Stegos’s unique blockchain and token design make us the world’s first fully integrated crypto, completely immune to government surveillance.
Other cryptocurrencies, even privacy coins, are missing crucial features and require users to expose their identity in various ways. But Stegos will let you buy and sell crypto, request and send payments and, crucially, talk to other Stegos users. All with complete anonymity, all with a single app and token (STG).
Best of all, there will be no performance trade-off. In addition to these significant privacy advantages, Stegos is designed to be efficient, scalable, and environmentally sustainable.
This article will explain more about what makes Stegos unique and explain why you should adopt Stegos as your primary crypto to reject surveillance and embrace your freedom!
The need for Stegos
The explosion in connected technology since the turn of the century has brought billions of people online. But it has also made it easier than ever for governments to spy on us.
The rise of blockchain, end-to-end encryption and decentralized applications (DApps) seemed to offer a way to regain some freedom. By cutting out centralized authorities and improving encryption protocols, people thought they were getting back control of their money, messages, and privacy.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Public blockchains actually make it easier for government to spy on us: the details of every Bitcoin transaction are available online for everyone to see. When combined with governmental databases of other data, your public key might as well be your full name and address.
For communications, we’ve got much better at protecting data — the actual content of what we send — but there are still enormous leaks of metadata: who’re you’re talking to, where, when and for how long. Governments use this to build a remarkably complete picture of your life. In fact, because they often can’t see the content of perfectly innocent messages, they now assume the worst about you.
It shouldn’t be this way. Stegos gives you a way to take back control. Simply, securely and completely anonymously.
Stegos: More than Just a Privacy Coin
There are hundreds of privacy coins on the market. Why do we need another one? Well Stegos is more than just private transactions: it’s a complete platform for payments and messages. It’s also more secure and scalable than other privacy coins.
Privacy coins have made great strides on the transaction front, but often at significant costs in terms of efficiency and security, with cumbersome encryption and bulky transactions.
And they still haven’t solved the problem of onboarding: what’s the point of a completely private crypto if the government can see the metadata of you arranging your transactions via unsecured messaging services and you can only buy it by giving up all your personal details to an exchange?
Stegos fixes these problems with a fully scalable and prunable blockchain and integrated messaging, all while obscuring every scrap of you data and metadata.
Stegos is built to be faster and more efficient than other crypto. In fact, Stegos is designed to be so efficient, we plan to provide full mobile staking, not just light wallets! So you’ll be able to earn STG from your pocket.
Stegos has three key scalability features:
#1 gPoS consensus
Stegos uses a unique consensus mechanism called gamified proof-of-stake or gPOS. gPoS is a modification of proof-of-stake consensus (PoS), which was created as an efficient alternative to proof-of-work (PoW). PoW consensus requires a lot of computational power which is extremely wasteful, environmentally unfriendly and is beyond the means of all but the richest users.
In a PoS system, a validator’s ability to create blocks is directly proportional to the amount of coins they hold. This is much more computationally efficient, but it still rewards the rich. This is turn leads to centralization of validation services and compromises the safety of the network.
To rectify this issue, our developers have created gPoS. Under gPoS everyone who runs a Stegos node for a certain amount of time will be eligible to receive the validator service award, regardless of the size of their stake. To fund this, a portion of each block reward will be added to the service award pool. A winning validator will be selected in an ongoing cryptographic lottery based on verifiable distributed randomness. The service award is awarded roughly every ten thousand blocks, so you could receive an enormous payday, even if you only provide the minimum stake!
Sharding is a technique to cut down bulky databases into more manageable chunks or “shards.”
Image Credit: Digital Ocean
As the diagram shows, sharding partitions databases horizontally. This way, instead of dealing with an entire database, one needs to only deal with a specific shard. Stegos uses transactional sharding to scale. The validators will only need to verify a subset of incoming transactions, instead of dealing with the whole blockchain. This will allow Stegos to process tens of thousands of transactions per second across millions of devices.
Stegos isn’t the first blockchain to boast of huge transaction speeds. But that’s only half the story. Consider: the Bitcoin blockchain is currently larger than 200 gigabytes, despite being only able to handle 7–10 transactions per second. If it suddenly supported 16,000 transactions a second, the blockchain would start growing by 350 gigabytes a day or 127 terabytes a year!
This is obviously unsustainable in a decentralized network. The Stegos blockchain is kept compact by routinely and automatically removing spent coins and expired messages using secure cryptographic pruning. This has an added privacy benefit of deleting old transaction and messaging data, making it impossible to unobscure the Stegos chain using chain analysis.
Now let’s look at precisely how Stegos will provide the first fully integrated private crypto experience, entirely on-chain.
Messaging and Chat
In Stegos, only you and the people you transact with have direct access to transaction information or metadata. Public addresses are cloaked by stealth addresses, while transaction details are cloaked with random values. Transactions cannot be linked, and even if you post your Stegos public key or QR code online, it cannot be tracked back to you.
#2 Messaging and Chat
Private transactions are all very well, but you still need to initiate them, which means you need a way to contact the other party without exposing your (or their) personal information. To do this, we implement a fully private communication and integrate it within the Stegos app.
The Stegos chat service:
Functions like a standard messaging app, with group chat, contact lists, and more.
Lets you use your public key as an identifier. Like with transactions, stealth addresses ensure public keys cannot be linked back to you.
Sends messages via the Stegos fast message bus, ensuring messages are received instantly without waiting for chain confirmation.
Lets you initiate an STG transaction by sending a QR code via private chat. You can also create chat groups and invite people to it via QR codes.
#3 Peer-to-Peer Trading
Even with private transactions and communication, users still need a way to get access to the cryptosphere without exposing their private data. Exchanges are a notorious security and privacy risk, with most exchanges requiring more personal data than signing up for a standard bank account!
Stegos will implement on-chain peer-to-peer trading, allowing users to buy and sell crypto using atomic swaps. (Stegos can’t do anything about the privacy problems of other crypto, but any surveillance trails will be broken once your crypto enters the Stegos ecosystem.)
#4 Private Apps
The Stegos app provides an integrated crypto experience, but we know you always need more: more functionality, and more choice between existing functionalities. For this reason, Stegos will have an on-chain privacy app store, with details of the apps stored privately on the Stegos blockchain. This way, you will be able to browse and access apps privately. You can also be confident that the apps you install are private and secure. To be listed on the Stegos privacy app store, the app must have a manifest which includes the following description:
The URL used to download the app.
Hash of the app bundle.
The apps are stored on-chain to avoid bloating the Stegos chain and downloaded via the Stegos app. The Segos TAC (trusted application container) will install the app bundle locally once it verifies that the signature of the app bundle and the hash match the information in the manifest.
How far have we got?
As you can see, Stegos has an extremely ambitious vision. So how much progress have we made?
Well, the simplest thing would be to see for yourself: you can download the first version of the desktop app and interact with our test chain.
There’s still a way to go (in particular there’s a one-off sync delay on first running the app which will be eliminated in future version), and we’re still implementing some key features, but all of the advanced protocols that power the Stegos chain and keep it private are in place and working perfectly.
We’re releasing new versions of the desktop app and command-line interface every week or so, and we’re about to launch a huge bounty program where you can test out staking, transactions and messaging and earn thousands of testSTG. These testSTG can be exchanged for a share of tens of thousands of dollars worth of real STG when the chain launches for real next month: we believe this is the first pre-launch bounty program that’s secured by the project’s own blockchain, with automatic conversion to real money once the program closes!