I am the CEO of MobileCoin.
A few points:
1) I started MobileCoin to fund Signal. That’s it. I believe that a world with a well-funded signal is a better place. In order for signal to compete in the 21st century with messaging apps around the world they need a payment story. MobileCoin is the only thing ever built that is both privacy protecting and fast that meets the standards of data retention signal requires.
2) MobileCoin Inc. intends to maintain an extreme minority of the coins once the dust settles.
3) This is designed to be used as a payment rail, which requires us getting coins in the hands of users. As you might imagine, navigating the regulatory waters of how to do that with compliance to how governments want us to behave is non-trivial. It’s important for us to move with correctness over speed.
4) this project is 4 years of my life building real technology. This is not a pump and dump scam. We have been very careful in the design, operation, and development of this system to give it the best chance at surviving in the world of cryptocurrency projects. It is non-trivial to deliver a coin that is useful for payments (the requirements are speed, privacy, low-energy footprint, and operation in resource-constrained mobile environments).
Let me put it simply, I love signal and we intentionally designed this currency to be as oblivious as possible with respect to user data so that signal could maintain their relationship with their users, one of retaining as little information as possible without compromising on the user experience. Nothing else in cryptocurrency, or payments, comes close to the level of privacy and performance that MobileCoin has achieved.
I welcome any questions I am able to answer. Note that some questions revolve around tightly regulated areas of concern and may take longer to answer as I must check with outside counsel before replying.
a.k.a. we intend to sell all of our vast stacks of pre-mined coins onto gullible users. This is exactly how a pump and dump scam works.
There are multiple different things to consider here: 1) regulatory, 2) economic system design, 3) usability, and 4) user-first commerce.
In short, it’s much more important for us to be correct than it is to move quickly. When all is said and done, users of MobileCoin will have obtained coins many ways: through giveaways, sales, and commerce activities. Making sure we do these things correctly is the only way the ecosystem will be able to operate long term.
MobileCoin also needs some amount of money to operate, some of which will come from the sale of coins, but our balance sheet of coins is quite limited. We would prefer to minimize those sales as much as possible.
Does that answer your question?
The crypto world is full of scams and misinformation. Technical people are unlikely to trust the coin if transparency and oversight stay so vague.
Scanning through this discussion, quite a few red flags have been raised by users. I assume your intentions are good at the outset. But when the money comes rolling in, even the most pure plans can be corrupted.
Sell your token at overinflated prices (in a similar way as other ICO scams) and funnel money into pockets of whoever is running this specific scam, with some minor amounts put toward claimed goals.
Thank you for helping me to understand what you're looking for; we will go back to our counsel and ask them for more advice with this in mind.
Form your post above RE selling coins at inflated prices to the public, you said “This is hard because we don’t control the price”
Umm, you could give away the coins. You claimed that Stellar gave away coins but the coins didn’t end up being used by end users. How does selling the coins at hyper-inflated prices to end-users change this? Why will they use the coins if they are sold them vs given they?
It would be great to know the timing, amounts and prices of coins that have been sold to either investors or the public.
Your reputation and Signals are hanging on a thread here. We’d all appreciate some transparency.
How many coins will Mobilecoin sell and over what time period? You and Mobilecoin currently control about 212.5M coins which is $8.5 Billion created out of thin air. The price was recently inflated with a suspiciously perfect timed short squeeze, likely orchestrated by one of your investors looking to pump their bags.
What is a "payment story" and why do messaging apps need it? Signal should be secure SMS with a better UI, nothing more.
It looks to me like either there's a lot of selling out going on here or there's a lot of great examples of how not to market a good thing to reasonable, aware, suspicious people (which is, in short, pretty much the core market demographic of privacy software users).
As for me, I'm starting to wonder whether Session is much better than Signal, and I think that if you want privacy in a cryptocurrency you're probably better off with Monero.
Or they want to become WeChat.
You could have avoided most of the criticisms if you had a clear explanation of why you pre-mined. Saying that you intend to sell it is not as reassuring as you seem to think it is.
If not, it's useless. I'm a chat app user, not a Forex trader.
Seems your early investors certainly have a large chunk
We're all doing our best to work within the constraints.
We want to make sure we operate out of an abundance of caution. Correctness is more important than speed.
I see risk exposure increasing greatly across the board, for Signal operations, users, and everyone involved from your side due to this merging of services.
So I think that's the base of what people are upset with. Signal suddenly essentially became a for-profit (it decided to prop up a for-profit company which would in turn fund it as a revenue model). Now a lot of people that donated to and promoted what they considered to be a non-profit project feel cheated.
If there's some way this can be explained away by MobileCoin people, I think it'll make a great story, because there seems to be a lot of stuff there that doesn't look explainable.
Clearly this would prevent the "get rich from pre-mine" benefit, but also remove 99% of the criticisms related to greed, centralization, geographic limitations, etc.
I don't see how MobileCoin can be censorship-resistant, neutral or permissionless in the long run. Are those goals of the project?
1) tx settlement time is ~3 seconds on mobilecoin, p99 latency right now with single block finality. Eth and Btc are great but they aren’t that fast (for payments speed really matters).
2) with respect to privacy, the key innovation of MobileCoin is that when all of the systems are operational, there is no transaction graph stored in the ledger. The links between transactions are known only to the counter parties to those transactions. In the event of a failure of the Secure Enclave, links between transactions degrade to probabilistic links between transactions (and forward secrecy can be restored upon recovery of the enclave).
The effect is a payment system that is both fast and privacy-protecting with no central authority, a quality not present in any other payments system I am aware of today.
Oh, last and perhaps most important, because of our consensus design, we don’t use a ton of energy like btc and eth.
Given that setting up the "systems" requires a huge effort, I assume that the architecture assumes a single central entity is running all these core systems, right? If yes, does the system rely on these core components to be up? If yes, how does it not rely on a central authority?
Another aspect I don't yet understand: Traditional cryptocurrencies solve the distributed consensus problem through mechanisms like proof-of-work or proof-of-stake. What does MobileCoin use as a consensus mechanism?
Grin is a lightweight privacy cryptocurrency using MimbleWimble. It uses a fair distribution (no pre-mine), with an emission of 1 GRIN per second:
Grin also doesn't meet our standard of <5 second blocktime.
And no, speed is not the most important. As long as the user can see the payment incoming, it's trivial UX to say "Payment received. Will be confirmed and available for use in 3 minutes."
edit: it appears MobileCoin is (allegedly) built on a combination of XMR + the Stellar consensus protocol? If true that's a slightly better scenario than I previously thought
Don't get me wrong, we stand on the shoulders of giants, but there's a lot of new tech here.
Given your description it sounds like governance is whatever the MobileCoin foundation and its partners dictates. Unlike the consensus in this thread I think there's a lot to like and explore for a privacy token that chooses a different set of tradeoffs but the opaque governance, token holder distribution/circulating supply and lack of acknowledgement to the Monero project really sets it back.
The governance is actually quite simple: a set of decentralized nodes individually choose what software to run and who to peer with. Consensus is an emergent property of that trust graph.
No, it does not.
There are two distinct groups of people using Signal. None of these groups needs MobileCoin-based payments.
Group one is probably the biggest and consists of "normal" users which use Signal because it's the free messenger that is NOT affiliated to Facebook and has a good reputation with regard to privacy and data protection. There's another messenger with similarly good reputation, Threema, but that one costs money, hence Signal is the more popular choice. These users may indeed find a simple payment solution through their messenger a useful feature, but they want to send each other "money", not "MobileCoins". Those are not interchangeable for this kind of user; they expect to send whatever is their local currency, USD or EUR or whatever, and they expect the entirety of the money they send to arrive at the target - having 20% crypto market swings within minutes eradicate 20% of their share of last week's restaurant check while they're transferring it to their friend is a non-starter for this group. So are exchange fees for USD-MOB/EUR-MOB exchanges before and after sending money, even if the exchange execution itself may be automatically run in the background. This is true especially since there are already well-known and established solutions out there specifically targeting this particular need - PayPal Friends and the Cash App for example. Sure, it would be nice to have messenger integration, but if the only way to get that is to transact in MOB instead of USD and always send 10% more value than you intend to pay just to ensure the receiver gets "enough", the established out-of-band solutions which don't have those problems will simply be used. Also, this group doesn't really have strict anonymity requirements, because they usually send money (and messages) to people they know in real life as well. Whether your awesome crypto coin is more anonymous than PayPal thus doesn't matter at all for these guys.
Group two consists of those that actually depend on Signal's security, privacy and anonymity features because they need exactly that in a messenger. Think whistleblowers, journalists, people doing stuff that's illegal where they live. A lot of these want to send information to their contacts, not monetary value, and don't have any use for a payment option in a messenger. And even those that do want to transfer monetary value won't exactly be enticed by a one-click crypto transfer feature in their secure messenger, since they can be assumed to be technically competent enough to utilize the already-existing cryptocurrencies (especially those with a much longer history of privacy protection, such as Monero) and crypto exchanges to perform whatever monetary exchange they want to do. I would even say that these people would explicitly NOT want to use a messenger-integrated cryptocurrency, because that limits them in their choice of cryptocurrency and fiat on/off-ramps, which are crucial decisions to be made carefully if you want to preserve your anonymity. And the entire idea that these guys would switch from Signal to WeChat just because "WeChat has a money sending function" is blatantly absurd.
I do not see any sufficiently large group of people that might get any value out of this MobileCoin-Signal-integration feature. Hence I predict this feature to ultimately fail due to lack of user interest. But that will only become clear AFTER a lot of good-will from tech- and privacy-minded people has been burnt by this unnecessary stunt, as can be seen for example here in the HN comments.
Presumably you've come across this question in your four years of development and would have exact numbers (perhaps not for my chosen value of tx/sec) already at hand. The fact that we're three comments deep into this, leads me to believe you are dancing around the question.
At this point I think it's perfectly fair to start with the assumption that a new Crypto is a scam and it needs to do the legwork to show that it isn't. To claim that a blockchain (the most ludicrously inefficient data-structure ever devised) can scale to a billion users is an outrageous claim. The technical means they found overcome this problem should be front and center in their documentation.
The question becomes: what is tx throughput at N billion users? What are the scaling strategies that will get us there? It is zk-rollups (or zk-zk rollups)? Is it sharding? Is it moving to custom hardware circuits? I suspect it will be some combination of all of the above.
We don't know what the answer is yet and we will devote tremendous resources to figuring it out. I don't want to give the impression that MobileCoin as it is written today will scale to Alipay levels of tx throughput, but I do believe there is a path to get there that requires a ton of work.
Your privacy belongs to Signal which stores your data,MOB is a centralized,premine ,hidden ico.
Overall the adoption of these systems is too difficult. Something that could be overcome with signal/mobilecoin.
Democracy earth is just an example application. Overall I would appreciate to own my data and have it secure (like signal provides), when it comes to the whole ecosystem of the future for: social media, voting, contracts, etc.
In other words, cha-ching! then what?