Goodbye Long Addresses: How FIO Protocol is Making Wallet Handles Readable for Humans
Tech Deep Dives

Goodbye Long Addresses: How FIO Protocol is Making Wallet Handles Readable for Humans

Contributor: FIO Protocol could help reduce the risk of tokens being sent to the wrong address — or worse still, addresses being mistyped.

Goodbye Long Addresses: How FIO Protocol is Making Wallet Handles Readable for Humans

Table of Contents

Before Hypertext Transport Protocol, better known as HTTP, the internet wallowed in slow growth for more than a decade. Making the internet usable is what enabled the internet’s usage to explode. Today, one of the biggest barriers of cryptocurrency’s mainstream adoption is also usability — simply put, it’s too hard and too scary to use. The FIO Protocol solves this.

It’s 2021, and the good news is, cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be so complicated anymore. With FIO Protocol, users virtually no longer need to worry about sending the wrong token to the wrong wallet address, or accidentally mistyping an address altogether, likely saving cryptocurrency users around the world millions of dollars each year from being lost into cyberspace. Better still, it could save FIO-enabled exchanges and their users hundreds of thousands of dollars in customer errors and support.

The FIO Protocol is live and integrated into a rapidly growing number of wallets, exchanges and crypto payment processing applications. 

With FIO-enabled products, crypto users can send, receive and even request crypto payments for any token or coin to their very own human-readable crypto wallet handle — a FIO address — and do so in a way that’s joyful.

FIO addresses are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that consist of a username and a domain, such as cryptofan@cmc. The domain itself is a separate NFT that can be bought and sold.

More than 200,000 human-readable FIO addresses have already been registered, and the list of FIO-enabled crypto products continues to grow. Edge Wallet, ShapeShift, Liquid Exchange, AscendEX Exchange (formerly Bitmax,) Coinomi Wallet, ChangeNow, Midas Wallet, Infinito Wallet and others have already adopted the FIO Protocol to improve their users’ experiences. 

For cryptocurrency users who value self-sovereignty, the decentralized FIO Protocol is an ideal solution that also mitigates the inherent risks of using long and complex public keys. 

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Independent Blockchain

The FIO Protocol is a Delegated Proof-of-Stake blockchain that runs in parallel with all other blockchains as its own standalone platform. As a decentralized usability layer above existing networks, it transcends any tribal boundaries between projects, and works with every token and every chain that exists now... or will exist in the future. 

The protocol doesn’t integrate with other blockchains. Instead, it focuses on the wallets and exchanges that support those chains. Technically speaking, other blockchains don’t even know the FIO Protocol exists, which enables its magic to work across every token or coin.

As a significantly modified version of EOSIO technology, it delivers 500ms block times and the ability to process thousands of transactions very quickly. Though it is a smart contract platform, all contracts on the FIO blockchain are system contracts which can only be deployed and modified with a ⅔+1 agreement by the top 21 block producers, who were voted on by FIO token holders using Delegated Proof-of-Stake consensus.

What Does the FIO Protocol Enable Today?

FIO Protocol is an open-source usability-layer solution aimed at dramatically improving the cryptocurrency user experience by bringing the industry forward into the next generation of finance. It is integrated into existing crypto products such as wallets, exchanges and crypto payment processors. 

With the FIO Protocol, fumbling with long and complicated public keys has become a thing of the past — eliminating the need to handle many different wallet addresses. 

Before FIO: 1KXHDC2mqGL4ProHbjBF6WL6YHoikX9kWY

After FIO: username@exchange

The core features of the FIO Protocol that are live today include: 

- Send: The ability to send any type of crypto to a human readable FIO address in any FIO-enabled product
- Receive: The ability to receive any type of crypto to your human readable FIO address in your FIO-enabled product
- Request: The ability to send and receive payment requests for any type of crypto to/from FIO-enabled products
- Data: The ability to include metadata with your FIO transactions — a note, order cart, invoice or more. 

Today in cryptocurrency, transactions begin with a “send.” But, in the traditional world of money, transactions begin with a “request for payment.” For example, people don’t just pay for the cell phone service, their cell phone provider sends a “request” to the customer for payment in the exact amount they are owed. And when you check out from an eCommerce site, you are presented with your payment amount. 

With the FIO Protocol, this style of transacting value is achieved via the FIO Request feature. A person or business requesting payment can include contextual metadata information or a brief note to the recipient about their request – just like PayPal and all other major peer-to-peer money management systems.

How Does FIO Protocol Work?

Cryptocurrency users interested in a more joyful experience spend FIO tokens to purchase a FIO address from the blockchain. 

The FIO chain is a highly performant and modified EOSIO-based network. Within their FIO-enabled wallet or service, users then map their native blockchain public addresses (like a BTC or ETH address) to their FIO address so other users can send those tokens to them by using their own FIO-enabled wallet or service that performs a basic lookup on the FIO chain to translate a username@wallet FIO address to a native blockchain address. At this point, a normal native blockchain transaction takes place for the token being used. 

In addition to sending funds to a FIO address, users can also request funds from other FIO users with a FIO request. They specify which chain, which token, and which address they want the funds delivered to, while also having the option to include a memo describing the request. This information is encrypted using the request recipient’s FIO public key using Diffie-Hellman shared keys and stored on the blockchain, or it can be included off-chain with a URL and hash of the data stored on-chain.

The overall experience allows users to interact with human-readable addresses when sending and receiving cryptocurrency and never have to see a long, complicated string of characters in a public key. This provides a familiar financial interaction they’ve come to expect from the traditional centralized and controlled financial ecosystem but in a decentralized, self-sovereign way. There are even some FIO-enabled products and services which offer, in partnership with the Foundation for Interwallet Operability, free FIO addresses paid for by the foundation.

What are FIO Address NFT’s?

A user’s FIO address NFT is going to be their full human-readable FIO wallet address. The first part will be their chosen username, the at symbol and then lastly, the FIO domain. The user controls mappings and use of their FIO address with their FIO private key from their chosen crypto application (e.g., wallet). 

Example: username@exchange

What are FIO Domain NFTs?

The FIO domain is the second part of the user’s FIO address and is also an NFT. Once a domain is bought and registered, it is closed from being available to another user but can be sold by the owner. 

Example: ______@liquid

In this example, @liquid is the unique FIO domain NFT.

FIO domain NFTs can be either open or closed. An open FIO domain NFT will mean that the owner has made the domain settings available for anyone to register a username against that domain. In this case, wallets and exchanges use open FIO domain NFTs — enabling their users to easily register a FIO address on their domain akin to how google enables gmail addresses. This helps with their branding and exchange/wallet promotion in the industry as well.

A closed FIO domain NFT is one that the owner does not permit other users from registering an address against. Some individuals may choose to keep their purchased domain private to only themselves, while other companies may elect to only allow their employees, for example, to have an @company FIO address. This can act as a way of verifying the integrity of the user.

The FIO Token

The FIO token is fundamental to the cryptocurrency user experience of the future. Registering FIO domains and FIO addresses require tokens to be paid directly to the blockchain. 

Those fees — paid to the FIO blockchain — are distributed by the chain to the block producers who secure the network, and the integration partners who enable the FIO Protocol in their product or service. A small portion goes to the nonprofit Foundation for Interwallet Operability — and eventually, a portion may go to the token holders who vote for block producers who secure the network (assuming future staking enhancements are deployed.)

FIO token holders also play an important role in the protocol’s on-chain governance by voting for things such as Block Producers and helping to determine who the future members of the Foundation for Interwallet Operability’s board will be. 

Without the FIO token, a decentralized, homogenous cryptocurrency experience across blockchains would not be possible.

How does FIO Protocol Compare With Other Wallet Naming Solutions?

FIO Protocol is focused on making cryptocurrency interoperable and easy to use while maintaining privacy. The FIO Protocol is blockchain and wallet agnostic, similar to a couple of other solutions. However, FIO differs in crucial ways.

First, the FIO Protocol offers more than just “wallet names.” It is an entire usability layer already enabling decentralized payment requests and cross-chain metadata. In the future, it is anticipated that FIO will enable other usability solutions such as secure routing of multi-signature requests, request for signature capabilities for decentralized apps, validation of NFT ownership, and more. Human readable wallet names are necessary but not sufficient to solve blockchain usability. 

While some of the other wallet naming efforts are centralized companies, the FIO Protocol is a community-driven decentralized autonomous consortia — made up of block producers from around the world, token holders, board members for the Foundation for Interwallet Operability, and ecosystem partners such as wallets, exchanges and service providers. Technology companies integrating the FIO Protocol have the opportunity to benefit from FIO’s token economics and earn income — as well as users who participate in the network’s governance.

Even with respect to human readable wallet names alone, FIO has distinct advantages. With the FIO Protocol, users are able to maintain privacy control through encrypted FIO request transactions that remain private, whereas other wallet naming solutions require users to always publicly associate their wallet name to their public addresses. In addition, it is difficult and expensive to map a human readable wallet name to a public address on most other wallet naming solutions. By contrast, it is extremely inexpensive on FIO, and this is included in the cost of address registration.

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