13 Questions: Interview with PirateChain’s Captain FishyGuts and MrLynch
This article was originally published on Human Action, 5th May 2019, and republished on The Daily Chain, 13th November 2019.
“Please support Privacy and your right to financial privacy. Whether it’s protecting your privacy with Monero, Zcash, Zcoin, Grin or Pirate, it’s up to us all to realize that this is Not investment advice, this is necessity advice.”
~ FishyGuts, May 1st 2019
A Crow’s Nest Overview
For this interview I packed my trunk and gained steerage on a frigate bound for Pirate Island in the Komodo Archipelago. The guys here at Human Action tipped me off about some interesting goings-on in the The Wailing Barnacle, a pub on Pirate Island. Oh boy, were they right.
I’d heard of Komodo (KMD) before but knew very little about it. PirateChain (ARRR), the subject of this interview, was equally mysterious to me. All I knew at the outset was that the projects are deeply connected.
On landing in the PirateChain discord (The Wailing Barnacle), you’ll see a whole bunch of rooms: pirate chat; bounties and contests; mining; pirate notary services (what was this?); development; and a treasure trove of others.
The PirateChain community is very, very active and lots of chat and tipping was going on, which is always a good sign (albeit unusual for pirates), and a galleon of hilarious pirate emojis to mess with. In fact, shortly after landing I was lucky enough to get a tip after asking a few things in discord, which was given by one of the pirates in the following interview. Such unexpected generosity was immediately rewarded by me with this GIF
I sat in the The Wailing Barnacle soaking up the atmosphere and keeping an eye out for FishyGuts, a captain of PirateChain. To be clear, FishyGuts is not the captain, but rather one of the captains, for there are others. In the corner, nursing a beer at the other end of the pub, stood a unicorn wearing a sign which read ‘Vote 4 Me’.
As my eyes drifted across the list of pirates in The Wailing Barrel, I paused over one which seemed familiar, jl777c. James “JL777” Lee is a crypto pioneer and virtuoso who has been involved with and founded numerous projects in crypto including, as it turns out, Komodo.
“Pirate is not a fork of Komodo, but a private independent asset chain, secured with Komodo’s delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) meant for financial privacy.” ~MrLynch
PirateChain is part of what is known as the Komodo Ecosystem (and what I affectionately refer to as the Komodo Archipelago), and this ecosystem has roots in other older projects, and is unique in the crypto space. The Komodo whitepaper is a heavy and dense 92-page technical document, not for the feint of heart, while PirateChain’s paper is much easier going and includes a clear mission statement:
Komodo includes some absolutely brilliant and innovative tech. As a fork of Zcash (ZEC) it has zero knowledge privacy, but it offers so much more. ARRR is one of Komodo’s (50+) interoperable blockchains. Along with these asset chains, KMD also offers a decentralized exchange, supports inter-chain “meta contracts”, and utilizes a brilliant solution for securing the blockchain called delayed proof-of-work (dPoW), which ARRR and many others use to provide chain security. Delayed PoW promises Bitcoin levels of security, while “meta contracts make smart contracts look like a horse and buggy” (VerusCoin Lead Dev Mike). Additionally, PirateChain devs are working on building support for atomic swaps, as detailed in the most recent April update:
“Achievment unlocked — View a Sapling Viewkey” — Our Pirate Queen Jane Mercer is a former zcash developer. This gave her an edge this past month when trying to sniff out the zcash viewing keys for sapling. It has been nearly a year and zcash has yet to release this utility. We could no longer wait and the hunt was on.
It didn’t take Jane long to figure out the solution which she communicated with the rest of the devs. A zcash contributor released a very limited git on the code. With an unfinished pull request and no real place to start, Jane went to work. After about a week, with some small modifications, she appears to be able to have these implemented soon in a future fork. The BIGGER news is that this opens up the doors to formerly “impossible” things for pirate such as Atomic swaps. In short, this is huge for Pirate. We still have a lot of work to do here but it’s a first step when we couldn’t find the stairway before.
Three cheers for the Pirate Queen Jane! Hip hip, Hooray!
Also on the horizon for Pirate is a Lite wallet, scheduled for release within 2 months, and Tortuga, a wallet-to-wallet “simple swap platform [which] will help many new projects which find themselves unlisted, to be able to provide users a safe haven to trade and be protected in their offers through the code.”
Komodo (KMD) is listed on Binance, but I doubt many Binancians could tell you what it is, far less what makes it special. PirateChain (ARRR) takes KMD’s focus on privacy to the next level by making ALL transactions zero knowledge.
There is a vast amount of material to cover for ARRR, which extends beyond the scope of only 13 questions. While my questions reflect my best attempt at covering all the subject matter, I’ll supply the reader with a little more information before we jump in to the meat of it.
Despite being completely under the radar and having no major exchange listings yet, PirateChain mining started in August 2018. Block rewards are halved every 270 days, and the emission rate is such that when the first halving occurs around May 27th, almost half the supply will be in circulation.
The ‘notary services’ mentioned earlier are connected with Komodo’s dPoW security which is covered in the interview.
In a nutshell, certain node operators are elected by the community to notarize ARRR chain data, and the data from all other interoperable chains on KMD which use dPoW, to the Bitcoin blockchain. This explained the unicorn in the pub asking for votes. Notarizing this data is expensive and Komodo spends about 0.2BTC/day to do so. The bitcoin raised in the Komodo ICO pays for this, as do the contributions of the projects that pay for this protection as a “value added service” from Komodo, as jl777c was kind enough to explain.
And what does it cost to get this protection?
While I had his attention I also asked James about possible bitcoin mempool issues and how dPoW handles them, plus the origin of the name Komodo.
And what happens when the ICO funds run out? I continued.
It was an honor to get these answers directly from James, the creator of dPoW. Readers should bear in mind that dPoW is a second level of PoW protection. Piratchain has its own miners securing its chain too! You can read more of James’ recent writings on Medium
To really understand PirateChain you must first understand Komodo and Zcash. Over a few days of research I crafted 13 questions, good and true. FishyGuts (FG) had agreed to parlé, and to my surprise and delight arrived with his “associate” MrLynch (ML), a fellow captain, and dev, of PirateChain. Here is what they had to say.
1. What motivates a captain of Piratchain, how did you rise to this rank (and get the name FishyGuts), and what does a captain’s day typically look like?
FG: Ahoy Gigamesh, my name, like any great pirate, is based on a “true” story. Legend has it my significant other was made to eat a fishguts sandwich on a camping/fishing trip with the family. I’m surprised you’re not talking to Captain Iron Gut or Cap’n Nauseas. So one day I was told about this great strong ship sailing the sea without a map or guide.
The request came in for me to rally the troops, and to coordinate the developers and community. Right away the strength of the protocol was apparent and I knew this was a savvy crew. I personally like the daily community building, and awareness that we bring to crypto in general for our users. Building and coordinating with the development team every day is my task. From wallet needs, to full node manufacturing, there isn’t much that I don’t keep my eye or ear on.
I work on the BizDev side daily with exchange listings, integration, developers for 3rd party items and more. The underlying daily drive for me is a strong sense of community, morality, motivation for the team and transparency.
ML: My motivation is backed by a desire to bring privacy back to everyday normality. People have given up their privacy over the past 2 decades under various reasons (i.e. comfort, national security, connectivity) and this has opened the doors to abuse from for-profit organizations and governments and there are plenty of examples just by doing a simple *cough* google search. We no longer control our personal lives as we’re constantly being targeted by ads based on our digital profiles and spending habits, therefore restoring financial privacy seems to be a good first step in restoring privacy as a whole.
My rise in rank (I believe) is due to the many sleepless nights while helping the community through the migration to sapling and many other small tasks. Being chosen to run for NN (Notary Node) election on behalf of PirateChain due to my technical abilities might have helped as well.
A typical day is fairly atypical but mainly consists in ensuring my nodes are up and running at peak performance, furthering the development of tools for PirateChain and KMD Ecosystem and helping the community in any way that I can.
2. Before we discuss PirateChain I think it would be helpful to understand its origins as a fork of Komodo. I’d describe Komodo as a private asset exchange secured with an innovative PoW (more on that later), which offers the ability to create and exchange new assets that operate as independent yet interoperable blockchains. Is this a reasonable description? Could you tell us a bit more about Komodo, its roots (Zcash, NXT, Bitcoin Dark, and SuperNET are all mentioned) , and what makes it special?
FG: I am not as qualified to answer this in it’s entirety, so I will get this answered for you, but I can talk about why KMD has been beneficial to Pirate. Being a KMD asset chain, this provided the creators with a means to launch an out of the box chain with little additional coding or planning.
This was able to be tested thoroughly in the KMDLabs, ran by Alright and Blackj0ker, where they ironed out a few things like reducing the impact the DOS issue that ZEC currently suffers from, and they added dPoW, Komodo’s Delayed Proof of Work which will resolve and protect against a 51% attack, double spend or hack. Daily, we have developers not just from Pirate, and not just from Komodo, but from MANY of the asset chains in the ecosystem willing to provide any assistance or discussion if needed. Pirate has had input or reflationary discussions with over half a dozen projects in the ecosystem. We have been providing dev work when we can to support them as well. It’s a very unique system I have yet to experience after working on Crypto projects for almost 2 years. Up until 2 weeks ago, we couldn’t consider smart contracts or Atomic swaps with pirate, but we’re making advances there lately.
ML: Pirate is not a fork of Komodo, but a private independent asset chain, secured with Komodo’s delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) meant for financial privacy.
Komodo is a fork of Zcash, which in turn was a fork of Bitcoin so it contains the best of both worlds — the functions of BTC combined with strong encryption provided by zk-SNARKs with many other innovations such as atomic swaps which allow seamless transfers of value between chains.
3. What is the Komodo Ecosystem, and what’s the origin story of Piratchain, and its name?
FG: To me, Komodo is a base layer protocol, in which nearly anything you can imagine, can be built on top of it. From games, to oracles, from Voting systems to truly decentralized exchanges, the work flexible doesn’t even BEGIN to describe Komodo.
Users have the ability to launch a chain with many custom parameters, 1 sec block times, 100% PoS, or on demand blocks only for a private system to name a few. Komodo can provide it with no scaling issues, no gas fees to your users and it’s free if you don’t need dPoW.
Cost to integrate dPoW is paid to third party developers skilled in this area. No requirement to use their devs, if you wish to try to code debug and integrate it on your own. Pirate started as a discussion on “How do we make THE MOST private crypto coin?” in a gambling development channel of the KMD discord. From there it quickly became a hot topic.
Many KMD devs and community contributors were eager to participate. The chain was launched on August 30 after a short discussion as to a name.
Pirate stuck becuase it symbolized freedom and the control of ones own destiny.
ML: Komodo is a platform that allows developers to quickly create a blockchain/asset and dApps using a wide range of parameters. If a certain desired parameter does not exist it can be created. I view it as a really cool set of Lego — you can create whatever your mind can imagine in terms of blockchain. The ecosystem is a community of communities that inter-operate seamlessly and work together to enrich the crypto space through innovative projects and use-cases.
PirateChain was born out of a simple question (as it always happens) — “What if we had a fully private chain like ZEC without transparent sends?”. 24 hours later the mainnet was live. As to the name there were a few thrown around but Pirate seemed to be the best fit as we like to bury our treasures and only us know what we have ;)
4. Both ARRR and KMD have a focus on privacy, but ARRR improves on KMD privacy and fungibility. Could you discuss this and tell us the other differences between ARRR and KMD, and what this means for the future of KMD?
FG: So recently, with the Sapling upgrade to Pirate, and with the zcash exploit being patched, KMD decided to deprecate the use of z addresses on their main chain.Less than 1% of the KMD was in z addresses. With Pirate, 100% of the sends are required to be private so this really takes maximum advantage of how zcash shielding technology works. This allowed all of the privacy development to focus on one project.
I can’t say for certain but it appears that KMD no longer saw the need to compete in this space since there was now a 100% viable chain for users to retain their privacy with.
Their JUMBLR tech works really well but at the end of the day, it still has a vulnerable ingress and egress point in the system to pierce the privacy veil.
ML: KMD has deprecated shielded addresses as they are working towards a shielded side-chain, whereas in ARRR you only have shielded addresses for sending/receiving funds. The only instance ARRR uses a transparent address is for coinbase generation (mining block rewards), after that the funds must be shielded in order to use them.
5. From reading I gather KMD supports smart contracts. Does this apply to PirateChain and can you talk a bit more about smart contracts in the KMD ecosystem and how they compare with Ethereum for instance?
FG: For the first 6 monthss Pirate was live, Smart contracts and swaps were simply NOT even an option. The chain was too private.
Recently, Radix42, a former zcash dev and BTC core contributor, was able to obtain the requisite saplilng viewkeys. This allows Pirate to consider using Komodo’s Atomic swap tech now whereas before April, we couldn’t. We are very excited about this new development and the doors it opens for the project in the next 18 mos. By allowing atomic swaps, in KMD’s multichain architecture ecosystem, where cross chain communication is natively capable, this also creates a possible future for smart contracts. What good are all these smart contracts if we’re constantly having to use exchanges to swap crypto or fulfill them? Let KMD multichain architecture handle it all!
By allowing privacy protecting smart contracts, users now have even more ways to interact with the project that have yet to be even thought of! When James made them UTXO based instead of Balance based, he gave CC’s a much more flexible programming scale, from single TX to multi-wallet and multi-sig based contracts. To go further, in KMD’s multichain architecture ecosystem, where cross chain communication is natively capable, this also creates a REALLY OPTIMIZED Future for smart contracts. What good are they if we’re constantly having to use exchanges to swap crypto or fulfill contracts. Let KMD multichain architecture handle it all!
It’s like a Horse & buggy trying to race a Lambo!
ML: In Komodo you can run your own assetchain with any of the customizable 18 chain parameters currently available. On top of this you can use Custom Consensus or CC for short (used to be Crypto Conditions) which allows a developer to customize the consensus protocol in order to perform a certain function or have a specific use case without actually modifying the core.
You would therefore be able to run your smart contract in your native coin, from the chain which you’ve just created and not depending on KMD by paying “gas” fees therefore resolving the scalability issues as you are not fighting with 10’s of thousands of other smart contracts for a spot in transactions per second. Another notable difference is that in KMD smart contracts are utxo based as opposed to balance based (i.e. Ethereum). With balance-based model if the smart contract is flawed or vulnerable, all the addresses of the main chain that accessed it are vulnerable as we have seen in many cases. The ability to perform this is now being used in blockchain game development, oracles, payments, and other dApps.
Building on the Komodo platform also gives a developer access to atomic swaps and multi-chain syncing which will make, and to quote Mike Toutonghi “the inter-chain meta contracts will make smart contracts look like a horse and buggy”
6. Could you briefly compare ARRR’s privacy with that of ZEC, XMR and GRIN? Please mention the ‘trusted setup’ used in ZEC and ARRR, and whether it presents a problem, or weakness in the design.
FG: ARRR is based on ZEC. The way that this privacy works in a nutshell is by pushing all users funds into a big “shielded pool”, where as all the z utxo’s are not discernible between users.
As you can imagine, the larger this pool, the better the shielding and privacy. Zcash has about 7% of their users funds in z addresses.
Pirate has 99.99% and EACH AND EVERY transaction makes the shielding even stronger.
That means each Pirate Tip or lottery spend, is adding to the shielding pool and thus strengthening the privacy. As to the trusted setup, we are now 100% Sapling only, making our setup based on the recent “Powers of Tau” which had over 80 participants engage in creating the original MPC. In order for this setup to be compromised, EVERY SINGLE USER and their cryptographic waste would ALL have to be compromised in order for this to be an issue.
It only takes ONE SINGLE honest and uncompromised user for the ceremony to be valid and unbreakable. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even see Hollywood having a budget big enough to make a movie where this scenario could occur. That said, we STILL are looking into ZK-Snarks and a possible un-trusted setup in a possible future fork.
ML: The pitfall of ZEC is the optional privacy which most users (93% if I recall correctly) don’t use. This is a major issue for privacy oriented users as they have to unshield their funds if they want to exchange them for example (so far there are no exchanges that support z-addresses for ZEC as compared to ARRR). Imagine picking a needle from a haystack (ZEC) vs picking a needle from a needle stack (ARRR) — the former is only difficult whereas the latter is impossible. How would you know which one is the right needle?!
XMR offers privacy by obfuscation meaning it’s very difficult to trace but not impossible if you have enough computing power and all it requires is for someone to make a mistake and use the same address twice. I don’t mean to FUD as I was a long term XMR holder and supporter but ARRR is better in this regard as there is no data on the blockchain to be analyzed at all.
GRIN — MimbleWimble could be a good protocol but they have to solve the interactivity issue first to even be considered a good privacy alternative. Requiring both parties to be online and reveal their IP addresses in order to exchange funds is simply not good enough for a privacy-centric user.
7. PirateChain claims it is as secure as Bitcoin (“In order to 51% PirateChain you would have to 51% Bitcoin first”), and achieves this by using a delayed PoW to to record changes in ARRR on the bitcoin blockchain. Please describe how this works and what the possible downsides of using BTC’s blockchain are. What if the mempool fills up
FG: Every chain secured by KMD dPoW has a hash recording of their blockchain recorded onto the KMD chain. This happens once a minute with each KMD block.
During each time leading up to a BTC block, a random 13 of the 64 KMD Notary Nodes are chosen to verify these hashes. They must then come to consensus (via the code, not any human action or choice) before writing all this data as a single hash on the BTC blockchain. 1 TX — Up to thousands of blockchains data recorded as a permanent and likely immutable record.
I say likely because BTC has been hit before, but it seems unlikely at this point in the game.
If the mempool has any issues, then it is possible that the NN’s would have to go to the next BTC block, but the NN’s do have the option to increase their BTC tx fees in times of need. All this data is already stored on KMD, so anyone attempting to make an attack would also have to successfully attack KMD in addition to the original chain they were targeting. Just doesn’t seem likely. This is a vast difference than most other projects out their claiming 51% resistance.
They don’t offer protection, only detection, or they involve some centralized decision making process as to which blocks to accept which requires human input among other ideas.
ML: There is a lot to talk about dPoW so I’ll try and make a quick summary. In essence the notary nodes propose a block hash to be notarized — this has to be accepted/agreed to as valid by at least 13 notary nodes in total. If the notary nodes reach consensus a tx is created with that block hash and has to be validated by the network. That blockhash is notarized (tx created by 13 notary nodes) on PirateChain, Komodo and from there to Bitcoin’s blockchain (every 10 minutes or so) therefore to successfully 51% attack PirateChain you have to 51% attack Komodo and BTC and you have only 10 minutes to do so. If the btc mempool fills up due to an attack on bitcoin the notarizations on KMD still exist and so do the ones in BTC mempool. There would be a delay, but most applications such as exchanges now use dPoW confirmations for crediting funds. If the mempool is constantly full the dPoW network can be switched to another high network hashrate chain.
8. Please tell us a bit about the mining algo used in ARRR, called Equihash. I gather it is supposed to create fair mining competition between different hardware. Does it succeed and are there ASIC’s on the market?
FG: Equihash has had ASICs in development on the algorithm for about 10 months now. The specialized hardware does a BANG UP job of securing the network hashrate. In days past when single authorities controlled the hardware, this was certainly considered a centralization issue. Now, anyone has access to this valuable and powerful hardware. The reduction in cost to build a mining setup, lowered energy use and increase in throughput is hard to argue against for what it does to network security and user benefit.
There are other algorithms in the KMD ecosystem we could consider, but at the end of the day, network strength and security is our priority.
If it is viable to change algos in the future to a more useful or applicable one like say Verushash, then Pirate has the option to do so. One more great benefit of being forged in Komodo.
ML: It uses Equihash 200,9 and any compatible asic can be used (i.e. innosilicon’s A9 or bitmain’s Z9 or Z9 mini). We value efficiency and as to fair mining a Z9 mini is now 1/3rd of the cost of a high end GPU but 30 times more efficient for roughly the same power consumption.
9. I see a jl777c in discord. James “JL777” Lee founded Komodo, a swathe of other projects, and is a crypto virtuoso. Is he actively involved in Piratechain? I notice both of you (and others) are named as authors of the Piratechain whitepaper.
FG: JL was the first person to reach out to me about this position as Captain of the Ship. He saw my community contribution efforts last year in March during the dICO launches and he wanted someone to focus on growing pirate. He has a strong sense of necessity when it comes to privacy and he prides himself on being able to create great products for people to use so naturally, this project spoke to him dearly.
Yes he is very active in helping the Pirate development team. He facilitates exchange development and integration needs. He’s always willing to disucss my ideas and thoughts and how we can apply them to the project. His demeanor is certainly not what you would expect from someone of his “status” but I swear, he is a very down to earth and realistic person. Watching him help users with wallet issues is just mindblowingly humbling. Most recently he has been developing a way for Pirate to start using atomic swaps based on the recent discovery of the zcash viewkeys. I am looking forward to what’s in store! I am so fortunate that I get to work directly with him nearly every day and I cannot think of anyone who has taught me more in my life in such a short time span with so little input. He is an amazing teacher with the ability to turn complex subjects and ideas into things that a child could understand. The crypto world is lucky to have him.
10. ARRR has a very active community. Could you describe some of the things going on at the moment and some of the things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months? For example, I recently noticed you have Pirate notary services, what are they?
FG: Thank you for saying that. I am sure that many of our community members take great pride in the project. You can see it every day in the wide range of contributions from a wide range of contributors.
Our biggest item we would like to see take more of a front and center role is the Zcommerce. The project has at least 2 ways for users who own Shopify or Wordpress shops to integrate a free and fully self controlled private payment portal. The wordpress plugin is a multicoin plugin created by one of the contributors at the Veruscoin project, J. Oliver Westbrook. The Shopify script was integrated into the store at www.humanaction.io. I received a note one day that the owner had bootlegged a script to make for his own use. The script author then contacted me a few days later and offered to re-write it altogether. No-one asked for this and yet, here we were getting support in areas we hadn’t asked for, from people we didn’t know. That’s a good sign of a healthy community, yeah? For Pirate Notary Services, I wanted to find a way to provide consistent continuing funding for the project. I grow weary of asking whales or community members for support on EVERYTHING. So as part of the upcoming Komodo Notary Node Elections, I figured that securing a few nodes would certainly go a long way to growing the project.
Our main dev, MrLynch, is far more versed in Komodo now after performing consistently in the top 5 NN ops on the testnet, currently at #1.
He will be able to develop and create new things for Pirate much easier now. In addition to this, he was bold enough to quit his job in anticipation of winning a spot.
That’s right, elections are still on and he quit his full time job to be a Pirate dev and KMD notary node, the latter of which is still to be determined. That said… we could really use support. Here’s how: All KMD holders on April 14th, 2019 were airdropped VOTE2019 tokens to their wallets. These tokens have no value and their only use is a one time send to a notary candidate address. We are running in three regions and would really appreciate it if any of you KMD holders out there can check your wallets. If you have any Vote2019 tokens, help us out by sending them to one of our three addresses.
You can find info here including instructions for voting, our funding breakdowns and more at https://notary.pirate.black/ The link for regional positions and current vote tallies can be found here. It’s a tight race https://dexstats.info/votelist.php
ML: The Pirate Notary Services are our Notary Nodes if we win the election (Vote for Pirate) and will help the project and the ecosystem as most of the rewards for being a notary node operator will be used to further development. Things to look forward in the coming weeks/months — mobile wallet, PrivatePay which is a crypto-payments processor, integration into a decentralized market system — more on this at a later date.
11. What difficulties do you anticipate for Piratchain sailing forward? In politics, in law, in development?
FG: That’s a VERY broad question. I would say that privacy has been more in the forefront lately, and it’s a matter of time before more politicians realize that constituents that vote will take this into more serious consideration. Until then, it’s still somewhat of an “us vs. them” mentality, when in reality, privacy is a much higher risk from so many other sources. Once privacy starts being equated to safety and personal security, then we will see more acceptance. This is where the Zcash dev fund really shines as they spend a lot of time researching, studying and advocating the positive aspects and benefits of privacy, and especially financial privacy.
As to development, that’s a tricky one. When I started in October on the project, James said “You probably won’t get this listed on exchanges.” and here we are, on 4 now. Our most recent one, added us without even discussing it with the team or asking us for a fee. That’s was an interesting development.
Another example of this constantly changing ecosystem, when you sent me these questions, I would have said “Pirate can’t do Smart Contracts or Atomic Swaps.” Well as you read above, that door has since been opened. The true z lite wallet, and not a tunnel to your PC, is likely around the corner sooner than we thought, which is great.
As we keep pushing the envelope of z address transactions, we are learning that the biggest hurdle has been willingness, with a little bit of z address knowledge sharing.
Now that people are seeing a project with full sails behind it pushing for this, it seems that maybe “impossible” isn’t a real word to a pirate.
ML: I personally don’t see any difficulties in terms of development, but challenges and we seem to have a knowledgeable crew of Pirates. One of these challenges is zSPV but radix42 is furiously working on it. Politics and law are Fishy’s turf :D
12. How is Piratchain development being funded, and how can people reading this get involved?
FG: I am glad you asked. There are currently many ways we raise funds for the project. A boat needs repairs and upgrades right? Currently we had some whales at the beginning of the project donate a great amount of funds, which are held split between three team members at the moment.
A fourth controls the donation addresses for things like listing fees and such. Many of our pools donate a portion of each block reward fee they receive to the project.
This means anywhere from 0.3% to 0.5% of each block from most of our popular pools are being sent to the project fund wallets. There is an onboarding portal that Pirates can use to refer their friends and others to dabble in some $ARRR. All purchases done through this site provide you with a small bounty and the project a small percentage of funds.
You will notice the price is slightly above exchange prices, this difference is split between the referring party and the pirate fund. There are a few whales who continue to provide funding for the project day to day items that are needed which doesn’t amount to much but it’s certainly helpful.
The thing we’re most excited about is the Pirate Notary Services. We are looking to acquire three Komodo Notary Nodes. We can win with users help. Visit https://notary.pirate.black/ to learn how to vote, how we plan to distribute funding as well as the two team members in charge of this.
If we win all three nodes we are running for, this will provide Pirate chain with 4500 KMD + each month. At the height of the market last year that would be worth over $50,000 in funding. You can see why we really want to secure these for a strong funding opportunity for the project to become more self sovereign. With a strong backbone like KMD, those prices last year were not ludicrous and we expect this dragon to fly there again someday.
ML: PirateChain had no pre-mine, ICO nor dev fund to begin with. So far, funding (for exchange listings for example) has come from community donations and our own pockets and a lot of time invested by community members — I have recently quit my day job to work full time on Pirate and Komodo projects. Provided that we win the notary elections we will be able to build a treasure chest (dev fund) from the rewards. People can get involved by helping us with development and of course, donations are welcome. Also, don’t forget to vote for Pirate in the Komodo Notary Elections :D
13. Thank you for your time FishyGuts and Mrlynch! Finally, could you please share with our readers a black pearl of wisdom?
FG: The strength in pirate is in the size and voice of our crew. As we bring in new onboards we continue to find new ways to apply our utility.
What I do believe we can use right now is a LARGE push for z commerce. Pirate was the first crypto project to have a z address compatible shopping option with ECWID, then Shopify and now Wordpress. There are SO MANY ways this benefits ALL users and parties. Z commerce is proof that it is very easy to buy items on line while retaining whatever level of personal privacy you wish with that financial information. It’s so very simple to use, if you have bought online with crypto before, you can do this. Our wallet devs are also working on QR invoices and payment options for our mobile release.
Currently we have a large bounty of over 200,000 ARRR available for new shops onboarding the plugin. By sharing on social media your proof of purchase, you will receive 2,000 ARRR and also 100 VRSC, if you use the VerusPay plugin. Shop owners get a free, self sovereign way to control their incoming funds. They get to control their own books, accounting and data if they choose.
Clearing funds takes minutes, not days or weeks like with large payment processors, you know, those companies that get to take fees or decide on chargebacks. You control your customer experience. As a customer, you get to shop as anonymous as the store allows. There is no data stealing/”sharing” from third parties, which has a wide range of applicable benefits. e.g. If you’re a teenager in Mormon Utah who needs to buy a book about sex education, you can do so without fear of persecution from family.
Offering users privacy has a wide range of applicable benefits one may not think of but consider this: If you’re a manufacturer looking for a competitive edge, holding all your cards close to your chest is the best move to make. Being able to source products, materials or new innovation without intrusion from others is invaluable. Please reach out to the community to learn more about this. I will leave you with this… We believe so strongly that privacy and crypto privacy will become the norm, just as https: replaced http:, the former of which was “for criminals only” when introduced. Please, please, PLEASE support Privacy and your right to financial privacy. Whether it’s protecting your privacy with Monero, Zcash, Zcoin, Grin or Pirate, it’s up to us all to realize that this is Not investment advice, this is necessity advice.
ML: Regain your privacy at all costs. Take care of your personal security and operational security regardless of what you do in life. Short of tin-foil hat any privacy measure is good for your health.
PirateChain is one of the finest examples of a community driven project in crypto today. No ICO, no pre-mine and a fair launch. These pirates have raided, and continued developing, the best open source tech in the space, and have created arguably the finest privacy coin on the market today, adding zk SNARKS privacy to much more than a simple exchange of value. The active involvement of heavyweights like jl777c and radix42 serves to bolster confidence in PirateChain yet further. I do not give buy ratings, or award the coins I research scores out of 10, but if I was to I’d give ARRR 5/5 Jolly Rogers!
So check out their website, follow them on twitter, and join the PirateChain discord and get involved with their bounty program for merchant adoption, or start mining and contributing in other ways. With the halving due on May 27th your timing could not be better.
Thanks to FishyGuts and MrLynch for taking the time to provide such detailed and entertaining answers.
Thanks also to jl777c and the entire PirateChain community for their time and hospitality.
Special thanks to the great team at Human Action for their continued support of the 13 Questions series. Show them some love by visiting their shop and scoring some cool crypto swag.