President Dustin Byington has a clear vision for Wanchain, a company using the blockchain to power the new digital economy.
Wanchain believes the “digital economy’ will soon become simply the “economy.” Just like photography has been digitized, crypto-finance will be too as increased functionality and transparency attract more people. That will increase pressure on companies to produce crypto assets and governments to develop cryptocurrencies which will, in turn, drive participation rates even higher.
We’re still in the early stages, where blockchain pioneers are laying the groundwork upon which future gains will be made. Those efforts include the creation of blockchains for each digital asset which help track their path but which makes it difficult to communicate between chains. First came Bitcoin, which Ethereum improved with smart contracts.
Wanchain links crypto-assets via cross-chain smart contracts so banking applications can be developed that guide flows on-chain between different cryptocurrencies.
“Wanchain’s is a fully programmable blockchain,” Mr. Byington said. “Developers can build any app on us, then when they have proxy tokens on the same ledger, we can do things like decentralized exchanges that are applications sitting on top of the blockchain.”
Say a user wants to use Wanchain’s blockchain to exchange ETH for LTC. The users deposit their ETH into Wanchain. The ETH is technically locked on the Ethereum blockchain as a new proxy token (W-ETH) is minted on Wanchain’s blockchain.
“The W-ETH is a receipt for ETH,” Mr. Byington explained. “It is a bearer instrument which means that anyone that holds it can cash it.”
Another user deposits LTC onto Wanchain, receiving W-LTC in return. The Wanchain blockchain recognized the W-ETH and W-LTC. Using an on-chain exchange built on Wanchain, for example, the Kyber-Wanchain Decentralized Exchange, the user facilitates the W-ETH/W-LTC trade before cashing out the W-LTC for LTC. The W-LTC is technically burned and the LTC that was locked on the Litecoin blockchain is unlocked.
Wanchain also offers WAN Smart Contracts, which allow people to deploy smart contracts with Monero-level privacy protection on Ethereum. Once in possession of a special token, users can issue a token with privacy protection too. With each new coin comes increased utility.
“We’re the world’s first smart contract platform with ring signatures,” Mr. Byington said. A ring signature is a digital signature which can be completed any one of a group of key holders, meaning any message signed in this manner is endorsed by a member of the key holder group. Transactions are validated by a group.
“There is no central counterparty risk, as transactions are not controlled by any one single person but by a group of validators,” Mr. Byington said.
Private smart contracts enable institutions and other high-volume exchange participants to transact without the rest of the world knowing, a key threshold if crypto exchanges are to become commonplace, Mr. Byington said.
“If you go on to other blockchains, there is no privacy protection. That public transparency is not the right architecture for future financial infrastructure.
“We think individual privacy is a building block.”
Mr. Byington used the digital photography analogy as he imagined a future where the world’s assets become digitized, taken out of the physical world and replaced with 0s and 1s.
“Our vision is one where many of the world’s assets can be digitized and their flow and movement governed by an app sitting on top of Wanchain. We;re not rebuilding, we’re recreating.
“This is the new finance.”