Late last week, Stash made their bitcoin wallet available for download on the Google Play Store. This is a wallet that is many years in the making, with its roots based in the Open Transactions project, which has been discussed as an extension to Bitcoin since 2010. Stash Wallet has support for both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, in addition to the testnets for the two cryptocurrencies. During a presentation at the recent Texas Bitcoin Conference, Stash CTO and co-founder Chris Odom indicated other cryptocurrencies will eventually be added to the wallet.
The goal of Stash is to offer financial autonomy to those who desire it in a user friendly manner. The company’s first product was the Stash Node Pro, which is a Bitcoin full node combined with an Open Transactions server that can run in one’s home. With the Stash Wallet, users can connect directly to their Stash Node Pro from their mobile phone to bring that financial autonomy with them on the go. “Making software devices ‘just work’ in crypto is more critical than in a typical software application,” said Odom at the Texas Bitcoin Conference.
A More User Friendly Payment Experience
So how does Stash intend to bring a more user-friendly experience to Bitcoin without giving up on the technology’s core principle of financial autonomy? One way is through the use of reusable payment codes. These payment codes can be used as static identities for users, which then create new addresses for each Bitcoin payment. While the payment code can be made public, outside observers will not know which Bitcoin addresses are attached to that payment code. Reusuable payment codes come with two key benefits: privacy and convenience. Users can essentially store an address book of payment codes, which means a payment can be received from “Bob” or “Alice” rather than a long string of random numbers and letters.
In this way, the platform will look more like a traditional payments app where users can see real names attached to their payments history. Additionally, payments can be sent back and forth once payment codes are shared, which means Bob doesn’t have to ask Alice for a new Bitcoin address every time he wants to make a payment (and visa versa). During his presentation at the Texas Bitcoin Conference, Odom noted that the same payment code can be used across chains and even for Bitmessage. The current version of Stash Wallet also includes an encrypted messaging component, which works through Open Transactions.
Decentralizing Traditional Bitcoin Services with Open Transactions
The most anticipated aspect of the Stash project is likely the Open Transactions component. Through the system of federated servers, cryptocurrencies can become more useful while also avoiding the pitfalls of today’s cryptocurrency exchanges and banks (namely loss of funds through hacking, incompetence, or theft). Open Transactions allows anyone to launch their own server, which can be used to create any kind of financial instrument. For example, a user could issue traditional forms of digital cash provably backed by bitcoin.
This digital cash can then be used in a variety of smart contracts and other financial applications. The federated model of Open Transactions means that there’s no central point of failure for the ecash server, but trust is still required in terms of the bitcoin backing the digital cash tokens. This is where voting pools come into play. Voting pools allow multiple, competing entities to pool their bitcoin together in a single multisignature wallet and issue financial instruments based on that pool of funds. When multiple parties are pooled together in this manner, the threat of lost funds is potentially lowered because multiple parties would need to be hacked, corrupt, or incompetent for something to go wrong.
One way to think about it is that a user is effectively storing their money in a pot where Bitstamp, Coinbase, Kraken, and a couple of other exchanges would have to get hacked rather than just one of them.
Much More to Come
The current version of the Stash Wallet was described as a minimum viable product during a recent appearance on The Crypto Show with Daniel Krawisz and Justus Ranvier, who are also members of the Stash team. Having said that, there are many other features on the horizon. Shufflepuff (a version of CoinJoin), which was originally developed by Krawisz for Mycelium, is said to be the mixing option of choice that will eventually be implemented into the Stash Wallet. While Odom is a fan of the OpenBazaar project, Open Transactions contains its own bazaar application that will be made available in the Stash Wallet.
Other than that, there are indications that various features that have become popular with Ethereum, such as issuing colored coins and creating decentralized autonomous organizations, will also come to the Stash Wallet by way of Open Transactions.