VeChainThor Wallet and VET Token Swap AMA

2018-07-17 10:30
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This AMA is using questions generated by our Reddit community. To view all the questions, please view this link. This event is to answer questions related to the current and future status of the VeChainThor Mobile Wallet and its corresponding token swap.

It is important to remember that though the blockchain market appears to move at lightspeed, enterprises and software development still operate at their normal pace.

Q1. “Why did you decide to keep the address system exactly like Ethereum, starting with 0x…? Who decided this?

It is poised to result in mistakes of users. It doesn’t show much of an evolution from ETH, and makes VeChainThor look like a fork of Ethereum.”

A1: Firstly, just as we coded in the VeChainThor genesis block, we “Salute & Respect, Ethereum” and publicly claim that we have stood on the giant’s shoulder. We cannot deny that Ethereum established a great foundation for a smart contract platform, and as such, some of that foundation remained in its next evolution.

While almost 80% of the VeChainThor Blockchain code base is new or significantly altered, we kept components seen in the Ethereum code base that we believe add stability and compatibility to the VeChainThor Blockchain. Not everything needs to be changed to be radically different.

From the technical standpoint, while many blockchain platforms use address display formats such as Base58, most of the blockchains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, use HEX string addresses at the bottom level. We want our code to be clean and our development plan to be efficient. To put it simply those two goals were why we kept the raw hex string as the VeChainThor Address.

By keeping this portion of the code the same, we afforded many upsides in our development plan. We have made the code more convenient and straightforward to use for developers, as HEX (“0x”) is easy to understand and it is a standard generated from a secured cryptographic algorithm. Also, we initially modified the Ethereum account storage code base building more features into it, such as twin token systems and other genesis contract features, which are dependent on this address format. Lastly, this decision is critical for the clients we have that want to move their Ethereum code base to the VeChainThor Platform. 

The growing need for a more reliable blockchain and code base has sent us countless requests for migration and support.

The VeChainThor Blockchain has features for both enterprise usage and the end user, such as multi-task transaction, multi-party payment, transaction dependency to support real-world use. Currently, users pay more attention to the address format because most of the activities users can do on any blockchain is token transfer. In real-world blockchain usage, using blockchain technology as the underlying protocol will be transparent to the users. Therefore, the blockchain address will play a much less significant role in the user experience. We do not want to make it different to be different.

There is very little value added to changing this in the code base outside of a marketing gimmick. Changing the address structure not only is inherently dangerous to redesign but is fundamental to the Ethereum code base. Of the 80% of the code base we found we needed to change, the address structure was not one.

Q2. “What additional features are in the pipeline for the VeChainThor mobile wallet? Will there be an advantage to using the VeChainThor mobile wallet compared to a hardware wallet (Ledger) and the observe function? e.g. ICO participation, ease of VTHO accumulation, reinvesting?

Are enterprise partners and authority masternodes using VeChain Foundation custom-made hardware wallets? Ledger wallets? Or also using mobile wallets?”

A2: We plan to add a lot of features in the VeChainThor Wallet in the upcoming releases such as identity system, integration with VeVID, dApps browser, and a plethora of unknown projects our team is working on. We believe this application will be the easiest method for retail users to interact with services and dApps on the VeChainThor Platform.

Our vision is for people to use dApps and services in the VeChainThor Platform on a daily basis. We have witnessed how smartphones changed China into a cashless society in just a few years time. To us, the go mobile strategy is critical to achieving mass adoption even if the western markets are not as far along as the eastern in their approach; they will be there soon.

While we have done significant security testing of our mobile wallet, the hardware wallet does offer a higher level of security. As mentioned before, making the VeChain Hardware Wallet is in our plans, and we plan to integrate the VeChain Hardware Wallet and even third-party hardware wallets with the VeChainThor Mobile Wallet beyond the observe function. Currently, the blockchain industry suffers from a lack of fleshed out scope, and we believe this Hardware to Software approach will dramatically expedite the way people perceive the core value added to blockchain technology.

For enterprise users, we will provide different solutions for them to manage the private key, such as hardware wallet, HSM solution, and integration with their existing IT systems. Our approach has proven to help enterprises quickly and securely manage their digital assets. In the coming months, you will be able to see this reflected in the blockchain explorer.

Q3. “Could you expand more on how VeVID will be used with the wallet(s)?”

A3: In the upcoming releases of the VeChainThor Wallet, the identity module will be added. The VeVID system will share the same user account system with the wallet. Therefore, you will be able to access your VeVID profile in the wallet itself. The VeChainThor Wallet will be the key access point to authorize other parties such as exchanges or financial service providers to access your verified identity information on the blockchain to avoid repeatedly submitting KYC information. All of this is stored securely on the blockchain limiting the impact a stolen phone can have on your identity.

Q4. “Will I be able to set my VeChain Wallet on “auto-pilot” to sell my generated Thor and automatically buy VET at the current market price? Similar to stocks- Dividend Reinvestment?”

A4: We are working with OceanEX to provide a smooth conversion function between VET and VTHO native to the VeChainThor Wallet. We are also working to integrate this functionality with enterprise liquidity pools and other mainstream financial service providers. This requested feature will be provided, but do not expect it in the next release of our application.

At present, the autopilot function is not in our immediate release schedule. Migration and expanding the scope of commercial functionality are our core objectives. Quality of life features will come shortly after or will be provided by third parties working in collaboration with the Foundation.

Q5. “Does the wallet or ledger app have any plans to tie in with OceanEx in any way?

I’m sure everyone would love to sell their VTHO for more VET, and a few are already asking about this. The app linked to OceanEx would also provide a plethora of liquidity for businesses to acquire VTHO. However my question isn’t specifically about restaking.”

A5: We are working with OceanEX to provide a secure conversion function between VET and VTHO in the VeChainThor Wallet. Our goal is to make any member of the ecosystem fully benefit from the VeChainThor Wallet. Any application you can think of between two existing parties is likely in the ecosystems development plan. Please remain cognitive of time and scope. The future is bright, but new developments are still not an instantaneous achievement.

Q6. “Is there anything regulatory-wise or participation-wise that the United States Citizen X-Node holders should know or be aware of in regards to VeChain’s future and their X-node status? For example, finding out that all of us will not be able to participate in a lot of ICOs was a bummer, but was never explicitly mentioned by VeChain initially.

Now, I am in no way blaming VeChain for that, but seeing as staying in step with regulations is one of the most significant concentrations of VeChain (as evidenced in the recent medium article), what are some things that you guys are working on in regards to meeting US regulations, and is there anything else we should know as US citizens that may prevent us from participating fully in the VeChain ecosystem? Are we fully eligible to run these nodes, get VeVid #s, etc.? Is there anything in the pipeline that you foresee US citizens not being able to take advantage of again (like the ICOs)?”

A6: First of all, being an X Node does not require KYC, you can keep your X Node status as long as you own a valid X Node address. You could choose to do KYC through VeVID as this will provide relevant services on VeChain, but it does not have to be directly linked with your X Node status.

Due to the regulatory requirements, all ICOs require KYC from their investors, and we expect many ICOs on VeChain will utilize the VeVID feature to reduce the verification overhead. Unfortunately, non-accredited US citizens are banned from the majority of ICOs, which is something the ICO projects have to follow as they value the regulatory compliance status.

We do have multiple parties that will be offering ICOs allowing participants from the United States as that is their home location and they have regulatory oversight to provide such. This approach is currently not widespread, and there is no standard. We believe, in due time, that this process will become more streamlined for all countries. Patience is often rewarded.

Q7. “About VeVID: What kind of personal information will we have to provide to generate a VeVID? Is a VeVID mandatory to move our X-Node or participate in ICOs?

For example: will we have to scan our passport and provide proof of residency.”

A7: You will have to go through the standard KYC (similar to the exchange KYC) to prove your identity as an individual or an entity to get a VeVID profile on the VeChainThor Blockchain. However, you only need a VeVID if the services or dApps you would like to use that require it. Being an X Node does not require KYC, you can keep your X Node status as long as you own a valid X node address. Your X node does not have to be tied up with a VeVID, but the ICO projects will require KYC one way or another, and we imagine many will opt to mandate the use of VeVID. The use of VeVID is decided by the service provider or token issuer and is not forced upon by the Foundation.

Q8. “Once VET is swapped, will VTHO generation start the moment you put it into the wallet?”

A8: The VTHO generation does not depend on the wallet, it automatically generates in each block on any address with a VET balance. The VTHO generation is not like other blockchains with dual token systems that require the user to claim the secondary token manually.

Q9. “Please explain why each permission is required on Android (eg. Storage, Camera, etc). It might alleviate some user concerns.”

A9: We follow the principle of need-to-know basis when designing the permission system. The camera is needed for users to scan QR code and storage is needed for the storage local data.

Q10. “What is the day we will start generating Thor? And will we be compensated for the amount of time VeChain has been in mainnet and have yet to generate Thor?”

A10: VTHO starts generating on an address as soon as there is VET balance on it. As mentioned in the previous post, we will compensate users with VTHO for the token swap period.

Q11. “Will a desktop wallet be available in time to do binding and swap?”

A11: The VeChainThor user agent, Sync, is available on Mac and Windows. It includes the wallet function. You can use it to create and manage your wallet, and do the binding and swap from the mobile wallet by observing the wallet you created in Sync.

Q12. “Before the the transition to vet you stated once VeChain Thor blockchain launches it will have more transactions running on it than any other blockchain project.

Are your partners using the mobile wallet? Is anyone utilising the vechain Thor block chain yet for example DNVGL? If they aren’t using the blockchain yet what is the ETA?

How long until we see dapps and other functions on the wallet?

How long until we can use the VeChainThor wallet to track products etc. is this something that will be implemented soon or in 5 years.”

A12: We are working with our existing enterprise users through their migration. As some of the enterprises are utilizing the VeChain Blockchain in their production servers, this requires significant effort both for planning, testing, staging, and more when migrating production data and porting applications to the mainnet. Even if the entire process were done before the release of the blockchain, enterprises would not have turned on their use of the blockchain at the genesis block.

In addition, for many of recent partnerships we have signed, they are actively developing on the public testnet. As soon as their development and testing is done, they will start to use the mainnet as well.

As we have mentioned several times, VeChain is for the real implementation of blockchain technology in business use; it’s far more complicated than merely deploying a token smart contract or saying dApps are theoretically possible within an ecosystem. While enterprise-grade applications will require more time and efforts, it also creates much more real value. We have already announced several enterprise dApps that have already been built and will be using the blockchain shortly.

Since the mainnet is still in the token swap process, you should expect to see more dApps development and enterprise usage from late Q3 to Q4 this year. Our promises remain in tact, and many intensive VeChainThor Blockchain users/use cases are still unannounced.

Q13. “Will the exchanges that have announced support for this swap (let’s use Binance as the example) disable VEN/VET deposits and withdrawals during the swap window?”

A13: Exchanges will most likely disable the VEN withdrawal during the swap window. VEN deposit may be available so that you can still send VEN to the exchange and swap it for VET. But please make sure you deposit into the correct address.

The VET withdrawal might not be available right after the swap, and the exchange determines this date. We will work closely with exchanges to expedite the process.

Please remember that VeChain is not the party in control of their swap process. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the exchange directly.

Q14. “Will it be possible for us to generate VTHO on for example Binance? Or is the mobile wallet the only way to collect our VTHO?”

A14: VTHO is generated on any address with a VET balance. It is up to Binance (or any exchange) if they want to treat each user as a wallet within their exchange and reward the generated VTHO. It is very much possible for that to happen, it is just at their discretion.

Q15. “Seems like everyone has a Ledger so let me ask for the few with Trezors.”

I currently have my X-node qualified 6k VEN in MEW with keys stored in my Trezor. Would some kind soul please explain exactly what I need to do (and by what deadline)?

A15: We do not have any ETA for Trezor support. You can still bind your X Node with an address that is created in the VeChainThor Wallet before the X Node binding deadline. We plan to provide a means for users to change their X Node address meaning you could use these future methods to transfer the status when Trezor support is available.

Q16. “Do you plan to add more security features and options such as email verification and other forms of verification before payments are sent from the wallet?

I would like to see a shuffled keyboard/numbers, Enjin Wallet, for example, use one. I also am not sure how secure a pin is compared to a password, a bit easier to crack surely? Can we have the option to use a string as a password instead?”

A16: While security is our priority, we need to strike a balance between user experience and security. Each wallet has its own security design, and the security level of a wallet depends on the holistic security design instead of just one or two functions. We assessed the risk and designed a combination of security measures through working with professional security firms. Security testing is always being conducted, and we are confident saying that the VeChainThor Wallet is one of the most secure wallets in any market.

Q17. “X node holder here with everything on a ledger. Am I ever going to need to install the mobile app? Is it 100% necessary or will the ledger wallet app have the same functionality the mobile app does. I have a rooted phone and need to decide whether i have to buy a new phone to do this or not…”

A17: The VeChainThor Wallet will be the portal to various VeChain services, and we encourage everyone to download and use it.

We provide the option for users to manage the private key of their wallet in their hardware wallet, such as a Ledger wallet, but services such as X Node Binding, token swap, and economic node management can only be initiated from the VeChainThor Mobile Wallet.

Q18. “Will users be able to use the wallet to verify products, or will they have to use the VeChain pro app? If they can use the wallet, will they be able to also use the wallet to buy the product, and store their ownership of that product in the wallet as well?”

A18: Yes, we plan to merge some of the functions in the VeChain Pro App into the VeChainThor Wallet. We want users to verify products as well as claim and transfer ownership of the digitized products on the VeChainThor Blockchain through the VeChainThor Wallet.

Q19. “Can Gu elaborate for us on security aspects of the mobile wallet? Specifically, do the private keys ever leave the app? There’s a lot of discussion on Ledger Vs. Mobile App, and it would be good to hear the team’s take on why the wallet is a secure and more desirable choice.”

A19: The private key never leaves the app. The mnemonic phrase of a wallet can only be exported in one stage which occurs during the wallet creation, and this is only done for backup purposes. After the phrases are created, the app will delete and no longer store the mnemonic phrases as they present a very high risk to otherwise, even if it is encrypted. Users are only able to export the keystore file, which requires the wallet password set by the users, to be restored.

Based on the third-party security testing report, no security vulnerability was identified. The mobile wallet is equipped with security safeguards in the following areas:

  • POST data encryption
  • Access control
  • Jailbreak / Root check
  • HSTS certificate check
  • Repeat prevention
  • Local data encryption
  • Packing protection
  • Reverse protection
  • Code confusion
  • Anti-Debug