via The Merkle
by Colin Harper
On its website, Altcoin.io advertises itself as “a truly decentralized exchange. Built by traders, for traders.” Recently, the company released an updated version of its atomic swap wallet. As CEO Andrew Gazdecki told The Merkle, “it’s basically a decentralized version of www.shapeshift.io via atomic swaps.” The concept piqued our interest, so we decided to write up this exclusive covering the specs of this nascent platform. Here’s what we found.
A NEW ERA OF DECENTRALIZED TRADING
For those new to atomic swaps, they’re exactly what the name implies. It’s a method of swapping currencies across blockchains without needing to go through an exchange. Atomic swaps use hashed time-locked contracts to confirm the sending or receiving of funds, a contractual agreement similar to smart contracts in function. The trading parties will not receive their exchanged currency until both sides agree to the trading terms and sign off on a cryptographic code that serves as a receipt for the transaction.
Now that that’s covered, back to Altcoin.io. In October, the company published a blog post indicating that it had conducted the first-ever successful atomic swap between the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains. Currently, its wallet beta only allows for testnet swaps of Bitcoin and Ethereum. A testnet coin is a coin that originates from a testnet faucet for the specific purpose of testing new tech. If you decide to try out Altcoin.io’s atomic swap wallet, do not send any of your actual coins. They will be lost, you will be sad, and we’ll probably get some angry comments about it.
Altcoin.io wants to make sure these swaps are completely secure before it launches its mainnet, so that’s why the company doesn’t want you using anything but testnet tokens until then. But if you’d like to give the beta a go to see what it’s like, Altcoin.io offers handy instructions on one of its blog posts.
The company plans to launch its mainnet after a security audit is completed to verify the integrity of its network. When the testnet goes live, the Altcoin.io team hopes to introduce the following by the end of the year: an expanded list of coin offerings, a decentralized order matching system, the ability to use their atomic swaps within an existing wallet, and create an improved user interface/experience.
THE BENEFITS OF ALTCOIN.IO’S ATOMIC SWAP WALLET
There are a number of benefits to using a cross-chain decentralized exchange. The most apparent is the ability to trade funds directly from a user-controlled wallet without the need for a centralized exchange like Binance, Bittrex, or Bitfinex.
Even when we compare this option to a decentralized exchange, the benefits stack up in Altcoin.io’s favor. When you use smart contracts for trading on an exchange like EtherDelta, you still have to deposit funds into the exchange’s smart contract. As such, you are relying on the smart contract’s code and your own ability to not somehow mismanage the funds between wallet and smart contract. With Altcoin.io’s atomic swap wallet, though, your funds stay in your own wallet until the swap is completed, resulting in a safer exchange that you control from the get-go.
We’re pretty excited to see what Altcoin.io has in store for the new year. As detailed in a recent blog post, the company’s mission “is to empower everyone, regardless of market knowledge, to trade altcoins securely and with confidence.” Additionally, Andrew Gazdecki told The Merkle that Altcoin.io is operating with “[no] ICO, no outside funding,” and that the team is “just working to make cryptocurrency trading easier and more secure for the world.”
It looks like they’re doing their best to provide an easier, more secure, and more accessible way to trade altcoins than the market currently provides, and they’re doing so in a way that prioritizes product and user experience before investment capital. As such, Altcoin.io has caught our attention, and given the rate of its progress, it’ll likely keep it in the year to come.