In their most recent update to the community, the Wanchain team announced the upcoming Beta release of the Wanchain platform on 18 December. This is an important milestone in the lead up to the planned Mainnet release in January of 2018 and will include the Beta versions of the Wanchain wallet and block explorer as well as normal transfers and privacy transfers. The project is definitely starting to ramp up and it is a good time to stop and reflect on the technology underpinning the project and why Wanchain is so strongly positioned to make serious waves in the crypto space.
To place the technology goals into context it is important to reiterate Wanchain’s overall goal of “rebuilding the financial sector and expanding the digital economy” by ultimately providing the platform through which all financial transactions related to digital assets can be completed. A goal that can be achieved only through the safe, private, fast and fluid transfer of digital assets as well as execution of smart contracts across public and private Blockchains.
As per the public roadmap, Wanchain’s technology milestones are broken up into four main iterations:
Dustin Byington, president of Wanchain described it best as he succinctly explained their tech premise;
“Wanchain will support cross-chain asset transfers but what will make Wanchain truly unique is cross-chain smart contract execution. Wanchain will have its own distributed ledger with Turing completeness and smart contract functionality. Smart contracts running on Wanchain will have the ability to take inputs and create outputs on multiple chains. Furthermore Wanchain will be the first to achieve privacy protection for smart contract token transactions.” (Source)
We have considered below in slightly more detail some of the exciting aspects of the project:
Capitalising on native Ethereum strengths | Building on the strengths of a great platform to enable interoperability and privacy
The genesis block of Wanchain is a fork of Ethereum. This simply means Wanchain’s Blockchain started as a replica of Ethereum (v1.7.2) and has been subsequently modified and built on to develop Wanchain’s dedicated platform. The modifications will include adding cross-chain operability and intra-chain & cross-chain privacy.
By forking from Ethereum, Wanchain is able to capitalise on the strengths of Ethereum and utilise all of its functionalities including smart contracts, native tokens and decentralised applications (written in Solidity). Iteration 1.0 of Wanchain will also allow for the deployment of smart contracts to create new tokens with privacy protection. We speculate that this will allow ICOs to conduct sales without identifying the user addresses while still maintaining auditability and visibility of token sale funds.
Ensuring privacy of intra and cross-chain digital asset transfer and smart contract execution across chains | Enabling privacy to position wanchain as the protocol of choice for the financial services industry
Wanchain views privacy at the networking level as a fundamental requirement for the financial services industry and has made it one of its key priorities. The first iteration will enable privacy on transfers within Wanchain and later iterations will enable private cross- chain smart contract execution. The Wanchain privacy protocol utilises:
Cross chain transactions with low integration thresholds and unmodified original chains | Plug and play interoperability (or close to it)
Wanchain is in effect a distributed ledger that will be able to achieve very low integration thresholds with other Blockchain networks and complete and record cross chain transactions without modifying the mechanisms of the original chains.
Effectively cross-chain transactions on Wanchain can work with registered or unregistered users from another Blockchain. When an unregistered asset is transferred to Wanchain a new corresponding asset is created using a built-in asset template to deploy a new smart contract. When a registered asset is transferred from the original chain to Wanchain, Wanchain will issue the corresponding equivalent tokens in the existing contracts to ensure that the original chain assets can still be traded on Wanchain.
A simplified example of the cross chain transfer process between Wanchain and a public chain as illustrated in the Whitepaper is summarised below:
Example 1 – Alice has an account on Ethereum and wants to utilise her Wanchain wallet to transfer 10 ETH to Bob who also has an account on Wanchain.
Example 2 – Bob wants to transfer the 10ETH in his Wanchain wallet that he received from Alice to Chris who has an Ethereum account.
After the validator node confirms the Ethereum transaction is complete it clears the Ether in Bob’s locked account in the Wanchain wallet.
Secure multi party computation | Wanchain’s approach to security and privacy
To put it in the layman’s terms, multi-party computing is the foundational Blockchain technology. Multi party computation refers to a series of computers/nodes working together to compute or validate a pre-defined outcome. Wanchain through its Locked Account Generation Scheme will apply a comprehensive approach to the security and privacy concerns related to multi party computation.
Wanchain’s Locked Account Generation Scheme is the joint anchoring of threshold secret sharing and multi party computing which enables cryptographic computation by multiple parties on the Blockchain with the purpose of verifying transactions without compromising security. Without diving into the detail, the Locked Account is generated after a series of computations, its key is divided into several key shares and then distributed to the same amount of validators of Wanchain. Any operation on the Locked Account will require a defined portion of the validators’ participation to complete and this ensures both privacy and security.
Value retaining native coin | Wancoin, A currency for secure, private, interchain financial flows
Wanchain’s native coin is the Wanncoin. The Wancoin will serve as the intermediate currency for exchange across Blockchain networks. Wancoin will also be used to pay fees, participate in ICOs on Wanchain and eventually used for staking.
Wanchain is well positioned to execute on an ambitious roadmap, with the release of its open Beta we should see public interest and attention begin to climb. The market broadly has priced in a high premium for functional smart contract protocols as we see valuations skyrocket. Wanchain which introduces added layers of privacy and interoperability looks set to carve out a commanding share of market.
Wanchain sold out within ten minutes at ICO and with significant community interest, it is one of the key contenders in the rapidly growing interoperability/smart-contract space. Its goal is to become the preeminent financial market for digital assets across public and private blockchains. Wanchain will allow users to provide services as well as transact in the investment, loan, exchange and crowd funding of crypto-currencies.
Wanchain has a clean and clear mission to establish itself as an early mover in the interoperability space. It seeks to do this by pursuing cross-chain smart contracts and offering the added optionality of privacy. It’s focus on maintaining a low burden for foreign chains to integrate with Wanchain will be a key strength as the playing field evolves.
At its helm is Founder Jack Lu who was the co-founder of Factom (Top 40 crypto-currency) and Daniel Byington who is the co-founder of Tendermint. Their track-record, taken together with a 25+ strong core team of experts adds serious credibility to the project.
What is Wanchain?
Simply put the Wanchain protocol allows interoperability between existing blockchains, private and public. It allows for existing blockchains to complete asset transfers with each other with a stated focus of eliminating/limiting disruption to original chains. Wanchain will also provide privacy protection optionality across asset transfer transactions.
It’s also worth reiterating that Wanchain is itself a holistic and independent Blockchain with all the related functionality, including native coins, smart contracts and application development. Common transactions are completed on the same basis as Ethereum with an additional privacy layer.
Where are we at?
Jun 2016 – Jun 2017 Project kickstarted, proof of concept developed, white paper published, wanchain.org online.
Oct 2017 ICO crowdfunding – open to Gold whitelisters for 24hours with 6.8ETH hardcap and sold out within 10 minutes to Silver whitelisters on the following day.
Conversion rate: 1 ETH = 880 WAN (includes 15% bonus)
Price at ICO: 0.001 ETH/WAN (~US$0.4 when ETH = $300)
Supply: Total circulating = 107,100,000 WAN ; Total supply = 210,000,000
ICO Market Cap: ~US$34,500,000
Token distribution date: Tradable in Q4 2017 (potentially pushed back to Q1 2017/mainnet launch)
Nov 2017 Testnet Alpha released, Interoperability Alliance announcing partnership with ICON and AION to form interoperability standard setting working group
Jan 2018 Planned Mainnet release (Privacy Protection, WANCoin, POS, Wallet, Block chain Explorer)
Pulse check on Hype?
The ICO generated tremendous interest and sold out within ten minutes of opening its gates to silver-whitelist participants. The project has a loyal following with significant community engagement, Wanchain has one of the largest communities on Telegram. However, with the exception of the announcement of the Interoperability Alliance with ICON and AION the team has kept tight lipped on any major developments. They have however been active at all ICO roadshows including Consensus and Devcon and are entrenching themselves as a team to be taken seriously in the Crypto space.
Fair to speculate that the January launch of the Wanchain Mainnet will most likely be closely managed with timely announcements around key partnership and product development updates.
Blockchain interoperability is a key piece of the infrastructure needed for the industry as it strides towards maturity; it will be foundational to the formation of a thriving web 3.0 ecosystem. Wanchain has positioned itself as one of the early movers in the interoperability space and with its stellar team, it is highly advisable to participate in this project both for its standalone merits and its alignment with the burgeoning interoperability space.
Its mission to be the financial market for cypto-currencies coupled with a clear roadmap (Mainnet followed by interoperability with Ethereum and then Bitcoin) gives investors plenty to be excited about. The announcement of Wanchain as a founding member of the Interoperability Alliance consolidates its position further. The release of Mainnet in January will be the true litmus test for both market perception and strength of project development.
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