Portal Fianance AMA Summary Recap with Shin Chan Community

We held a live AMA with CMO: George Burke from Portal Finance on 1st December 10:00 PM (UTC+8). Here’s the recap for those who missed it.

Introduction

Serene | Shin Chan: A very warm welcome to George Burke

George | Portal Finance: Thanks for having me

I’m excited to talk with the community about PortalDeFi.com and building multiple layers of financial infrastructure onto Bitcoin

Serene | Shin Chan: Before AMA starts, can you give us some background on the Portal Finance team?

George | Portal Finance: I’m very proud of the allstars I get a chance to work alongside every day:
- Eric Martindale 10 years in Bitcoin, Head of Open Source at Blockstream and Engineering at BitPay, advisor to Lemniscap, and is the inventor of Fabric.
- Chandra Duggirala, Bitcoiner and M.D. turned entrepreneur, ran two 8-figure software businesses, and is the inventor of functional layer 2 cross-chain atomic swaps (he solved problems keeping Tier Nolan’s atomic swaps impractical until now).
- Alexey Melnichenko, 5 years architecting token & exchange design, engineer at Phantom Cyber (acquired by Splunk), designed the exchange engine at Totle.
- Manoj Duggirala Led a 150-engineer team at Invensense, designed the Apple M7 co-processor in phones and watches, ex-IBM Almaden. Engineering at Stanford.
- George Burke, 8 years in bitcoin, 3 exits in peer-to-peer/community startups incl. early bitcoin exchange Crypto Street, created the first Bitcoin debit card, and runs the world’s oldest bitcoin meetup.
- Johnny Dilley, VP of Strategy & Product at Blockstream. Conceptualized Liquid sidechains. Early VC at Pantera. 8 years in Bitcoin.
- Jack Mills, Engineering Architect of Casper Labs / RChain, and previous Director of Enterprise Platforms at Intel. Engineering at Stanford.

Here’s how we came together.
Manoj, Chandra, and I had built previous 7-figure startups and wanted to solve problems in crypto. I knew the Fabric CEO Eric Martindale for many years as a friend in the bitcoin space. He was a bitcoin god. Early at a Blockstream and early at BitPay and was one of the few human beings to undestand Layer 2’s and sidechains. Eric was first a mentor and advisor to our team. Johnny and Alexey worked with him at Fabric. Later they joined us to build Portal…

George | Portal Finance: For my background: I built a bitcoin/altcoin exchange in 2013 which was sold. I later went on to build the first bitcoin debit card in the US called FreshPay.

Prior to crypto, I launched the first “netflix for books” subscription club.

I also currently run the first-ever bitcoin meetup — Silicon Valley Bitcoin — SVBTC.org — first started by Roger Ver and Andreas Antonopolous

Serene | Shin Chan: Any latest/ update news about Portal Finance you would like to share with our community?

George | Portal Finance: Sure! Republic, one of the most prestigious launchpads in the world, is hosting our public sale in just a week or two and you may participate by first getting on the whitelist at

https://go.portaldefi.com/whitelist

Twitter Section Begins:

Q1. I noticed that cross-chain development is currently centralized across multiple platforms, so how does Portal consider this the focus of platform technology development? What benefits will be provided to users when they use it to exchange BTC for other tokens and vice versa?

George | Portal Finance: The wrapping and locking of funds onto other chains by these so-called “cross-chain” DEXes are neither trustless nor decentralized. BitGo custodies the majority of the billions of locked up BTC. As we saw with the recent $600M hack, these DEXes are honeypots waiting to happen. Atomic swaps solves this. Wrapping tokens becomes a thing of the past since coins of incompatible chains can be traded natively and without a risky middle-man. Each party’s funds are only locked during trade execution and not re-bonded or replicated onto other chains for eternity.

For examples of future vision, here are other future applications possible when zero-knowledge atomic swaps reach scale:

Imagine the ability to go anonymous with your payments on bitcoin. Coinjoin-like transaction obfuscation services, but much cheaper, quicker, and actually anonymous because it operates at layer 2 and layer 3 instead of several layer 1 burdensome transactions. Any coinjoin transaction is well-recognized by just looking at the wallet, and could be flagged. Instead, any layer 2/layer 3 obfuscation looks simply like a Lightning transaction despite maybe dozens of participants.

Several blockchains are looking for bridges to swap between their token and bitcoin, but these don’t trustlessly exist (yet). We have a few blockchains wanting integration for near trustless swapping and bonding between their token and bitcoin (or other tokens of incompatible blockchains). This interoperability is the holy grail of the crypto space. One partner we can name is Aeternity, another about to be named on Monday, and we will continue name the other partners over time.

Something cool that Fabric’s tech and Portal’s non-custodial atomic swaps wallet will enable is the ability to make a payment in one asset but the receiver receives a different asset, where it was automatically swapped in the same send transaction. Imagine only holding Chainlink but wanting to send someone Solana. Or only holding DOT and wanting to send someone BTC. Portal will enable this in the future. Can’t wait.

Q2. Could you tell us what exactly is the Fabric protocol and what is the role it plays within the PORTAL ecosystem? Why is it necessary within your platform?

George | Portal Finance: For some background, a layer 2 is a sequence of unsettled transactions on the main chain done for a purpose. For example, Lightning Network is a layer 2 system for peer-to-peer micropayments. However, lightning transactions — until settled — are not broadcasted to the main chain.

Our Layer 2 is enabled by Fabric Protocol (https://fabric.pub) and was invented by Portal’s CEO Eric Martindale.

Because the transactions take place in layer 2, you get the speed, similar to lightning network. Also, because of the ZK Swarm structure, partial fills enable aggregating liquidity just like centralized exchanges.

Portal is building a true cross-chain method of trust-minimized exchange without a 3rd party. But because these chains do not natively interoperate or communicate with another, a layer must be built above the base layer for such communication. Portal is a layer 2 system for peer-to-peer cross-chain contracting. Cross-chain contracting facilitates a variety of in-demand DeFi activities, like spot-trading, options, peer-to-peer lending, etc.

Other layer 2 platforms on bitcoin require a secondary token which changes the economic incentives. dApp with appcoins, built on such layer 2s, would require 3 tokens! BTC, L2 coin, and the app coin! CRAZY. Instead, Fabric’s only token is and ALWAYS WILL BE… BTC.

Fabric is the protocol for peer to peer message passing and contracting using bitcoin as the security layer. All of the layered networks built using Fabric can use portal to exchange into Bitcoin and other assets.

Fabric splits contracts into “ZK Swarms” — allowing all network participants to agree to contracts on their own terms. These are “multi party contracts”, with each peer earning Bitcoin for computing their part in the program. It does this at “layer 3”, which provides the privacy PLUS fungibility of transactions.

But why zero-knowledge? Why privacy?
How can a decentralized exchange layer be truly censorship-resistant if traders are known and addresses can be traced? So, Fabric technology enables ZK circuit creation which, when implemented, opens the door to a whole host of new methods of obfuscating transactions without losing verifiability.

For Bitcoin to become money, we need a censorship resistant, peer-to-peer trading system that crosses blockchains.

Q3. On this year as i see so many project born with exchange feature. And all of them will be usually release farming, staking, exchange, pool, and etc. Now what i am asking, what different your project betwen all old swap project until now ?

George | Portal Finance: Today’s DeFi and DEXs have problems with:
1) High gas fees: we utilize layer 2 for cross-chain swaps by which nodes can communicate hundreds or thousands of messages/transactions prior to settling on the main chain.

2) Poor UX: We agree the user experience for DEX trading has been awful so far. We have a beautiful non-custodial wallet that is as easy to use as Coinbase but self-sovereign and trust-minimized, where you can store coins and trade from within the same interface. We’ve worked years on developing this.

3) Asset locking & asset replication: The wrapping and locking of funds onto other chains by these so-called “cross-chain” DEXes are neither trustless nor decentralized. BitGo custodies the majority of the billions of locked up BTC. As we saw with the recent $600M hack, these DEXes are honeypots waiting to happen. Atomic swaps solves this. Wrapping tokens becomes a thing of the past since coins of incompatible chains can be traded natively and without a risky middle-man. Each party’s funds are only locked during trade execution and not re-bonded or replicated onto other chains for eternity.

Q4. I saw that you chose Bitcoin the default parent currency after checking Portal Finance. Why did you choose Bitcoin above any other stablecoin to be the parent currency? What do you believe the benefits will be?

George | Portal Finance: Bitcoin provides the security; no need to implement a new system and attempt to garner superior adoption. Bitcoin is the most decentralized and secure system and we think it is the monetary layer. If you want to build functionality, financial contracts and beyond, it makes sense to build it on top of the monetary platform vs any other platform. More importantly, layers of functionality on top of Bitcoin enable BTC to capture the value, but not the risk the failure at layer 1.

Additionally, by moving all communications to layer 2, akin to Lightning Network but purpose-built for exchange, we can achieve super fast trades while avoiding mining fees until final settlement.

Q5. On your website you constantly talk about “censorship reduction and even uncensored internet”, could you tell us, what are those censorships that users face in other projects that PORTAL intends to solve with your technology?

George | Portal Finance: To discuss censorship, first, let’s discuss atomic swaps:
Atomic transaction means either the entire cross chain contract (typically updating of both ledgers) happens all in one piece. For example, if you “atomic swap” your Bitcoin with someone’s ETH, either you get their money and they get yours, or nothing happens. It provides guarantees of a secure execution of an exchange without a trusted third party.

To fix the problems that have made layer 1 “tier nolan” atomic swaps impractical until today — such as miner front-running, long transaction times, lockup griefing, and all-or-nothing order execution, first we are utilizing Layer 2 for fast communication and coordination, including the ability to recompose orders into smaller chunks to create execution that is fungible, and therefore scalable. It’s done through the Fabric protocol (the protocol we use to build p2p ZK circuits for FHE), has been iused to build peer to peer communication and other apps. We utilize Fabric like a Lightning Network that is purpose-built for trading.

Second, we invented zero-knowledge swaps at a layer 3. How can a decentralized exchange layer be truly censorship-resistant if traders are known and addresses can be traced? So, Fabric technology enables ZK circuit creation which, when implemented, opens the door to a whole host of new methods of obfuscating transactions without losing verifiability.

Telegram Live AMA Begins:

Q6. How will the Portal team solve the most common complaints of DeFi users, such as excessive gas charges, poor user interface, and fund lock/unlock? On the other hand, how will Portal Finance contribute to the development of the DeFi industry?

George | Portal Finance: Today’s DeFi and DEXs have problems with:
1) High gas fees: we utilize layer 2 for cross-chain swaps by which nodes can communicate hundreds or thousands of messages/transactions prior to settling on the main chain.

2) Poor UX: We agree the user experience for DEX trading has been awful so far. We have a beautiful non-custodial wallet that is as easy to use as Coinbase but self-sovereign and trust-minimized, where you can store coins and trade from within the same interface. We’ve worked years on developing this.

3) Asset locking & asset replication:

The wrapping and locking of funds onto other chains by these so-called “cross-chain” DEXes are neither trustless nor decentralized. BitGo custodies the majority of the billions of locked up BTC. As we saw with the recent $600M hack, these DEXes are honeypots waiting to happen. Atomic swaps solves this. Wrapping tokens becomes a thing of the past since coins of incompatible chains can be traded natively and without a risky middle-man. Each party’s funds are only locked during trade execution and not re-bonded or replicated onto other chains for eternity.

Q7. What are your plans in 1–2 years? Are you planning to integrate with some of the larger private banks and players, where PortalDefi will be offered to their customers as a service?

George | Portal Finance: Before roadmap, let’s start with accomplishments so far: We invented zero-knowledge swaps, which fix the Layer 1 “Tier Nolan” atomic swap problems. In addition, our CEO invented the Fabric protocol (the protocol Portal uses to build p2p ZK circuits for Fully Homomorphic Encryption), and has been used to build peer-to-peer communications and decentralized other apps.

With the atomic swaps integrated into Fabric, we are rebuilding the Web from client server model to an uncensorable, decentralized architecture.

As for roadmap, we can announce that in only a couple of weeks we are launching our public sale on one of the most prestigious launchpads in the world, Republic, and unlike most other high profile projects, we are allowing investors from the US. If you’d like to participate, you’ll first need to be on the whitelist, available at https://PortalDeFi.com. We will also be announcing a number of partnerships with other tier 1 blockchain issuers over the coming weeks.

On the regulatory front, we have been seeing SEC lawsuits to various token projects for raising on an unregistered security; potentially fraud. This can be as little as a fine of millions or as bad as going to jail. Any issuer who promises an investor tokens is irreparably tethering the network token to the fundraise and will forever make that token a security. We will see any tokens deemed securities to be banned from trading on non-brokerage exchanges (which is pretty much all of them). Our fundraise is specifically designed to preserve the non-security nature of a digital asset that runs on the decentralized network, and therefore is never sold, given away, airdropped, etc. This way it can always be as freely transferrable as BTC itself.

Last, with regard to roadmap, Portal is a completely community-driven development. The community will determine roadmap and features post-launch. We’re excited to see where the community drives the project as they push the bitcoin interoperability ecosystem forward.

Q8. Portal is working on a self-hosted wallet and a cross-chain DEX, as I discovered. So, in this self-hosted wallet, how safe are our assets and funds? Can you give us more information about this wallet and the cross-chain DEX you’re working on? How will it be put into action?

George | Portal Finance: 1) Building a secure layer 1 system is incredibly hard. We don’t want to do that; Fabric uses the layer 1 system that already exists and therefore we use Bitcoin as OUR layer 1.

In Portal’s DEX, the contracts don’t depend on anything other than the trading pairs’ native chains… say BTC<>ETH. We are harnessing the security already built into Bitcoin and into Ethereum; the atomic swap contracts are minimal. Independently audited and tested to the max by a truly decentralized network before going live over the course of the past 5 years.

Unlike wrappers and bridges, these coins are not re-bonded into Portal and are not honeypots. The community treasury does not contain exposed user’s funds. The exposure is limited only to the token which is being traded — NOT what is bonded. This is the main difference between the Portal project and other so-called false “cross-chain DEX” projects. The flaw in bonding/wrapping is double the exposure for a breach in security; be it theft, risk, hacking. It’s like making a duplicate -or a triplicate- of your house key. The Portal project is designed to protect your key- the reliance on simple and native atomic swaps means there isn’t anything to expose. This is possible through the use of Fabric Protocol technology, which is an internet built on the layer 1 blockchain of bitcoin — the timechain itself.

2) Bitcoin provides the security; no need to implement a new system and attempt to garner superior adoption. Bitcoin is the most decentralized and secure system and we think it is the monetary layer. If you want to build functionality, financial contracts, and beyond, it makes sense to build it on top of the monetary layer vs any other layer. More importantly, layers of functionality enable bitcoin to capture the value, but not the risk of a failure of a layer 2 system.

Q9. Did you open the whitelist? Or any future plans Ido or airdrop? If yes, how can I participate? And which token is your own token?How can I get the latest updates? Can you share your social links?

George | Portal Finance: Luckily, Republic, the launchpad hosting our public sale, does not have many restrictions for participation. We’re even allowing in US investors (these days, due to heave regulatory burden, this is rare). That said, investors will still need to pass KYC. Republic will handle this for us.

If you wish to participate you’ll need to first be on the whitelist here: https://go.portaldefi.com/whitelist

Q10. I visited and searched your website. Can’t find your tokenomics somewhere? Would you please tell me how to find your tokenomics? And how many tokens are allocated for missing and can you share your tokenomics?

George | Portal Finance: We want to let you know we’ve spent countless hours designing the digital asset economics and flow…

HOWEVER, we cannot discuss tokenomics or the digital asset that the Portal decentralized network will run on. Why? On the regulatory front, we have been seeing SEC lawsuits to various token projects for raising on an unregistered security; potentially fraud. This can be as little as a fine of millions or as bad as going to jail. Any issuer who promises an investor tokens is irrepairably tethering the network token to the fundraise and will forever make that token a security. We will see any tokens deemed securities to be banned from trading on non-brokerage exchanges (which is pretty much all of them).

Instead, Portal’s fundraise — happening IN LESS THAN 2 WEEKS through a compliant securities offering on the best lauchpad in the world, Republic — is specifically designed to preserve the non-security nature of a digital asset that runs on the decentralized network, and therefore is never sold, given away, airdropped, etc. This way it can always be as freely transferrable as BTC itself. For more info on this, see the writeup we did on this compliant fundraise model here: https://blog.portaldefi.com/no-ico. Compound and Chia used a similar mechanism.

After public sale, it will be safe to publish the network mechanics and how the digital asset runs on the network.

Q11. Since NFT is popular nowadays, is there a plan for NFT integration?

George | Portal Finance: Yes, NFTs are hot.

I already see incompatible siloes being problematic because an NFT on one chain cannot be accessed through smart contracts on another chain.

Since Portal is all about cross-chain, trustless interoperability, I can see a future where we may be able to bridge the gaps between siloed NFT platforms.

I also see a future where a single NFT can be bonded with several FUNGIBLE tokens being minted for fractionated ownership.

Fabric’s technology would enable Portal to build both of these awesome NFT-features… HOWEVER, our roadmap is community driven and they will be the ones to direct the development team down that path. We shall see!

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