In the balance of this paper, we will discuss many of the problems enumerated above in some detail, and show how the Ascension Project will solve them by using a mixture of blockchain technology, a suite of existing transaction clearing and wallet client technology running above the blockchain, APIs for asset exchange and marketplace distributed applications, sound monetary policies based on price feedback mechanisms, and several tried-and-true business organization strategies. In particular we will demonstrate that:
- Our wallet and payment clearing network, which is built using Voucher-Safe technology, sits on top of the Ascension blockchain (also other blockchains), and provides transaction settlement that is fully scalable, equally untraceable as physical cash, and practically instantaneous . Note that this technology already exists , and accomplishes essentially everything that is hoped for from Lightning networks, or Lumino, and more. While functionality is distributed between servers with distinct functions, software updates are always controllable
- This higher level wallet payment network is “money agnostic,” meaning that it allows any kind of currency or asset to circulate invisibly in the form of digital cash, such as cryptocurrencies, precious metals, even stored fiat currencies. Each digital voucher currency is emitted by an independent Issuer, which is free to follow its own individual reserve and monetary policy (issue #9), and is entirely separate from the payment clearing engine (issue #10).
- Our user client architecture is lightweight (addressing issue #5), provides access to private keys only on the user's own device, and can access only the wallet's own transactions (issue #6). Transaction receipts are seen only by payer and payee, and can be permanently deleted. Because the protocol tunnels over XMPP, it provides innate connection encryption and a superior resistance to protocol-based detection and interdiction, along with end-to-end encryption and easy access to intra-community messaging (since wallet clients are also chat clients).
- Our SilentVault Exchange (SVX) and SilentVault Marketplace (SVM) architectures and APIs (built using SilentVault technology) provide p2p asset exchange with escrow (in the future possibly including atomic swaps between blockchains), and independent Marketplace applications accessible from right inside the wallet. These Exchanges and Marketplaces are meant to be individually owned and operated, much like franchises or stores in an electronic mall, leading to a robust economic ecosystem, decentralized by means of its business model. In this way as the total ecosystem grows, it becomes more decentralized rather than less (issue #7).
- Our Ascension blockchain will be permissioned, thus solving issue #8. Validators (miners) will be franchised out to multiple parties under contract in various parts of the world, thus providing adequate censorship-resistance under a PoW system, plus eliminating all possibility of the dreaded “51% attack.” Validators will also be connected together across a special-purpose VPN for improved security. Timely installation of software updates by validators will be made a contractual requirement (issue #11). User blockchain clients will be limited to client-only functions: reading blocks or submitting coin transactions for validation. However our expectation is that most wallet transactions will continue to take place at the voucher level, even after the Ascension blockchain launches. The voucher level is completely permission-less. Publication of smart contracts (assuming these are supported) will require validator-level permissions, with pre-approval by Ascension. This single proviso neatly addresses issues 12- 15, as well as providing a revenue source for Ascension.
- The Ascension Foundation will be able to administer monetary engineering for its own blockchain, and thus also for all of its special-purpose sub-currencies backed by its Lyra blockchain coins. The existing OTO (“overcome the odds”) voucher cryptocurrency, introduced in late 2016, is 100% backed by Lyra coins, and will remain exchangeable at 1:1 with those coins even after the genesis block is initialized. Other currencies used in our Marketplace DApps (such as InsurBucks, SportsBucks, TradeBucks, or Quantz) may have a fractional backing versus Lyra. Additional Lyra on the blockchain can be minted in any given block. The Foundation can also repurchase Lyra coins and transfer them to a sequestered address block it controls, where surplus Lyra can be held. (Note however that on a blockchain, coins never go out of circulation once minted.) This will allow the Foundation to adjust available monetary supply as required to avoid any inherent inflationary or deflationary bias (issue #9). The idea is to balance supply and demand for the currency, as indicated by longterm coin price trends versus a basket of external assets. It should be noted that currency growth occurring in our DApps is conducted in a manner intended to squeeze out risk from betting and trading applications. By building out both the ecosystem demand for coins and the coin supply at the same time, the goal is to create a stable, private money that allows growth with low volatility – something the world has not seen since the years of the classical gold standard prior to WWI.
- The governing board of the Ascension Foundation will also act as a steering committee to make decisions on direction and vision as the system grows, thus insuring that issue #3 does not arise. It should be noted that our charter members have been involved in the alternative payments industry since the days of digital gold currencies, a decade or more before Bitcoin was proposed.
- To provide funds for future development, and the implementation of its monetary engineering goals, the Ascension Foundation will raise money principally in two ways: 1) Through the sale of its existing OTO voucher currency (representing claims upon an equal number of future blockchain Lyra coins), during a presale, followed by a series of rounds offering progressively more coins at progressively smaller advance discounts. This sale will be uncapped and is thus not truly an ICO, but is rather a release of coins to be circulated in the ecosystem being developed. OTO will not be marketed to the public directly, but only by means of referred introductions through an affiliate marketing program (not multilevel). 2) By charging fees for licenses and franchises to independent businesses. This includes selling rights to operate DApps inside the in-wallet Marketplace (or on the blockchain itself), SVX franchises, rights to operate independent voucher currency Issuers, voucher network gateway servers, and possibly even licensing of the complete server and/or blockchain software itself. These application and licensing fees will be payable only in OTO (or equivalent Lyra coins) . The Foundation will also offer consulting and software development services to its business partners, likewise payable in OTO/Lyra.
- By design, OTO presale vouchers are a privately issued virtual currency and not a commodity or security. We will delve into this in detail below, but for now observe that there is no investment in a common enterprise. While speculative profit is certainly possible, earnings of commissions by sales affiliates are naturally proportional to their own efforts; while future profits of independent businesses who join the ecosystem (e.g. to operate Marketplace stores) are necessarily dependent upon their own custom software development, successful marketing, and profitable execution on their own individual business plans. Token sales do serve the purpose of recruiting a base of customers holding the currency, representing a pool of potential future demand. (This same phenomenon has been observed with Ethereum vis-a-vis ICOs.) However the future value of our coins will depend as much upon the success of individual competing businesses serving that pool of demand, as it does upon the efforts of the Ascension Foundation itself. It should also be noted that other cryptocurrencies besides our own (e.g. bitcoin, litecoin) are already circulated within our wallet system, and that our “secondary market” to date is entirely internal.
- Our architecture confines government monitoring, regulation, and licensing narrowly to the level of the currency Issuers and separate wholesale fiat exchanges, which is where it belongs. Each Issuer will comply with the applicable rules for virtual currencies in the jurisdiction where it is established. This protects the ecosystem at its interfaces with the legacy banking system.