Komodo Platform: Year 2017 in Review
Recap on Tech Advancements
The Komodo blockchain is barely more than a year old. It began as a project spearheaded largely by developers creating the platform they imagined.
Our development history began in 2014. However, the Komodo’s journey officially started on September 14, 2016, when the genesis block was mined. Our lead developer jl777 managed to add all the necessary features without a single chain reset, which means that our testnet became the mainnet and now we are running the longest zero-knowledge blockchain.
Now, Komodo’s technology is ready for early-adopter use. Our backend technology need less attention, and we are turning our energy to creating a smooth UX/UI experience.
We looked back at our journey through 2017 and picked the top highlights and events from genesis to today.
The groundwork of our technology enabled us to add multiple features in a short time: delayed Proof of Work security, zk-SNARKs privacy, Komodo 5 % rewards, independent asset chains, and KV-storage to store key/value information on a blockchain.
With those completed, our development focus turned to two specific features: privacy and a decentralized exchange. To achieve privacy we created Jumblr, which automates KMD tumbling. It is now accessible directly within our Agama Wallet.
The second large milestone was the creation of our atomic-swap technology. While our lead developer performed the first manual atomic swap in 2014, the aspect of making this technology publicly available was the true challenge. Perfecting the atomic swap occupied much of our attention for several months. Upon completing the decentralized-order matching aspect of the technology, we found the backend technology to be complete and displayed our results in this youtube video.
Though our backend technology was working, we knew that mainstream adoption would require technology that removed the need for the average user to download blockchains. Trading on our decentralized exchange without this feature would be too laborious. Therefore, we integrated Electrum technology, often called SPV. On September 21, 2017, we demonstrated our first successful lightweight swap.
We added many features since that time. Our Speed Mode feature allows users to complete atomic swaps in as little as ten seconds, and our automatic portfolio rebalancing feature can plan a key role the future of the crypto-economy, as users diversify across a wide range of projects. With our GUI software (the frontend technology that the average computer uses) coming together, and our entire community growing rapidly, we find Komodo’s position to be advancing rapidly. Our volunteer community has even conducted over 16,000 atomic swaps since our public release.
We also began a partnership program, where we assist existing projects and businesses to begin their blockchain journeys. Our first partner is an e-banking platform Monaize.
Our Journey Through From 2014 to 2018
The Komodo journey stems all the way back to the year 2014, when development started under the name ‘SuperNET,’ and under a privacy-coin project called, ‘BitcoinDark’. Many members of the Komodo community were with us in those earliest meetings, and the vision and mission we established then continues to this day.
What is the glue that keeps us together? What are we really building?
From the beginning, we all wanted blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to become an integral and meaningful part of daily life. We wanted to remove bottlenecks blocking adoption of this technology by solving complex problems that would benefit the entire cryptocurrency as a whole. Key problems that we identified were scalability, privacy, and blockchain interoperability.
In 2017, we released our solution to the blockchain interoperability issue. It is called, BarterDEX, and it utilized our atomic-swap technology to enable users to directly exchange cryptocurrencies from one chain to another.
Now that it is running, BarterDEX can empower the cryptocurrency community by enabling developers to crowdsource and create with a greater power of decentralization than ever before. This power comes through its ability to offer a decentralized initial coin offering (ICO), the first of its kind. Furthermore, BarterDEX also offers privacy features and natively interacts with the Komodo blockchain startup kit.
Our first partners, Monaize, are utilizing BarterDEX’s decentralized ICO technology (dICO). Our partnership was unexpected at first. The story goes back to the Money2020 conference in Copenhagen, where we met Monaize CEO, Vincent. He was already building a technology startup full of innovative ideas, and was finding success with several banking partners. Their product, the Monaize e-banking app, was just about to go live. As they looked to the future, they saw where the banking industry would move, and wanted to position themselves to be on the correct side. This was their initial interest in blockchain.
Several of our team members flew to Paris to meet their team. There, we discussed our visions and goals, found a wide berth of common ground, and crafted a plan that would create a symbiotic relationship between our blockchain project and their banking platform.
They also told us we were crazy, and we agreed.
On September 22nd of 2017, together with Monaize, we hosted our first Komodo event in Zurich, the ‘Banking Meets Blockchain’ conference. It was at this event that we announced our lightweight atomic-swaps (essential for any successful decentralized exchange) using Electrum servers. Here are the complete presentations and the Q&A session:
At the time, we expected our dICO technology to be prepared for a full launch on November 10th of 2017. Unfortunately, when the date arrived, while the backend technology functioned as intended, we found that the frontend user experience (UX/UI) was not as smooth as we needed. We had to announce a temporary delay.
As the year drew to a close, we were able to finish our preliminary preparations, and we are now prepared to roll out the world’s first dICO. One of the key differences with our upcoming technology position is that our frontend is now characterized with a dramatically more simple app. We are preparing at this time to determine the new Monaize dICO date. (More on this topic further on.)
To summarize, Komodo began as a privacy-coin project. Our team discovered each other in the early days of the BitcoinDark project. Over the last year, we successfully evolved from a privacy coin into a blockchain platform, and together with Monaize, we are now building a blockchain ecosystem.
There is still much work to be done. We desire to create an ecosystem where anyone can crowdsource and create without inhibition. The Monaize dICO is only the first step in this direction. As we work through this first product launch on our platform, we are watching to discover all customer pain points that can be lessened, if not eliminated.
Marketing Team Status
Around September of this year, after the announcement of our dICO capabilities, several new members joined our team in marketing-related capacities. Over the last few months, these new members have learned many of the intricacies of the Komodo ecosystem. While in the learning process, they have simultaneously produced various milestones in Komodo’s marketing journey.
In our December Reddit AMA, we outlined many of these milestones:
- Raised our social media presence and outreach
- Increasing our Reddit subscribers from ~350 to ~4000
- Increasing our Twitter followers from ~1000 to ~70,000
- Increasing our Slack channel members to ~3500
- Increasing our newsletter subscribers from ~500 to ~5000
- Established a temporary, “placeholder” website while we consider long-term brand decisions
- Launched an exchange outreach program. Successfully listed on Binance, HitBTC, UpBit
- Launched a YouTuber influencer outreach program. Established relationships with key influencers which we will work with in coordination with future launches.
- Provided a temporary update to the r/KomodoPlatform subreddit’s visual appearance
- Created a BarterDEX whitepaper for non-developer audiences (~30 pages)
- Created a Jumblr whitepaper for non-developer audiences (~20 pages)
- Finished Part I of the Komodo Foundations Lightpaper (dPoW) (~25 pages)
- Offered several Reddit AMAs
- Providing +40 developed, official responses to community questions
- Completed many blog posts, newsletters, meetings, graphics, and other messaging contributions
- Attended blockchain conferences to network with future ecosystem partners
- Completed Several extensive UX research initiatives and audits, both internal and external
- Translated much of our existing material and documentation into multiple languages
- Hired several additional marketing team members who are completing behind-the-scenes marketing work that has yet to be publicly revealed
- Most importantly: created a long-term internal plan for Komodo marketing
Over the last few weeks, the marketing team has finally reached a stage where more pointed and coordinated endeavors are possible. We have prepared an extensive marketing transparency report, expect to hear more about this in a future blog post.
Historically speaking, our team focuses heavily on strong backend technology, and this is where our strengths lie. While few seem to realize it, we are the world’s leaders in atomic-swap technology. Our lead developer, JL777, performed the first-ever atomic swap in 2014. Today, we are miles ahead in bringing this technology to the public, as BarterDEX is now fully operational and our volunteer community members have completed over 17,000 atomic swaps.
We are also leaders in smartaddress and liteweight technology in the decentralized-exchange space. On BarterDEX, users are able to trade among a multiplicity of coins, all from within one smartaddress. This feature stands upon our backend technology. Combined with our Electrum server technology, which allows users to trade coins on our decentralized exchange without having to download a blockchain, users are empowered with a simple and fast trading experience.
Our Agama wallet also support these lightweight and multi-coin wallet features.
While our backend technology is performing well, we also recognize that our frontend technology must perform on the same level. The user experience and user interfaces of our software is now a main priority, and we are already seeing results.
The Agama Wallet is a complex piece of software that integrates many native cryptocurrencies into one single wallet. It is now fully stable and prepared for users to adopt as a primary method for holding Komodo cryptocurrency assets.
The vision of the Agama wallet is to give users a single application capable of managing one’s cryptocurrency portfolio.
“My ultimate goal for Agama is to make it a complete suite for hodlers and investors, they may exchange coins and keep them in a single app.”
-- pbca26, Agama Wallet developer
The wallet offers universal privacy features, through Komodo’s Jumblr technology. This feature is currently limited to the Komodo coin, but as adoption grows on our decentralized exchange, the privacy features of Jumblr can extend to any cryptocurrency connected to our ecosystem.
Furthermore, here are a few features in our Agama wallet’s long-term plan:
- Mobile application support -- currently testing
- Barterdex integration -- planned
- Adding more cryptocurrencies -- ongoing
- Hardware wallet integration -- concept
Our dICO Application
Our dICO technology is now working flawlessly, and we are preparing for the first dICO launch on our platform.
A simplified swap process
One crucial step that enabled us to simplify the trading process on BarterDEX was to limit the purchase sizes of orders. These predetermined purchase sizes increase incrementally, from 100 MNZ, to 500 MNZ, up to 2500 MNZ, etc.
This simple decision allowed us to create an essentially flawless customer participation experience. Exchanges on our simplified BarterDEX app are completing with a 100% success rate.
Solution to saturated BTC blocks
BTC is having trouble keeping up with its competitors on our BarterDEX exchange platform, and this was negatively impacting user participation in the preliminary tests of the Monaize dICO launch.
The problem is that Bitcoin itself is so slow to produce network confirmations, and the transactions fees so high, the conditions for trading via atomic swaps are simply unfavorable. Our volunteer community members reported that the atomic swaps with Bitcoin were not stable, and at times a user could even wind up having paid for transactions fees as a part of the swap, without seeing a completed swap (please read our whitepaper for details on how funds are automatically returned to the trader in the event of an incomplete swap, minus any necessary transaction fees paid to cryptocurrency miners).
We determined an alternative solution for users that want to participate in the Monaize dICO launch with BTC, instead of KMD. In this solution, user funds are sent directly to a Monaize multi-signature address. The MNZ tokens are credited to an address that corresponds with the applicant’s smartaddress. In this event, users are not completing an actual atomic swap. This allows users the Freedom necessary to determine the best strategy for themselves.
Bitcoin Cash Support Added
Naturally, we weren’t happy to not have atomic swap support for BTC. BarterDEX itself is performing swaps with Bitcoin-protocol coins flawlessly, save the paradoxical case of Bitcoin alone. We want to showcase the strength of our solution, and therefore we decided together with Monaize to add support to few other relevant cryptocurrencies. The Monaize dICO launch will now support Bitcoin Cash, in addition to Komodo (KMD), as well as Bitcoin (via the multi-sig address).
We have conducted myriad tests to ensure that the atomic-swap process is smooth for both experienced users and for novices. The final step is a public stress test; and after that, the official Monaize dICO.
New Monaize dICO Date
Speaking of the Monaize dICO, here’s a little idea of what to expect.
Now that everything is ready for the launch we will be having a meeting with the Monaize team at the end of this week. In the meeting, we will craft a final roadmap for the launch and pick a new dICO date.
Thank you for Your Support
We cannot show enough gratitude to the many people in our community who supported us through the first year of the Komodo project. So many Komodo-believers volunteer time and energy to help realize the vision of decentralization. We hope that we can repay your kindness by providing products and services that help you realize the dreams that motivate you.