Happy New Year and welcome to our fourth major status update of the Tixl project 🙌. In this edition, we will share what we’ve achieved in 2019 and - even more exciting - what we are planning for the first half of 2020. This article will cover technical as well as business/marketing-related aspects of the project’s development.
Our Greatest Achievements in 2019
2019 saw the creation of Tixl and we used this year to build a solid foundation for the Tixl project. We carried out the first marketing campaigns and the technology was developed to the stage of having a working Testnet.
Release of the Tixl Testnet — Version “Altona”
On December 19 we released the first version of the Tixl Testnet, which we called “Altona”. It was named after Tixl’s home district and the base of the Tixl office. There are several reasons why the Testnet was such an important milestone for us.
First of all, its implementation proved that what we had conceived and outlined in the whitepaper was feasible and worked in practice. We were always confident we would get to this point, but it was fantastic to see the concepts we had worked on so hard in the whitepaper coming alive as algorithms working in practice.
In addition, the release was important to prove to our existing investors that we are truly able to build a blockchain-based, decentralized protocol based on combined concepts. Last, but not least, the reality of a working Testnet provides a solid base for future fundraising - which will help us transform it into a production-ready Mainnet.
We appreciate that the Altona version is not perfect, but it provides a great base on which to build. Later in this article, we will preview what will be optimized with the next version. If you would like to test Altona, navigate to wallet.tixl.dev and give it a try. You can also read more about the release in this article.
More than $1,350,000 raised through Token Sales
2019 was also the first year we gained experience in fundraising for a crypto-related project. With the help of our advisors and feedback from the community, we were able to continually update and polish our investment-related documents. Our whitepaper is now more than 60 pages long and contains much more technical information than the initial version. Proof of the quality of our concept and implementation is that we were able to sell over $1,350,000 worth of tokens between April and December of 2019 - approximately 5% of the total token supply. This was an average of $168,750 in token sales per month.
What we have learned is that fundraising over summer 2019 was much easier than the months leading up to, and including this (crypto-)winter. This correlates with the Bitcoin price increase and also with the “Crypto Fear & Greed Index”. We think the main reason for the correlation is that during crypto bull markets it’s much easier to get people curious and visiting your website. People seem more inclined to actively do research and seek out new investment opportunities compared to months when more people are selling crypto than buying. Even so, we did note we had some of our largest investments in autumn and winter, so it seems bigger investors fall outside of this pattern. Our focus has always been to be careful with our marketing budget and, as our community agreed, we will look to be even more careful in times of a bear or sidewards market.
Two Exchange Listings
We believe that getting listed on exchanges early is an important factor for the success of token-based crypto startups in today’s environment. In reality, most of the tokens on CoinMarketCap are still investment opportunities where their investors want to track the price and market development. Even though the short-term price development may not be relevant, the mid and long-term success of token-based projects is relative to the price development.
As a result, we decided to issue MTXLT as a BEP2 token on Binance Chain in June of 2019. Binance Chain was our preferred solution because we saw the potential of Binance DEX (Decentralized Exchange) based on Binance Chain, as well as other exchanges, integrating BEP2 tokens in the future. After our token issuing transaction on June 19, we applied for a listing on Binance DEX. Our listing was confirmed in August and MTXLT was listed on August 28. To date, a total of more than 59k transactions have been made on Binance Chain across 3,483 MTXLT holders. The trading volume since listing on Binance DEX alone (MTXLT/BNB trading pair) totals around $200,000 if we assume an average BNB price of $20/BNB over the past months. A detailed guide to how you can purchase and trade MTXLT on Binance DEX can be found here.
Later in 2019, MTXLT was listed with an MTXLT/BTC trading pair on ProBit. ProBit Exchange is a global cryptocurrency exchange. The exchange only lists promising, qualified and deserving cryptocurrency projects. It also boasts order matching speeds of over 1.5 million orders per second, superb security that supports hardware security keys, and a customizable user interface. As the Probit listing was only two months ago and we have been focusing on development (as opposed to marketing) during this period, the transaction volume has not been as high as we would like on Probit to date. However, recently we enabled a switch on our website where we are now actively redirecting people who want to purchase tokens in amounts below 5,000 USD to our exchanges, to support volume and demand. To find out how you can purchase Tixl tokens on Probit, please read our guide.
We are very pleased with our exchange progress so far and want to continue to strengthen our relationship with both Binance DEX and Probit in 2020.
Growth of a Positive and Growing Community
In March of 2019, we started with no members on any social media channels. Over the balance of the year, we are really proud to have built up a thriving community across a number of channels. These include (in approximate numbers):
- 41,000 registered and verified users on our website, with 30,000 of these subscribed to our emails
- 3,350 members in the public Tixl Telegram group
- 2,050 followers on Twitter
- 550 members on Discord
- 450 followers on Medium
- 200 followers on Facebook
- 150 members on Reddit
- 100 members in the private (invite only) Tixl Hodlers Club Telegram group
- 100 followers on LinkedIn
Compared to some other projects, we know our community is still relatively small. Nevertheless, we are proud and happy with the member/follower levels we achieved in 2019. The chapter “Community Growth” later in this article will describe how we are planning to boost our communities and numbers over the coming year.
A special thank you goes to our community supporters Corentin, Jon, and Moe! 🙏 Without you guys, we couldn’t manage our public communications without losing focus on the areas of business development and coding.
Big Plans for Q1 and Q2 in 2020
2020 will be one of the most important years, if not the most important one, for the Tixl project. After completing the Testnet and building up the project base in 2019, we are now in a much better position for effective marketing. However, as we described and, as you — our community — agreed, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on marketing in a crypto-market that — overall — is not performing. On the other hand, staying quiet is not an option either. For this reason, we have used the time between Christmas and NYE to analyze the results of our marketing survey and to brainstorm creative ways for increasing the demand for $MTXLT, and general interest in the Tixl project, in 2020. We have outlined the results below.
We believe for 2020, community growth across all our social media channels is one of the most important marketing challenges. Our existing community has confirmed the importance of this topic, as reflected in our marketing survey results. In total, 84.4% of 250 survey participants think setting up a “Social Reward Program” would be a good idea. For this reason, we are using this article to announce the launch of the Tixl Ambassador Program on April 1, 2020. The detailed functionality of the program will be explained in a further blogpost before the official start date. Below is a basic overview of how the program is designed to work:
The Tixl Ambassador Program provides a reward, paid in MTXLT, for people who support Tixl on different social media channels. To start with, the program will only cover activities on Twitter. Later, other platforms will be added.
A person can join the program and become a Tixl Ambassador by meeting the following requirements (these may change in the future):
- Own at least 1 MTXLT
- Complete a Tixl Ambassador Quiz
- Have a verified account on tixl.me and a connected Twitter account
With the basic requirements met, a Tixl Ambassador can earn Tixl Ambassador Points. Each type of activity will be eligible for a certain number of points. For example, retweeting a Tweet from @tixlcurrency could result in 2 Ambassador Points and “liking” a Tweet could result in 1 Ambassador Point.
Points can be collected over a period of 3 months, meaning there will be four Tixl Ambassador Program Quarters each year, with the first one starting April 2020. At the end of each quarter, points will be totaled and mapped to a pre-defined pool of MTXLT. For example, assuming the pool size is 10 MTXLT and a total of 10,000 points is collected over one quarter — if one Ambassador collects 2,000 of these 10,000 points — that would result in a reward of 2 MTXLT for that quarter. The exact MTXLT pool size for a quarter will be announced shortly before the start of each quarter and will be chosen depending on the overall market situation, the MTXLT price and other related factors.
The total points eligible to be received will not be limited simply to the type of activity, but will also depend on the Ambassador themselves. For example, if one Tixl Ambassador has 10,000 followers on Twitter and another has just 50 followers, it is only fair that retweeting rewards more points for the one with the greater number of followers. The exact details will be outlined in the upcoming article we’ll dedicate to the program. Measures will be put in place to ensure fake-followers are not included by using filtering tools.
In addition to the Tixl Ambassador Program, we are currently evaluating other potential social media activities for Tixl.
Next Release of the Tixl Testnet — Version “Blankenese”
Providing an optimized version with bug fixes, performance improvements, and a few new features are the areas of focus for us early this year. After releasing version “Altona” of the Tixl Testnet in December 2019, we are now moving to the next version named after Hamburg’s beautiful district Blankenese. For a detailed overview of what we plan to include in this release we invite you to track our progress with the tixl-testnet-status repository on Github. The most relevant and requested features/fixes for Blankenese are:
- (Encrypted) payloads can be added to transactions that can be used as a reason for payment or for emojis 😉🤩🍕
- Usage of Stealthchains by the wallet. If you want to read more about Stealthchains in Tixl, we recommend section 5.4.2 and 5.4.4 of the Tixl whitepaper.
- Improve the state handling (refreshing) of the web wallet to increase the stability and avoid frontend bugs.
- Provide shorter addresses to make sending and receiving TXL in the Blankenese testnet easier.
- Optional transparent (non-private) transactions, configurable in the web wallet.
A New Approach to Privacy vs AML
We’ve seen issues with privacy coins being delisted, or potentially being delisted by exchanges in 2019. These are a result of the recommendations made by the FATF. According to their website, the FATF is defined as the following:
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Within the FATF recommendations, a certain requirement - known as the “Travel Rule” - is referred to in the media mainly in relation to privacy coins vs. Anti Money Laundering (AML). The Travel Rule requires so-called “Virtual Asset Service Providers” (VASPs) to transmit certain information about the sender and receiver of a virtual asset with each transaction. In reality, most privacy coins are fully compliant with this rule, allowing VASPs to pass additional information along with transactions. For example, Zcash released a paper in 2019 explaining how Zcash can be fully compatible with the FATF recommendations.
Digging a little deeper, it appears that the FATF recommendations nor the Travel Rule are the biggest issues, but instead it’s more about the ability to analyze the underlying blockchain or other data structure. More and more companies who monitor public ledgers are popping up. These companies combine other databases with those ledgers and offer, for example, AML detection based on the mixed data to their clients. With privacy coins, depending on the exact privacy implementation, this is not possible, or much harder. Due to this “problem”, we have to ask ourselves if governments will tolerate the existence of privacy coins in the future.
Nobody really knows exactly what is going to happen to privacy coins going forward, from a regulatory perspective. As a result, teams around the world are actively working to find solutions to allow VASPs to stay FATF compliant by implementing certain architectures. Two examples of this are the “Travel Rule Information Sharing Architecture for Virtual Asset Service Providers (TRISA)” and the OpenVASP protocol.
The biggest question for us is - what does all this mean for Tixl? First of all, we still believe that a public and decentralized ledger should be encrypted in such a way so that no third-party can derive any information. That is also our understanding of a “privacy coin”. We also think that this is the outcome all stakeholders of a virtual asset actually want - companies, private people and governments included. Nevertheless, in 2020 we want to take a careful approach to the issue of privacy. In line with this, our first step will be to make private transactions optional in the Testnet. As soon as this feature is deployed, the Testnet will also support public traceable transactions, as with Bitcoin. As we get closer to our mainnet launch, we will re-evaluate which privacy features of Tixl will be enabled and which (maybe temporarily) not. More detail below.
With the Blankenese release (see chapter above), our Testnet will support the two main privacy features of Tixl — confidential transactions (hiding amounts) and stealthchains (hiding senders and recipients). It will not yet include cut-through transactions that are needed for top-notch sender and receiver privacy, that feature will be pushed out a little in favor of other features mentioned later in this article. Over the next month, we will follow the regulation updates, tool development, media coverage, and exchange handlings in regard to privacy coins. If it seems likely that privacy coins face a real threat to their future existence, we will only launch the Tixl mainnet with public transactions and disable the private transactions by configuration. We would then work to see if we can re-enable the privacy features in the future, and still be compatible with regulatory requirements.
In the case where the future seems more assured for privacy coins - which we would obviously prefer - we’ll keep the ability to have optional private transactions included and enhance this feature by improving the privacy through cut-through transactions. We have decided to follow a risk-based approach to ensure we do everything we can to preserve the value and real-world application of Tixl, and protect everyone who holds it.
Introducing Tixl as a Second Layer Solution
Over the Christmas period, the elbstack office was empty and that left us a lot of space for brainstorming about the future of MTXLT. For us, the reason for re-evaluating our current marketing/business approach was triggered as a result of discussions with institutional investors. We’ve talked to business angels, VCs and family offices and received a diverse range of feedback. The biggest problem (at the time) for these investors was that we hadn’t yet launched our Testnet. However, there is another area of feedback that is commonly raised by a lot of these investors and that is: We currently don’t invest in first layer solutions.
Instead of simply saying “okay then, we’ll just look for other investors who also invest in first-layer solutions”, we asked ourselves whether Tixl could generate further value in addition to the first layer solution for TXL.
Then we came up with an idea. The Tixl platform has the ideal properties needed for payments: Speed, zero transaction fees and privacy (depending on the outcome discussed in the previous chapter). Why not provide these properties to other digital assets as a service? We know there are already existing solutions that solve the problem of making assets interchangeable. For example, the Lightning Network is the most popular solution for scaling Bitcoin transactions. Also, the Ethereum platform itself is a kind of second layer solution where other platforms can create their digital assets based on Ethereum. However, these solutions have not gained any real traction for payments. That’s why we see a huge opportunity to position Tixl as a next-generation payment network, focused on transferring digital assets quickly, cheaply and privately.
This does raise the question of whether this would make TXL itself obsolete. The answer is - not if TXL is used to pay small transaction fees for other assets in the network. TXL itself would still be transferable without transaction fees. Also, with the addition of other features - like including other digital assets which are not actively added by the Tixl validators by themselves - it would be conceivable to have parties pay a certain fee directly, or indirectly, in TXL.
Based on this idea, we got deeper into the brainstorming and thought about its possible implementations. One aspect we didn’t like about our idea was that for people to use our network they would have to actively purchase TXL beforehand like, for example, on Binance Chain where one has to buy BNB before being able to send other tokens. It would be ideal if people were happy to do that but, in reality, it does provide an obstacle to use and it’s something that has been criticized a lot in other networks which support different assets. As a solution, we came up with the idea of allowing transaction fees for certain assets, for example BTC, to be paid in their native currency. One could send BTC through our network without having to purchase TXL and pay much lower fees than on the Bitcoin blockchain itself. The native fees generated could then be used to purchase TXL from the public market and these TXL would then be burned. Taking these TXL out of circulation would increase the demand for (and value of) the remaining TXL. Also, a combination of a partial payout to the validators and partial usage for buying on the public market (and burning) could be feasible and will be defined in the near future. The buying on the public market could also be done centralized - by a foundation or other type of association - in the beginning, and could be handled by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) in the future.
Another, much more important question we asked ourselves is how other assets would come into the Tixl network. For that, we did some research and found an interesting protocol released in a scientific paper in 2019. We are not in a position to disclose the exact details of how other assets can be kept in the Tixl network in a decentralized way, but are already working on the implementation of a prototype. Our goal is to present the prototype as soon as we are able to send 1 BTC through the Tixl Testnet (not expected in Blankenese release). We believe that competing with other second layer solutions puts Tixl in a much more powerful position in terms of marketing possibilities, fundraising opportunities and community growth!
We look back on a very successful 2019 and are full of energy to push forward with the development and marketing opportunities of 2020. Even though the next decade is likely to have its challenges in terms of privacy coins vs AML, we still believe in the potential of Tixl becoming one of the top digital assets of the future. We will try our best to match privacy-driven technology with the upcoming regulation! 🙌
If you haven’t got involved in our community yet we would really appreciate it if you could support us by following us on social media and by sharing our tweets and articles. Thank you! 🙏