Oxen is an ambitious project that leverages the rich offerings of blockchain technology to provide a multidimensional ecosystem of privacy-friendly tools.
It offers a secure messaging platform, a private cryptocurrency, a network anonymity layer, and a bunch of resources to help you build your own privacy-friendly apps. In other words, it can be a treat for privacy-focused users if it continues to play to its strength.
We hope that by the time you reach the end of this quick review, you’ll have gained a fair bit of insight into the overall construct of the Oxen ecosystem, and how it promises to help build “a more private future for the Internet.”
Oxen: The Genesis
The Oxen project, formerly known as Loki, is spearheaded by the four co-founders – Simon Harman (CEO), Kee Jeffreys (CTO), Chris McCabe (COO), and Josh Jessop-Smith (CMO). The genesis of Oxen goes back to 2017 when Simon, kee, Chris, and Josh met at the Melbourne Blockchain Center and found that they shared the same passion for privacy tech.
Big Tech’s blatant disregard for the privacy of users with their unapologetic “our way or the highway” approach further cemented the quartet’s belief that decentralization could be a perfect fit to accommodate their vision of delivering a democratic and privacy-friendly alternative to many popular online services such as WhatsApp Messanger, Google Chrome, etc.
What Is Oxen and Who Is it for?
Oxen is essentially a developer platform for privacy tools. It offers a wide range of tools, libraries, and end-user products aimed at solving many of the challenging issues plaguing the digital security space.
The Oxen network is powered by the project’s homegrown blockchain, which also facilitates a parallel privacy-friendly cryptocurrency network that guarantees fast and anonymous transactions.
The Oxen Service Nodes, a distributed network of community-operated nodes, powers the platform’s native blockchain. These nodes are instrumental in ensuring that all features and services offered by the network operate smoothly round the clock.
For those with a thing for under-the-hood stuff, you might want to have a look at the Oxen GitHub repository for further insights.
Meanwhile, the platform is not just for developers and the geeks among us. It has three really useful ready-to-use products aimed at privacy-focused users. These are:
Powered by the Oxen Service Node network, Lokinet is a cutting-edge onion router that relays traffic. In other words, it’s a decentralized equivalent of the Tor Network. Lokinet’s main advantage lies in the fact that it has the ability to route both TCP and UDP traffic.
The network uses Layer 3 (network layer) onion routing takes care of all traffic re-routing.
Besides ensuring high-level privacy and anonymous communication, this arrangement also works just as smoothly with (relatively) more bandwidth-intensive tasks such as video streaming, video calling, and so on. This is a significant improvement over Tor, which at times, could struggle with speed issues.
Session prides itself as a fully encrypted and anonymous instant messaging app that minimizes the risks of metadata leakage. It does so by deploying the platform’s homegrown onion routing mechanism alongside a public key-based cryptography setup.
You can create accounts anonymously without having to give away any personal information such as your phone number, IP address, or real name. All communications including one-to-one chats and group messages have full end-to-end encryption.
Session is growing fast and just last month it surpassed another milestone by hitting the 70k users mark.
Among other things, Session is also playing a key role in helping the network expedite and expand the monetization of its privacy stack. More details on that here.
The Oxen token is the native asset in the broader Oxen ecosystem. Like the other components in the broader ecosystem, its objective is to ensure the highest level of privacy while facilitating instant and anonymous transactions (similar to Monero, albeit with some added perks).
The Oxen token has multiple use-cases, which adds to its charm as a stakeable asset. This means you can lock up a fixed amount of the token to earn rewards by running Oxen Service Nodes.
The high level of privacy means that it is borderline impossible to trace and track the Oxen token.
Under the hood, the Oxen blockchain runs on a unique proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism called Pulse. It is designed specifically to add to the privacy and security elements promised by the blockchain.
This PoS setup gives the Oxen token its “stakeable” property, which then, in turn, provides added security to the network’s privacy-focused tools such as Session and Lokinet.
The service nodes receive 16.5 Oxen per block as their reward, which results in the creation of 11,880 Oxen each day. The tokenomic of Oxen is such that a large chunk of the asset’s total supply is locked in the service nodes. In other words, these “locked” tokens are not available in the market.
Faster Transaction Is Another Big Advantage
In addition to all of the aforementioned perks, Oxen also ensures fast transactions. As you probably know, users of most of the so-called “private” cryptocurrencies have to typically cope with speed issues. Monero users, for example, may sometimes have to wait for around 25-30 minutes for transaction confirmation.
That’s not going to be an issue with Oxen, should you decide to switch to it. the Oxen blockchain deploys a unique instant payment mechanism called Blink, which uses small groups of oxen Service Nodes to confirm each transaction within the metaphorical blink of an eye.
Overall, the Oxen network with its various privacy-focused tools and resources for developers appears to be a full-fledged ecosystem in itself. As far as we can see, the tokenomics is based on solid ground and even more importantly, it fully compliments the core vision powering the project — i.e. to provide a democratic and privacy-friendly alternative to popular online services and payment systems.