It happened! After nearly two years of research and development, the open beta of the BasicSwap DEX is now publicly available on mainnet!
Indeed, you can now use the privacy-first and cross-chain DEX to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Monero, Particl and others on an entirely distributed protocol, without third party involvement of any kind.
This blog post will reveal everything you need to know about the DEX as well as the path forward from now on, so buckle up because the future is now.
Table of Contents
Note: If you’re already familiar with BasicSwap, you may want to immediately jump to this section which contains all the information you need to know ahead of the open beta release.
- Compile BasicSwap DEX to start using it: https://academy.particl.io/en/latest/basicswap-guides/basicswapguides_installation.html
How to Start Trading
- Compile BasicSwap DEX (instructions also on the README)
- Wait for the blockchains of the coins you’ve decided to enable to sync up
- Deposit coins on your BasicSwap wallet (self-custody)
- Make or take an offer on the order book
The Privacy-First and Cross-Chain DEX That Wants to Free Crypto
As bold a statement as this may sound, this really is what BasicSwap is setting out to do.
BasicSwap is a distributed cryptocurrency exchange protocol that lets you trade different cryptocurrencies without the use of third-parties or middlemen using what is known as ‘atomic swaps’.
The DEX works using an order book system, in contrast to the liquidity pool (i.e. AMMs) approach that most other DEXs have opted for. This, in part, means traders can make or take orders at a price of their choosing and on their own terms.
At this stage of the beta, only full BasicSwap nodes — which need to be compiled and ran locally — are available to use. We are however working on deploying more convenient solutions using light and web services as well as integration gateways.
For more in-depth information about BasicSwap, head over to this blog post.
BasicSwap’s unique exchange architecture introduces a lot of benefits for cryptocurrency users. Notably, its cross-chain approach radically improves the broader blockchain ecosystem, by promoting healthier and more open trading conditions for all, without forcing users to use a specific coin or blockchain for monetization purposes. BasicSwap aims to take down barriers and build bridges between various cryptocurrency communities.
The BasicSwap DEX is shaped by its uncompromising dedication to five core values that we believe are bound to be in the interest of all traders:
- Full custody of funds and keys;
- A coin-agnostic architecture;
- No trading fees or intermediary fees of any kind;
- No accounts, limits, or restrictions;
- Complete and total privacy.
These are the five constitutional values that make up the idea behind the BasicSwap protocol, and they guide every step of the way forward.
From the Ground up — Uncompromising Commitment to Privacy
BasicSwap is certainly not the first DEX around, but it does distinguish itself in its uncompromising commitment to user privacy. When we say BasicSwap is a privacy-first DEX, it’s not just for buzz; we truly mean it.
Indeed, BasicSwap is born out of a proof of concept made 2 years ago when the Particl team began testing Monero atomic swaps. This eventually led to the release of a rudimentary DEX protocol that used Particl’s privacy-first SMSG network, which eventually culminated into the more all-inclusive DEX platform that we see today — complete with an order book and a modern, intuitive GUI.
Suffice to say, privacy has always been at the core of BasicSwap’s history, and is its primary reason for existence. This holds true today more than ever.
Under the Hood
BasicSwap is made up of a unique combination of leading-edge technologies in the domains of blockchain, cryptography, and peer-to-peer networking. At no point does it use any centralized or intermediated components — ensuring the maximum level of security and privacy for all users and their hard-earned funds. Censorship, fraud, and misuse of user funds are fundamentally impossible from the application to the protocol level.
Atomic swaps have been around for quite some time and are an important part of many DEX platforms currently available online. They allow for swapping digital assets between two users in peer-to-peer fashion, assuming that the logistical requirements behind executing such a swap exist.
The atomic swap technology is, in and of itself, a relatively narrow-scoped protocol: it does not match orders between two users or provide any DEX framework whatsoever. It only safely swaps assets.
For a properly decentralized DEX to exist, it needs a common and decentralized channel in which the information related to a swap is transferred between two parties — sometimes across two entirely different chains. Without this added layer, it is impossible for a chain to know when to release the swap in question because it isn’t directly connected to the other blockchain.
This is often where some so-called “DEXs” cut corners and introduce a certain level of centralization. They offer decentralized swaps, but centralize the process of matching orders which entirely defeats the purpose of being a DEX in the first place as it introduces a major central point of failure and control. In the case of BasicSwap, this process remains entirely decentralized, thanks to the SMSG network.
More detailed information on atomic swaps can be found here.
SecureMessaging (SMSG) is Particl’s own custom-built and unique P2P messaging network, which stands at the core of its ecosystem. Inspired by the BitMessage Protocol, the SMSG network is a mixnet that acts as a decentralized storage network (DSN). As such, it stores and transfers data across nodes in a privacy-preserving manner, encrypted from end to end (E2EE), and without requiring the use of a central server.
This decentralized technology is essential in providing the BasicSwap DEX with functionality not provided by atomic swaps themselves, such as an order book and order matching system, as well as with transferring swap data between parties swapping from two different chains.
When running a BasicSwap client, you are also automatically running an SMSG node along with it. Any DEX and swap related data is then uploaded and downloaded directly from the SMSG network and interpreted by BasicSwap’s scriptless scripts, giving users a full-blown decentralized trading exchange (DEX) experience.
More in-depth information about the SMSG protocol can be found here
Scriptless scripts are another key aspect of BasicSwap and are a largely misunderstood and overlooked feature of Bitcoin and blockchains in general. Originating from MimbleWimble, they are, in their basic sense, a way to execute secure and private smart contracts off-chain using Schnorr Signatures or ECDSA.
In the case of BasicSwap, two people send coins on a scriptless chain and into an address that's created from the sum of one private key from each of them. That way, to spend that output requires them to cooperate through One-Time Verifiably Encrypted Signatures (OtVES).
"A One-Time VES is a signature made invalid by mixing it with the public key of an encrypting key pair, a valid signature can be decrypted with knowledge of the private encrypting key and the private encrypting key can be recovered with knowledge of both the encrypted and plaintext signatures." Tecnovert — xmrswap protocol notes
Compared to traditional on-chain smart contracts, scriptless scripts provide added privacy and scalability. And compared to the rigid and barebone Bitcoin smart contracts, they add a ton of functionality by allowing for much more complex and flexible, yet still securely tight, smart contracts.
Privacy: When on-chain, many details of a smart contract are shared to the entire network. These details include the number and addresses of participants and the amounts transferred, among other metadata. But because scriptless scripts are essentially smart contracts operating off-chain, most of the usage data and user information is NOT shared with the rest of the network. The only thing that the network knows is that certain individuals are interacting with a smart contract according to its pre-defined rules. However, depending on the specific implementation, it is also possible for that information to be completely hidden.
Scalability: Smart contracts take up a lot of space on a blockchain. By moving the smart contracting process off-chain, that data does not fill up and bloat the blockchain, leading to much better scalability. The smart contracting process is also shared between scriptless scripts themselves and the SMSG network.
Additionally, because scriptless scripts are eventually intended to leverage Schnorr Signatures, multiple keys can be aggregated into a single one — making the actual smart contract code much lighter and more efficient than traditional on-chain smart contracts.
About the Open Beta Release
BasicSwap’s open beta is now live, on mainnet, for everyone. That means you can now set up the DEX and start trading with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Monero, and others without middlemen, without restrictions, and with no need to worry about the custody of your coins.
Considerations — What to Expect at This Beta Stage
The release of the open beta is a major milestone for BasicSwap, but it is by no means intended as the final version of it. Indeed, we have much bigger plans for it, which you can get a hint at by checking out our roadmap.
Indeed, we feel it is important to put emphasis on the beta aspect of this release. As such, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- It may lack features that you’d like to see in the future.
- It may feel unfinished or unpolished in some areas.
- It still needs to be manually compiled.
- It requires full coin nodes to be synced up and run locally.
- It requires your node to stay online to complete swaps.
- It requires your node to stay online for your offers to show up on the books.
- It requires coin wallets to be unlocked when running.
All of the considerations mentioned above are merely temporary obstacles that we fully plan on resolving as we progress through this open beta phase. Consult our roadmap, scheduled to release this coming Monday, to get a better understanding of our plans moving forward and of the ways we intend to improve the platform.
Roadmap and Vision — What’s Next?
While the open beta release of BasicSwap is a major milestone in its journey, the best is yet to come. Indeed, BasicSwap is poised to evolve into a major, unstoppable DEX platform with significant innovations that will benefit the entire crypto ecosystem.
Generally speaking, the team will focus on four major technical items moving forward, with various other additions, improvements, and fixes along the way.
- SMSG 2.0 — For better scalability, privacy, and efficiency;
- Integration frameworks — To integrate BasicSwap into third-party platforms, web apps, and more;
- Privacy-centric updates — To improve user privacy and fund security;
- Lightning Network — For near-instant swap speed (on eligible coins) and capabilities.
These are the cornerstone items of our current roadmap. They are the most significant milestones and the keys to BasicSwap’s vision. While we work on these, you can expect a wide variety of non-related features and improvements to also be added.
Additionally, we fully plan on adding more coins to the platform as demand for it comes our way. As such, we’ve set up a listing application form on our website that can be filled out to request new coin listings. Note that, due to BasicSwap’s unique architecture and our current development resources, we cannot guarantee a fast integration process for all coins that apply, but we’ll do our best to work with you on these matters.
So here we are - BasicSwap’s open beta is finally upon us. If you want to contribute to the DEX revolution and help take the power away from those gatekeepers best known as centralized exchanges, then spread the word far and wide and bring your liquidity on a fair, open, and honest platform for all!
As more people use decentralized exchanges, liquidity will grow, which will contribute to bringing better, more free trading conditions for all crypto users. A winning scenario for all users of cryptocurrencies and participants in the new digital economy.
Big thank you to all for participating in this open beta, and for anchoring yourself in history. We can’t wait to hear about your feedback and see the platform and its usage grow over time!
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