AMA Recap Crypto Library with Portal Finance

                                        

On 26th October 2021, Portal Finance conducted an AMA in the Crypto Library Community. Our guest is George Burke. Lots of questions as usual from the Community about Portal Finance progress. The Portal Finance team took part in a very interesting AMA session which included introductions, questions from twitter, and a live AMA session with the Crypto Library community. If you missed the AMA in person, read this recap for a deeper insight into Portal Finance.

Let’s take a look at the most interesting points of our conversation. 

INTRODUCTION
Crypto Library Team : So, before we start the AMA could you please introduce yourself to our community?

George (PortalFinance) : 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 - SVBTC.org - first started by Roger Ver and Andreas Antonopolous.
FIRST SEGMENT (HOST)
Crypto Library Team : What is Portal Finance? and how your team begin the process of creating this project? 
 
George (PortalFinance) : Our company, Portal (PortalDeFi.com), recently announced an ~$8.5M raise to give birth to DeFi built on Bitcoin. We believe financial applications should be built on the protocol that is most likely to become the base money layer. Portal makes DeFi unstoppable with anonymous, zero-knowledge swaps via the first true cross-chain DEX that’s genuinely trustless. Unlike Uniswap/others, Portal eliminates minting wrapped coins (ie wBTC, wETH) or risky staking with intermediaries. Trading across incompatible blockchains is now just 1-click, trustless and private. Fabric protocol, our layer 2 & 3 technology powering Portal, enables building censorship-resistant communications, media and one-click cross-chain swaps, all on Bitcoin (along with all its security advantages). I'm very proud of the allstars I get a chance to work alongside every day: 
  •  Eric Martindale:
10 years in Bitcoin, Head of Open Source at Blockstream and Engineering at BitPay, advisor to Lemniscap, and is the inventor of Fabric. 
  • Chandra Duggirala:
 Bitcoiner and M.D. turned entrepreneur, ran two 8-figure software businesses, and is the inventor of functional layer 2 cross-chain atomic swaps (he solved problems keeping Tier Nolan’s atomic swaps impractical until now). 
  • Alexey Melnichenko:
5 years architecting token & exchange design, engineer at Phantom Cyber (acquired by Splunk), designed the exchange engine at Totle. 
  • Manoj Duggirala:
Led a 150-engineer team at Invensense, designed the Apple M7 co-processor in phones and watches, ex-IBM Almaden. Engineering at Stanford.
  • George Burke:
8 years in bitcoin, 3 exits in peer-to-peer/community startups incl. early bitcoin exchange Crypto Street, created the first Bitcoin debit card, and runs the world’s oldest bitcoin meetup.
  • Johnny Dilley:
VP of Strategy & Product at Blockstream. Conceptualized Liquid sidechains. Early VC at Pantera. 8 years in Bitcoin. 
  • Jack Mill:
Engineering Architect of Casper Labs / RChain, and previous Director of Enterprise Platforms at Intel. Engineering at Stanford. Here's how we came together. Manoj, Chandra, and I had built previous 7-figure startups and wanted to solve problems in crypto. 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. Johnny and Alexey worked with him at Fabric. Later they joined us to build Portal.

Crypto Library Team : What are the features and advantages does Portal Finance want to offer?

George (PortalFinance) : The problems we're solving that will give Portal a huge leap over today's DeFi and DEXs are: 
1) High gas 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) Poor 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) Asset locking & asset replication: The wrapping and locking of funds onto other chains by these so-called "cross-chain" DEXes are neither trustless nor decentralized, nor are they even cross-chain! 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.

Crypto Library Team : Could you provide some information about your Roadmap, And what milestones that you have reached so far?

George (PortalFinance) : Before roadmap, let's start with accomplishments so far: We invented zero-knowledge swaps, which fix the Layer 1 "Tier Nolan" atomic swap problems. In addition, our CEO invented the Fabric protocol (the protocol Portal uses to build p2p ZK circuits for Fully Homomorphic Encryption), and has been used to build peer-to-peer communications and decentralized other apps. With the atomic swaps integrated into Fabric, we are rebuilding the Web from client server model to an uncensorable, decentralized architecture. As for roadmap, we can announce that in only a couple of weeks we are launching our public sale on one of the most prestigious launchpads in the world, Republic, and unlike most other high profile projects, we are allowing investors from the US. If you'd like to participate, you'll first need to be on the whitelist, available at https://PortalDeFi.com. We will also be announcing a number of partnerships with other tier 1 blockchain issuers over the coming weeks. On the regulatory front, we have been seeing SEC lawsuits to various token projects for raising on an unregistered security; potentially fraud. This can result in a fine of millions or send teams to jail. Any issuer who promises an investor tokens is irreparably tethering the network token to the fundraise and will forever make that token a security. We will see any tokens deemed securities to be banned from trading on non-brokerage exchanges (which is pretty much all of them). Our fundraise is specifically designed to preserve the non-security nature of a digital asset that runs on the decentralized network, and therefore is never sold, given away, airdropped, etc. This way it can always be as freely transferrable as BTC itself. Last, with regard to roadmap, Portal is a completely community-driven development. 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.

Crypto Library Team : What are the upcoming plans, and future goals of Portal Finance?
 
George (PortalFinance) : Here's a future application of zero-knowledge atomic swaps technology at scale: Imagine the ability to go anonymous with your payments on bitcoin. Coinjoin-like transaction obfuscation services, but much cheaper, quicker, and actually anonymous because it operates at layer 2 and layer 3 instead of several layer 1 burdensome transactions. Any coinjoin transaction is well-recognized by just looking at the wallet, and could be flagged. Instead, any layer 2/layer 3 obfuscation looks simply like a Lightning transaction despite maybe dozens of participants. Several blockchains are looking for bridges to swap between their token and bitcoin, but these don't trustlessly exist (yet). We have a few blockchains wanting integration for near trustless swapping and bonding between their token and bitcoin (or other tokens of incompatible blockchains). This interoperability is the holy grail of the crypto space. One partner we can name is Aeternity, another about to be named on Monday, and we will continue name the other partners over time. Something cool that Fabric's tech and Portal's non-custodial atomic swaps wallet will enable is the ability to make a payment in one asset but the receiver receives a different asset, where it was automatically swapped in the same send transaction. Imagine only holding Chainlink but wanting to send someone Solana. Or only holding DOT and wanting to send someone BTC. Portal will enable this in the future. Can't wait. The more immediate goal is selling out the public sale at Republic mid-november. There will only be 1,900 investor slots available, first come, first serve. I don't think selling out same-day will be a problem, but still, for us, it's a monumentous day.
SECOND SEGMENT (TWITTER)
Crypto Library Team : On the PortalFinance website. You claim to be the fastest, easiest, safest and private way to trade our assets and contracts at any time. So can you tell us some use cases or evidence that can prove that Portal Finance exchange is the fastest, easiest, safest and private way?

George (PortalFinance) : 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. We invented layer 2 zero knowledge swaps, which fix the Layer 1 tier nolan atomic swap incentive problems, and add speed and liquidity features. In addition, 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. Just like lightning is a layer 2 system for peer to peer micropayments, and is therefore fast because lightning transactions, until settled, are not broadcasted to the main chain. Portal is a layer two system for peer to peer cross-chain contracting. Because it's layer 2, it's fast. 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. 
 
Fabric (https://fabric.pub), the underlying technology Portal is built on, 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.

Crypto Library Team : One of Portal Finance's features is the revolutionary Portal Swaps. Can you explain more about this revolutionary Portal Swaps? How does it work and is it implemented on your platform? What makes it a revolutionary exchange?

George (PortalFinance) : Actually my previous answer is perfect for this question! https://t.me/CryptoLibraryDiscussion/176735. Instead, let me provide a different answer to @ichigomakii.
 
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's and Ethereum's 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 decentralized 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 false "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, financial 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.
THIRD SEGMENT (LIVE QUESTIONS) 
Crypto Library Team : While you build your project, do you take into account community feedbacks and demands?While you build your project, do you take into account community feedbacks and demands?

George (PortalFinance) : The Portal network WILL BE decentralized, but first is being built by our core team, and soon become open source prior to network launch. Fabric protocol, however, is already open source and anyone can contribute. We welcome you to join us. Check it out: https://github.com/FabricLabs With regard to roadmap, Portal AND Fabric will be both completely community-driven development. 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. We just created a new ambassador program. You'll need to email marketing@getportal.co and we'll send you the details.
 
1) Here's the first. It's Chandra, our chairman and head of product, giving a talk alongside our CEO Eric, at the Silicon Valley Bitcoin Meetup. Here they demonstrating a swap: https://docsend.com/view/35w4yznpsb7rnbb9 
 
2) Here's the second. At the San Francisco Bitcoin Meetup, Chandra Duggirala gives a talk about how atomic swaps work: https://docsend.com/view/4m8mdjvka7duv3ij

Crypto Library Team : Portal wants to change the current paradigm in DeFi with a second layer solution and bitcoin but could you tell me about how this combination could also benefit a strong trend in the market like NFT? Is bitcoin compatible with NFT?

George (PortalFinance) : 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. I also see a future where a single NFT can be bonded with several FUNGIBLE tokens being minted for fractionated ownership. Fabric's technology would enable Portal to build both of these awesome NFT-features... HOWEVER, our roadmap is community driven and they will be the ones to direct the development team down that path. We shall see!

Crypto Library Team :  I believe that Portal is really Great and has very big Potential to Thrive in the future. Can you please Tell me how I can do Investment with Portal ? Do you have any ICO or maybe presale now?
 
George (PortalFinance) : We cannot discuss tokens or token price. Why? On the regulatory front, we have been seeing SEC lawsuits to various token projects for raising on an unregistered security; potentially fraud. This can be as little as a fine of millions or as bad as going to jail. Any issuer who promises an investor tokens is irrepairably tethering the network token to the fundraise and will forever make that token a security. We will see any tokens deemed securities to be banned from trading on non-brokerage exchanges (which is pretty much all of them). Instead, Portal's fundraise -- happening IN A FEW WEEKS through a compliant securities offering on the best lauchpad in the world, Republic -- is specifically designed to preserve the non-security nature of a digital asset that runs on the decentralized network, and therefore is never sold, given away, airdropped, etc. This way it can always be as freely transferrable as BTC itself. We are also under embargo from discussing anything about exchange listings. All I am allowed to say is that there are a number of top exchanges who invested in Portal, including OKEx and Coinbase. We're excited to have close relationships with them and that they believe in Portal. Take that for what it's worth. For more info on this, see the writeup we did on this compliant fundraise model here: https://blog.portaldefi.com/no-ico. Compound and Chia used a similar mechanism.

Crypto Library Team : Security is the most important thing to consider want starting up a project, how secured is this project for users and investors?

George (PortalFinance) : 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's and Ethereum's 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 decentralized 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 false "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, financial 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. 3) 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 decentralized community has complete authority over the network. Our roadmap is community driven and they will be the ones to direct the development team down that path. I'm excited to see what you -- Portal's community -- wants to be built!

Crypto Library Team : Do you have also plans to launch your own APP? If yes What is unique about it?

George (PortalFinance) : Something I forgot to mention earlier in our roadmap is the product is not just the cross-chain atomic swaps DEX, but also a non-custodial multi-coin "trading wallet". The software is in private alpha and allows users to trade on centralized exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, and even DEXs like UniSwap in 1-click, right from within the wallet. It helps find the path of best execution (exchange with the best price and liquidity), sends your coins to the exchange from your wallet, executes the order, and withdraws back to the safety of your Portal wallet right after execution... all this in just 1 click. This is a huge draw to adoption. Why? Because once atomic swaps goes live, the wallet can choose Portal as the best path of execution. For users of the wallet, instant adoption. Oh and it's the only app in the Apple App Store approved for atomic swaps.

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