin myself, and this was Stealth. We launched Stealth in 2014, and it was originally known as StealthCoin. My idea is that practically all cryptocurrencies lacked privacy, and Stealth would have a goal of being the premier private cryptocurrency.
I’ve been working on Stealth ever since, and in the last two years, have been completely dedicated to it. I quit my faculty position at UNM in 2016, and joined a different gaming-focused cryptocurrency company. Stayed with them for about 1.5 years, then founded Stealth R&D to exclusively develop Stealth’s core technologies and related infrastructure.
So you’re a veteran in this field. Thanks for the intro. We’ll start with the questions from the community
Q1 from @victbt
What is the STEALTH business model? How do you generate the profit?
Stealth is a cryptocurrency, just like bitcoin. Neither have a profit model. I launched Stealth a long time ago and I am dedicated to making it the most useful private currency possible.
We have a company called Stealth R&D LLC that we made simply to formalize the relationships between the core dev team and to interface with exchanges who want an organization to “represent” Stealth to the exchanges. They want to know who to call to if they have a problem with their blockchain, and things like that, so we made a company for that purpose.
However, we don’t have a business model for the coin itself. There never was an “ICO” or anything like that. It’s a cryptocurrency and was mined out fairly and the mined coins and any coins earned from those through proof-of-stake are traded on exchanges.
Our Q2 is somehow related to the motivation that might drive you.
Q2 from @toanphamhd
What do you think is the biggest problem STEALTH will solve which is not solved by other projects and why this is the problem important?
The biggest problem is a particular combination of requirements that will make cryptocurrencies useful or not.
First cryptocurrencies need to be useful for the whole planet.
That’s called “scalability”.
Second, cryptocurrencies need to have fast transactions, so that the user experience is similar to the most convenient payment systems, like credit cards. By fast, we mean a vendor and a customer should both feel a transaction is final within 5 seconds.
Third, crytpocurrencies need to offer at least the same level of privacy as other payment methods, like credit card. People don’t think about this very often, but credit cards are very private payment systems. Only the vendor and you know what you bought, and only the vendor, credit card company, and yourself know how much you spent where.
Most cryptocurrencies don’t offer anywhere near this level of privacy.
Speaking of privacy. Can you tell us how are you/ Stealth related to Tor Project and Tor Browser?
Bitcoin, for example is completely public. Services exist that can identify individuals by network patterns within the bitcoin blockchain. If an identity can be tied to any single transaction, then practically all their blockchain spending patterns can be determined.
Stealth is not related to Tor at all. We don’t share development with them. Stealth has Tor technology integrated, unlike most coins. Tor is there to protect privacy.
but there are services which somehow randomize the transactions, right? Or they are not so efficient?
There are services that randomize bitcoin transactions, for example. These are called “mixers”. I would not recommend ever using these services.
First a mixer is a proprietary service, not a trustless blockchain service. What this means is that a mixer can just keep your coins and never send them where you want them to go.
Second, once you mix coins with a service, they are tainted. Tainted coins can be blacklisted, and they are blacklisted with astonishing regularity.
What does it mean if a coin is blacklisted?
For example, an experiment I do not recommend running would be to mix some coins and then send these coins to Coinbase. Once these coins are at Coinbase, they will detect that they were run through a mixer, and completely lock your account, maybe permanently. Then possibly deny you service in the future, indefinitely. That’s a type of blacklisting.
That’s interesting. But do they treat high-privacy coins differently? Like yourself or Monero etc. I mean you get the same result – you can’t track the first sender
This goes back to the fact that Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies don’t have privacy. This lack of privacy means different coins can have different values. For example, to Coinbase, an unmixed amount of 1 BTC will have a value of 1 BTC, but a mixed amount of 1 BTC will have a value of 0.
Some exchanges allow trading in privacy coins. I believe Coinbase offers ZEC, which is a privacy coin. I don’t remember Coinbase’s complete offering, so I could be wrong.
Q3 from @Magoy12
What is the main role of STEALTH tokens? Can you explain in Details about Project’s Work and Mission with work of Token in Entire ecosystem?
It might be a misnomer to label the Stealth currency (XST) as a “token”. XST is the currency of the Stealth blockchain. Most of the time the term “token” is reserved for passive tokens on a smart contract platform, like Ethereum.
This means the main role of Stealth is that it is a trustless payment processor, like Bitcoin, Z-Cash (ZEC), or Ripple (XRP). Stealth’s niche in the cryptocurrency “ecosystem” is therefore a payment system for those who demand the same privacy, speed, and scalability as they demand from traditional, centralized, payment options like credit card.
No other cryptocurrency that I know of is engineered to offer this combination.
Q4 from @manugotsuka
Stealth, on one of your 2020 milestones will change from OpenSSL to secp256k1, this change will boost up the synchronization ans bootstraps times and also taking less CPU resources. But Why secp256k1 and not secp256r1? I think this last one has more potencial with stealth in term of SECURITY and user PRIVACY?
Well, there are lots of different elliptical curves one can use for public key cryptography. Stealth was launched using secp256k1, and so we need to support that curve for existing transactions. In terms of this pair of curves, secp256r1 is marginally stronger, if you consider the bit strength of both curves.
In my opinion, were we ever to change curves, we’d opt for a quantum-resistance. I don’t that secp256r1 could fit the bill. Of course, neither could secp256k1.
Thank you. Small question here. How do you deal with volatility?
If you mean price volatility, we don’t deal with price volatility. It happens on its own. Stealth is a cryptocurrency and trading markets determine price. There is no mechanism in the protocol to stabilize its price. There are lots of stable coins available, but XST is not one.
Q5 from @dani_unss
How you compare to Zcash and Monero?
This is a tough question, because I don’t want to offend anyone who may like either of these coins. But we have some differences, and I think we are better, depending on one’s requirements for a cryptocurrency.
First, Zcash and Monero are both proof-of-work (PoW). PoW has some advantages and disadvantages.
First the disadvantage of PoW is that it is inefficient. When I say this, I’m not talking about energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is very important for the environment, but doesn’t have much bearing on blockchain functionality.
By inefficient, I mean PoW is a competition to sign the immediate next block in the blockchain. Competition is inherently inefficient, and it makes block times slow and irregular.
Stealth uses proof-of-stake (PoS), which can be very efficient, both for energy and blockchain function. The Junaeth protocol, which is fully functional in testnet, is on of the most efficient forms of PoS possible, using scheduled block production. In this system, there is no competition for the next block. This makes block times highly regular and fast, at nearly perfect 5 second intervals.
Also, Monero and Z-cash have two different types of privacy. Monero uses ring signatures, which are themselves very inefficient because the blockchain proofs are very large. They also take a lot of time time verify.
Why 5 seconds?
Z-cash has much more efficient cryptography, the zerocash protocol, and this is the same protocol we are adapting for Stealth.
Five seconds is a long time for computers, so it gives plenty of time to verify blocks, and cryptographic proofs for anonymity. However, for people it’s short, and is about 1/2 the time of a typical credit card transaction.
Consider if you use a card and insert a chip, you will wait about 10 seconds for it to say “confirmed”. Maybe it can be as few as 5 seconds.
So, we chose a time that was long for computers but short for people. This makes Stealth highly useable but practical.
Thanks for your answer!
You are welcome!
The chat was open for 2 minutes and 400 questions were posted by the Satoshi Club community. James have chosen 5 of them:
Q1: Raj Choudary:
Which programming languages are you using in your project? And why?
Stealth use a few languages, and it depends on what part of the project. For the reference client, Stealth uses C++.
A reference client can be considered the embodiment of the blockchain protocol. If you want to really see how the protocol behaves, you can’t simply read the specification, because the specification defines an ideal behaviour.
In reality, the only real definition of behavior is the code of the reference client. To give the most fundamental operational definition, if the reference client allows a transaction into the blockchain, then the transaction is valid. That may seem too obvious, or “it goes without saying”, but it is a profound definition of the reference client, and I recommend one ponder that definition even if it does seem obvious.
Stealth uses C++ for the reference client because it is fast. Bitcoin was written in C++, and Stealth inherited a lot of the Bitcoin code. For other parts of the project, Stealth uses python. For example, to linearize a blockchain to create a bootstrap, the code is practically all in python.
Q2: Kun Aguero:
As you know that in the present market situation many new coins or either dying or thriving for liquidity? How will you manage this liquidity problem?
Just like we don’t manage volatility, we don’t manage market liquidity. The markets decide what coins live and what coins die. My philosophy is that useful, innovative, and well-engineered technology will be the most important considerations for markets. For this reason, we focus on Stealth technology, not market issues.
Marketing is a leading element for every project. So what is your strategy to attract customers and investors to XST in the long term?
I’m focusing in market questions today, so I can clear some air. Congratulations to those of you who offered these questions. Normally, I avoid them. This question might be boiled down to “what is our strategy to attract customers?”
Stealth has no customers. It’s a cryptocurrency. We don’t offer Stealth for sale, so we don’t have investors. We have nothing to offer investors ourselves.
We focus on developing the protocol. The only exception is we believe it is important to present our technology, ideas, and work to the public for feedback. To this end, we attend conferences, give talks, and participate in AMAs, like this one.
However, we are not XST salespeople. If anyone is interested in XST or the technology, they don’t need to own the actual currency. They can help write code, offer suggestions, or simply ask good questions.
Q4: David Prince:
What are your plans to move towards a more decentralized and trustless solution?
Stealth is already decentralized and trustless. It is a blockchain protocol with consensus rules. It was mined fairly and is presently proof-of-stake. The type of proof-of-stake consensus protocol will change significantly when Junaeth is on mainnet (it is functioning on testnet right now). But this change will not make XST any more or less trustless than it already is.
Q5: Alice Cắn dày:
Trust is very important in security, what makes investors, customers and users feel safe when working with Stealth?
One last market question! I may never answer these types again 😎
I already mentioned Stealth has no customers and offers “investors” nothing. If one wants to decide whether they “trust” Stealth’s trustless consensus model, the code is open source, and the protocol is specified in the white paper.
I believe this is truly the only way to trust any cryptocurrency. If one relies on “trusting” founders or a business model, I think they could make a costly mistake.
For those who are not technical, wait for cryptocurrencies that stand the test of time and to be vetted by the expert community. Poor cryptocurrencies will die quickly. Good cryptocurrencies will last for years and decades.
We had a quiz with 4 questions. 20 winners were announced:
By what algorithm Stealth Blockchain network aims to achieve distributed consensus?
How many tps have Stealth blockchain compared to bitcoin:
When Stealth was founded?
What blockchain uses stealth?
For more information and future AMAs, join our Social Media channels:
English Telegram group: https://t.me/Satoshi_club
Russian Telegram group: https://t.me/satoshi_club_ru
Telegram Channel: https://t.me/satoshi_club_channel
Stealth Telegram Group: https://t.me/stealthsend