Currently RAILGUN is deployed on three blockchains - ETH, BSC and Polygon. We're also looking to deploy on Solana, Polkadot, Near and Metis in the near future.

MaticNews x Railgun AMA Recap and Transcript

MaticNews: Let’s start with your and your team's introduction! What are your past experiences and roles? How many members currently work on Railgun ?
Railgun: Hi, my name is Hisham, I’m one of the core contributors to RAILGUN. My main role is designing and developing the zkSNARKs circuits, cryptographic protocol and library.

Hi all! My name is John & I focus on Railgun's product integrations, web and mobile integrations, and our SDK layer. I also help to support our engineering contributors.

Hello, I'm Alan. I primarily participate in RAILGUN DAO promotions and growth. Unlike my cohorts here I am on the non-technical side of things!

Hey, I'm Dylan. I'm an integration engineer for RAILGUN. Recently I built the relayer network with waku. My past experience includes 10+ years of web development, starting a wireless networking business, and a small business lending startup.

My name is Andrey and I joined the RAILGUN project last January as a project Manager resposible for managing the cryptography circuits, smart contracts, and front end works. I have since then moved more into the front end side of the project and more recently into the Quality Assurance processes making sure that the core functionality as well as UX/UI get fully tested and all relevant user feedback is reviewed and integrated if it improves the feature set or UX/UI. Apart from my work at RAILGUN I'm a lectuer at Oxford University, do research in Deep Learning, and have founded a mobile app development agency.

Our project, RAILGUN, is a smart-contract-based private wallet system that enables anonymous DeFi interactions. It currently operates on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon and Ropsten, with plans to expand to Solana, Polkadot, and Near in the coming year.

Most recently, RAILGUN became the first smart contract system to enable end-to-end private token swaps between ERC-20 assets on Polygon.

MaticNews: Thanks for the complete introduction and it’s a pleasure have such an important members of Railgun contributors here with us tonight!
Railgun: Since we're a fully decentralized project there's been many contributors to the code, promotions etc.

The DAO has currently just over 2,750 $RAIL stakers participating in governance.
MaticNews: What is the main reason for using specifically in the RAILGUN protocol  rather than in any other ones? Especially for the people who get to know the current exchange for the first time.
Railgun: First I think it's important to start with what RAILGUN is:

RAILGUN is a smart contract system that gives zk-snark privacy to any transaction or smart contract interaction on Ethereum. This means you can be untraceable when you trade, use leverage platforms, or add liquidity, with absolutely any dApp on ETH, BSC and Polygon.
If we're comparing top privacy protocols that are being deployed on blockchains, we have Railgun, Aztec and Tornado Nova. Railgun is the only one that has been able to provide private DeFi interactions, and it is the only one currently in production.

Railgun maintains full asset security because it's a L1 privacy protocol (a dApp on Polygon), so there is no insecure bridge needed, unlike on Aztec and Tornado Nova.
Many other protocols have tried to create privacy solutions, which are especially challenging due to gas constraints in Ethereum blocks. Railgun was deployed as the first holistic solution last month, and has been steadily increasing in weekly deposit (shielded asset) volume.
MaticNews: Before go more in depth, what is your vision? I think it’s very important to understand RAILGUN.
Railgun: My vision is that privacy becomes the default on blockchains rather than the exception. I'd like to see every protocol integrated with RAILGUN for private DeFi.
Privacy is a very human right and this is especially true when it comes to financial data. Current public ledger blockchains are just that, public. So every transaction you make on Polygon, for example, is out there for the world to see.

I think for DeFi  to become the "future of finance" there must be privacy preserving aspects. RAILGUN is designed to be just that.
I'm a big advocate of privacy. I have been developing and researching privacy-preserving protocols over the last six years, and my Ph.D. thesis is about preserving privacy on the blockchain. So I'm excited that all my research has come to fruition with RAILGUN.
MaticNews: Out of curiosity, is there any plan to expand to new blockchains?
Railgun: Yes, absolutely.

Currently RAILGUN is deployed on three blockchains - ETH, BSC and Polygon. We're also looking to deploy on Solana, Polkadot, Near and Metis in the near future.

RAILGUN's smart contract can be deployed to any smart contract chains with the ability to do alt_bn128 calculations are compatible with the Railgun protocol.

The the current smart contract code is EVM based but can be ported to other languages (for chains like Near and Solana). EIP196 and EIP197 are the 2 EIPs that added alt_bn128 operations to Ethereum, not sure if all the chains listed at Chainlist have those EIPs but if they do we could deploy there.
The goal is to bring RAILGUN to everywhere there's DeFi happening to allow users the ability and right to transact in a private fashion!
MaticNews: Which is the current daily volume on your platform? Seems project is having a massive growth.
Railgun: Since inception the RAILGUN smart contracts have seen just shy of 13 million dollars in tx volume. The v1 contracts have just been deployed only a few short weeks ago and they've already seen over 500 transactions cumulatively!
We've gotten some very interesting whales poking around. Even during beta there were several multimillion dollar interactions with the RAILGUN smart contract.
MaticNews: Will you tell more about what is the use case of $RAIL?
Railgun: The primary use case for $RAIL is governance.

$RAIL is the ERC20 token, however new RAILGUNs is now deployed on BSC, Polygon, and later Solana & Polkadot. The new RAIL tokens ( RAILBSC, RAILPOLY, etc) will be airdropped ONLY to those who are staking RAIL. No others will receive this airdrop or any supply at all. These will have a completely new market cap and price.
RAIL is a governance utility token. One of the most popular discussion points int eh DAO is on fees and the treasury associated with the RAILGUN ecosystem (currently over 7.5million $DAI). So RAIL can be staked and then stakers can vote on rewards and fees and vote to upgrade RAILGUN

Only staked RAIL holders are likely to receive the Treasury rewards / airdrops. If you guys vote for high rewards, you could upgrade railgun to be a very high-yield system. Because the Railgun users will grow and grow, the treasury fees could accumulate very rapidly.
One of the underrated features of RAILGUN is that holding RAIL is in no way required to use the protocol. However we do encourage everyone interested in the protocol's future to stake and vote on governance.railgun.org (this is, incidentally, how people have received airdrops for new chain launches in the past)

MaticNews: What are the relayers and how can we trust them?
Railgun: Relayers are nodejs servers connected to the waku p2p network. Relayers broadcast the tokens they accept as payment for publishing your transactions on eth/polygon etc. They then listen for transaction requests, process any transactions with a note addressed to them sufficient to cover the gas fee, and let the client know if the transaction succeeded.

You can find more detail here https://github.com/Railgun-Privacy/Protocol/wiki/RAILGUN-Relayer-Network-Protocol
As far as trust goes - you don't have to trust them. They either relay your transaction and get paid or they don't. If they don't process your tx quickly, you can send through another relayer and that transaction will invalidate the first.

Relayers are needed to overcome a limitiation with account model blockchain such as Ethereum, Polygon ... where the sender pays the gas fees. So to unlink the sender identity from their transactions, we utilize relayers. Of course they get paid to compensate for the transactions costs. Now the interesting part is do we have to trust them? Certainly no, relayers cannot modify or view any transaction details without invalidating the transaction. The only thing they know is the fee and the token that they will get because this information is encrypted by a key that only the relayer can decrypt. So other relayers cannot even know how much fees you have collected if you choose to run a relayer.

MaticNews: What tokens are supported on RAILGUN?
Railgun: Great question, any standard ERC-20 is currently supported and soon we'll have NFT support for both ERC-721 and ERC-1155. Rebase tokens will not work as expected.
MaticNews: Do you have any plan to work on support them or are not a priority?
Railgun: We do not have any plans to support them.
MaticNews: Excited to see the NFT support!
Railgun: Yes - this will unlock some very interesting DeFi use cases like providing private LP to Uniswap v3 for example! NFT support should be in the next 90 days or so!
MaticNews: Next is tokenomics! What is yours and why did you choose it?
Railgun: RAIL, RAILBSC, and RAILPOLY are worthless governance tokens unless the DAO votes to distribute fees from the treasury to stakers.

The economics of the RAILGUN smart contract system will be controlled by those stakers. The RAIL token will be used to govern the system, its upgrades, and its parameters. It will also be used to incentivize participation in governance and growth.
Fees are coded into every interaction and the DAO controls how to spend the treasury.
Currently the treasury has $7.4million dollars for the DAO to decide on how to spend. I imagine some of this will be to reward stakers and governance participants.
Here is a really nice Dune analytics dashboard for RAILGUN https://dune.com/setninja/RL-WIP
As you can tell by the above link, currently large portions of the DAO tokens are staked by the community.

MaticNews: What are the fees for using RAILGUN?
Railgun: There is a 0.25% fee associated with depositing and withdrawing from the smart contract. This is accrued to the treasury for stakers to use how they please.

Worth noting too all internal transactions (sending tokens to another RAILGUN user for example) are free of fees.
MaticNews: Besides this, how is revenue being generated for the project itself that could be used on future development?
Railgun: Recently, the DAO struck a deal with DCG for 10million dollars.

It was a very interesting deal. DCG have been a great partner to the DAO since the start of this strategic partnership. Of course RAILGUN will also support itself as a protocol by transaction fees from using the privacy system.

MaticNews: Talking about the security side, the clichè question that we ask in all AMAs:  are there any audits done for the current moment?
Railgun: Yes, absolutely - there's been several audits. The RAILGUN smart contract, frontend and token has been through several rigorous audits. ABDK, Zokyo, Hacken and Trail of Bits.

I particularly like the ABDK audit given their expertise in zero knowledge.

Dmitry Khovratovich with ABDK for example did a lot of research into zk-friendly hashing which we use in the protocol (Poseidon). So if anyone should be auditing RAILGUN it should be him. You can see the ABDK and Zokyo audits above. The Trail of Bits audit is in final copy-writing review.
We take security very seriously and will continue to get regular audits from the best and brightest in the security field.

MaticNews: As recap, speaking about the future, do you have a road map or long-term plans that you can share with us?
Railgun: The next significant projects the contributors are exploring:

  • Mobile app release
  • NFT support
  • dApp integrations for private contract calls (REN, Badger, Curve)
  • L1 deployments on Solana, Near and Polkadot blockchains
  • L2 deployments: Arbitrum, METIS

MaticNews: And the last question will be regarding your opinion about the current market moment!
Railgun: You know, bull or bear people need privacy. I think the need has become even more apparent in today's market conditions. There's a lot of adversarial liquidation hunting and exposure of whale activities throughout the ecosystem.

Trading market aside though - privacy is desperately lacking in crypto.
If you want to get paid in crypto - you have to dox your wallet. Companies like Nansen etc. are out to track your every move and you have to ask yourself do you want your financial data out there for the world to see?

I for one don't. That's why we're building RAILGUN.

MaticNews: Great! Do you have anything else to add?
Railgun: Yeah - if you want to try it out head over to RAILWAY.xyz
it's the first wallet infrastructure to utilize RAILGUN's powerful privacy preserving tech! Follow us on Twitter and drop in on our Telegram if you every have any questions about the protocol - we're a friendly community.
MaticNews: Thanks a lot guys for your time and work on create a real privacy protocol available  for everyone!
Railgun: Thank you too, for hosting us!

Written By

Petrache Ionut

Jun 29, 2022