Particl — Update I

11.10.2018

TL;DR. Ecology:2 (3). Technology:5 (5). Decentralization:4 (3). Valuation:7(5). Rating:5/10 (4/10)

Six months have passed since the BD Ratings review of the anonymity focused coin Particl. Here is how that prediction has turned out so far.

2018-04-11: USD 12.04, Satoshis 176 014.

2018-10-11: USD 2.49, Satoshis 39 460.

This drastic fall in price is of course part of the general market crash that has engulfed the space throughout all of 2018, where smaller and more unsafe blockchains have suffered more than Bitcoin.

After the initial review, the Particl ecosystem has seen some new features of the core client. On 31st of May, the testnet alpha of the Particl Marketplace was finally released. A new partnership with Changelly was later formed, opening up for integration with the Particle Desktop wallet. On the 6th of July 2018, a long update on multiple things was posted. The NJIT RingCT-on-Bitcoin audit was completed and handed over to tecnovert. At the same time, a second audit of that code base was initiated by WSA Cyber Group. More work had been conducted on the Particl Marketplace alpha, and further Ledger (the hardware wallet company) integration had been done. Finally, some new team members had recently been added and Particle Core had adopted Bitcoin Core 0.16.1.0 to stay fully up to date on that front. 10 days after these updates, the Particl team concluded that the NJIT audit uncovered no serious flaws. On the 4th of October, Particl Core 0.17.0.1, based on the latest Bitcoin Core code, was released.

Ecology

As it was 6 months ago, the sub-reddit is quite inactive with only a post or so per day. The same goes for the BCT thread. The team's Twitter handle is still very active, and so is the blog. On-chain activity is virtually non-existent as only block rewards are seen in block after block. This might pick up as the development of Particl Marketplace results in a real market on mainnet.

The partnership with Changelly is an interesting development for the Particl ecosystem. Generally, partnerships are mostly hot air, but for once it here seems to make sense. As Changelly is an exchange, integrating it with Particl Desktop would help facilitate higher on-chain activity as users could use other cryptocurrencies. The integration itself would include conversion to PART before actually moving forward with the trade. BD Ratings awaits the final result of this partnership, but according to latest statements, any full integration seems very far away as Changelly lacks a testnet to connect to the Particl testnet.

Grade: 2/10.

Reasons: Less community activity in general with very few on-chain transactions. No marketplace on mainnet yet. Particl still suffers from its bad SDC rebranding.

Technology

The Particl GitHub repository is active and maintained by a number of developers. Most commits can however be traced to porting new Bitcoin Core code, so this review does not focus on them.

As the audits were completed and no serious issues were found with the audited code base, Particl could continue with the integration of RingCT, increasing anonymity further. These audits themselves are good practice, and the fact that they passed is positive.

A further feature has been added since the last review; cold staking from a Ledger Nano, which means that users can stake their PART while 'on' the hardware wallet. This is an improvement from most PoS blockchains, but as with all new things BD Ratings would stay vigilant to possible attacks on this scheme.

Grade: 5/10.

Reasons: Passed code audits. RingCT on Bitcoin code base. Still quite few core developers.

Decentralization

In general, Particl has succeeded in many aspects of providing a decentralized protocol. After the initial review, governance mechanisms have started to be introduced to the community, further solidifying decentralization for the platform.

The initial low decentralization rating was set with the SDC-PART conversion fiasco in mind, and with the knowledge that a few developers - Ryno and tecnovert - are extremely important and influential for the project. However, the team seems committed to a decentralization philosophy and BD Ratings will monitor how the Foundation uses its influence and PoS voting power in the future.

Grade: 4/10.

Reasons: No blunder hurting decentralization for the last half a year. Many bad decisions prior to this period.

Valuation

PART is at time of writing down almost 95% (in USD) from its all time highs, despite many fundamentals having improved. Relative to BTC it's down around 80% from the all time high earlier in 2018.

When Particl has hardforked to integrate RingCT confidentiality in to its transactions, and the marketplace is up and running, the platform as a whole will be very interesting to do a follow up on.

Grade: 7/10.

Reasons: Actively developed and some large releases coming up. Quite sound fundamentals despite large drop in value.