Every once in a while, this questions pops out:
What makes Particl stand out from its competition, and why is it better?
I thought I’d make a quick rundown on my opinion on the matter!
Private-by-Design? Built With Privacy in Mind from the Ground Up!
Unlike all of its competition, Particl is built from the ground up to be entirely private/anonymous, following the true crypto roots. To accomplish this difficult prowess, it uses several methods to keep its users within an optimal privacy environment, such as the RingCT and CT privacy protocols, metadata stripping, IP address anonymization through Tor (and many more protocols in the future, including Dandelion++), private escrow system with no intermediate, encrypted and private messaging (using SMSG and eventually more scalable and leading-edge DSNs such as Loopix, IPFS, and etc), and much more. With all the data leaks and hacks, privacy is becoming more and more mainstream (link to case for privacy).
Furthermore, we all see that the government and big companies have developed very effective blockchain tracking software that makes tracking public cryptocurrency transactions quite trivial. Indeed, it may be just as bad in terms of privacy to use a public blockchain than say, a bank or payment processor. This is why having a product built with privacy in mind right from the start (vs patching privacy into a non-private blockchain) is extremely important. Every day, the “if you have nothing to hide, you don’t really need privacy” kind of thinking is becoming obsolete as people realize just how much privacy is important even for “good behaving” people. Plus, there is definitely some kind of people that do require a more private environment, which they’ll want to use a solution that’s been designed with this as a prime aspect.
But why does that even matter?
As broken down in an earlier article of mine, privacy is becoming a hot subject in the mainstream world. Gone are the days where privacy was associated to people who had “things to hide”.
In light of the recent and now too regular cyber attacks on tech giants like Equifax, Facebook, Deloitte, Yahoo, FedEx, Uber, Under Armour or even Pizza Hut, the poor communication and, even in some cases, cover-up of the unfortunate facts, the public confidence towards the tech industry has been severely eroded within the last couple of years.
The Case for Privacy in the Tech Industry
Nowadays, the tech industry has its users seeking for solutions they can trust with their personal data. In light of…
Breaches of personal data are becoming far too common, and a good solution to fight this issue is to stop sharing your data with big companies that do not respect your private life. However, opting for blockchains instead can be just as bad, if not worse, than relying on trusting a big corporation. Why you ask? Because blockchains are usually open for all to see by default. Indeed, transactions on public blockchains are getting easier to track by the day, and for vendors and buyers alike, this isn’t good. Buyers obviously don’t want everyone to know what they’re buying and just how many coins they hold, information that could be obtained simply by analyzing a decentralized marketplace based on a public blockchain. Vendors, on the other hand, do not want anyone to analyze their sales data, statistics, and revenues.
Particl is built as a private-by-default marketplace, meaning that users do not need to go through several steps to protect their personal data. Everything happens automatically, under the hood, and as smoothly as you would expect from a public blockchain.
Built as a 100% Decentralized & Trustless Solution
Another advantage is that the Particl Marketplace is designed as a 100% decentralized and trustless solution, which most of its competitors aren’t. Just as an example, Syscoin’s Blockmarket interface is closed-source and moderated by Syscoin staff. Escrows on Syscoin are arbitrated, meaning there needs to be someone acting as escrow agent in case a deal turns sour. This can quickly lead to bias, collusion, or other similar types of issue born from the simple fact that a third-party basically has full power over the settlement of a dispute. Talking to various vendors, this quickly becomes an issue for vendors on eBay, for example, because eBay/Paypal will most of the time side with the buyer, even when it shouldn’t.
On Particl Marketplace, there is literally no counter-party at play. The escrow is based on smart-contract functionalities and uses the MAD game-theory to keep both parties honest, no moderator required to settle disputes. The marketplace itself will be entirely governed by the community, making sure no person or group of person is held liable for the content published on it or collude with either vendors or buyers. This is much closer, in my personal opinion, to the original, crypto-anarchist vision and reason of why Bitcoin was created in the first place.
Fun fact, did you know that Satoshi Nakamoto had started working on a 100% trustless and decentralized marketplace and that there was even some code about it in some Bitcoin’s repository?
Much Better & Intuitive User Interface
Particl has a beautiful UI/UX that is built with accessibility and ease-of-use in mind. This top of the line wallet looks modern, slick, and is very easy to understand as well as being very smooth and responsive. The same can’t be said of most wallets in the crypto sphere, most of them being far too geeky or barebone to be used by mainstream, non-crypto users.
Additionally, Particl plans on developing a web & mobile interface at some point in the future, which they already have a good idea of how they would go about it. In order to break into the mainstream, the marketplace will need to be as easy to use as any other online eCommerce platform, therefore a web and mobile interface are absolutely required. While this isn’t currently part of the roadmap, it certainly is a milestone the team plans on tackling after the mainnet release of Particl Marketplace.
Download Particl Marketplace Alpha here: https://github.com/particl/particl-desktop/releases/tag/v1.2.0-market-alpha
More recent builds are available from time to time in our #testing channel: https://discord.gg/Xf8Yyc
The Coin Actually Makes Sense to Hold
The Particl coin is one of many perks. While it currently still is at the mercy of speculators, it is designed to eventually decouple from the speculation and get its value organically through the demand the marketplace will generate for it.
It first serves as a privacy coin, with CT already on mainnet and RingCT on testnet (currently being academically reviewed by the NJIT Dept. of Technology). Particl is indeed the first coin ever to modify RingCT, the privacy protocol made popular by Monero, so that it could be implemented on top of the Bitcoin codebase (or any codebase other than Cryptonote, for that matter). This implementation will unlock RingCT’s potentialby making it possible to be used in smart-contracts and decentralized applications as well as over the Lightning Network (that of which Particl is working on), atomic swaps and advanced multi-signatures. We all know how Monero is a great privacy coin, and Particl is actually taking it a bit further by adding utility features to this great privacy protocol (RingCT) and supporting it with a truly decentralized infrastructure. Imagine if Monero, in all its greatness, could have its own marketplace that cannot be shut down or censored…That alone is a huge reason why Particl is a great coin to hold.
It can also be used as a nice passive income source . Indeed, you can cold stake your PART coin using PPoS (Particl Proof-of-Stake, which has cold staking and hardware cold staking (cold staking on Ledger Nano S) enabled) and make a minimum of 4% yearly interest (that decreases over time until it stabilizes at 2% in 2 years). On top of that, stakers will earn 100% of the listing fees, as well as transaction fees, and of course, all revenue derived from the other Particl dApps. One thing that is often overlooked is how Particl is a decentralized application platform, but doesn’t offer tokens. This ultimately means users looking to use Particl’s applications generate demand for the PART coin, even though the Particl platform is designed to accept almost any coin and (eventually) more traditional means of payments.
The Particl coin is also used as “gas” required to run Particl smart-contracts and is used as the de facto currency in the Particl Marketplace. In fact, Particl Marketplace does accept almost any coin , either through the use of atomic swaps (already on mainnet since 2017) or through third-party implementations (i.e. Changelly). The “catch” though is that the escrow needs to use PART to keep users private (because it requires RingCT and the escrow actually is a Particl smart-contract), so even when shopping on the marketplace using Bitcoin or your favorite coin, they end up being automatically transferred into Particl with no extra step required by the user. In other words, even using other coins to purchase items off the marketplace generates demand for the PART coin.
Finally, but not least, PART coins also grant users moderation powers over the Particl Marketplace as well as the ability to vote on any community proposal through the decentralized governance system. In fact, no central authority, company, or team has moderation powers over the marketplace. Particl instead delegates that power to the very community using the platform. This is a much more scalable (no need to hire staff), secure (no legal liability put on moderators), and fair (the very users of the marketplace are the one with the power to steer the ship) way to do it.
Particl is Much More Than a Decentralized Marketplace
In the end, Particl is actually much more than just a marketplace, it is a full-blown privacy-focused dApp platform. Indeed, the team has put in its roadmap the release of a developer SDK toolkit which will allow any developer out there to easily build their own application on Particl. Whether it be a social media/Twitter-like application, a decentralized gambling Dapp, or even the addition of a penny auction section to Particl Marketplace, the SDK will truly allow the network to grow into much more than just a decentralized marketplace.
The goal here is not to directly compete with other smart-contract platforms like Ethereum, it’s more about being a decentralized platform where dApps can all be interacted with directly from the wallet in order to create something akin to perhaps an operating system. Imagine the wallet (Particl Desktop) as an Android OS and each Particl dApps as Android applications. The Particl Desktop wallet is kind of like the wrapper which contains the dApps that make the Particl decentralized economy, and these applications are designed to fit right into it in a very intuitive and user-friendly fashion (in contrast to other Dapp platforms which are generally pretty barebone).
One of Particl’s goal is to take crypto a step further by not only decentralizing currency but also to decentralize the entire infrastructure surrounding said currency (and that, obviously, includes the eCommerce infrastructure on which the coin can be spent).
Top-Tier Development Team
The Particl development team is definitely a top-tier team. They are indeed ranked 6th in one of the most thorough code quality review (https://medium.com/darpalrating/darpalrating-github-audit-for-200-blockchain-projects-march-2018-3c6b839abdaa) that did review up to 200 coins (in comparison, Syscoin is currently ranked 36th, BitBay is 192nd, Safex is not even active enough to be ranked). The code quality review takes a lot of things into account, and disregards community and marketing, solely focusing on the code itself. This is something the Particl team is extremely proud of! Indeed, the Particl team was the first reach accomplish many achievements such as true cold staking, hardware cold staking (Ledger + cold staking), first blockchain to be natively implemented with Segwit, first to implement the RingCT and CT protocols on top of the Bitcoin codebase, and always the first to update it’s codebase (currently on 0.16.0.2 with 0.17 ready on testnet) to the latest Bitcoin Core version (after Bitcoin itself, of course). They have had a lot of other accomplishments as well, though they were not the first to execute them. It is, overall, a very talented team that is not afraid to push the limit while never sacrificing privacy, security and decentralization.
To see the incredible development work made over time, watch the Github visualization videos included in this blog post: https://particl.news/particl-development-timeline-video-520d8f9c0513
Many Decentralized Marketplaces Could and Probably Will Co-Exist
As we are seeing with privacy coins right now, a lot of them are identical or almost identical, yet each of these coins has their own dedicated community. Same thing with eCommerce platforms. We have Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Etsy, and etc…all co-existing and making profits within their own community or niche. I think we’ll see the same happen with decentralized marketplaces. Wise vendors won’t limit their business to one platform, as that would end up limiting their potential customer base. Instead, I see many decentralized marketplaces all co-existing and all sharing a share of the decentralized marketplace industry. This is not a winner take all kind of scenario, as long as a marketplace can offer good features, good UI/UX, low or no fees, and of course, products for sale AND customers, these platforms stand a chance to survive even though they are not alone in this space.
What I do find very interesting in Particl compared to other decentralized marketplaces is how its native coin is designed to be scarce and in high demand. As such, even a small volume of marketplace transactions could increase the value of Particl considerably. That is because:
- Users will generate demand for the coin when making purchases (even if they use another coin)
- More coins get locked up for a certain period of time in escrow. In reality, up to three times the value of an item can end up locked up in escrow as the buyer needs to pay for the item + make a security deposit while the vendor also has to put a security deposit. Escrow lockups can last from minutes, to hours to days and weeks, depending on the specific context and use-case.
- A great portion of the coins are locked up in staking (can be transferred out at any time, but while they are staking they are effectively out of circulation) as the passive income gained from the process becomes very interesting when the marketplace gets transactions volume since stakers get 100% of the listings fees and other Dapp revenues. Currently, around 36.6% of the entire supply is out of circulation and being staked. Many in the community expects this amount to increase as the marketplace gets traction. Note that there is no minimum amount of PART required for staking, thus anyone can stake and receive rewards. That is even more true with the coming staking pool currently under development that will allow even the smallest of holders to stake their funds and receive smaller but more recurrent rewards.
- Users are not forced to use PART, they can use their favorite cryptocurrency. Ultimately, non-PART transactions are still settled in PART in the background, generating demand for the coin. Particl indeed aims at attracting other communities to its platform and offer a use-case to any coin. It doesn’t mean its native coin PART cannot be positively impacted from this!
The four points above are why I believe that, even though many decentralized marketplaces will most probably end up all splitting shares of the same pie, even a low volume of transactions on Particl would probably end up naturally increase the price of the coin. No speculation needed when it takes off! This is one of the biggest reason I got into Particl instead of its competitors (their coins don’t have such good economics, not that I know of at least).
Third-Party Building on the Particl Protocol (Mubiz)
Another big thing about Particl too is that Mubiz, a decentralized marketplace aggregator and web gateway, is actually working on implementing the marketplace. What this means is that Mubiz will render the marketplace available on the web only a few days after its initial release and will offer its customers a whole array of services not readily available on Particl Desktop. These services include escrow management on behalf of the user (read…no need to deal with the escrow, all in the background and the user experience is no different than eBay), customer support & product returns, shipping management (vendors can ship their products to Mubiz), traditional means of payments (credit/banking cards, eventually Paypal and other fiat payment methods), reviews, SEO for listings, and etc.
Mubiz currently only operates with OpenBazaar, and Particl will be the second marketplace they’ll be hosting on their platform. They mentioned in an interview I conducted with Albin, Mubiz’s Founder, that they had identified issues with OpenBazaar (since it’s the first decentralized marketplace ever, it does have flaws that can be improved upon) that were not present or that were fixed with Particl, hence why they’ve decided to integrate the marketplace into its platform.
Interview with Albin from Mubiz, a Web Interface & Suite of Services Designed for Particl…
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Albin Cauderlier, Founder of Mubiz, a decentralized marketplace…
Mubiz is, in my opinion, going to provide a crucial set of services that will make Particl as easy to use as eBay or Amazon. The only difference? Vendors will be making more money (they will make 100% of the sales proceeds), in turn allowing them to lower their prices to score more sales and outplay their competitors. The end result is more profits for the vendor, more sales, and cheaper prices for the customer. Surely this should be an attractive solution for most?
In the end, I think the current bear market in the cryptocurrency scene will make people realize the importance of intrinsic value. What if you take speculation out of the equation? Does that make your favorite coin or token worthless or not?
This is what makes me so positive about Particl’s future. Its coin has great economics, the technology is top of the line within the crypto industry, and the project is securely funded for quite some time, with a second funding round that should occur next year. Could Particl end up being in a perfect storm scenario at some point in the future?
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be a source of advice or credit analysis with respect to the material presented, and the information and/or documents contained in this blog post do not constitute investment advice. All views expressed in this blog post are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. I strongly recommend everyone to do their own research