Particl — Update II

11.04.2019

TL;DR. Ecology:3 (2). Technology:5 (5). Decentralization:3 (4). Valuation:6 (7). Rating:4/10 (5/10)

Six months have passed since the last BD Ratings review of the anonymity focused coin Particl. Looking at how all prior predictions have turned out so far, we can see that they are all currently 'in the money'.

A few things other than price changes have occurred during the last six months as well. Starting with October 16th, 2018, Particl Core 0.17.0.2 was released, correcting for a bug that caused Ledger-related issues for MacOS users. Later in 2018, open source Cold Staking Pools were finally released. They were the equivalent to mining pools for PoW blockchains, and as the name implies facilitated secure staking from users' cold wallets.

2019 started with preparations for the first Particl Open Marketplace alpha on mainnet - a large milestone for the project as the marketplace dapp had been at the very core of the team's adoption strategy. The preparations themselves could be summaries as the need to implement decentralized governance code in order to make the filtering of unwanted items from the marketplace possible. That code change required a hard fork, scheduled for 1st of March, 2019. On block 397 010 the fork activated without problems, and just a week later, Particl Open Marketplace alpha 2.0 was released and is currently a working dapp on mainnet.

Ecology

On-chain activity is still at very low levels. The Particl subreddit is rather inactive as well, with just one or two posts per day on average. A new subreddit for Community Proposals was initiated by seems dead at time of writing. With all this said, the Particl team continues to engage with the community in the form of a multitude of AMAs and blog posts.

By finally managing to get the marketplace to mainnet, the Particl team has shrunk the space between the protocol and active users. BD Ratings expects this to increase adoption of the protocol in the near future.

Grade: 3/10.

Reasons: Still low on-chain and community activity. Expanding ecosystem infrastructure in the form of Particl Open Marketplace.

Technology

The many Particl GitHub repositories sill show considerable activity, with the continuous merging of Bitcoin Core changes being the main contributor. These commits are handled by a number of developers, which is in line with what the Particl webpage claims to be a global team of 22. How this relates to what may be an increasing developer funding shortage remains to be seen. The implemented mining tax only accounts for a couple of hundred USD per day.

One point that could further establish the Particl developers as competent is their independent mitigation of the critical CVE-2018-17144 Bitcoin Core bug that affected a multitude of blockchains with that code base. In the interview where this is discussed, it is not clear whether Particl developers disclosed this vulnerability or not to Bitcoin Core developers. A disclosure could prove the Particl team knew what it was doing and not just managed to patch it by accident.

Grade: 5/10.

Reasons: No considerable change since last article.

Decentralization

With regards to decentralization, not much has changed during the last 6 months. The protocol is however on a path towards implementing some type of governance, not only for the marketplace dapp, but more importantly for the blockchain protocol itself. This can have positive ramifications on Particl decentralization if it causes powerful actors like the developer team or Foundation to become less entrenched. BD Ratings expects to evaluate the governance mechanism in the October 2019 rating article as it hopefully has reached mainnet.

With the above said, BD Ratings wants to again address the fact that additional PART tokens were created during the 2017 ShadowCash to Particl conversion. The cryptocurrency space has started seeing more and more of this practice lately, and it is a highly hurtful one where individuals with centralized power breaks all social contracts of a blockchain and decides to issue money for themselves. Regular coin holders have often been completely ignored and are almost never asked. It is in other words not an opt-in scenario (where Zcash is a good example), but more or less enforced coin dilution. If this is becoming more of a norm, it increases the risk of storing value on protocols that have experienced it. Particl, because of this, now sees its Decentralization rating lowered a point to better account for this risk.

Grade: 3/10.

Reasons: No considerable change since last article. Re-assessment of earlier centralized minting of new coins.

Valuation

Particl has seen an upswing in valuation relative to Bitcoin since the last report. Fundamentals have not really improved considerably, which causes the Valuation rating to drop one point. It is still worth mentioning however, that the CMC ranking of #192 at time of writing might still be too low, and if Particl manage to properly implement decentralized governance, the value could shoot up more.

Grade: 6/10.

Reasons: No considerable change in fundamentals since last article, combined with price increase.