Iron Fish Intro

Iron Fish Intro

Iron Fish is built to be the chain-agnostic privacy platform for crypto.

Today, most cryptocurrency systems are transparent—publicly revealing all actions and balances of a wallet. We are building Iron Fish to be the privacy platform for crypto with a mission to make web3 safer, more accessible, and more attractive for mainstream adoption, while deterring bad actors.

Why are we focusing on privacy above all else in crypto?

  1. Transparency makes users vulnerable to attacks: The transparent nature of blockchains forces users to reveal all their blockchain actions publicly by simply interacting with the system. This not only forces users to leak their sensitive financial information to everyone in the world, but this level of transparency also makes them easy targets for phishing attacks, scams, fraud, social engineering and theft.
  2. Privacy unlocks use cases necessary for mass adoption: Private payments would allow employers to pay employees via crypto, provide a true alternative to bank wires, unlock safe crypto payments between individuals, let financial institutions digitize assets in a privacy compliant way, and much more.
  3. Public payments can negatively affect users: crypto payments today are completely transparent, leaving users vulnerable by leaking sensitive information around purchases, account balances, and affiliations.
  4. MEV deterrence: MEV (Maximum Extractible Value) is a complex issue across the crypto space. While some consider MEV to play a constructive role in helping mitigate economic inefficiencies across DeFi protocols, such as helping token prices on various DEXs more closely reflect market-wide demand, as a general matter MEV is considered a meaningful attack vector needing management. The practice of MEV is very well established due to the very public nature of blockchains. MEV is so prevalent that it accounts for well over $1B in profits for block producers and searchers. In some cases, MEV is neutral. In other cases, it hurts retail. Different “solutions” are being worked on — at both technical (prevention, such as private mempools) and economic-governance (fair distribution, order flow auctions, batch auctions) levels. Giving a layer of privacy for users and service providers would deter some of the more harmful MEV practices.
  5. Unintended market reaction: “Whales” (aka large holders of an asset) can move the market by placing an order to buy or sell an asset. A well known account is frequently watched and monitored by bots to repeat its actions in hopes of a profit. A project’s reputation can be made or harmed by the perception of a whale buying into or selling off project assets. This leads to unintentional market movement that privacy could solve for.

Why build an entire infrastructure layer as opposed to a smart contract on an existing chain?

  1. A transparent chain like Ethereum is built on the premise of pseudonymity. Pseudonymity is easily broken either through blockchain analytics, NFT profile pictures, or simply by asking users to link their identity with their wallet to get funds, airdrops, or other perks.
  2. A robust privacy solution based on a smart contract on an EVM chain typically requires a network of relayers or batchers that post transactions on a user’s behalf. Users using relayers or batchers leak their some of their data to them, while typically paying high transaction fees.
  3. On Iron Fish, a user always has the confidence that their data is protected without the user needing to know the cryptography behind the tech, or be aware of the sequence of their actions. Just like a user uses a website with https without needing to know or do anything extra to get encrypted traffic, we hope users of crypto will use Iron Fish with the same ease.
  4. Building an L1 as opposed to an L2 gives the project resilience in decentralization and lack of a single sequencer that all L2 designs currently have.

What is Iron Fish Today 

Today, Iron Fish is:

  • mainnet launched as of April 20th, 2023
  • proof-of-work L1 chain
  • all transactions are private and validated by zero knowledge proofs (ZKPs)
  • supports custom assets

View Keys for Audits 

In Iron Fish, every wallet comes with a private key, public key, and a view key. View keys allow a user to reveal information about their transactions in a controlled manner.

The main purpose of view keys is to increase transparency and auditability, giving a certain level of access to transaction information without granting full control over the funds. This is useful in a variety of scenarios, such as auditing, tax compliance, or allowing a third party to confirm received transactions without the ability to spend any coins.

The functionality of a view key differs in other privacy projects. View Keys in Iron Fish give full visibility into a particular wallet. View keys in Iron Fish reveal:

  • All details about incoming transactions: the sender’s address, amount, token type, and timestamp
  • All details about outgoing transactions: the recipient’s address, amount, token type, and timestamp

There is no global view for Iron Fish. There is no “backdoor” for Iron Fish. Only the creator of the wallet has initial access to the view key of that wallet.

Privacy — A Force for Good 

Our aim is for Iron Fish to provide a safer, better, more approachable user experience for crypto holders with an easily accessible privacy layer. Our intention is for Iron Fish to be used by good actors who are just as excited as we are about the positive impact crypto can make to our collective future.

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