If you’ve been involved in the cryptocurrency space long, you’ve most likely heard of projects focused on enhanced transaction privacy, decentralized exchanges, atomic swaps, ICO ecosystems, etc. While any one of these technologies can solely define a successful project, Komodo presents a revolutionary alternative, combining all of these features and others to create the ultimate ecosystem of security, privacy, and efficiency. The platform is designed to be used by anyone, building a more accessible and user-friendly connection to the underlying benefits of the Bitcoin blockchain.
The Komodo project is a fork of Zcash, which was originally itself a fork of Bitcoin. Aside from all of the innovations included in Zcash, Komodo introduces a combination of four central technologies: a decentralized exchange called the barterDEX, an open-sourced, decentralized cryptocurrency anonymizer titled Jumblr, decentralized initial coin offerings (ICOs), and a delayed proof-of-work consensus mechanism (dPoW).
As mentioned, the Komodo blockchain was constructed to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain. The key advantage, lending more security and efficiency, involves Komodo’s 64 notary nodes. Within the Komodo blockchain, transactions are processed by normal nodes, then recorded to the Bitcoin blockchain by notary nodes. In using these nodes, users avoid the transaction fees and crowding of the Bitcoin blockchain itself, while still taking full advantage of its immutability. This mechanism, known as dPoW, creates a nearly un-hackable environment, as attackers would be forced to alter transactions at both the Bitcoin blockchain level, and at the Komodo blockchain level.
As dPoW provides exceptional security, Komodo’s Jumblr cryptocurrency anonymizer provides users with an outstanding degree of privacy. The Jumblr is essentially an open-source, decentralized feature that, for a 0.3% fee, sends transactions through a series of private, secure zk-SNARKS addresses before arrival at the target address. This feature is completely optional, speaking towards the advantage of the modularity of Komodo’s ecosystem, and can provide added privacy to constructed blockchains and barterDEX users.
One point of irony in the cryptocurrency space is that this community, so enraptured by decentralization, seems to have little interest in decentralized exchanges, and would be wholly satisfied with a centralized Binance, Bittrex or Coinbase. Contrary to this sentiment, the Komodo team decided to introduce the barterDEX: a fully decentralized exchange, utilizing atomic swaps. Already, the exchange boasts support for approximately 95% of cryptocurrencies, with goals to support various fiat currencies in the near future. A salient feature of the exchange, the atomic swap capability, allows for fully decentralized transactions. If one user wishes to send Bitcoin to another, in exchange for Ethereum, one would most likely need to send those funds through a centralized third party, demanding trust of outside involvement. With the atomic swap, both users record the transaction to the respective blockchains, which then releases the funds to both parties, ensuring a secure transaction without the necessity of third party, centralized involvement. Though I describe the decentralization dilemma as ironic, the situation is warranted, due to various liquidity and security issues that plague many hopeful decentralized exchanges. Secured upon the Bitcoin blockchain with dPoW, and optionally anonymized through Jumblr, the barterDEX’s security is sound. To solve the liquidity issue, the exchange includes Liquidity provider nodes, which provide buying and selling volume to illiquid markets.
Initial coin offerings provide a launch point for many early cryptocurrency projects. Although the past two years have seen tremendous success for numerous ICOs, constructing the project has not gotten any easier until Komodo. The project aims to host one decentralized ICO at a time, providing the project with an independent asset chain connected to the Komodo and Bitcoin blockchains, marketing channels, Komodo’s underlying technology, and their consultants. Basically, the dICO is exactly what it sounds like: an ICO, just decentralized. This means that the initial distribution of coins will be completely decentralized and anonymous, providing an opportunity for projects to have truly decentralized origins, with no dominant, central control at any point.
Each aspect of the Komodo ecosystem can potentially stand alone as a project-defining technology, yet the team behind the endeavor had the determination and creativity to combine them in a revolutionary fashion. The founder, James Lee, or more well known for the pseudonym, JL777, currently acts as the team’s core developer, with another pseudonymous figure, ca333, acting as the project’s CTO. Keeping with Komodo’s core mission of privacy and anonymity, many of the team’s developers and employees are listed under pseudonyms, making it difficult to assess reliability. However, the team has about 25 dedicated developers that have already transformed the status quo of cryptocurrency projects.
The project initially went through ICO in October 2016, selling nearly $2 million worth of KMD. Since then, developers have been constantly updating and implementing different features surrounding the barterDEX and dICO platform, while also creating partnerships with the University of Texas at Arlington, Peer2Group, and Beijing-based venture capital fund, ValueNet Capital.
Impressively, Komodo’s github page earned the most commitments in 2017 out of any cryptocurrency project. Currently, onchainfx.com has Komodo listed as having the most github commits in the last 90 days, at nearly 1,900, demonstrating more recent community activity than any other projects in the space. Not to be outdone, the project’s twitter account is similarly impressive, at approximately 95,000 followers with multiple posts every day. While not as stunning as their twitter account, the project’s subreddit has about 8,000 subscribers and also sees multiple posts nearly every day.
One would be hard tasked to find any project in cryptocurrency today that effectively incorporates as many groundbreaking features as Komodo. The distinctions are obvious, whether it is the advantages of delayed proof-of-work, or the never-before-seen decentralized ICO platform, or the decentralized exchange, the barterDEX. The team consistently updates and interacts with the community, and continues to make headway on technological development, community outreach/adoption, and building partnerships. As the realm of cryptocurrency advances as a whole, I would not doubt that Komodo could be one of the most dominant forces in the space in the coming years.