Launched in January 2016, PIVX is a privacy-centric proof-of-stake (PoS) cryptocurrency that prioritizes transaction privacy, fungibility, and community governance. Lauded as the first PoS project with masternodes and blockchain-based governance, PIVX features a number of cutting-edge technologies, including zero knowledge proofs, advanced proof-of-stake, masternodes, and cold staking.
In this exclusive interview, the PIVX team and community shares some insights into its work as a privacy coin and how it is navigating the regulatory landscape.
MNB: PIVX is privacy-centric. Can you tell us more about your privacy features?
PIVX: PIVX being “Privacy-Centric” gives us far more flexibility than other “privacy-focused” coins because of their “privacy-by-default” nature. Which means that they enforce privacy first, and we give users the option of privacy or transparent use.
This gives us a big step forward especially because that keeps us out of regulatory troubles and de-listing because we give users options to choose versus only privacy options. Balance is key.
We use the Sapling protocol from zcash adapted for PoS. It is less memory intensive as some privacy options out there and much smaller proofs which allows for smaller transaction fees because it’s not such a large payload/tx anymore. To which this is allowing us to work on a shield library for mobile applications that is now pheasble to do in our current system.
We’ve seen regulators target privacy-centric blockchain projects like Tornado Cash. There have also been calls by the EU to ban privacy coins. Does PIVX have any plans in place to circumvent these bottlenecks?
PIVX’s optional privacy and encrypted memo makes us KYC/AML/FATF compliant with the privacy features of our chain to keep us from regulatory pressure.
What do you think the future holds for privacy coins, given the growing activities of regulators in the crypto space?
Privacy is a human right, because you can’t have freedom, without privacy. The regulators will try to take that away, but people will wake up and demand for privacy coins will skyrocket.
In 2020, the PIVX team unveiled SHIELD, the first zk-SNARKs based privacy protocol. Can you explain how SHIELD improves privacy for users?
SHIELD uses the Sapling privacy protocol which benefits users by separating spending keys with the proving keys. This means that the key to move or spend funds can be kept separate and safe from the machine that would be doing the proving of the zk proofs. Transactions are also much lighter than other privacy protocols and much faster proving, making it better for mobile applications.
Tell us more about SHIELD staking. What other development is in the pipeline?
Shield masternodes are in the pipeline, DMN’s in the pipeline. Alongside, PIVX governance is funding the development of our MPW the non-custodial light wallet system, PIVCards, etc.
Masternodes were once a buzzword in the crypto space. However, a number of these once-hyped projects have left the market. Do you think masternodes are somewhat dead?
Masternodes have not died but have been rebranded to what many know them today as; “Validators” that may or may not require funds to run it though. Many do require a lockup/bonding period similar to our Masternode setups of locking coins to create the node. When a buzzword dies good marketers rebrand it and that’s why today we see validators. we just haven’t updated our vernacular to match the trend because of how used to it our community is, but would probably benefit from using the new term.
One of PIVX’s distinguishing features is its decentralized community governance model. Can you walk through how the masternode voting system enables decentralized decision-making? Have there been any bottlenecks in this approach?
Masternode voting allows for decentralized decision making because those that are active in the community have a say in how funds in PIV are spent. This makes it decentralized because there is no single entity making decisions but the participating community. Any bottlenecks in the approach are simply the normal issues of say political voting, participation. We could always use more people participating in voting.
Can you share any notable proposals that recently passed PIVX community votes? How does this governance process empower the community?
One notable proposal would be Shield staking as you guys inquired about earlier. Many exchange listings are also done through this making our business development grow exponentially. This empowers the community because they have a say and can also offer changes or suggestions in order to get their votes so the proposal passes.
How does PIVX balance the tradeoffs between decentralization purity and efficiency in its governance processes?
In 2020 – PIVX became the first proof of stake cryptocurrency to integrate zk-SNARK technology-based Sapling protocol as a privacy mechanism which PIVX dubs as SHIELD. Prior to this PIVX was the first cryptocurrency to develop a zerocoin proof of stake consensus. Actually, PIVX was the first ever private proof of stake coin by integrating zerocoin (zPIV) in 2017. Our biggest obstacle now to overcome is totalitarian ideals demonstrating privacy as a necessity only for those that have something to hide (illicit activity) we believe privacy is a fundamental right that protects you from malicious parties that want to monetise your financial data.
Are there any updates on the progress of projects funded through PIVX community governance like the video documentary series?
All progress you can see through github, our forums, our superblock reports outside of video updates from people like DAO Watch and of course via PIVX official on Twitter. https://github.com/PIVX-Project/PIVX
How does PIVX manage dividing its development fund between its own core developers and supporting external entrepreneurs building on PIVX?
The community ultimately decides the balance between core developers and external entrepreneurs, but the developers are also willing to compromise on things for the bigger picture, i.e.; two proposals in development were asked to be downvoted to allow other budget efforts in and to not compete with social media/marketing benefits/business development and so on and so forth.
What can be done to encourage more community participation and voting engagement as PIVX decentralized governance matures?
The most to be done is to talk more about it and get people more aware of the voting process. As of our 5.x.x releases we have added a GUI function for voting and creating proposals being a lot easier, we just need to continue to be loud about funding and governance and the importance of participation.