[Exclusive Interview] Meet Alex, CSO of Offshift

Today we are honored to have Alex with us. Alex is the CSO of Offshift, an ecosystem focused on developing applications that allow users to protect their privacy. Together, we will explore the project in greater detail and learn more about Offshift’s forthcoming platform, Offshift anon, its tokenomics, when it will go live, and much more. So, let’s get started!

The Offshift Ecosystem: On-Chain Privacy solutions. Source. Offshift.io

[SurferInvestor] Could you please summarise briefly what Offshift is about?

[Alex] Offshift is focused on developing applications that allow users to protect their privacy, anonymity, and/or confidentiality in decentralized digital environments. Right now, that means Ethereum Layer 1.

[SurferInvestor] Could you please introduce the founding team? What is their background and what makes them the right team to run Offshift

[Alex] My background is in finance and I previously wrote for the Elastos Foundation starting in 2018. I started with Offshift in 2020, so I’ve been here for a while.

[Alex] The rest of the team has elected to remain anonymous. Our attitude with respect to their anonymity is that, insofar as they’re individuals, they have every right to remain anonymous. However, insofar as we are producing a platform for the public, we need to provide as much transparency as possible in the development process. For example, we provided development roadmaps, biweekly development updates, and monthly AMAs throughout the duration of the development process for Offshift anon. We also create a lot of educational content, most notably through Offshift Academy.

[SurferInvestor] How did the idea of Offshift come to life?

[Alex] Offshift’s founders were initially inspired by Aztec protocol’s EIP 1724 (Ethereum Improvement Proposal), which outlined a confidential token standard for Ethereum. Offshift’s founders foresaw that privacy on Ethereum was the next frontier for the crypto space at large, but wanted to build on Ethereum Layer 1 rather than on a roll-up or Layer 2.

EIP-1724 Confidentiality Token Standard. Source: GutHub

[Alex] And so that was sort of where things started. Confidential synthetics were the first focus, whereas the platform that we’re about to debut now, Offshift anon, allows users to mint anonymous synthetics.

[SurferInvestor] Why did you decide to build within the Privacy Finance sector? And not any other crypto field such as GameFi or SoFi? Why Privacy?

[Alex] PriFi, or private DeFi, is a really important sector. To give you some background, I entered the crypto space through the lens of what I would call monetary sensibility. To me, central banking, fractional reserve lending, and related practices like quantitative easing did not resonate at all. And it seemed to me that the rehypothecation of other people’s wealth is what plagues our society at large. That’s where the fraud or theft really takes place. And I can actually say that out loud in this space, which is nice.

[Alex] At first, I was very excited about Bitcoin and Ethereum – DeFi in particular. But I realized shortly after that money and finance are digitally native, which subsequently introduces this additional form of rehypothecation. The rehypothecation of people’s data and the wealth that is inherently vested in that data becomes yet another layer of nonconsensual mass wealth extraction. So to close the loop, privacy has really been the key element that, to me at least, brings everything in full circle.

[SurferInvestor] So as a user, I swap let’s say ETH to XFT, then burn XFT to get anonAsset will I be able to yield farm with my anonAssets?

[Alex] To say that you can yield farm with anonAssets immediately out of the gate would be inaccurate. However, what you can do is you can LP. You’ll be able to provide liquidity for the anonUSD/WETH pair on Uniswap.

[Alex] That being said, we are not giving out single-asset staking rewards. We don’t do that. I think Terra Luna demonstrated exactly why you don’t do that – not to say that Bitconnect didn’t already demonstrate the same years before them. We don’t pay people not to sell. We don’t pay people to hold or to buy. Those kinds of incentives ultimately lead to massive unwinds and do huge damage to ecosystems.

The Unceremonious Unwind of Terra Luna from ~75USD per token to 0.00001USD per token. Source: Coingecko.

[Alex] Offshift anon was developed very intentionally with demand-based price mechanics. What contributes to the price of XFT is free market demand from users that want to restore their anonymity on-chain. In the future, our vision is that public DeFi platforms will become increasingly interested in integrating not only anonUSD, but other anonAssets that originate from Offshift anon. Really, any platform that deals with synthetics, collateral pools, or decentralized lending will want exposure to crypto’s fast-growing privacy sector in a short time. anonUSD is perfectly positioned in that regard, as Monero, Zcash, and others in the privacy sector live on siloed, independent blockchains or Layer 2s.

[Alex] So it’s a big win for the Offshift community to get anonAssets circulating around the Ethereum DeFi space as demand organically grows. And, it’s a big win for DeFi protocol communities and DAOs that see privacy as being the next big thing – that is, the next big catalyst for growth in this space – and they’re going to want exposure to that in diversifying their collateral pools and preparing for the future. So those opportunities are on the horizon, and we’re excited.

[SurferInvestor] In the Shifting process, will anonAssets be sent to another 0x a user controls to ensure privacy?

[Alex] Yes. In the process of conducting an Anonymizing Shift, anonUSD is minted and sent to another Ethereum address as designated by the user. In the deposit transaction, the user burns XFT and submits 0.05 ETH to the deposit contract, and selects a designated withdrawal address. In the withdrawal transaction, anonUSD is minted and sent along with the 0.05 ETH to the designated withdrawal address by a relayer. So, to put it simply, “yes”.

[SurferInvestor] What item in the roadmap gets you the most excited?

[Alex] As far as the roadmap, it’s the mainnet launch. We just announced very recently our LP Rewards Program as well. So on February 27, users will be able to start providing liquidity. But of course, it’s all about the mainnet launch and our community has been eagerly anticipating it for quite a while.

[SurferInvestor] What is the future of the Offshift team?

[Alex] First and foremost, Offshift is a decentralized ecosystem of applications. As far as Offshift Core – that the core team – is concerned, early-stage development is a necessary responsibility. However, the team’s ultimate goal is to dissolve – that is, to no longer exist. In order to achieve true decentralization, the ecosystem must be owned and governed by the Offshift Community. The Offshift DAO will increasingly take on a greater role as Offshift Core gradually passes on power and decision-making responsibilities.

[SurferInvestor] Have you considered deploying on Arbitrum or another Layer 2?

[Alex] At this stage, just as crypto has its fair share of Layer 2s, it has its fair share of Layer 2 privacy solutions. To us, privacy absent decentralization is no privacy at all – just look at what happened in the Celsius Network court case where user data was revealed via court order. Layer 2s are far better than CeFi, for sure. But they also introduce elements of trust and centralization, and what crypto needs more than ever is Layer 1 privacy – no ifs, ands, or bridges.

[SurferInvestor] In an ideal world, how would Offshift look in 5 years?

[Alex] Ideally it would just look super diverse as far as other development teams entering the fray, and obviously a very robust and diverse community of individuals. 

[Alex] Outside of that, it’s really hard to say. But it would definitely be exciting to have multiple applications five years down the line. The truth is that, in this space, five years is an eternity, and the most important thing is to move forward one day at a time.

[SurferInvestor] For people who wanna jump in, how to get started?

[Alex] For people who just want to get started, they can definitely follow us on Twitter and join our Telegram because we do have a really strong and really knowledgeable community. We also have Offshift Academy which is a comprehensive YouTube channel with a growing library of videos to help newcomers get acquainted with our ecosystem. Our Offshift Academy videos distill complex concepts into easy-to-understand bitesize pieces. These videos include topics such as tokenomics, Shifting on the platform, and PriFi (Private DeFi) into simple, bite-sized pieces. We understand that many people prefer visual media, and we have designed our videos to be succinct, comprehensive, and easy to understand. We invite everyone to explore Offshift Academy on YouTube.

Go ahead and have a look at the Offshift Academy to learn more about Privacy DeFi (PriFi). Source: Offshift Academy

We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to join us today and giving us an inside look into the Offshift project. We are excited about the upcoming launch the week of February 27th and wish Alex and the Offshift team all the best for their continued success. We look forward to following their development and seeing the Offshift Ecosystem grow. Privacy is becoming increasingly important, and we are glad to have Offshift to help us protect it.

If you want to explore other projects within the PriFi:
>> Have a look at our interviews of Offramp.xyz or ARX Protocol. (no KYC)
>> Learn how to earn yield while your funds are “mixing” with Sacred Finance.

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