Deep Dive: FIO Addresses
FIO Addresses are human readable identifiers that work immediately across every token and coin in your wallet and eliminates the need to see or interact with public addresses.
FIO Addresses are registered in association with a FIO Private/Public key pair generated by a FIO-enabled wallet (or, prior to mainnet launch, can be procured as part of our FIO Address Pre-Sale).
FIO Addresses have the structure of username:domain, and in the future may also be able to be aliased to other naming conventions. By registering a FIO Address, a user also gains access to the other FIO capabilities including, initially, FIO Requests and FIO Data (which will be detailed out in future posts, to see an example of them all working together, check out our demos).
How Are FIO Addresses Different Than Other “Wallet Name” Attempts?
FIO Addresses are different from other “wallet naming” efforts in a few ways, starting with the fact that they are meant to be an “address” that can be utilized by the FIO Protocol to route information and confirmations in a decentralized manner versus just a “name” which identifies a wallet. In addition, there a several core, fundamental differences with how FIO Addresses operate versus other “wallet naming” solutions.
FIO Addresses are:
- Blockchain Agnostic — Immediately works identically across every token/coin and will work automatically with any new tokens/coins.
- Wallet Agnostic — Unlike some proprietary naming efforts, there is no requirement to use a specific company’s product and FIO will be completely open source and available for free integration.
- Decentralized — Some naming efforts include centralized aspects. There is no way to have a truly secure system of abstracting away the need to interact with public addresses unless it is decentralized like FIO.
- Private — Every other wallet naming attempt discloses, often in plain text, the correlation between the “name” and its mapped public address(es). Anyone knowing a person or company’s “wallet name” can know the public addresses for any of their supported chains, and therefore, potentially their token balances as well. The FIO Protocol utilizes unique encryption methodologies that only allow such correlations to be decryptable by authorized counterparties in a transaction, unless a user specifically chooses otherwise.
- Much more than a “name” — Other efforts have simply been mappings of a human readable name to public addresses. The FIO Protocol is much more than just “wallet naming”. It is an entire decentralized workflow layer that sits beside other blockchains to greatly improve usability. The goal is for users to easily, safely and privately get to the point of “sending” a transaction. Initially, that will mean FIO Requests and FIO Data — but much more is on the roadmap!
What Sort of FIO Address Can I Have?
There are two primary choices for registering a FIO Address that you will have:
- FIO Address on your Wallet’s Domain
- FIO Address on your Own Domain
FIO Address on your Wallet’s Domain
If you possess a wallet that has the FIO Protocol integrated you will be able to register a “gmail” like FIO Address, where you simply select a username on your FIO-enabled wallet’s domain. So, for instance, if you have the Coinomi wallet, you could register something like bob:coinomi or bronco:coinomi
Some centralized exchanges will enable this option as well for utilization in sending/receiving crypto in and out of the exchange. FIO Members are the current list of wallets, exchanges, and crypto payment processors that are intending to integrate the FIO Protocol after mainnet launch and testing. More FIO Members are being added every month.
FIO Addresses on a wallet domain can only be registered on that wallet, and is tied to your FIO private key. They are intended to be inexpensive, widely available, yet capable of taking advantage of all the features of the FIO Protocol. Currently, it is anticipated that such FIO Addresses will cost approximately $5 per year (payable with FIO, and a few other major tokens like BTC and ETH). During the pre-sale phase, they will be available for less than that. Keep in mind that this fee actually includes a large quantity of bundled transactions that will potentially last you the entire renewal period.
If you decide to switch wallets — you can register a new FIO Address on that wallet and simply ignore the old one, which will eventually expire (similar to as if you moved from gmail to hotmail).
FIO Addresses on your Own Domain
If you want to have a unique domain — you will be able to register a custom one. During our FIO Address Pre-Sale, you will be able to bid on custom domains in an auction-style format, but after launch of mainnet, they can be purchased for a fixed registration fee currently anticipated to cost roughly $40 per year in token charges.
FIO Domains exist as a non-fungible token (NFT). If you want to transfer it, sell it, or hold it — it’s up to you.
Any FIO Address registered on your own domain will work just the same as a FIO Address on a wallet’s domain, the only difference being that you can transfer your domain out to a different wallet (simply by transferring the NFT), and keep your FIO Address, which is then mapped to the new wallet’s public addresses.
More on Privacy
The largest concern about human readable naming systems in general is security and privacy. Public addresses are cumbersome — but they also ensure a level of anonymity and privacy, which are paramount in retaining the freedom to transact.
As such, we don’t take privacy lightly, and approached this project with privacy by design principles in mind. Broadly, this means that nobody gets to know anything about you without your explicit permission.
When you register a FIO Address, there are no human readable mappings on the FIO blockchain unless a user specifically authorizes this. In fact, FIO enables you to easily interact with counterparties in transactions with neither party needing to even see a public address.
When a FIO-enabled wallet sends a FIO Request (request for payment) to a different FIO-enabled wallet, it is authorizing the other wallet to be able to decrypt their public address for the specific chain they are requesting funds for.
If a FIO-enabled wallet wants to simply send crypto to another FIO-enabled wallet, the first time this occurs, an authorization request will be sent to the recipient, asking permission for the sender to have the ability to decrypt the recipient’s public address. That sender can subsequently also be “white-listed” to allow them to send to the same recipient in the future without pre-approval. This methodology ensures that users have granular control over who gains access to their mappings.
Why Not username.domain as a Format?
Many of the wallet naming solutions that have been created lately also double as decentralized web domain names. Therefore, these solutions all choose to retain the conventional web address format (something akin to subdomain.domain.tld). In fact, that was our initial inclination as well.
While FIO theoretically could map to any arbitrary data string like an IPFS hash or IP Address, We don’t have plans for becoming an alternate decentralized DNS system. In fact, we view the noble objective of decentralized DNS as a very different problem requiring a different solution than the challenges of blockchain usability, for which wallet names are necessary, but not sufficient to solve entirely. Our focus is on usability, and it is confusing to conflate what we believe are two different problems together.
In general, we are quite concerned about the precedence of having your web domain and wallet name as the same thing. Many people have websites that can, and should, identify themselves (bloggers, businesses, etc). What has resulted are wallet naming/decentralized DNS systems that not only allow a malicious actor to tie multiple public addresses to the same name, but potentially opens a vulnerability for the actor to know the real identity behind that wallet name. Users must be vigilant in a future of self-sovereignty, but we shouldn’t be encouraging bad practices from the very start.
Will I Be Able to Re-sale My FIO Domains?
Yes. They are Non-Fungible tokens that you fully control. One of our future roadmap items will be a marketplace to sell domains. There is no time estimate for its development at this moment, but given the fact that domains are simply NFTs, anyone can build a system of resale. We also intend to build a simple smart-contract feature into the FIO Protocol that provides a safe escrow mechanism in which an NFT can be automatically transferred upon receipt of a pre-agreed amount of funds.
How Do I Get More Technical Details?
We will eventually publish the entire technical whitepaper for the public. If you have experience in blockchain development, and would like to help contribute towards reviewing and improving our system, feel free to apply to be a part of our Technical Advisory Group
This article is #3 in a series of blog posts diving deeper into FIO and the FIO Protocol. We will posting a new article every Thursday over the summer — our next topic will be on our upcoming FIO Address Pre-Sale. Our previous post was on the FIO Protocol.
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