Web3 = Web2++
CEO & Founder @ Iron Fish
Crypto has a privacy problem. Our vision for Iron Fish is to become the privacy platform for all crypto transactions, making web3 safe while deterring bad actions. Launching the Iron Fish mainnet is the foundational first step towards that future.
Disclaimer: This article is not a promise or guarantee of anything IF Labs or Iron Fish Foundation will build.
We are more surveilled than ever before
Over the last several years, the need for privacy has only grown. Humans now are more surveilled than ever before — 2020 accelerated the need for private, safe digital payments as fewer and fewer businesses accept cash.
Web2 values privacy. But when it breaks its promise on privacy, there are catastrophic consequences: data breaches, hacks, or illegal/controversial monetization of customer data.
Web3 has no privacy — it hides nothing. For the majority of blockchains, transparency is necessary for trustless transaction validation. The consequence is that crypto users are forced to reveal all information about their activity: balance of assets, with whom you interact, the protocols you use, to whom you donate, what organizations (DAOs) you’re part of, and much more.
Privacy is both important for healthy societies, and pragmatic for businesses
Privacy is a driving force within healthy societies that leads to innovation, creativity, and safety. However, financial privacy is more than a philosophical ideal — it’s also a practical necessity for businesses and individuals. It’s hard to imagine crypto becoming a payment layer when every single transaction is out in the open.
Until this is fixed, crypto has no truly practical path forward as a digital payment system. To truly reach widespread adoption, crypto must be:
- Easy to use
ZKPs are booming and finally made decentralized, safe, private crypto transactions possible
Until recently, there was no technology available to build a practical solution to increase privacy to trustless decentralized systems. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) were first invented in the 80s, and yet were only made practical in the last decade. ZKPs make up a niche field of cryptography that lets the prover prove to a verifier that the output of a computation was correct, without revealing the initial inputs. Today, ZKPs in crypto are used for scalability (e.g. zk-rollups or zkEVMs), gaming (e.g. Dark Forest), privacy, and much more.
Iron Fish uses ZKPs to satisfy validators that even though all transactions are encrypted—hiding the data that validators usually rely on for validation—they are still accurate.
Privacy platform infrastructure & ecosystem
Iron Fish infrastructure
In Phase 3 of our testnet, we extensively tested our multi-asset capabilities. Now, we’re excited to keep moving forward. With the help of the Iron Fish community, we hope to bridge Iron Fish to other chains, explore programmability opportunities as an L2 solution, and build out a safe and compliant way for people to swap assets on the Iron Fish ecosystem.
Iron Fish ecosystem
Decentralization is the bedrock of crypto culture, and necessary for its success. To increase global community participation and increase decentralization, our thesis has always been to make Iron Fish accessible and easy to use — from the CLI tool to run a full node, to the GUI wallets, our documentation, and much more.
In Phase 3 of the testnet, Iron Fish had over 60 thousand nodes being hosted all around the world 😱and close to 50k npm installs in one week. Our mantra is to make Iron Fish the “Apple of blockchains” — everything should work out of the box so anyone can interact with the Iron Fish network as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. Eventually, we want Iron Fish to be the plumbing of crypto, providing privacy to web3 transactions without the user needing to do much.
Some of our future projects will be proposed with this goal in mind, and we’ll be relying on the Iron Fish community to help make our vision a reality. In the future, Iron Fish aims to have a GUI wallet, a desktop node app, SPV client, and various SDKs to make integration easier with existing tools and services.
Mainnet and Beyond
Iron Fish mainnet launched April 20th, 2023.
We’re building Iron Fish to be a significant net good for the world. We’re excited to bring people together from all over to support the ecosystem and help provide protection for all crypto users.
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CEO & Founder @ Iron Fish
Elena is the Founder and CEO of Iron Fish — previously worked at Airbnb, Tilt, and Microsoft. Fell down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole in 2017. Really didn't want her insurance to know she eats pizza.