You Ask We Answer Vol. 21 — Insight into Railgun Project’s Response

CoinEx
10 min readApr 3, 2024

The 21st volume of our “You Ask We Answer” series, featuring the Railgun Project, has concluded successfully, thanks to the immense support from our community!

We’ve selected the most insightful questions, covering aspects of technology, project development, and marketing strategies.
The Railgun Project team dedicatedly addressed each query, providing thorough responses to our community’s inquiries.

By @eiskaffeeex

Q: What makes RAILGUN achieve better privacy with less liquidity and in a shorter time-frame than other systems? 2. What are the benefits of using RAILGUN in DeFi transactions? 3. It’s fascinating how this technology can work seamlessly with various apps, assets, and liquidity. What do you think about the potential impact of this on the crypto space?

A: The ability to securely and arbitrarily transact DIRECTLY to and from a private balance is a huge advantage and allows users to gain privacy faster. dApp integrations are also quite powerful for the anonymity set associated with the protocol.

It increases the size and noise associated with the protocol which is important since the protocol doesn’t require set amounts for deposits/withdraws.

All the transferring, swapping, LPing, farming, etc creates a ton of noise.

In other words, interactions with other dApps greatly increases the throughput and variation of RAILGUN interactions thus making it increasingly difficult to correlate transactions. This also means RAILGUN depositing wallets achieve privacy much faster than would be possible without these dApp integrations.

RAILGUN allows users to keep their assets in their original form without converting to a different token to attain privacy. Further, using RAILGUN or privacy systems in general has a lot of advantages to the end user including protection from identity actors (would be hackers, phishers, stalkers etc.) and allows you to protector your alpha as a trader which means copy trading for example becomes much more difficult.

The implications of this are very far reaching, especially for the usability of crypto. The sort of voyeurism that is taken as “normal” in crypto simply isn’t in traditional finance and this limits ultimately the addressable market.

By @Deep_Aggrwal

Q: I have 3 questions for Railgun Project. First is On what chains Railgun project provide privacy on? Second why Railgun has separate governance on different chains. Third did Railgun get audit and by whom?

A: RAILGUN_ currently has four deployments, Ethereum, BSC, Arbitrum and Polygon. Three years ago the only way to do cross-chain governance without pretty unfortunate compromises in centralization.

For example: SomeSwap’s solution at the time was vote on Ethereum and some devs have a multisig to do things on Polygon (for example) so you’re left with “trust me, we’re totally going to do the right thing” which isn’t ideal and is a huge centralization vector.

Then there was trying to bridge governance to various places but then you’re dealing with security risks associated with:

  • Bridge liveness — if you map it to a bridge that then shuts down THEN what?
  • Security — malicious bridge actors can do lots of crazy sh*t technically speaking

So in other words, there WASN’T a great way to do this but now? Maybe the architecture is such that it IS possible. Multi-message aggregation exists where governance proposals can be passed by a m/n bridge set and thus the myriad of tokens aren’t needed (at least from my little ol perspective) so it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

RAILGUN_ code has been audited over ten times by various firms including, Trail of Bits, ABDK, Hashcloak, Zokyo, and Hacken.

By @DangsRaja3119

Q: What measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the governance process, including quorum requirements and the execution of approved proposals?

A: Governance is a 6-step process. First a proposal is submitted on-chain which must include the exact on-chain calls upfront. This incurs a gas fee, which is small enough that it doesn’t discourage participation but is a small barrier to governance spam proposals. Having the EXACT transaction upfront means that users can audit exactly what they’re voting on beforehand and not just “trust” a proposal document or forum discussion.

There’s then a sponsorship period requiring 1 million “sponsorship votes” be placed to call a vote. If and when a proposal reaches this sponsorship threshold a “Call to vote” can be executed on-chain and this snapshots staked $RAIL to determine who will be eligible to vote in the voting period.

There’s then a review period for two days followed by a Voting period of Yea and Nay votes for 4 days, however the last day is a call for “nay” votes. This prevents vote snipers and ensures the community of stakers as a whole truly want to enact the proposed changes.

Then there’s the final step of executing the transaction associated with the vote (assuming it passed) day after the voting period ends, a week-long Execution Window opens. Someone — anyone — must execute the proposal during this time for it to take effect. Executing the proposal does just that — the smart contract functions encoded in the proposal are executed. If the functions are improperly coded and cause an error, effectively nothing will happen and the proposal will have to be rewritten correctly and submitted anew. But if all goes well, the community will have collectively brought about a meaningful change to RAILGUN_.

By @Erul1122

Q: What is Railgun’s goal in 2024 and what strategies must be prepared to be able to compete in a market that is currently highly volatile?

A: All metrics around the protocol are up and to the right which as a support of privacy and the project is great to see.

There’s quite a few initiatives being worked on that we’re excited about.

First is RAILGUN_connect. This is a huge advancement in how integrations work. What makes RAILGUN Connect so cool, is that it can piggyback on whatever wallet you want to use. Also, there really isn’t an “integration” aspect to it which is cooler and more closely tied to the “permissionless” ethos of DeFi…The goal of the research is to make it so RAILGUN_ can interact with any dApp you want without an “integration” and best of all; no one else has even come close to this in privacy tech.

There’s also RAILGUN_v3 which is a huge departure from the current v2 architecture. I could get in the weeds of it but the most exciting thing about v3 is the gas savings for cross-contract calls. This new architecture should save nearly HALF on gas for dApp interactions which is massive.

Last but certainly not least, there’s a lot of research going on around RAILGUN_’s Private Proofs of Innocence mechanisms. There’s some work going on to make it so it can be deployed onto new chains beyond Ethereum as well as some more granular mechansims to deter bad actors.

By @laiba_k21

Q:

1. Why should we prefer or choose Railgun over other Privacy Projects?

2. How private is a RAILGUN Private Balance?

3. How is Railgun transforming Privacy and What does it mean for the future of privacy in Cryptocurrency?

A: There’s really only two plays currently, privacy on-chain and everything else. If you’re going to build a private L1/L2, it’s a much bigger task. Building in a privacy option into a currently thriving ecosystem is a fundamentally task…Garnering the attention of liquidity, builders etc is a big ask.

Builders for example aren’t going to just up and retool for nothing; so if you’re telling them leave the EVM world or add this new “privacy” chain to their deployment stack. You have to have a very big reason to do so. WIIFM — what’s in it for ME?! Why would I deploy there? This is especially true of really big applications that many DeFi natives use on a DAILY basis. Every new deployment comes with big considerations and that’s just when you’re considering EVM <-> EVM where solidity is solidity.

So we gotta respect that mission is MUCH MUCH larger if that’s what others are going for.

In other words, I think a RAILGUN_ “go to market strategy” is more simple and doesn’t have the ancillary requirements of spinning up a new haven for privacy. The DeFi ecosystem that’s addressable by privacy is vibrant and rich already. RAILGUN_ can be deployed on insert favorite Ethereum/Bitcoin L1/L2/Rollup instead and BRING the solution to the market where it’s already needed.

In my opinion, privacy alone isn’t a large enough value proposition to lure liquidity away, so it’s a much lighter, more impactful lift to bring the privacy to the existing liquidity.

People don’t do what RAILGUN_ contributors do because it’s hard and in its own right a very heavy lift. However, it’s a far deeper value proposition for the current state of the ecosystem and means that users can have privacy where they are already.

By @Riddhin112

Q: Can you provide a comprehensive overview of the tokenomics of the, including its utilities, staking capabilities, and functionalities on your platform? Moreover, could you explain how and where we can currently obtain $RAIL? Additionally, what kind of incentives does it offer to others?

A: 100 million max supply — 57.5 million circulating. New tokens can only be minted by governance vote from current stakers.

RAIL is a governance token. Stakers become governors and have access to:

  • Voting power in the RAILGUN decentralized governance mechanism
  • The ability to submit code changes and proposals, any wallet that has staked RAIL can submit proposals
  • Active governor rewards, treasury incentives for active participation in governance to ensure healthy vote count and participation

By @SSmartherooo

Q: (Translated into english) It is said that with the latest advancements in zkSTARKs, contributors to the Railgun project are exploring and testing the use of SNARKs and STARKs, and are developing both systems in parallel… You mentioned that Railgun is about to launch, so what progress has been made so far in building and testing technology using SNARKs and STARKs? What are the differences between them? Will both technologies be implemented in parallel on your platform eventually? What progress has been made so far in building and testing technology using SNARKs and STARKs? What are the differences between them? Will both technologies be implemented in parallel on your platform eventually?
Original question(in chinese): 据说,随着 zkSTARKs 的最新进展,Railgun 项目贡献者正在调查和测试 SNARKs 和 STARKs 的使用,并且正在并行开发这两个系统……您提到Railgun即将发布,那么到目前为止,使用SNARK 和 STARK构建技术和测试技术取得了什么进展?它们之间的区别是什么?最终会在你们的平台上并行实施这两个技术吗? 到目前为止,使用SNARK 和 STARK构建技术和测试技术取得了什么进展?它们之间的区别是什么?最终会在你们的平台上并行实施这两个技术吗?‌‌

A: We evaluated both and settled on groth16 snarks as they are the cheapest to verify on Ethereum currently. We have a breakdown of the tradeoffs between SNARK and STARKS on our twitter: https://twitter.com/railgun_project/status/1362223656395436034

We have basically concluded that the STARKs eat up much too much gas to be practical for us. We left those behind, Snarks were chosen as the way forward.

The gas cost of STARKs would be higher. So we chose SNARKS. The privacy level is equal.

我们对这两种技术进行了评估,最终选择了 groth16 snarks,因为目前它们在以太坊上验证的成本最低。 我们在推特上对 SNARK 和 STARKS 之间的权衡进行了详细说明,可参见以下链接:https://twitter.com/railgun_project/status/1362223656395436034

基本上,我们得出结论,STARKs会消耗太多gas,对我们来说并不实用。因此我们选择了另一个Snarks,它是我们所选的前进之路。

STARK的 gas 成本较高,因此我们选择了SNARKS,但两者的隐私级别是相同的。

By @Mungsep78

Q: DeFi is one of the best Innovation in the blockchain space . Can you share your opinions on DeFi with us? Do you think that DeFi will disrupt the existing financial system? What is Railgun approach towards the DeFi sector?

A: DeFi is one of the most natural use cases for blockchain tech. Removing trust from finance makes it instantly better and more efficient. Disruption is already happening, about $100bn in DeFi TVL speaks for itself. For DeFi to really change finance and make peoples’ lives better, there’s a few fundamental problems to be solved including, cost, ease of use, and number one is privacy.

Without privacy, DeFi will never be more than a fringe science experiment. RAILGUN solves this problem by making DeFi usable for everyone, not just the limited number of people who are willing to accept privacy compromises. For DeFi to grow to its full potential, a solution like RAILGUN that addresses privacy is necessary. The coolest thing about RAILGUN is that you can use ANY DeFi protocol privately in their original forms without needing an integration. It’s the universal privacy standard that completes DeFi.

By @mazosist28

Q: On your website you don’t mention that you have done any internal or external audit of your smart contract, so can you give us details if you have done any audit before? And in case you haven’t, would you plan to perform any review of your smart contract in the near future?

A: RAILGUN_ code has been audited over ten times by various firms including, Trail of Bits, ABDK, Hashcloak, Zokyo, Pessimistic, and Hacken. There’s continual reviews from various security experts on an ongoing basis. The next big audit of the code will be by Halborn.

If you want to read some of these reviews you can see them on the RAILGUN.org website here: https://assets.railgun.org/docs/audits/

By @piu_routh69306

Q: What is the consensus mechanism used by RAILGUN and how does it contribute to the network’s overall performance?

A: RAILGUN is all smart contract logic. This means it’s at the same layer as DeFi applications. This means that the RAILGUN system can talk to every other smart contract on the EVM networks it’s deployed to without needing separate consensus or bridging.

So, it’s just as secure as Ethereum/Arbitrum/Polygon or BNB Chain and also can privatize all existing activity and applications.

By @nftsexygore

Q: Please explain the zk-SNARK Railgun technology

A: At a high level, zkSNARKs make it possible for both sides of a transaction to show to each another that they have exact information — but without revealing the information itself. In other words, I can show you that I know what I know without revealing what I know; you know?

By @lucvantien840

Q: Does the #RAILGUN_Project platform focus more on professional traders or does it also focus on beginners? What resources does you offer to educate about trading?

A: The project most certainly leans more towards professionals and other “advanced” users. Many newcomers to the space don’t recognize the subtle difference between pseudonimity and anonymity and the lack of the latter in DeFi.

There’s lots of various YouTube videos, Twitter threads, Spaces, How To guides etc. all geared towards explaining how RAILGUN_ works and how users can get started. There could always be more and welcome community members and users to help with content and feedback.

By @QuyenHai3

Q: Do you allow suggestions and feedback from the community? Are we allowed in decision making, do you put community into consideration ? What are your expectations from the community ?

A: Absolutely, RAILGUN_ is very much so a community driven project. There’s been seemingly countless contributors to provide value to the project in a myriad of ways. All the way from advance cryptographic research to the dankest memes. The best way to get involved is to join the Discord and see where your skills can be applied!

For the latest updates and information, make sure to follow the Railgun Project on Twitter. We’re deeply grateful for the support from our community and are excited for you to join us in future series of the “You Ask We Answer” series. Please stay tuned for more sessions where your questions bring clarity & insight into the world of blockchain and crypto projects!

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