Railgun is a privacy-preserving protocol that protects users’ private information and digital assets using zk-SNARK cryptography. Unlike other privacy protocols that hide user information through intermediary wallet addresses, Railgun’s privacy system is non-custodial and users retain full control of their digital assets.
Railgun is a relatively young project and only published its whitepaper in July 2021. Originally, the project was built on the Ethereum blockchain, adding privacy and anonymity to ERC-20 tokens. However, the Railgun community understood that other blockchains beyond Ethereum would seek to add similar privacy protocols.
Since Railgun is easily portable to other blockchains with smart contract capability, further deployments have already taken place, and more are planned for the future. To date, Railgun has successfully launched on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon. The project roadmap foresees the additions of Solana and Polkadot scheduled for deployment later in 2022.
What is Railgun v1.0?
Since the publication of the whitepaper, the Railgun smart contract has been operating in live beta, with Railgun-to-Railgun transactions having full privacy. Railgun v1.0 is the project that reaches maturity through its DAO sponsorship and the adoption of protocol changes that bring privacy to all transactions. Changes included, but were not limited to:
– Support for transaction circuits that have ~6x smaller artifacts and are ~6x faster when generating transactions.
– Batch transaction processing allowing a single Railgun transaction to transfer multiple tokens.
– Support for relays complementing the Railgun privacy system by hiding the Gas Payer (aka Sender) address.
– The ability to add NFT transactions as a future update without disrupting current wallet implementations.
– The ability to wrap Railgun transactions with external contract calls allowing for things like (1) wETH wrapping/unwrapping and (2) DEX integrations and other smart contract interactions.
The most interesting proposal in Railgun v1.0 is support for relays, complementing Railgun’s privacy system by stripping gas payer information from all transactions. Prior to this proposal, personal information was hidden, but the gas fee payer was still visible. This made it possible to distinguish the sender’s wallet address, information that gives much more information about the identity of the user through the use of block explorers and crypto-forensics. The addition of this proposal fills this gap and perfects the privacy solution.
How was Railgun v1.0 released?
The Railgun project is driven by its community and places a strong emphasis on the participation of its users. There is no centralized governance or ownership group driving the project. Instead, the entire decision-making process is done by the like-minded community DAO.
RAIL token holders who stake their RAIL gain the ability to vote on Railgun governance proposals with a ratio of 1 RAIL = 1 vote. For any governance proposal to be successful, it will need to go through a seven-step process from proposal to execution.
One thing users should keep in mind when voting on Railgun governance proposals is that each blockchain has its own DAO and they act as separate entities. This means that users must stake the specific governance token of the chain whose DAO they wish to join – Binance Smart Chain uses RAILBSC and Polygon uses RAILPOLY. Users will need to switch networks from Ethereum when accessing DAOs on other chains. Users can bet on several different channels, receiving voting power proportional to their staked tokens.
Railgun v1.0 was approved and implemented on May 9, 2022. All DAOs reached a quorum and front-end deployment passed a day later on May 10. With Railgun v1.0, the advanced privacy solution has moved from Railgun-to-Railgun transactions to all transactions possible with standard ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon.
Learn more or join the conversation about the RAILGUN TwitterMedium and dedicated telegram channels.