In the past few months, we saw things that were hard to imagine just a short while ago.
We saw the Canadian government activate an emergency action against the truckers’ protest in Canada, allowing law enforcement to freeze the bank accounts of protesters without any due process. Not only have bank accounts of the protesters themselves been frozen, but anyone who tried to support them financially with a donation of more than $25 (and yes, also centralized crypto exchanges had to obey the emergency act).
In today’s world, the meaning of getting financially de-platformed is crippling. One cannot attain even basic goods, like buying bread at the local grocery, once the cash they have at hand runs out.
It doesn’t matter whether the truckers’ protest was right or wrong, whether it was extremely or only mildly annoying, or whether it was suspicious of breaking the law. The fact that people were cut off from the financial system without due process should alarm us all, as these actions deny people their basic democratic rights. In this case, to join their fellow citizens in free and public expression. And this happened in Canada, a solid democracy with human and civil rights, not some third-world country ruled by a tyrant.
Furthermore, we are witnessing the devastating war between Russia and Ukraine, where people from both sides lost access to their hard-earned savings because of a situation not they created and had little control over. When needed to flee a war zone, they’ve done so without the ability to access even a fraction of the funds they have in their bank accounts.
All this solidifies our belief that people should hold at least a portion of their funds in self-custody.
But let’s face it, the user experience of self-custody solutions today is bad. It is complex and deterring (private-key? seed phrase?), it is frightening (if I lose the piece of paper I wrote the 12 words seed phrase on, all my money is gone? if someone gets a hold of it, all my money is gone?) it is extremely error prone and has no check and balances that can protect the user.
No wonder 80–90% of crypto users today, who are considered early adopters, use crypto in fully-custodial and centralized solutions [This is a potential for the decentralised space 🚀]
Our goal in Braavos is to change all that and give users the experience they are custom to from centralized and custodial solutions while preserving the essential decentralized and self-custodian characteristics.
We want to make crypto easy and worry-free. We want to make it accessible and not frightening. We want to allow people to earn a decent yield on their funds without the need to become a Defi expert or turn account security into a full-time hobby.
Fortunately, the birth of StarkNet and the advancement in ZK Proofs allow us to achieve just that. Simple, fun and intuitive way to enter crypto with low gas cost and low technical burden on the user's shoulders.
Braavos is a self-custodial smart contract-based wallet running on top of StarkNet (an L2 Validity Roll-up settles on Ethereum).
We start by providing StarkNet users with all the basic functionality of a wallet and then some:
- Create accounts
- Connect to dApps
- Sign on a friendly human readable transactions and messages
- Review a human-readable transactions history
- Get ERC20 tokens balance and their value in USD
- Protected transfer of ERC20 tokens between wallets
- View NFT collectibles — image, music and video
- Dev tools to help developers build and test their apps using the wallet
- and more…
However, this is just the start.
Braavos is a smart contract-based wallet, contrary to the prevailing client side only wallets (such as Metamask and most others), which allows us to provide a much more powerful experience to our end users tackling all the problems mentioned above.
We are going to harness the fact that each account has a manifestation on-chain, meaning it has a memory and logic that can be enforced regardless of the client-side application; and offer support of the following:
- Account segmentation — having a separate checking and saving account
- 2-factor authentication
- Social recovery and multi-sig
- Support account recovery mechanism that relies on ZK proofs — no seed phrase or private-keys
- Multi-call — no more approving maximum token allowance to protocols
- Best rate tokens exchange within the wallet
- ‘one-click’ earn a yield on your tokens from within the wallet
- and much more…
There is a lot of work ahead to make it a truly decentralized self-custodial solution that is on par with the fine web2 experience users are used to.
So expect significant features and improvements in the following weeks and months, including a major UI upgrade to smooth the experience for everyone.
Taking such a critical and bold mission is extremely challenging. We had to make sure that we were bringing on board the right people who have the brain power, the ability to execute and the strong belief in the mission itself. We spent the past months assembling a highly experienced team that shipped many products over the years and has true conviction in the mission. In addition, we partnered up with top investors in the space to ensure we’ll have enough capital to execute our vision.
Join us in this journey to make crypto affordable, approachable and understandable.
A word of disclaimer
The Braavos wallet is in its alpha stage and runs on top of the StarkNet network.
This means that
- Things can break and, in extreme cases, can lead to a loss of all your funds
- The wallet extension code and the wallet contracts have not been audited yet
- The wallet extension, as well as the wallet contracts themselves, can be upgraded without a time-lock
The article was written by Motty Lavie ( @mottylen ) and published on 2.06.2022