The Alpha Releases keep coming

End of March saw the release of Sneak’s Alpha v0.3. After a series of Alpha releases, no one was more anticipated than the updates expected to come with Alpha v0.3. Almost a month after rolling out Alpha v0.1 which featured basic functionalities such as creating wallets, addresses and tokens, sending and receiving transactions, and block retrievals, it looked like Sneak was finally taking form as the privacy DAG it claims to be.

Alpha v0.1, run on a light and cheap CentOS 7, 1GB ram and 1 vCPU node (appropriately labelled cheap and nasty), introduced early enthusiasts into the Sneak world. Alpha testers had fun creating their own coins and finding potential bugs in the Sneak code. Most testers were handsomely rewarded out of the bounty for their sharp eyes in detecting these bugs which were quickly resolved by the lead developer. A few days later, Alpha v0.2 was ready to test.

The second Alpha release came with stealth addresses, a feature which will become one of Sneak’s main components. Stealth addresses ensure that transactions are not visible. Testers, selected from both the discord group and the btctalk thread, explored the new features and demonstrated transferring tokens across both regular and stealth addresses, revealing the potential Sneak holds as a future fungible currency.

The current Alpha v0.3 release improves on the existing stealth addressing and also carries sealed boxes. Perhaps the biggest update so far with Sneak is the implementation of sealed boxes. Not many present cryptocurrencies use this important feature. Sealed boxes are designed to ensure that messages are transmitted anonymously between sender and receiver, with the receiver unable to verify the identity of the sender and the sender unable to decrypt sent messages at a later date. Only the recipient can decrypt messages encoded by sealed boxes using his own private keys. The message itself is encrypted using an ephemeral key pair whose secret part is destroyed following the encryption process. A fairly good analogy will be that Bob, who wants to send a message to Alice, requires that she sends him open padlocks whose keys Alice already has and does not give out to Bob. Bob then sends a box to Alice sealed with one of the padlocks.

The next Alpha release for Sneak promises to include universal blocks & homomorphic encryption, again one of the privacy features that will become an integral part of Sneak’s architecture. Specifically, homomorphic encryption will introduce obfuscation by anonymizing the sender of a transaction and allowing computation over encrypted data so that data (think transactions!) can be processed without having to reveal it. Sneak will not only join the list of legacy cryptos by employing homomorphic encryption, but also present “reduced universal blocks” similar to Nano, but packaged Sneak-style. Homomorphic encryption, due to their nature, will also be used to detect double spend on the Sneak network. Alpha v0.4 no doubt will start molding Sneak into the kind of currency it intends to be as testers will soon see. (Alpha v0.4 was released in early May).

More Alpha releases are scheduled for the quarter, before the subsequent launch of test wallets, a rebrand and a new website. The roadmap has more interesting details on the future of Sneak and you can always join the excitement on the Discord, if you desire to be part of this development journey.

*This article was written some few weeks before the release of Sneak’s Alpha v0.4