An Interview With Silk Network Developer Spencer Lievens – News Bitcoin News


An Interview With Silk Network Developer Spencer Lievens

Anonymous cryptocurrencies are a hot topic these days, as many are trying to lead the pack in this category. Digital currencies such as Monero, Dash, and Shadowcash have been increasingly growing in value. Now, another privacy-centric currency has entered the space: DarkSilk (DSLK). This project claims to bring more privacy to the crypto-landscape.

Also read: JP Morgan’s Ethereum-Based Quorum Gets Mixed Reception chatted with Spencer Lievens, lead developer and CTO of the Silk Network. Lievens gave us an inside glimpse at the Silk Network project and what his team hopes to accomplish. He also explains to our readers the difference between DarkSilk compared to the many competitors on the market. Additionally, Lievens details what they believe DarkSilk’s relationship with Bitcoin is and the overall mission of the Silk Network itself.  

 The Silk Network Wants Users to ‘Conduct Free Speech, and Political Activities’ (BC): Can you explain to our readers what the Silk Network is?

Silk NetworkSpencer Lievens (SL): It is likely that you have not heard of the underground team/project Silk Network, nor the ICO for DarkSilk(DSLK) which is due for release on the 5th of November. This is fully understandable as our team doesn’t consist of marketers or promoters, but simply visionaries and visionary developers.

Silk Network strives to combine the best technical innovations from modern cryptocurrencies into a coherent ecosystem, thus ensuring security, anonymity, and long-term viability. Our platform consists of DarkSilk, Silk, and Weaver; the three parts which make up the tripartite of Silk Network.

On the 23rd of December 2015, we formed Silk Network Ltd., which is a for-profit organisation driven by its members who can mold and shape Silk Network. Our business model is focused on two pillars, servicing our Weaver platform with its features and stabilising the DarkSilk currency (yes stabilising the currency is a profitable process).

While most crypto-organisations rely on outside funding, the Silk Network aims to keep control over its own business process, and through that realise its goals, to be autonomous to that end would be a great achievement.

The value of Silk Network is apparent once the team, the vision and work achieved thus far are further brought to light.

BC: Can you tell us about the core team behind the Silk Network?

SL: The Silk Network team consists of 8 protagonists including myself, all of whom are involved with cryptocurrency for not just the social change it will bring, but to proactively improve the securing of the user via trustless systems, hardened algorithms, encryption, quantum cryptography, blockchain development, and decentralisation.

BC: What is the Weaver platform?

Spencer Lievens Silk Network
Spencer Lievens, Lead Developer of the Silk Network

SL: What users will see Weaver as is a website that you log into and are presented with a dashboard. From there they can access many varied cryptographic services such as online wallets, mining services, forums, Stormnode hosting, encrypted messaging, the ability to pay Bitcoin invoices with either Silk or DarkSilk and API access to all facets of the system.

Users will have the option of three accounts tiers, Standard, Gold or Diamond. Standard accounts should be good enough for most users, but if a user wishes to have stealth addresses or algo auto-switching on the multipool, higher priority withdrawal, different payout options on the multipool or instant swap, then a paid account may be an option that will better suit them. These paid accounts can also be paid for using Silk, DarkSilk or Bitcoin and are monthly subscriptions. Users will have access via an API to every facet of Weaver such as their Dashboard, Woven, Mining and Analytics.

Weaver is also what handles the stabilisation mechanism, however, long term we are looking to decentralise this across the DarkSilk and Silk blockchains.

BC: Can you tell our readers about Stormnodes and how it differs from Dash’s Masternodes?

SL: Primarily for end-users the use of the Stormnode network will come in the process of mixing their coins for Sandstorm and the signing of their InstantX transactions. For the user wanting to invest in DarkSilk and in turn Silk Network, then the Stormnode is an excellent option.

The Stormnodes collateral cost is 1000DSLK, which is locked whilst the Stormnode is running. During its operation users receive rewards of 0.382DSLK per block, and this offers a great return on investment. Unlike Dash’ Masternodes the reward to Stormnode owners is not deducted from the Proof-of-Work reward.

Another benefit of the Stormnode network is the budgeting system; proposals can be made by any user on the network which is then voted upon by the Stormnode owners/operators. Voting power is given to those who have invested directly into a Stormnode and are actively increasing the anonymity of the userbase, processing quorums and supporting the network.

Silk Network will be directly utilising the Stormnode proposal platform to allow the community to vote on the direction of not just DarkSilk, Silk or Weaver, but the whole Silk Network.

For the network, another benefit of the Stormnode network is the use of them as a second tier of security. A Stormnode can confirm other tasks on the network, completely independent of the network itself, which allows for further applications to be developed by other developers and assigned to them. An example of one of these tasks or quorums is InstantX. A quorum we are looking to enable via the Stormnode network is a decentralised exchange which has been worked upon by Silk Network and Johnathan Turrall of MetaLair.

The Stormnode network within DarkSilk really does add an amazing factor to the Silk Network as a whole and its evolution.

BC: What is Sandstorm?

SL: PrivateSend in Dash is an improved and extended version of CoinJoin which has been rebranded in DarkSilk(DSLK) to Sandstorm. This allows users to attain fungibility by being able to anonymise their DarkSilk using the Stormnode network. The amount of rounds the coins are anonymised and the amount of coin anonymised, are both selectable. This gives the user the option to further increase their anonymity.

Silk Network

BC: How does DarkSilk (DSLK) differ from other privacy-centric cryptocurrencies such as Dash, Monero, and ShadowCash? Do you believe your project is a strong competitor against these other privacy-centric cryptocurrencies?  

SL: Evan Duffield from Dash has been supportive and has said that he is happy to see a team take the work they are doing as seriously as we do and Ryno Mathee (Rynomster) from ShadowCash has contributed some work to the DarkSilk codebase as well. Monero, however, I have had no dealings with at all and can see their value as being based off of the precursor of, and it being accepted as a payment option on AlphaBay. However, the technology called OpenAlias which they use to create human readable addresses interests me.

Both Dash and ShadowCash offer an excellent level of privacy. However, price stability isn’t something that either coin can offer, and DarkSilk combines the privacy functionality of both Dash and ShadowCash. I personally believe that we will be a strong competitor in time, in terms of userbase, codebase, transactions, stormnode network size, full nodes on the network and services available to the public.

BC: Why is Silk Network holding an ICO?

SL: Silk Network has worked tirelessly for two years on the project. With the ICO, Silk Network is able to introduce DarkSilk(DSLK) to the world, receive some well-earned development funds for future development and allow for initial DarkSilk(DSLK) distribution.

BC: Why is privacy and anonymity important to your team and development?

SL: Privacy limits the overall power of governments and corporation over individuals and builds trust and respect between the users and Silk Network. Anonymity allows users to conduct freedom of speech, social and political activities. These values are really deeply rooted in the team’s personal values as individuals.

BC: Can you explain how DarkSilk (DSLK) will offer instantaneous transactions?

SL: The Stormnodes on the DarkSilk network carry out tasks such as Sandstorm, voting, budgeting and also InstantX transactions, these are what are known as quorums and require consensus between the Stormnodes.

When selecting to send an InstantX transaction, the amount the user wishes to send is pre-confirmed by the Stormnodes network which then locks the transaction, the Stormnodes reach consensus, then the transaction is sent. This process takes around ~5 seconds, and the receiving party gets a fully confirmed transaction signed with 10 confirmations.

BC: Does your team consider itself a competitor to Bitcoin or more of a complimentary cryptocurrency?

SL: Silk Network and the stability mechanism is dependent upon three units of account, DarkSilk, Silk and there needs to be a third medium to store value. Naturally, this is Bitcoin. If the hegemony in cryptocurrencies changes then the third pillar is up for debate. As it stands, we will be using Bitcoin as the third pillar.

BC: You have a decentralized marketplace on your roadmap can you tell our readers about this?

SL: We want to provide consumers with a way to transact in privacy and take it back to the time when looking over another’s shoulder into their wallet was deemed impolite. Nowadays you are shunned if you don’t show the contents of your wallet, no citizen should have something to hide is the new mantra.

For businesses this is different, they do need to be transparent, and they also need to be responsible for the services they provide or sell. Businesses and consumers should be treated differently, and it is this distinction that the Silk Network will be different from darknet markets. As long as the market is guaranteed that the products are legit, then the consumer can have their privacy.

Before the digital era, and even today, the buyer enters the marketplace, trade with the seller for cash, takes their goods with no record of the purchase needed and no names exchanged or any data recorded apart from the knowledge that the seller was credited and the buyer was debited, with this knowledge only shared by the parties involved in the trade. We want to bring this kind of anonymity into the digital world.

BC: Would your team be open to Darknet Markets accepting DarkSilk (DSLK) like they do with Monero? Or would your team be against this type of move?

SL: With DarkSilk being open  source there is nothing we could do to prevent it from happening nor would we want to prevent the use of the currency DarkSilk(DSLK) on DNM’s. Having a decentralised marketplace within DarkSilk, however, means that we would prefer to see traffic hitting our network than any other marketplace, including DNM’s.

BC: What’s the overall mission of the Silk Network?

SL: To present the world with a real usable currency that carries the same fundamental principles as traditional cash. Besides a stable value or adequate liquidity, anonymity also plays a key role. Beyond these, Silk Network will continue to develop features that will carry the platform far into the 21st century.

Thank you for speaking with us about the Silk Network, Spencer.

What do you think about the Silk Network? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Silk Network.

Tags in this story
Anonymity, Decentralized Marketplace

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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the News Lead at News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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