Thank you to the NanoNews Community for participating in Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Portal DeFi August 24, 2021. This guest star George Burke, Founder & CMO and Dr. Chandra Duggirala, Co-Founder and Product of Portal DeFi. If you were unable to join the live AMA, no worries, here comes our 121th AMA recap!
We are glad to meet here:
George Burke, Founder & CMO Portal DeFi
Dr. Chandra Duggirala, Co-Founder and Product of Portal DeFi
For taking your time out from busy schedule for the AMA!
Q1. Could you give an introduction of yourself And how you can play an important role in Portal DeFi?
George: My name is George Burke, a co-founder at Portal. Our team started working on this since 2018 but I’ve been involved in bitcoin since early 2013. Always a believer in censorship resistant, egalitarian technologies.
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 – first started by Roger Ver and Andreas Antonopolous.
Hanson: Hi I’m Hanson, early investor in portal, formerly the founder and CEO of contract.org and currently a partner at B21 Capital. I think Portal has a big potential to be the most important project on bitcoin and will change the way users do Defi. I’m here to introduce resources to the project and help bring it to the market.
Q2. What is Portal DeFi? And how is the story behind the Portal DeFi Creation?
The motive behind Portal is expression of self-sovereignty. Portal is to cryptotrading what Tor is to p2p communication. Portal is an unstoppable p2p exchange.
For Bitcoin to become money, we need a censorship resistant, peer to peer trading system that crosses blockchains. That’s why we are building DeFi using cross chain atomic swaps. BItcoin is strengthened by building many layers of functionality.
Our team started in 2018 by building a self-sovereign multi-currency wallet that allows people to trade at many centralized exchanges right from within the wallet interface, but quickly noticed that the biggest point of failure for the entire crypto ecosystem exists at the layer of exchange. So between 2019 through to today, we’ve been concentrating on making trading coins as trustless as can be and decided to focus on making cross-chain atomic swaps usable, practical, and fast. Portal, at the layer of trade, will free up so much potential within the ecosystem.
I personally like portal because right now the only main players are projects like Uniswap where you can only trade tokens within the same blockchain. Portal will enable users to trade assets unwrapped between any blockchain. This will be extremely powerful and important within the crypto ecosystem.
Q3. What is so exciting about Portal DeFi , which might make Portal DeFi different from all other projects out there?
To answer this, you need to know what Portal is and its underlying technology, Fabric.
1) Fabric is the protocol, built ON BITCOIN, 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. It is a natural fit to have the team unified and aligned.
2) Portal, built on Fabric, is enabling atomic swaps for coins across incompatible blockchains; trust-minimized trading using the security model of bitcoin.
3) Here’s what’s so exciting and unique about 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.
Q4. Can you share some information about merging with the Fabric project, because it sounds very interesting?
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. Later he joined us to build Portal.
And as I mentioned in the last answer, all of the layered networks built using Fabric can use Portal to exchange into Bitcoin and other assets. It is a natural fit to have our teams unified and aligned.
I’m very excited for the two companies to merge. These are the two strongest teams in the bitcoin blockchain space. Eric was contributor to the lightning network as well. This will be the first project to bring cross chain atomic swaps and defi to bitcoin allowing it to unlock its full potential.
has always been a pioneer in the bitcoin and crypto space. Being the founder of the first bitcoin debit card company shows his early visionary. We both think a cross chain dex without wrapped assets will be one of the first, and early to the crypto space.
Q5. What are some achievement that Portal DeFi has achieved so far? And what are Portal DeFi plans, Especially in 2021?
Portal Defi has retained one of the top PR agencies that have helped with press for top projects like polkadot, binance and other big crypto projects. They have pledged their support for Portal Defi. Additionally, dozens of influencers and AMA communities have pledged support as well. Domestically and internationally, Portal Defi is one of the strongest projects in terms of support received. There will soon be ambassador programs to get people involved and more content coming out to explain about Portal Defi. There will be a lot of exciting partnerships coming up. The team is one of the most well connected in the space.
1) In terms of achievements, we invented zero knowledge swaps, which fix the Layer 1 tier nolan atomic swap problems. In addition, Fabric protocol (the protocol we use to build p2p ZK circuits for FHE), has been used to build peer to peer communication and other apps.
2) In October we plan to have a public sale, which is intended to bring massive awareness to the project and decentralize the stakeholdership of Portal protocol and $PORTAL tokens
Our public sale partner is among the biggest in the world. We can’t announce who yet, but look for that announcement.
Q1. Can you explain the layer 2 system in portal swaps. You invented zero knowledge swaps, what major swap problem does this invention fix? What makes Portal DeFi stand out from others’ platforms?
For some background, a layer 2 is a sequence of unsettled transations 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.
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.
Q2. We know nft is booming this year, do you with your team will give us a feature or something integration with nft project?
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. However, our roadmap is community driven and they will be the ones to direct the development team down that path. We shall see
Q3. So in scale 1-100 how fast PORTAL Defi will complete the transaction per transaction? Is it fast enough than the other project? Thanks!
Fabric itself is not a blockchain and does not need a consensus mechanism. Like Lightning, Fabric has blazingly fast confirmation, low gas fees, and will enable Bitcoin to become a more useable chain. 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.
Q4. Hackers are very active in the market and almost everyday we hear about another hack attack. Can you please give some information about the security system of portal defi? How safe are the funds of the investors? Do you already have an audit?
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, the contracts don’t depend on anything other than Bitcoin and Etherieums securities. We are harnessing the security of Bitcoin and ETH, the atomic swap contracts are minimal. Independently audited and tested to the max by a truly decentrallized 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 “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, finanicial 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.
Also, we use a strongly-typed, Turing Incomplete system, enabling formal verification of all contracts. Developers are able to see mistakes before deploying, reducing the risk of error. We will also publicly post Audit reports.
Q5. According to your website, Portal Defi Swap are non-custodial and use Portal’s ZK-Swaps technology. Can you explain how does your platform utilizes the ZK-Swaps technology?What are the advantages of this technology and what benefits it will bring to users of Portal Finance?
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.
Q1. What is the most ambitious goal of your project? What is the ultimate vision that Your project is trying to achieve within the cryptocurrencies market? I would appreciate it if you could share with us any Upcoming Updates?
“The motive behind portal is expression of self-sovereignty. Portal is to crypto trading what Tor is to p2p communication. Portal is an unstoppable p2p exchange.
For Bitcoin to become money, we need a censorship resistant, peer to peer trading system that crosses blockchains. That’s why we are building DeFi using cross chain atomic swaps. BItcoin is strengthened by building many layers of functionality.”
Q2. Can you list 1-3 killer features of Your Project that makes it ahead of its competitors? What is the competitive advantage your project has that you feel most confident about?
1) Low transaction 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) Great 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) Swapping without wrapping: 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.
Q3. Many projects rug pulled and exit scam recently. Why should investors trust your project not to do the same?
Convincing investors to invest is not our primary objective. Obviously it is a great side effect of our efforts, however we are not in the business of soliciting investors. We are more concerned with developing a product that the community trusts, uses, and, most importantly, embraces. Portal the network doesn’t depend on us, and is not controlled by us – the ultimate security. You want p2p systems to be secure against any 1 point of failure. The participants in the Portal network make or break the system- not us. Once it is live, because the community is the wind in the sales, the decentrallized community has complete athourity over the network.
Q4. How important is the community to Your project? and How can we collaborate or help share token for the development of the project?
Portal and Fabric are completely community-driven developments. 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.
Please join the project’s main telegram https://t.me/portalgroupchat
Q5. Your project has great features. There must be an experienced team behind. Can you tell some about your team and their experiences in the market?
I helped build the first Bitcoin debit card and operate the first bitcoin meetup, Silicon Valley Bitcoin. Eric, our CEO, was head of open source at Blockstream and was an early engineer at BitPay. Our COO was the original architect of RChain/Casper Labs. We have an allstar team. Check out https://portaldefi.com to see the bios of our other teammates
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