On November 5th, Stealth held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session at ICO Speaks telegram chat. From the Stealth side, there was James Stroud | Co-Founder & Lead Developer at Stealth
James Stroud | Co-Founder & Lead Developer:
I’ll give just some quick background. I had a career in biochemistry before I got into blockchain in 2013. Since then I have spent a lot of time working in the field, dedicating much of my time to the Stealth cryptocurrency.
I’m very happy to be able to do this AMA.
_______________________ Let’s get started!___________________________
Q: What is Stealth? Is it a Token or does it have a unique blockchain?
A: Stealth is a unique blockchain. It was launched in 2014 and practically the entire but, at the time, a very small alt-coin mining community participated in the short mining period.
I will explain the difference between a token and a coin with its own blockchain, since most people in the crypto community have joined after the ICO craze of 2017 and may not understand the distinction between a “token” and a first-class cryptocurrency. The difference is that tokens can be issued arbitrarily on a blockchain like Ethereum. Anyone can create a token and call it anything, and create as many as they want. Tokens are not subject to any monetary policy enforced by the blockchain.
A first-class cryptocurrency, like Stealth (XST) or ETH has an emission schedule (monetary policy) and is critical for incentivizing blockchain consensus. This combination means that individuals who own first-class cryptocurrencies can be confident that the money supply isn’t diluted suddenly and arbitrarily while they aren’t watching.
Incidentally, development is much more difficult for a first class cryptocurrency because any changes to the reference code (client) could result in consensus issues like forks or stalls in the chain. Stealth has been a first class cryptocurrency since the project was launched.
Q: Where did the idea for Stealth come from? What needs was it supposed to address as a unique cryptocurrency?
A: The idea for Stealth came from our recognition of a need for a fast private (anonymous) cryptocurrency. For example, Stealth launched with 1 minute block times, 10x faster than Bitcoin. We also wanted complete, trustless, zero-knowledge privacy.
We have added privacy features during Stealth’s lifetime, and are working on zero-knowledge privacy currently. We have new technology in testnet that will make Stealth blocks not just 10 times faster than Bitcoin (as they are now), but 120 times faster than Bitcoin. This technology, which we call “Junaeth” is working right now and has been flawless in testnet for many months already. We are prepping it for the mainnet.
Q: How big is the team and how did members of the current team get involved in Stealth?
A: The Stealth core team is only a few people. I lead all development where consensus is involved. What I mean by consensus is any development that may affect the peer-to-peer network, and whether all nodes in the network stay in agreement on the state of the blockchain (the deepest, most critical parts of blockchain development).
In addition to the core team, we contract services for non-consensus related development, making our team much larger if you count our contractors
Our core team got involved simply because we were interested in private transactions and like the concept of the coin. Back in 2014, our co-founder and I donated our time to launch and improve the coin and, importantly, build the community. We have a great community that might also be considered as the team, donating time and resources to the testing and identifying bugs. If you count these individuals, we could go as high as two dozen.
Q: How was Stealth distributed? Was it an ICO, airdrop, mined like bitcoin, or some other way?
A: As I mentioned earlier, Stealth was mined into existence in a fair process by the standards of the day. Stealth had no ICO, and only a tiny premine used for bounties. At its highest value, the premine was only worth maybe a few thousand dollars and was quickly used to reward people for developing use cases, code audits, promotions, website development, etc.
The original premine was depleted in 2014. Our website links to a full history of the premine in the News section. Stealth never had an ICO or was ever able to raise millions, hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands. For everything we develop related to the coin, we have to scrape funds together to pay contractors, and we have to volunteer a lot of time ourselves. Building Stealth is a passion.
Q: How are team members compensated?
A: Our co-founder and I are not compensated at all. We volunteer completely. It has been this way since launch. Anyone else is a contractor for whom we scrape funds to pay. We never dump any coins to pay for contractors. If we did that, we would have ran out of XST a long time ago.
The result of this grass-roots model is that development is slower than the biggest coins, like Ethereum, Polkadot, etc. However, we actually get a lot of development done because we are passionate about the project, so even though our market capitalization is small, we have lots of unique technology that much larger coins could probably never produce. Our goal is to synthesize all this technology on the mainnet to make the ultimate privacy coin.
Q: On the website, it says that Stealth aims to be the “Holy Grail” in cryptocurrencies: Fast, Feeless, Private & Scalable. What technologies are you working on to achieve these goals?
A: The Holy Grail has four components. I’ll explain the technologies behind each.
FAST: to achieve speed, we have invented a consensus protocol that we call “Junaeth”. It was originally called “quantum Proof-of-Stake” but that name was confusing to a lot of people because the word “quantum” has different meanings depending on context.
The Junaeth protocol is a collection of technologies that not only allow for very fast block times (5 seconds) but also allow for robust consensus in a potentially hostile peer-to-peer environment. Fast block times are achieved through a scheduling system that deterministically shuffles block signers. Each block signer has 5 seconds to produce its block. Robustness with novel technologies we have developed, like an asynchronous network clock.
FEELESS: Feeless transactions are under development. They will allow for users to send coins without any monetary fee. Instead, users can allow their computer to prove the solution to a simple but computationally difficult mathematical problem, and append that proof to their transaction in lieu of a fee.
PRIVATE: Privacy will be achieved using zero-knowledge proofs, similar to those used by Z-Cash. This type of privacy is complete, hiding the sender, receiver, and value of the transaction.
SCALABLE: Scalability is achieved through synergy of several technologies. The first is the Junaeth consensus protocol, that allows for fast block times, even if the blocks are large (like, say, 4 MB). Second, Stealth has what are called “certified nodes” that tighten the topology of the core peer-to-peer network without sacrificing any decentralization. This allows consensus nodes to preferentially be highly connected, but also allows for dynamic network remodeling that ensures efficient global relay of blocks and transactions.
Q: The most famous privacy coin is Monero. What does Stealth bring to the table that Monero doesn’t?
A: Monero has excellent privacy technology, but it has some drawbacks. First the proofs are absolutely enormous, creating massive blockchain bloat that has to be dealt with post-facto, using blockchain pruning. These large proofs also preclude very high transactional throughput, necessitating long block times, meaning Monero will always be slow like bitcoin. For the same reasons Monero can’t scale.
Because of its consensus model, Z-Cash shares scaling and speed properties with Bitcoin, although its privacy solution should be amenable to a fast, scalable coin. And that’s why Stealth is working on zero-knowledge privacy very similar to Z-Cash.
So, to answer the question, Stealth addresses all of the scaling and speed issues present in other privacy coins. We use a scaling and speed friendly privacy technology and couple it with the Junaeth protocol that actually delivers a fast and scalable blockchain.
Q: Stealth was one of the earliest alt-coins on hardware wallets, specifically it was added to Ledger in 2017, but we noticed there are no dedicated mobile wallets for XST. Does Stealth have any plans for mobile wallets?
A: Yes, we are very close to releasing mobile wallets, although I can’t give a date right now. Wallets will be available in the Android Play Store and iOS App Store.
I’ll quickly explain why it has taken us so long to produce mobile wallets. The reason boils down to the fact that we are an old school project, when the common opinion was that the standard for wallet security is a hardware wallet, like Ledger. For this reason, we focused entirely on getting full support for a hardware wallet as soon as possible. That’s why Stealth was an early coin on Ledger.
After the ICO craze and then the massive crypto bull market, we have noticed that portable devices are now much more secure, and most people would rather use their mobile device than a hardware wallet. For this reason, we have recently prioritized mobile wallets. Also, and this should go without saying, but we wanted to release earlier this year but covid-19 caused a lot of disruptions, especially with our contractors.
Q: Your online materials make mention of a technology called “StealthExplore”. What is StealthExplore and its development status and how does it fit into Stealth’s goal to become a premiere cryptocurrency?
A: StealthExplore grew out of the need for serious infrastructure upgrades, like hardware wallets, blockchain explorers, and network monitors. It turns out that different types of infrastructure have overlapping needs. For example hardware wallets and blockchain explorers require on-demand transactional information from the blockchain. Network monitors and explorers need block data, and so on.
Instead of duplicating efforts to gather and serve all this data for each instance of infrastructure, we decided to support every possible type of data query directly from the client.
Moreover, this write-once-use-everywhere philosophy means that we could hand code the StealthExplore database logic to be as efficient as possible.
Finally, because StealthExplore is an optional functionality of the reference client, it serves as an application programming interface (API) standard, allowing for even greater ease and flexibility in developing novel infrastructure.
Q: Your roadmap clearly identifies a plan to achieve a fast, feeless, private, scalable blockchain. Does the Stealth vision stop there? What happens when the current roadmap is complete?
A: We are constantly looking to the future, both near and far. Perhaps our biggest realization is that if we can achieve the Holy Grail of crypto with a Fast, Feeles, Private and Scalable blockchain, then we should have the technological foundations for a blockchain that supports privacy as a component of smart contracts.
Additionally, if our economic modeling is correct, and the Stealth network consists of say 75 – 100 validators, Stealth should be able to support some type of sidechains, where transactions between sidechain and main chain can be escrowed by validators. Sidechains, of course, can have their own consensus rules. This same type of escrow can be used to create wrapped assets.
A cool thing about Stealth is that it already supports multi-signature transactions, meaning that escrowed money can be secured by multiple validators, making side chains and wrapped assets even more reliable.
Finally, the validator model implemented in Junaeth allows for features like oracles, where validators can supply price feeds, or even event feeds. All of this seems difficult to layer on top of bitcoin, but we already have completed the difficult parts of layering in our development of Junaeth, which is working spectacularly on testnet right now.
Q: In the field of crypto, it’s very hard for projects to generate revenue/profits, some projects have a 10% dev share(10% from transaction fees taken by the project..), can you explain to us in what way that your projects creates revenue/profits?
A: Stealth actually doesn’t have a revenue model for the team. There is absolutely no foundation reward taken from the block rewards or transactions. Our project is purely grass roots. We have built a helpful community since 2014 and the co-founder and I have put in countless hours over the years building the coin, doing everything from community building, branding, websites, and scraping money for contractors.
We don’t anticipate changing this model anytime soon, except we may switch to a decentralized governance model. The goal right now, though, is to create the Holy Grail of a Fast, Feeless, Private, and Scalable blockchain. Once we have completed that, we will review governance.
Q: Defi is the trending, Yield farming is the top traffic, Decentralized Finance is the future so Stealth is confident enough to lead to fulfill its goals and mission?
A: Good question, and they were the last one to get a question in. We stopped doing AMAs a few months ago, and in that short time, defi has had a full bubble cycle. It is pretty amazing.
I briefly experimented with defi in the last couple of months, learning how things like swaps and yield farming worked. I am most impressed with swaps, like uniswap. These decentralized exchanges (DEXes) actually work, and work well. I have no problem trading on them. They provide great liquidity and the automated market making really tunes the user experience in that you can rely on the same slippage profile no matter which coin you trade and at which price.
For these reasons, one of our goals, not yet included on the roadmap, is to get XST as a wrapped asset on chains like Ethereum. I alluded to this potential in the last question in block 2. I believe that once we get a wrapped XST asset it will greatly improve XST liquidity across all exchanges.
Q: Staking programme is very important for any project, Can I stake #Stealth ? Do you have any plans of starting a staking programme?
A: Stealth launched as a proof-of-work (PoW) coin, and the protocol at launch included a transition to full proof-of-stake (PoS). Currently Stealth is full PoS. Staking yields 20% APY for users, if they stake continuously.
What is amazing about this staking APY is that not everyone stakes. Many people don’t set up any sort of node to stake and secondly most people keep coins on exchanges, which don’t stake themselves
At the current rates, the monetary inflation is only about 7.5%. It has been this way since launch. So, if you stake your Stealth continuously, you beat inflation by over 13%! That’s an awesome yield, even for cryptocurrencies, which typically have higher yields to accompany their higher risks.
I should mention that these percentages are denominated in XST and not some other money, like USD or BTC. Users may or may not have a positive APY denominated in USD, which depends on the USD price of XST.
Q: How many tokens from total allocation are held by the team? Are there any vesting periods?
A: I have covered much of this topic already, but I think it is always important to elaborate, to avoid any confusion. The team has 0 token allocation at the moment. Absolutely no fraction of the block reward or fees are allocated to developers.
Maybe one day, after we have fully implemented StealthSend on mainnet, we can change governance so that proposals can be rewarded, but that is far in the future.
Q: Tokens of projects plummeted prices, causing a lot of loss for investors. With $ XST token, what will you do to make your project stable and bring the highest return to investors in the long run? What are the real strengths of the project?
A: A lot of confusion exists in the crypto space, where anyone who buys coins or tokens on an exchange may feel like they are buying shares of a company, and expect to see some type of profit for their “investment”. One thing that Stealth can’t do is guarantee or even hint to any profit expectations.
Coin was mined into existence, which means anyone could mine a coin and ask no one to do it. Essentially, mining means that users are responsible for making their own coins, which they can sell to others. When these buyers buy their coins, they are buying them from the miners and not the development team.
Stealth follows the model where the development team are coin holders buying the vast majority of their own coins on exchanges like any other user. This means we try hard not to create any expectations about the coin’s price. In fact, I will always be quick to say that the XST price may go up or down, and just to be extra safe I always say it is a good idea to assume that the XST price will go down.
That said, we try hard to make our own coins more valuable every day, which means we try to make XST more valuable every day. Whether our efforts pay off remains to be seen and represents a significant risk.
Q: How can I become a validator of Stealth qPoS?
A: First, qPoS is now called “Junaeth”, as I mentioned above. I suspect, since the qPoS name is quite descriptive, it will be used for a long time, even if we try to encourage the community to switch to the new name.
Becoming a validator in Junaeth is different from every other scheduled block signing protocol. In all the others, you have to trade, beg, borrow, or get votes by through a sketchy initial distribution.
With Stealth, you simply buy your block signing rights by purchasing from the blockchain tokenized block signing rights.
These tokens are called StealthNodes, which are highly complex non-fungible assets.
So, say you want to be a StealthNode operator (validator), you only need to wait until XST hits a very low price and buy some XST (the price of which may go up or down after you buy the XST). Then, when the purchase period is live on mainnet, you purchase a StealthNode, which you can own forever, or even sell (transfer) later.
This model eliminates the corrupting influence of politics from the blockchain. To this end, the purchase period won’t go live until after private transactions are live for a significant time. So individuals may purchase StealthNodes with so-called “anonymized” Stealth. This process should make Stealth the most incorruptible blockchain in existence.
ICOSpeaks hosted an AMA Session with the Stealth Team. That’s all for today.
Thanks to all users who participated.
Thanks, Stealth Team for being with us
Thanks, all and see you soon😉