We are happy to announce that Bitcoin Private (BTCP), a community-driven BTC/ZCL fork consisting of over 150 contributors, is now listed on HitBTC. We would like to thank the BTCP community for your support, vigilance and team spirit.
You can now trade BTCP by clicking this link, but this is not all.
Recently, we sat down with the Bitcoin Private team to find out what makes them tick, and what they have in store for the traders. You can read the Q&A below.
From Left to Right: Dan Farina (Merchant Solutions Lead), Chris Sulmone (BTCP Wallet Lead), Jacob Brutman (Operations Lead), Giuseppe Stuto (Strategy Lead), Zane Thomas (Blockchain Engineer), Jon Layton (Senior Developer), and Peter Hatzipetros (Legal Counsel).
Let’s begin with the team, we usually interview the CEO for these interviews, but you have a distinctly community-driven approach to running the company. How does that play out when you have big strategic decisions to make, and how do you manage accountability for those decisions?
Although we like to think of ourselves as a very flat, decentralized community, there are some members who have contributed more / been around longer than others. Most of these senior contributors, or “maintainers,” of the Bitcoin Private project/ecosystem have been participants since shortly after the fork-merge announcement, the majority coming together in January. Given the amount of effort that has been put in to date, most of us have come to know one another very well.
At a high level, especially on strategic matters, we have a group of maintainers who regularly communicate and participate in a weekly strategy meeting. At these meetings many matters are routinely discussed, and in making any decisions we always bring in feedback from the community via various vehicles. Typically, the maintainers of our project lead various efforts within the project, and through those members we are able to keep the community’s best interest in mind.
In terms of accountability, we are a very transparent organization. It is clear in a high level sense who is responsible for what, and based on progress we are able to assess on a rolling basis whether changes need to be made.
Turning to the project itself. Could you give us a quick introduction to Bitcoin Private. What’s the big idea behind the project, where did it come from, and what sets it apart from other bitcoin forks?
Bitcoin Private (BTCP) is a fork-merge of the Zclassic (ZCL) and Bitcoin (BTC) blockchains. The idea itself of combining the zk-SNARKs privacy protocol with Bitcoin was floated on Twitter by the creator of Zclassic. Shortly thereafter, the open source development community that came together decided that the best implementation for such a proposal would be to fork the ZCL codebase and merge it with the UTXO sets of the Bitcoin blockchain.
What sets Bitcoin Private aside from other Bitcoin forks is that it is the first to bring mathematically provable privacy technology to the Bitcoin community. Another big differentiator when compared to other Bitcoin forks that is often times overlooked is that of the open source development community itself. The BTCP team has by far the most active development team among any of the Bitcoin forks, and in just under 60 days after the mainnet launch it has already proven to be the only Bitcoin fork dedicated to bringing the best privacy technology to a mainstream adoption level.
There’s obviously something very noble about fulfilling Satoshi’s ambitions around privacy for Bitcoin transactions, but there will certainly be some that question the morality of truly invisible transactions. What would you say to those that are wary of the potentially illegitimate payments that BTCP could in principle facilitate?
It’s easy to think that a law-abiding citizen has nothing to gain from blockchain privacy, however, this leads to two dangers. First, the government isn’t the only potential entity out there trying to snoop on you. Malicious attackers attempt to collect personal information about you for profitable gains such as acquiring intel on your business to the benefit of competitors. Second, some governments can be trustworthy, however, many aren’t. Privacy protocols are needed to help people express financial self-sovereignty for financial inclusion.
Technology has enabled people to interact globally, where we all function as borderless, world citizens. Legality-wise, this sense of globalization is not so simple. While a universal code of law protecting cryptocurrency users is not in the foreseeable future, the Bitcoin Private community is proud to develop solutions for financial freedom where privacy is no longer a luxury, yet a fundamental right.
Isolated incidents by nefarious characters, such as the Silk Road facilitators, are not indicative of the human condition whole. Privacy is not binary. It’s a smooth continuum and an arms race between privacy seekers, and destroyers. The Bitcoin Private community is proud to serve on the front line against privacy destroyers to protect the crypto community.
And by extension of that, we’re obviously seeing quite a lot of regulatory tightening in the crypto world at present. How do you see that situation panning out, especially for currencies that governments are more uncomfortable with?
It depends on what dimension of regulation we are talking about and for what end purpose. Some parts of regulation will be perceived positively and others negatively. We are fans of whatever drives the greater crypto ecosystem forward, all the while respecting the positive intentions of projects who are looking to protect consumers and businesses across the world, one of those being Bitcoin Private.
To answer the question more directly, the “situation” with relation to regulatory certainty & uncertainty is panning out just fine for all cryptocurrencies, even those that some governments may have more issue with. From our point of view, this will be an ongoing development on the regulators side and it is something that is already baked into the minds / plans of many projects within crypto today.
It’s been two months now since the hard fork. What’s been going on over at Bitcoin Private since then? And what can people look forward to over the coming weeks and months?
Recently, we announced a rebasing of Bitcoin Private. Currently, all zerocash protocol coins are approximately three years behind Bitcoin. Upgrading the current codebase has proven quite cumbersome; therefore, we have chosen to completely rebase zk-SNARKs on top of the most current Bitcoin code. This will incorporate a significant amount of upgrades to the Bitcoin Private node and network, including SegWit, Lightning Network, and HD wallets.
Additionally, we are focused on rolling out user friendly products for our community to make use of our protocol. For example, we are rolling out the first version of our merchant product in response to the large level of demand for accepting BTCP payments worldwide. We recognize that the ease of use of our protocol is just as important as the underlying technology itself.
While much of our development over the course of 2018 is focused on the BTCP rebasing as well as the Merchant platform, we have a development roadmap available on our website for anyone interested in other projects we are currently working on.