So a new update that’s coming out for the protocol, Sentinel ($SENT), that users may find very useful and perhaps helpful is the ‘Swixer’. Homophonous with the term, ‘mixer’, this feature of Sentinel is set to work much in the exact same way.
What’s a Mixer?
So, as you’re probably aware of, whenever one makes a transaction on the Bitcoin protocol, this is kept on a publicly available ledger and set in stone (unless some improbable attack is launched on the chain that erases said transaction).
This has spawned the invention of the ‘Mixer’, which is a “third party service to break the connection between a Bitcoin address sending coins and the address(s) they are sent to.” (source: https://www.weusecoins.com/a-simple-guide-to-effectively-and-safely-mixing-bitcoins/)
However, since we’re cryptonauts, we should know that the introduction of trusted, third-party sources is substantially less favorable to using a decentralized protocol directly.
So — Lo and Behold:
Now, if you’re familiar with the Sentinel protocol, then you know that it already has privacy embedded into its blockchain — that’s its primary purpose.
So, the purpose of the Swixer is to take, “…the traditional concept of mixing transactions and [go] one step further, allowing [users] to swap between various coins to ensure [their] anonymity is protected.”
The team also clarifies that the Swixer is, “Not a service like the (d)VPN but is an open-source Utility that can be freely implemented by almost any blockchain, using the native token for transaction fees. Best of all, Swixer can be accessed from the web, no client needed!”
So, the implications here are obvious.
This not only works with the Sentinel protocol, it will allow transactions between other protocols as well. Therefore, this new utility is akin to a cross-chain mixer, which is useful, to say the least.
Below, is a screenshot of how the Swixer is expected to look once its fully launched and in action:
So, as you can see from the screenshots above, this utility should be extraordinarily simple for users of all levels of expertise in blockchain to use, from expert to a just beginning novice.
This is definitely a plus, because there are few people that truly understand blockchain technology, and even fewer that are able to actually interact with it in any meaningful way on the backend.
The design of the utility looks sleek and intuitive and the utility appears to be one that users will find, well, a lot of utility out of (as its descriptive name suggests).
What’s the Big Deal About Privacy?
Now, perhaps you’re the “average” Bitcoin user and you have not yet considered the implications of all transactions being placed on a public ledger. I mean, after all, the transactions and wallet addresses are obfuscated by long alphanumeric strings that are simply the results of hashed transaction and private key data. How would someone be able to tie that to you?
On a surface level, this logic makes sense. However, when thinking things through practically, it does not.
In order to meaningfully interact with cryptocurrency and send it from one individual to another, you will have to give that individual your public address. At that point, your “identity” is more or less known because the individual(s) transacting with you may simply remember that this is your primary address.
For those that were expecting to be afforded to the convenience of anonymity afforded by actual paper currency, this is a major letdown in some respects.
So Why Wasn’t This ‘Privacy’ Feature Implemented into the Original Bitcoin Protocol
The reason why ‘privacy’ was not included in the original design of Bitcoin is because it would have been antithetical to the ‘trustless’ system that Satoshi was attempting to create. In order to create a mechanism that would allow nodes (users on the network) to verify that each spend was legitimate (and prevent cheating), Satoshi invented distributed ledger technology, which entailed the distribution of each and every single transaction that will and has ever taken place on the protocol so that the origin of the transaction could be verified.
While this was a purposeful part of the design in order to guarantee the ‘trustless’ aspect of bitcoin, retrospect shows that it was not a necessary aspect, and this was verified by Satoshi Nakamoto himself.
You can see Satoshi Nakamoto’s comments on the issue on this bitcointalk (forum where he used to post his ideas and interact with members) post here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=770.msg8637#msg8637
Below, are some excerpted screenshots from the conversation:
Satoshi essentially agrees with the above user in his response to the same thread where he states that, “If a solution was found, a much better, easier, more convenient implementation of Bitcoin would be possible.”
Thus, it can be said with confidence (and many members of the crypto community with knowledge and experience would agree), that the implementation of privacy features is a favorable addition to cryptocurrency.
The advent of ‘The Swixer’ is something that should be a welcome addition to the Sentinel protocol as well as the cryptocurrency community at large. It enhances our ability to ensure and retain privacy by advancing the features of a Mixer so that outright swaps between coins can be created without the leakage of information.
Folks should expect this utility to launch in the very near future (data of launch?)