DT Note: We've been covering this project a lot in recent times and so for full disclosure purposes, all the DT staff are supporters of the project and some are (small-scale but long-term) investors. This last week saw a huge step forward in their plan to develope a safe and secure financial ecosystem with the launch of the BasicSwap DEX (BSDEX) but there is so much more to follow. We are, therefore, rerunning this article and have attached the BSDEX roadmap at the end.
Welcome to the future!
Learn about the team’s new major development cycle and discover Particl's upcoming open-source foundation for the development and deployment of privacy-first dApps.
If you’ve been following Particl closely, then you may have heard whispers that the Particl team is gearing up to undertake a new major development cycle. And although it’s been mentioned a few times before in the weekly progress reports or in community chatter, it hasn’t yet been officially announced in detail.
Today changes that.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will reveal all the details of Particl’s upcoming major development cycle, what makes it such a big deal, and discover how it’s going to propel the project into its next major evolutionary phase.
Indeed, what’s coming up is the biggest improvement to the Particl ecosystem since the inception of the project in 2017 and the most ambitious undertaking the team has ever planned. It will improve the ecosystem from all angles, making it more accessible, user-friendly, and flexible than ever.
This will result in a suite of easy-to-use and very accessible privacy-first applications that anybody can use — bringing uncompromising privacy, liberty, and independence into the lives of as many people as ever.
In many ways, calling this new cycle a major leap forward for Particl would be an understatement. The benefits will extend far beyond the Particl community!
Table of Contents
- The State of our Digital World
- Announcing Particl’s New Major Development Cycle
- Particl's Four Pillars for the New Digital World
- —— 1. SMSG 2.0 — A Decentralized & Private Internet Protocol
- —— 2. A New Modular Architecture
- —— 3. Access Gateways and dApp Accessibility
- —— 4. Currency and Protocol Agnosticism
- New Particl DApps are Coming Around
The State of our Digital World
Our digital world is undergoing a dire crisis: the centralization of its control by increasingly powerful and power-seeking entities. With the web now having such a prevalent place in our society, this crisis ends up bleeding into every single aspect of our lives — it affects not only our finances but also our private communications, our personal and professional lives, and our ability to do almost anything online.
Gone are the days of what once was a free and open web. Instead, as we’ve recently explored in various Particl Stories, there is a worryingly increasing trend in the rate of censorship, geo-political meddling, big tech abuses, reckless data mining, and various agenda-driven actions by the Internet’s largest platform operators.
Undoubtedly, we, as individuals, need to stand up to this takeover and take back control of our web. We need to reassert and safeguard our rights to an open, free, and private web environment, as it was originally intended to be, and be the change we want to see in this world!
Whereas certain governments, corporations, or other types of organizations continue to elevate their level of control and power using the current web infrastructure, there is a growing need to stop fighting on their own turf and, instead, pioneer the digital world of tomorrow in which the rights and freedoms of each individual are guaranteed.
When accessible and easy to use, disruptive technology — as is the case with Particl’s privacy-first dApps — becomes both a shield and a weapon, protecting us from digital abuse but also striking back by allowing people to thrive without interference from the current centralized web infrastructure.
The Shortcomings of Web3
That is, in essence, what Web3 promised to accomplish: a more open, independent, and free internet for all. Unfortunately, as we’ve come to discover, what Web3 promises and what it currently delivers diverges on many fronts. If you dive into its present state, you can see that it’s much more centralized than it first appears — relying, in major parts, on traditional “big tech” infrastructure — and that it turns out to be a near disaster in terms of privacy and decentralization.
Web3, and by association DeFi as well, offers a level of financial privacy that is ultimately lower than even the traditional banking system. On the latter, only a few parties can access your financial information. That would typically be your bank or the payment processor you’re using, government organizations, and their partners. With Web3 services, your financial data, while pseudonymous, is permanently and publicly stored for the whole world to see. Anyone curious enough can simply look for the entirety of your information in public records.
Case in point, here are the financial assets of a random public Ethereum user, their detailed financial history, as well as all the NFTs they own. And while we’ve simply picked a random user that had just traded on Uniswap at the time of this writing, the totality of their financial information is permanently out in the open. Anyone that then sends payments to that address is able to track, down to the cent, the totality of its owner’s past, present, and future financial activities; a terrible foundation from which to build the “economy or internet of tomorrow”.
What’s more, not all Web3 apps are as decentralized and open as they claim, such as we’ve seen with Infura, MetaMask, and various other dApps that use their services like the not-so-decentralized NFT marketplace OpenSea.
With so many similar examples recently in mind, It’s difficult to see Web3 succeed on its stated mission when its biggest and most popular apps end up not living up to their promises at best and, at worst, significantly eroding online privacy and security compared to even Web2.
In reality, the main problem doesn’t stem from Web3 as a basic concept but rather from its poor implementation of the principles required to fulfill its mission; a lack of vision from some of Web3’s leaders, or in other cases, the sheer pursuit of fast profit, leads to cutting corners and sacrificing the most critical foundations of Web3.
Indeed, it is deluded to think fighting the centralization of powers on the web can be done by building apps and services with less privacy than on traditional web infrastructure or hosting them on said outdated infrastructure. Yet, it unfortunately appears to be the direction that Web3 is headed towards.
Particl’s next development cycle is all about steering this ship in the right direction.
Building the Right Foundation
Particl’s new development cycle is about steering Web3 in the right direction by granting it a truly independent and resilient foundation on which privacy-first decentralized applications can be deployed.
By leveraging the firepower of an ever-growing community of Web3 pioneers and giving them tools that follow a privacy-first approach, a decentralized and open-source alternative to the traditional web infrastructure can be built to fight back against the centralization of powers. It is up to all of us to create a parallel and independent environment that puts individuals at the center — simultaneously armed and shielded with privacy-first dApps — and liberates them from the ever-tightening noose that is the centralization of powers online and all the consequences it brings forth.
Announcing Particl’s New Major Development Cycle
In a nutshell, Particl’s new development cycle focuses on expanding the ecosystem’s strengths and endowing it with a new, modular infrastructure, ultimately building a solid foundation on which to easily build and use privacy-first dApps.
Before we go into further details on this new development cycle, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind the journey ahead by first being aware of Particl’s strengths and what makes it unique.
What Makes Particl Unique?
Particl is a revolutionary and powerful ecosystem like none other thanks to a unique combination of two core components: Particl Blockchain and the SecureMessaging network (SMSG).
The Particl Blockchain is a unique and powerful blockchain that contains both various privacy-preserving features (CT, RingCT, stealth addresses, Taproot, etc) as well as a high level of flexibility.
While its native cryptocurrency, PART, allows for untraceable payments to be made (privacy coin), the blockchain infrastructure allows for the creation of complex, decentralized, and privacy-first applications through the use of smart contracts and scriptless scripts (off-chain, private, and scalable smart contracts). This unique convergence of privacy capabilities and application flexibility allows for the Particl Blockchain to carve a niche of its own within the blockchain industry with an uncompromising focus on “privacy-first dApps”, such as Particl Marketplace or BasicSwap DEX.
Note: Although the concept of smart contracts is well known to most people within the cryptocurrency community, scriptless scripts, on the other hand, tend to be less widely known. You can learn more about them here or by reading this in-depth guide.
SecureMessaging Network (SMSG)
SecureMessaging (SMSG) is a P2P mixnet that allows peers to communicate encrypted data with other peers or applications without the need for third parties or middlemen. Inspired by the BitMessage protocol, it stores and transfers data across nodes in a privacy-preserving manner, encrypted from end to end (E2EE).
In other words, SMSG is a decentralized messaging layer that both dApps and users themselves can use. Its usage enables the creation and deployment of much more complex decentralized applications than what can be done using smart contracts exclusively. You can read more on the SMSG network here.
Particl's Four Pillars for the New Digital World
Particl's unique combination of a private and flexible blockchain with a decentralized mixnet makes possible the creation of advanced privacy-first dApps that protect the rights and liberties of its users.
Compared to the majority of Web3, Particl dApps are a major improvement in terms of the values they are committed to. We must capitalize on that potential for the good of not only the project but also the well-being of the internet and society as a whole.
The strategic plan to make all of this happen is fourfold:
- Deploy a new, more powerful mixnet to expand on the network's capabilities (already well in its conceptualization phase, tentatively named "SMSG 2.0")
- Transform Particl into a modular and development-friendly infrastructure
- Deploy new "access gateways" (i.e., web, mobile, and SMSG frameworks) to host decentralized applications and interact with them
- Commit as much as possible to an agnostic philosophy
Let's explore these four central aspects of Particl's new strategic plan in more detail.
1. SMSG 2.0 — A Decentralized and Private Internet Protocol
A big reason why Particl dApps are so unique is due to them leveraging the data transmission and storage capabilities of the SMSG network, which runs in parallel but independently to Particl Blockchain nodes. This makes possible more advanced features and functionality than traditional smart-contract dApps, as is the case with both the Particl Marketplace and BasicSwap DEX dApps.
But while the SMSG network offers pristine privacy and a very secure, trustless way to communicate data between peers, it is not scalable enough to support massive levels of simultaneous usage.
Additionally, it only allows for data transmission and temporary storage, making it more akin to a messaging protocol rather than a fully-fledged internet infrastructure.
And so, the first fold of Particl’s new strategic plan is to re-imagine SMSG to make it more scalable and allow for even more advanced functionality — essentially doubling down on its strengths and expanding on its use-cases.
An Open and Decentralized Web Architecture
To get groundbreaking results, you sometimes need to think outside the box. It is true that the current version of SMSG provides the privacy and capabilities we need to build privacy-first dApps — however, it is limited in terms of how much usage the network can sustain. Furthermore, updating its current code implementation would only result in marginal scalability improvements due to the way it is built.
That’s why a completely new version of SMSG, built from scratch and with the mission of serving as the foundation for the new internet, is required.
Distributed Web Content and dApp Hosting
A critical new functionality SMSG requires is the ability to not only store data but also host and allow for direct interaction with web content and dApps — entirely independently from any traditional web infrastructure (the “world wide web”).
To put it another way, this major functionality update amounts to transforming SMSG from a messaging network into a fully decentralized, independent, free, and privacy-first internet protocol that’s open to all, without restrictions.
With dApps and web content hosted on — and accessible from — this distributed network, it provides a viable alternative for people to opt out completely of our current internet infrastructure, which has grown corrupted and toxic over the past few decades. Plus, content and dApps hosted on it become entirely censorship-proof as the decentralized nature of this network shields them from any interference from central parties.
To be a viable option to boldly act as the foundation for the “internet of tomorrow”, SMSG 2.0 requires a linear model of scalability, essentially increasing as more people (nodes) join the network (i.e., by using Particl dApps).
This feat is accomplished by radically changing how data travels between nodes. Whereas the current implementation of SMSG broadcasts all messages to all nodes — with only those with the proper private keys being able to decrypt the messages’ content — SMSG 2.0 distributes that signal in a more structured fashion, with each node routing a (configurable) amount of traffic.
This effectively increases SMSG’s throughput as more nodes become available. And as more people use Particl dApps, more nodes become available, thus ensuring a sufficient count to provide the level of scalability any substantial increase in adoption requires.
2. A New Modular Architecture
The second fold of Particl’s strategic plan is to give the ecosystem a new modular dimension. Because to act as the pillar of the new internet requires a significant level of community involvement — notably in expanding the pool of pioneers working on new, exciting decentralized applications and services — we’ve got to ensure that the ecosystem is developer-friendly, coding efficient, and that its unique functionality can easily extend into the real world.
Particl’s Current Infrastructure
Unfortunately, that is not the case currently. Particl’s infrastructure is not as open as it could be, and the majority of its development hinges almost exclusively on the Particl team.
Even in the event that an outside contributor would like to contribute work by building a dApp or distributed service of their own, they require full cooperation with the Particl team to be added to Particl Desktop, the project’s main access gateway, and adds up to the team’s responsibilities as it will need to keep the new dApp in line with any and all future desktop or core updates.
In reality, Particl’s current architecture is monolithic in nature, which isn’t as much of a problem if the project focuses solely on a single dApp — Particl Marketplace — but highly counterproductive and restrictive in the context of Particl as the foundation for a better internet protocol.
Cooperation Requirements for dApp Maintenance and Integration
One of Particl's current main issues is its architecture is very monolithic. Even though the Particl Marketplace may look like an application independent from Particl Desktop, it is not.
Indeed, the code for Particl Marketplace is deeply intertwined with the Particl Desktop's codebase, essentially requiring the latter to access and use it. In that sense, Particl Marketplace is more of a Particl Desktop feature rather than a standalone dApp.
Particl's new upcoming modular architecture remedies that by allowing for a much greater level of independence between dApps (Particl Marketplace) and access gateways (Particl Desktop).
Enabling the Ability to Re-Use Functionality Already Implemented on Other DApps
Not only do outside contributors currently require the full cooperation of the Particl team to maintain and deploy their dApps, or even integrate Particl dApps into their own products, but they also need to re-implement all key functionalities, even if already provided by other dApps, from scratch.
Let’s take, for example, the hypothetical scenario where a community-funded developer wishes to work on an end-to-end encrypted messenger dApp using the messaging capabilities offered by the SMSG network. Naturally, one would instantly take a look at Particl Marketplace and reuse its implementation of SMSG’s messaging functionality (as it is used to allow sellers and buyers to communicate with each other). However, that is not exactly possible.
Because even the most basic and key capabilities of the network must be hard-coded into Particl dApps, it is impossible to leverage implementations of desired functionalities in other Dapps. Every single function instead requires to be re-implemented all over again.
Again, this is not a deal breaker for a project that focuses exclusively on one dApp. But for an ecosystem that aspires to become a foundation for a new, parallel internet, this must change to become more open and scalable.
Introducing Particl Modules and the Developer SDK
To remedy that situation, the Particl team will adopt a modular approach from now on — isolating every core feature, functionality, and component of its ecosystem into a set of developer-friendly modules that can be added, removed, configured, and managed into a dApp (i.e., Particl Marketplace, BasicSwap DEX) or an access gateway (i.e., Particl Desktop, third-party wallet) independently.
In this context, a module refers to a readily-available packaged set of code, libraries, and logic that provides a functionality, feature, or service to an external environment (i.e., a dApp). They grant dApps critical and/or common Particl features, allowing contributors to focus on what makes their own dApp unique rather than spending time reimplementing fundamental or complex functions.
Particl’s upcoming SDK will empower developers to build various dApps using a standardized set of development tools and documentation. Not only does the SDK improve dApp security by ensuring their critical components are safely implemented, but it also makes it easy and straightforward for developers to build privacy-first dApps. If the modules are the building blocks that developers use to build dApps, the SDK is the glue that binds them together in a structured and standardized way.
This term refers to any platform, app, or framework from which a dApp is accessed and used. This can be a desktop client like Particl Desktop, a web or SMSG page, a mobile application, or even a third-party integration.
The Mobile Apps vs Particl dApps Comparison
A good analogy to better illustrate this new modular concept is by comparing Particl dApps to iOS or Android apps. Once installed on a phone, mobile applications, in a sense, take the form of independent “modules” that do not need direct access to the underlying hardware features.
Instead, should an app require access to the device’s camera, it requests permission to use the OS’s pre-packaged module that grants access rights to third-party applications. This means the mobile team does not need to re-implement all the code and logic around using a device’s camera; it merely requests this functionality from the OS.
This, in many ways, is the same way Particl modules function. Each of them provides a functionality that dApp developers can simply query access to.
Not only is this a critical step in making Particl more open to outside contributors, but it’s also making the entire ecosystem much more resilient against outside interference by decentralizing and making more independent the way dApps are developed and maintained.
Deploying Particl’s Key Modules
Among the wide variety of functionality and services that can be isolated into modules, here are a few of which the team will initially focus on as we embark on this new development phase.
- Blockchain node modules (to integrate other cryptocurrencies)
- Payment module (to provide payment solutions)
- Market-related modules (to provide out-of-the-box eCommerce services)
- Two-party escrow system (to provide trade assurance)
- SMSG — End-to-end encrypted chat (for safe communications)
- SMSG — Decentralized storage (to store data online)
- SMSG — Decentralized hosting (to host web content and dApps)
- SMSG — Controller module (to process, interpret, and interact with SMSG messages (back-end services for developers))
- Swap modules (including BasicSwap, to swap cryptocurrencies)
- Staking module (to integrate PART staking capabilities)
- Third-party integrations (to integrate extraneous protocols such as Tor, PGP, i2p, IPFS, other mixnets, etc.)
Note that other functionalities, features, or entire dApps can and will be isolated into modules as well. The above list merely showcases the most critical ones but doesn’t go over all possibilities.
How Does This Benefit Particl?
The ecosystem's modular evolution introduces many benefits critical to the success of Particl. Let's go over the main ones.
Makes development easier and increases production pace
With a proper SDK toolkit at the disposal of developers, it becomes easier to develop an application when not having to deal with various setup and maintenance burdens.
Currently, each new dApp added to Particl Desktop is built directly into the client, meaning that each app needs to consider how the entire desktop client fits together, as well as how the current dApp impacts each of the other built-in apps.
For example, the marketplace messaging system that is currently built into the marketplace needs to be aware of how the whole dApp handles SMSG messages simply because it itself requires messaging capabilities. Therefore, any change to how Particl Marketplace handles messages requires changes to be made to the messaging system implementation as well, essentially doubling the amount of work required and making any new feature or implementation a permanent development burden to maintain.
This type of situation can be avoided by isolating this messaging feature into an independent and standardized module, allowing dApp developers to simply request an out-of-the-box chat functionality from the appropriate module instead of creating it from scratch.
This will significantly speed up the development of dApps and facilitate community contributions by making it easier, faster, and more straightforward to build dApps that ensure users’ rights are respected.
Make dApp maintenance independent from the Particl team or platform they’re hosted on
Adding to the benefit mentioned above, the introduction of modules makes dApps entirely independent from the Particl team and the access gateway they're made available on.
Let's use the popular Steam gaming platform as an example to better illustrate what this means.
Steam was originally built to distribute Valve Software's games and updates to those games, after which it grew to become a general gaming "launcher" platform. As a result, it is today one of the most well-known means of obtaining games online.
When a game installed on Steam requires an update, it can be updated on its own, by the game development team, without requiring a Steam client-wide update. If the Steam team needed to maintain, fix, and push updates for each game they host on their ecosystem, it would quickly become an unscalable and highly impractical situation.
That is, however, how the Particl ecosystem currently functions. Once a dApp or new feature is settled on and integrated into the current Particl Desktop client, the burden of maintenance falls on the Particl development team. In addition, the original author of a dApp or feature, which may or may not be a Particl team member, might no longer wish or be able to maintain the code, thus transferring all these responsibilities to the Particl team for all future Particl Desktop releases.
And then, even if the dApp author keeps on contributing, knowledge of all future planned updates and changes to any portion of the Particl code is required by the author as it may affect their own dApp and require adaptation coding work.
Ultimately, this causes Particl Desktop releases to become increasingly dependent on timely contributions from said authors, leading to delays and inefficiencies. In the context of a wide and open dApp ecosystem, it is an unmaintainable situation.
The new modular architecture eliminates these issues and enables independent dApp developers to develop and maintain their products separately from the Particl team or Particl Desktop releases schedules and according to their own terms.
Faster rollout for updates, new features, and bug fixes
Right now, a bug fix to a dApp such as Particl Marketplace requires an entire Particl Desktop client release. A bug fix under the new scenario can be rolled out as soon as the author feels it's ready, without needing to consider an entire client update or involve the Particl team.
That's because the bug fix, in that case, would be pushed not to the desktop client itself but to the precise module affected by it, which then gets automatically updated on all dApps that use that module.
This, again, takes the responsibility off of the Particl team and lets it focus on the greater vision while contributors can promptly push their own fixes and manage their apps without relying on the team's actions.
For example, if a dApp uses a Tor module to route traffic through Tor, it wouldn't need an ecosystem-wide update whenever Tor pushes an update to their network. The update would instead be automatically applied to the module, ensuring that all Particl dApps with Tor functionality are kept up-to-date with security fixes.
This is a major stride towards better dApp security and more timely updates.
Particl's new modular architecture opens many doors, essentially transforming the Particl ecosystem into a privacy-conscious and decentralized foundation for the new internet.
This new approach can be broadly summarized in three key points:
- The Particl ecosystem isn't any more a single big block of code; instead, it is separated into independent modules, making it more open, accessible, and developer-friendly than ever. It is also more resilient against central points of failure.
- Instead of requiring developers to re-implement all key functionalities, dApps can simply request it to a particular module without building everything or integrating everything from scratch, much like the example of mobile OSes and mobile apps we've highlighted just above.
- DApps become entirely independent from the Particl team, the wider Particl ecosystem, and the access gateway on which they're made available.
3. Access Gateways and dApp Accessibility
One of the most important goals of this new development cycle is to improve accessibility to Particl dApps so that they can be used by almost anyone, without complicated steps, and to stop relying exclusively on a single desktop application for all purposes. This third fold of Particl's strategic plan is a critical aspect in getting any sort of organic and sustained adoption.
As such, Particl's new modular approach makes it much easier to integrate modules, or whole dApps, into different access gateways such as web or mobile frameworks or even into third-party applications.
However, as we’ve explored, hosting dApps on top of the current and centralized web environment, while highly convenient, carries critical vulnerabilities and heavy downsides. With these challenges in mind, we plan on enabling alternative web hosting solutions, notably through SMSG 2.0’s content hosting capabilities.
Indeed, as we’ve mentioned earlier, SMSG 2.0 is scheduled to evolve from a distributed messaging protocol into a full-blown internet protocol more akin to something like Tor or i2p, eventually enabling dApps to be hosted on it and accessed from web browsers.
Of course, with Particl becoming so flexible and open to community contributors, we fully expect more traditional web and mobile versions of Particl dApps (i.e., Particl Marketplace, BasicSwap DEX, two-party escrow system, end-to-end encrypted messenger) to be made available. The team also intends to deliver such solutions to provide more options to the end-user.
A New Modular Particl Desktop
Just like the rest of the ecosystem, Particl Desktop will become a modular client, enabling the end-user to add, remove, and configure dApps as they wish. This promotes openness and choice and ensures that users do not need to install every Particl dApp, some of which they may have no use for.
For example, one might not care about the Governance dApp, but the user is still currently forced to have it available because it is hard-coded into Particl Desktop. Alternatively, a user may not want to run the marketplace at all. Still, they are required to do so and, by the same process, spend computer resources decrypting all SMSG messages related to it (i.e., listings).
With a modular approach, the user could simply remove the marketplace dApp from their Particl Desktop application or simply never have to install it in the first place.
To promote Particl’s vision, a “dApp store” may be made available, on which a list of official or recommended dApps would be featured with the ability for independent contributors to push their own dApps and modules to it.
Of course, in the spirit of openness and decentralization, the dApp store will be a convenient but optional platform for interacting with those dApps. As open-source applications, it will be possible to download or install them via other ways as well.
4. Currency and Protocol Agnosticism
To further promote openness and become an all-inclusive foundation for the internet of tomorrow, Particl is fully embracing the concept of agnosticism by ensuring its ecosystem can remain compatible with other cryptocurrencies and protocols. This is the fourth fold of Particl's strategic plan.
As part of the range of modules available to developers will be cryptocurrency-specific modules that makes it possible for certain dApps to support other cryptocurrencies (i.e., Bitcoin).
Although not all cryptocurrencies may be able to use all Particl features and services (some of them requiring very specific functionality unique to the PART privacy coin), this will extend the ecosystem's reach by welcoming other cryptocurrency communities and providing them with more utility for their coin.
When a cryptocurrency cannot use a specific Particl functionality, a swap module, like BasicSwap DEX, for example, can be added to let the end-user swap their coins for PART or even have the dApp execute that action automatically as a background process. This will allow holders of other cryptocurrencies to seamlessly benefit from Particl-specific features without negatively affecting the user experience.
In the exact same way, a fiat gateway module, such as a service offering credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies, can be added to the ecosystem and leveraged by dApp developers to provide added functionality to their products — further bridging the gap between the legacy payment industry and the world of cryptocurrencies.
Because dApps are developed using modules, it is possible to leverage protocols that are not native to the Particl ecosystem to build some of their features.
For example, SMSG provides chat functionality to dApps through its messaging module. But a developer could decide to instead integrate a different messaging protocol, like matrix, which powers the Element Messenger. This would still grant the dApp with messaging capabilities, but a different protocol would power it.
There are three main reasons behind this approach. For one, distinct protocols have different pros and cons. Some use cases may get more out of a particular protocol, while a different dApp may find it more efficient to use another. This gives more flexibility to developers and lets them work with what they think is in the best interest of their users.
Secondly, it makes Particl dApps more resistant to the test of time. As technology evolves very rapidly, it is not rare to see major protocol innovations appear. And because it's likely that, over time, better versions of protocols used to build dApps become available, developers require the ability to seamlessly swap protocols to keep up with the evolutionary curve. In other words, it makes it significantly easier to keep Particl dApps up-to-date with the most recent progress in the space, ensuring the user gets the most of what is possible at the time that they use a dApp.
Finally, it also makes dApps more secure and resilient against attacks. For example, if a vulnerability is found in the protocol powering a certain dApp, its developer can simply swap the faulty module for an unaffected alternative. This lets developers act quickly when there are security issues while preserving the integrity of the other components of a dApp.
New Particl dApps are Coming Around
Particl’s new modular approach opens up a ton of opportunities. Not only does it enable more efficient and secure dApps, but it also completely opens up its development process to the world.
Moreover, with Particl’s CCS platform, anyone can publish proposals seeking to fund the development of various dApps, creating a fully self-perpetuating economy and environment. And we know the Particl community is not short of ideas! Indeed, once the modular architecture is deployed, we fully expect to see a rapid increase in the number of community-led initiatives.
That being said, the Particl team will, of course, be working on its own dApps not only to showcase what is possible with the improved Particl infrastructure but also to lead the way towards a better, fairer digital world for all.
Here are dApps or services the Particl team will work on once different components of the modular infrastructure go live.
New version of the marketplace
This development cycle changes the back-end of the ecosystem so much that a completely new version of the marketplace will need to be deployed.
More flexible, fast, and agnostic than the current version, it will offer the same functionality but in a much more accessible way. In addition, the marketplace will be designed so that its part, or its whole, can be integrated into different access gateways like a website, mobile application, or third-party integrations; all are cross-compatible.
Also, because of its cleaner, modular codebase, any future development, such as the development of new features, will be dramatically sped up from the current typical pace.
Mobile version of the marketplace
In just a few years, mobile devices are expected to be the preferential way people shop online. How many times have any of us purchased goods on the internet using our phones? Countless times, we’re sure.
The reality, however, is different for sellers who, for the vast majority, manage their business from desktop or laptop computers.
That is why one of Particl’s first dApps will be a buyer-focused mobile version of Particl Marketplace. This dApp will use the new modular approach of the ecosystem and showcase the use of a mobile access gateway into which Particl dApps will then be able to be integrated.
Privacy-first messenger app
Think Signal or Telegram, but 100% decentralized and open-source. A privacy-first messenger application could be deployed relatively easily on mobile and desktop environments. Moreover, because it only requires SMSG modules, such a dApp could likely become available before even the release of the new version of the marketplace, as the latter requires more modules to be put together in order to function and carries a higher level of complexity. After all, because SMSG’s messaging capability is expected to be used heavily in the future, it only makes sense to isolate it into a proper standalone app or module early on.
Besides, it will serve as an excellent showcase for the new SMSG 2.0 network and mobile access gateways.
Standalone escrow app and integrations
As a way to demonstrate the integrability of modules, the Particl team may work on a showcase in which a two-party escrow option becomes available on a new mobile wallet.
As we’ve discussed here, Particl’s novel two-party escrow system has a wide range of use cases, all the way to in-person trade, and enabling this type of escrow outside of Particl Marketplace will allow us to tap into and reach more of these possibilities.
The modular approach's integration potential works in two ways: it, for one, allows Particl dApps to be integrated into existing eCommerce platforms (i.e., a WooCommerce payment plugin with two-party escrow contracts), but it also allows third-party services to be integrated right into dApps as modules (i.e., a third-party inventory management system that a seller may be using on other platforms).
As such, you can expect, over time, a wide range of integrations to be made available on the Particl dApp store or other popular platforms — in the form of a WooCommerce plugin, for example.
This new major development cycle is expected to last from 12 to 18 months, with the current team size, and start right after the release of Particl Desktop 3.3.
However, the team has recently actively been looking for external funding and pitching to various investors. Following a successful funding round, we fully intend on growing the development team (as well as other departments like marketing and community too) to fill various key positions that will significantly speed up the process.
Please refer to the roadmap below for a general overview of the path forward. As always, as we're dealing with moving targets and pioneering entirely new technology, the roadmap is likely to be updated and adjusted as we go.
Note: We will publish the pitch deck and Particl's new whitepaper, which we're both using to pitch to investors, shortly into the future.
Follow the Development Updates
Once this new major development cycle begins, right after the release of Particl Desktop 3.3, we will shift the focus from reporting development progress on Particl Desktop toward the greater Particl ecosystem. This will be reflected in the way we report our weekly progress reports.
Will Particl Desktop, Marketplace, and BasicSwap DEX continue to function during this new development cycle?
Yes. The new versions of these products will be built in parallel to existing Particl dApps. Therefore, there will be no changes to the availability of current dApps while the improvements to the ecosystem are being made, and they will still be maintained as required. Only when new versions of these applications are launched will the legacy versions be deprecated.
Does adding the ability to use other coins within the ecosystem render PART useless?
Absolutely not. PART is and will remain a critical component of the Particl ecosystem. It is what powers its transactional privacy and is a requirement for interacting with some of the more complex Particl smart contracts. Remember, what makes PART unique is that it possesses both privacy and flexibility, a key aspect to many functions provided by Particl dApps that other cryptocurrencies cannot replicate.
For example, while an application built using Particl modules may allow for Monero payments, Monero still cannot be used with something like Particl’s two-party escrow system. In that case, the dApp’s developer may instead use a payment module, then a swap module to allow users to easily swap their Monero for PART. This would let Monero users benefit from some of the more advanced marketplace functions, such as its escrow capabilities, while still interacting with it using Monero even if the payment ultimately settles in PART.
On the other hand, if a dApp requires simple payments to be made (for instance, sending Monero through messages sent via the upcoming messenger application), then it may be possible to use Monero directly without having to route the payment through PART.
We aim to build an open and free ecosystem for all; forcing people to use a single cryptocurrency when they could be using others goes against that ethos. By opening up the Particl ecosystem to the wider cryptocurrency community, we significantly increase the range of potential Particl dApps users and successfully bring new levels of liberty and privacy to more people. After all, this is Particl’s fundamental mission.
Doesn’t this evolutionary process open up the door for more centralization?
Because Particl is about to become much more open-ended and easy to work with, businesses or independent developers may be interested in coding dApps that are more centralized than, for example, the current version of Particl Marketplace (which makes no compromise whatsoever on that end). But at the end of the day, it becomes up to the user to use that "more centralized" service or a more open/decentralized/private service instead, basing their decision on what's best for them.
Nonetheless, even when accounting for future, more centralized applications, their inclusion in the ecosystem brings considerable benefits at the level of decentralization.
First, it decentralizes the development process of the entire ecosystem by giving easy-to-use tools for developers and business people all around the world. No more will the platform's growth entirely depend on the core Particl development team — the new open and modular infrastructure will make it very easy for anyone to work on their own vision of Particl. This also radically improves the resilience of the network as a whole.
Secondly, combined with the CCS crowdfunding platform, this will positively impact the amount and efficiency of contributions from the community as it will be possible to self-fund great ideas using the treasury system, then realize them using easy-to-use dev tools. Particl is blessed to have a strong community that often comes up with great and revolutionary ideas, which we, the Particl team, are excited about but unable to give the time they would require (because of the current maintenance requirements and our own roadmap). This new evolutionary leap forward fixes that obstacle.
The evolution of Particl's architecture to a modular one changes everything and gives all the power to users. Anyone with a great idea or who wishes to create a certain dApp on Particl can easily submit a proposal, get it approved by the community for funding, and either code it themselves or find a third-party developer to do it. Using modules, bringing an idea to life will be possible for almost any Web3 developer.
Does Particl have the funds required to make all of that happen?
Although the current price of PART presents a challenge in terms of growth for the team, we’ve got enough funds to last for the duration of this development cycle at the current pace.
However, we've recently been actively working on raising funds from external investors to complement the monthly claims from the network's treasury and accelerate our progress. Although we cannot reveal more information about it at this time, we will publish our pitch deck and Particl's new whitepaper, which we're both using to pitch, shortly into the future.
How does the team expects to deliver on this with its small size? Any plans to grow the team?
An aspect of this development cycle's strategy is to grow the development team to help on the various components and dApp projects. But, of course, this is highly contingent on the amount of funding at our disposal, whether through better PART prices or external funding. This is why we've recently made raising funds one of our top priorities.
Besides, one of the critical goal of this cycle is to further decentralize the development process to allow more independent developers to contribute to the ecosystem on their own. This will reduce the burden on the Particl team and allow for more people to help the network grow.
What about marketing in all of this?
Again, the scale and timing of marketing efforts is equally contingent on the amount of funding at the team's disposal. And although this evolutionary leap forward is mostly development-focused — as it deals with foundational work — we still have different marketing and communications initiatives ready to deploy as soon as financial capabilities permit.
But, at its core, this "foundational phase" is a necessary step that will result in much more accessible, user-friendly, and convenient dApps — a critical factor that affects both user acquisition and retention, and also leads to better marketing ROI. For this reason, it is, in many ways, a long-term play towards future marketing and outreach efforts, ensuring Particl dApps live up to the hype of the marketing efforts that will promote them.
In addition, this entire phase expands on the ecosystem’s use cases and target audiences — essentially vastly increasing our pool of potential users. The team fully expects to capitalize on this opportunity by carefully and gradually increasing marketing and outreach efforts as we progress through this cycle’s critical milestones, notably as we incrementally release new products and major updates.
Does that mean that dApps like Particl Marketplace could be integrated into other cryptocurrency wallets?
Yes. Even further, it means that any Particl dApp can be ‘white labeled’ or re-interpreted by anyone. A cryptocurrency project could, for example, integrate Particl Marketplace into its own coin wallet, take out the escrow, and force payments to be made exclusively using their cryptocurrency. Then, to pay for the SMSG anti-spam fee, they could simply build a system around a swap module like BasicSwap to automatically and seamlessly exchange their native coin to PART to pay for listing fees.
In fact, there is great potential for these sorts of projects. Third-party integrations and white-labeled solutions can help more communities thrive by reaping the network's liberty and privacy benefits. It can also generate revenue for the project in a way that's mutually beneficial for all parties involved. This will be an important aspect of Particl's adoption and go-to-market strategy as we incrementally release new products.
Will the current version of SMSG be deprecated?
No, SMSG 1.0 is not planned to be deprecated for the moment, even when SMSG 2.0 comes out. Instead, they will run parallel to each other as their differences make up for varying pros and cons, which may be better suited for different use-cases.
How long is this development cycle expected to last?
Delivering the envisioned future of Particl in full is no small task and is expected to last 12 to 18 months, assuming no additional (external) source of funding for the team. However, this time estimate will likely improve as we gradually grow the team and fill various key positions following a successful funding round. However, it's important to note that these months spent working through this development phase will be far from uneventful as we have planned several incremental releases. Therefore, 12 to 18 months is the estimate for the entire process to be over, but in the meantime, you can expect different exciting releases to keep things very interesting.
For example, while it may take longer to release the new version of Particl Marketplace, largely due to its complexity and the sheer number of modules it uses, SMSG 2.0 or the privacy-first messenger app might launch before that time. That’s because the new version of Particl Marketplace uses many different modules which, individually, will be ready at different points in time.
In the case of the privacy-first messenger app, it is, at its core, a much simpler dApp. Because it uses fewer modules than Particl Marketplace, it would be much easier and quicker to deploy. And since the messaging function of SMSG is expected to be leveraged by many future dApp, it only makes sense to deploy it early on into the process.