On The Brink
from the ECC Team
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain. — Dolly Parton
Greetings fellow ECC community members. First of all, we hope everyone has had a safe and happy holiday season, and you were able to spend time with family and friends. 2020 has been a year many of us would rather forget, but hopefully life will get back to relative normalcy a few months into 2021. It’s been a little while since our last update, and there is a lot of news to share. Let’s dive in!
It’s no secret, the last couple of years have been a bit rough for ECC. The original plan on how we were going to deliver decentralized network services had to be abandoned. Coding issues with ANS that wouldn’t properly scale caused a rethink of the entire project. The white paper was taken off the website as it soon became irrelevant with the rethink. That being said, some projects would have thrown in the towel at that point. ECC did not, and came up with a better way of doing things. We have certainly seen our share of the “rain”.
For ECC, 2020 was all about optimizations to the base protocol, to allow the further build of decentralized network services on top of the ECC chain. The eccoind code base has now been switched over to GitLab from GitHub. Most importantly, 2020 marked a milestone for ECC — we have officially moved from the protocol development stage of the project to the ecosystem development stage. The underlying tools have now been implemented, and the protocol itself is stable and usable (with a few optimizations still forthcoming). We are starting to open up the ecosystem to anyone who wants to build on top of the protocol, but to do that we are creating and implementing some of the basic development tools to make it easier for any potential developers in this space.
The developers truly feel that we are now finally on the brink of ECC achieving something special in the world of decentralized network services. It was a long way to get here with many twists and turns along the way, lots of lessons learned, and even some failures and restarts. That being said we are starting 2021 in an excellent position for some more notable milestones to be met.
We recently posted a preview of “ecchat” — an ECC based messaging app presented with an IRC style UI. You can check it out here.
So what’s so special about a simplistic video of an exchange of messages between two people that looks like it was made in the early 1990’s?
The beauty of that exchange is in the details! The messages were sent & received through the eccoin full node API and relayed across the roam network. One of the machines was located in the UK and the other in Singapore, in what was near instantaneous communication. The video was recorded on a laptop in Manila, Philippines demonstrating the flexibility that console based applications provide in terms of portability and location independence. There was no waiting for block confirmations to allow for the chat to take place. Bob also sent Alice 100 ECC during the video. Yes, that was a real transaction — and you can see the details of that transaction here.
All of this was done using a completely open-sourced and decentralized code-base, and can be done by anyone now with the right tools (dev build of eccoind node, and Python). Keep in mind that this is still in beta mode for now, but as mentioned, the underlying tools are all there.
The important takeaway from this video is that crypto is easier to use when your contact point is chat rather than just a wallet. With a wallet, you need to communicate a crypto address to the other party anyway, and you typically do this by some separate messaging app, email, web page, etc. With ecchat, when you “/send” the app requests a crypto address from the other party’s app and automates the wallet operations on the user’s behalf. You no longer need even to be aware that crypto addresses exist!
Right now, the chat feature is 1-to-1 messaging (aka DM or PM), with group chat being later in the road map. There are some additional decentralization sub-features in the base layer (eccoind) required to support group messaging in a fully decentralized manner. But, it is an important part of the vision.
This first video of Bob and Alice will be followed by further episodes to demonstrate more new features currently being developed.
The messaging UX is being improved upon by a separate parallel project, taking the raw features of the IRC style app and wrapping them in a more modern UX with cross platform support including mobile/ desktop and also with SPV capabilities releasing users from the need to host a full node.
So what’s next with Messaging? Have a look at the roadmap below:
1 . Chat (complete in dev environment)
2 . Chat with integrated ECC payments (complete in dev environment)
3. Chat with integrated multi-chain payments enabling trust based swaps (gearing up for that right now)
4 . Chat with multi-chain atomic swaps — trustless swaps between anonymous parties
5. Group messaging
6. Standardized swap protocol with UI support paving the way for pure trading apps using the chat protocol to quote prices and execute swaps — in effect a decentralized exchange
Wait a minute, you might ask… what is the difference between step 3 and step 4? Aren’t they inherently the same thing? Not quite. Here’s an example of what would be achievable in step 3 (and may lead to a future Bob and Alice video).
Bob: Hey Alice, I need some ECC. Can you sell me some? I got LTC. Can you take that?
Alice: Sure Bob! I can swap you 5,000,000 ECC for 12 LTC
Bob: /send 12 LTC
Alice: /send 5,000,000 ECC
But wait a minute! What stops Alice from running away the second she received the 12 LTC? Nothing apart from the existing trust between Bob and Alice. Step #3 is to build that functionality including multi-chain connectivity. It would be the logical progression for development where each new feature builds on the prior, adds value, is usable in its own right, but is also essential for the next step. Step #4 (atomic swaps) essentially adds a TRUSTLESS layer to the transaction. In Step #4 the transaction only has two possible outcomes — both sides execute or no execution. Partial failure or one-sided execution is mathematically impossible with an atomic swap.
Here’s an example of how the atomic swaps would function in ecchat.
Alice: Hey Bob, I need 5 million ECC, I can pay you in LTC.
Bob: /swap 5000000 ECC 12 LTC
Alice: Awww — come on Bob!!!
Bob: /swap 5000000 ECC 11.5 LTC
A /swap command will also timeout if not executed by the other party within 60 seconds. Both Bob and Alice would also need to be running ECC and LTC full nodes. Once this is working the developers will look at implementation of atomic swaps through SPV. This would represent a vast improvement in simplification over how atomic swaps currently work today!
Keep in mind that everything in the exchange environment would happen via ECC (i.e. you couldn’t go to this exchange to trade LTC against BTC directly). This means traders will need a “float” of ECC, creating a growing demand for ECC. Transaction fees will also be in ECC, which in turn will be fed back into the system as staking rewards. This gives the coin more utility going forward.
Ultimately, the bulk of the marketing is currently being done by community members and through word of mouth. @Wim and others are holding off for a while until a viable product has been demonstrated as being usable by the masses. That being said, they are getting prepared for when the moment comes. There were lots of lessons learned from 2018, when marketing (and personal) funds were spent on videos, etc., for services that never came to fruition such as ANS.
Please note that ECC is no longer being traded on Txbit. Holders have until January 12th to remove your ECC from the exchange or else you risk losing them. If you are an unverified user, you are limited to removing 2.2 million ECC per 24 hour period.
For now, ECC remains trading at CREX24 and C-Patex, with Next Exchange coming soon. Next Exchange has recently released version 2.0, and their latest medium article mentions the upcoming ECC listing directly, though no timeline is provided.
To all community members — we appreciate your patience, and thank you for hanging around. It has been a long, somewhat twisted road to get to where we are today. The upcoming focus is to ensure a flawless release of the messaging system, to show the masses just a small taste of what the ECC protocol can truly bring to the table.