Last week the senior technical executives from Chia Network, Gene Hoffman, Bram Cohen and Paul Hainsworth, as well as J. Eckert moderating, hosted an Ask Me Anything about their product roadmap. This presentation was extremely information dense compared to Chia’s usual fare and there is a lot to talk about. I am going to break the AMA down into three or four parts this week in order to cover everything that was of interest to me. Yesterday I covered the Chia Asset Token (CATs) and the real world customer they are being developed with.
Today we are going to look at one of the changes that will be required for the CATs to function, as well as all sorts of other smart blockchain functionality – advanced Chia wallets.
The three main wallets that were discussed in the AMA were Light Electrum-style (but not Electrum) wallets, Distributed Identity (DID) wallets, and Coin Custody wallets. They also discussed custom or purpose built wallets to interact with different Chia Asset Tokens.
First the light wallets which Bram described as electrum-style but not the electrum protocol. This means that they will work like an electrum wallet without a sync process, where it just asks a server for the data it needs and sends transactions to a known node. In Electrum this requires a trusted endpoint to communicate to, and your wallet is tied to that service. The light wallet protocol Chia is teasing should be able to connect to a variety of servers running full nodes to request balances and make transactions. This seems like a different version of Nucle for practical purposes, and I’m not sure what the difference will be.
Secondly the DID wallets. Now, Distributed Identity, or Self Sovereign Identity, is a buzzword that everyone has jumped on and nobody uses. Microsoft even has a weird DDID program working with the Distributed Identity Foundation. In theory Azure AD supports DDID credentials. The EU is working on something. W3C has begun to establish a framework. But the protocol isn’t live, and everything is in preview from my understanding. I’ve never had a customer ask for it, or about it. But it is a buzzword, and I am curious if Chia will be the company to make something real out of this concept. And if they do, I’m curious if it does anything more than a self-signed certificate would.
The custodial wallet is one I am actually ambivalent on. They will need some sort of authorization process for transactions in order to get their technology into the enterprise. But this is something that will be of interest to Chia themselves sitting on their dragon pile of XCH coins, as well as the big cryptocurrency exchanges when XCH starts trading in volume. This is not something that I think ordinary folks are going to use to deliberately slow down the transfer process for coins they should already be storing securely.
All in all, I think the expanded official wallet types will have a pretty material impact on the Chia ecosystem. They are also going to be a core component of the next piece we are going to look at – decentralized finance, or DeFi.