Particle Network: Spearheading The Next Crypto Adoption Wave

February 16, 2024

In conclusion

It's been 15 years since the inception of this industry, and it’s safe to say that we haven’t reached the level of adoption that we would’ve hoped for a couple of years back. 

Yes, there’s no denying that there have been some significant improvements over the years, and we gradually see an influx of new users every cycle, but the problem still remains: We continue to build and sell shovels even though there is no gold to mine. 

The majority of the development is focused on infrastructure, while DeFi apps celebrate 2k daily active users as a huge achievement. We’re aware of how important these applications are to the average person, so by this point, we should be seeing applications have hundreds of thousands of daily active users. 

The problem mainly lies in financial value accrual being the main driver of growth in this industry. Layer-1s and other such protocols with a token that accrues value through its use have proved to be the most effective way to grow in this industry. Thus, developers are incentivized to build more versions of such protocols. 

We now need to take a step forward as an industry. We have more than enough blockchains but not enough applications that are actually being used. To spearhead a real adoption wave, we need consumer-friendly applications that are actually used by the average person. 

But there is one major thing holding us back. 

You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Come on, say it with me. USER EXPERIENCE. 

We say it all the time, the UX in crypto is nowhere near good enough for a non-crypto native person. While decentralization, censorship-resistance, transparency, and trustlessness are all well and good, all that matters to most users is convenience. 

If it helps them and is easy to use, they will use it. Simple as. 

Many teams have made attempts at tackling this problem, but the inroads haven’t been significant thus far. There is, however, one stand-out performer that is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. 

That stand-out performer is Particle Network. 

What is Particle Network? 

From a birds-eye view, the mission of Particle Network is simple. It is to offer products & services that significantly improve upon the developer and user experience without compromising on efficiency, privacy, and security. 

With their product offerings, which we will get into shortly, they are uniquely positioned between application developers and end users to fulfill the growth needs of public blockchains and ultimately drive adoption. 

Their product suite is vast but has three main pillars. 

The first product, which is currently live, is their wallet service. 

Modular Smart Wallet-as-a-Service

To properly understand this product, we first need to understand its two separate components. Wallet as a Service (WaaS) tools & account abstraction

You may have heard the words account abstraction a fair few times recently. Ever since the launch of ERC-4337, it has been lauded as the most important improvement to Ethereum in terms of user experience, and for good reason. 

You see, traditional wallets, commonly known as EOAs (Externally Owned Accounts), were decent. They did the job they were intended to do. However, the industry has become complex, and these wallets are simply not well-suited to execute such complex actions. Account abstraction wallets fix this. 

The other element is WaaS tools. These tools are great for users but more so for developers. They simplify the process of creating a wallet by allowing users to log in via web2 credentials, they streamline the process of signing transactions directly in-app, and they offer developers more flexibility with regard to features they would like to implement in-app. 

Particle Network combines the two together to create Modular Smart WaaS. This Smart WaaS will take the developer and user experience in crypto multiple notches higher. 

From the users' point of view, they get seamless onboarding through either web2 or web3 rails. So, regardless of a user's familiarity with crypto, the onboarding should be easy. But more importantly, this wallet has a unique private key management system that makes it even more secure than traditional wallets. 

The wallet uses an MPC-TSS private key management system. Put simply, it's an improvement on the traditional private key system. With the traditional management system, if you lose your keys, you lose your coins. Particle Network is now changing that. 

Rather than one private key, there are two secret shares generated separately, and that are only computed together, never combined. This eliminates a central point of failure. The two shares are stored on two separate parties and are continuously modified. So for an attacker to be successful, they would have to compromise both parties at virtually the same time. 

This is a major upgrade in terms of asset security. 

From the developers' point of view, they receive unparalleled flexibility. They can make applications that require any number of complex actions without having to worry about security or efficiency. They have autonomy over what elements of the AA-SDK or WaaS service they implement, allowing each developer to tailor the Smart WaaS offering completely to the exact needs of their application. 

Just this in itself will open up our industry to a whole world of new killer applications. 

For those of you who are visual learners, the diagram below should help you get a better understanding of how the Smart WaaS works. 

This smart wallet is only the beginning. Particle is aggressively building and upgrading its infrastructure to tackle a multitude of problems within this industry. Let's go over some of them below. 

Note that these products aren’t live at the time of writing. 

Omnichain Account Abstraction

To truly take the user experience to the next level, we need a system where the concept of different chains is abstracted away. Nobody wants to hunt through contracts on different chains, then manually bridge, and then perform whatever transaction they want on the new chain. It should all be instant and from one place. 

The current account abstraction solutions generally fix transaction flow complexities, but they don’t really fix the complexities of the accounts themselves. 

Developers often have to build custom implementations on different chains to implement AA solutions. Additionally, from the user perspective, there is a lot of ecosystem fragmentation between the separate chains. A fragmented ecosystem will never lead to a good user experience. 

To fix this, Particle Network’s Omnichain solution uses an individual chain, the Particle Chain, which will be the storage database for the smart accounts. 

With this omnichain solution, a user will have one unified smart contract account on all the different EVM chains. How this works is that a user must first trigger the generation of an account on the Particle Chain. This will then trigger a set of deployer contracts put in place by Particle on all the other chains. These deployer contracts ensure that a user has a unified address across multiple chains. Since the Particle Chain controls all these addresses, it makes omnichain transactions seamless. 

It also allows for more complex things. 

For example, you only have USDC on Arbitrum but want to buy an NFT on Base. You can make this transaction in one swap using the omnichain account abstraction solution. 

There are four main components to this Particle Network’s Omnichain Account Abstraction: 

  1. The Particle Chain - This is the centerpiece of the omnichain solution. It will be an individual zkEVM with the main purpose of storing users’ account data, coordinating the different deployer contracts, and handling cross-chain message passing. 
  2. Deployer Contract - A unified address is needed to have a multichain account as good as this. The deployer contract and cross-chain message-passing components work together to achieve this unified storage across multiple chains. 
  3. Cross-Chain Messaging - A cross-chain messaging solution is required to update an account's storage on the Particle Chain. Particle’s consensus for their cross-chain messaging originates from multiple different omnichain protocols. 
  4. Token - The Particle Network token is primarily made to address the gas consumption issue in multichain transactions. You typically need two separate gas tokens on both chains to complete a cross-chain transaction, but with Particle, if you have the Particle Network token, it can be used to pay directly for gas on any chain. 

Confidential zkStack 

While the Smart WaaS with omnichain account abstraction provides a significant improvement in UX, it comes at a cost. That cost is confidentiality. If a user uses their web2 credentials to sign up, then their web2 identity can easily be linked to their on-chain identity, which is presumably something that most people wouldn’t want. 

The solution to this problem is the Confidential zkStack. 

ZK technology, as most of you may know, is the pinnacle of cryptographic privacy, especially with regard to blockchains. It’s essentially a way for an entity to prove that they know a certain piece of information without ever revealing what that information is. 

Using this, Particle Network allows users to log in using their web2 credentials without them ever needing to worry about that information becoming public. 

For developers, this removes the major regulatory headache of having to deal with customer data and being compliant with data privacy laws. For users, it gives them privacy, but it also gives them the peace of mind of knowing that their data won’t be stolen or leaked at a moment's notice. 

Now for a deeper dive into how this works. 

For all you non-technical folks, let me try to simplify this. 

When you first submit your credentials and go through the verification process, an ephemeral keypair is simultaneously generated. The verified credentials are then used to generate a zk-proof on the particle chain (more on this later), which they then submit to a verifier. 

Through this process, a user has essentially created their wallet using Web 2 credentials but has kept their identity private. 

But wait, there’s more. 

You can’t offer identity privacy and then not offer transactional privacy. Not many people like having their wallet tracked by hundreds of degens copying their every move and pocket-watching at all times. You want transactional privacy, much like your bank account. 

Using account abstraction, Particle Network achieves just that. 

The system uses a confidential Paymaster. For those who don’t know, a Paymaster is essentially an entity that is appointed to hold, receive, and dispense payments on behalf of other parties. 

When a user initiates a transaction, it is sent through this confidential Paymaster. The Paymaster generates and provides a proof to the smart stealth address while also sponsoring the gas. This address then communicates the user operation to the bundler, who then executes said transaction with confidentiality maintained. 

Below is a more detailed description of this process. 

Okay, so we have the wallet, the omnichain, and the privacy aspects checked off. Now, we need some tools that allow developers to build protocols with complex actions that are simplified for the end user. 

Intent Fusion Protocol 

Particle’s Intent Fusion Protocol is a framework for expressing and executing intents. 

But what the hell are intents, and how do they relate to improved application? 

You may have heard the word Intents thrown around a lot recently. Uniswap X uses it, CoWSwap uses it, and even newer perp DEXs like IntentX use them. 

The ultimate aim of intent-centric designs is to allow users to do complex on-chain actions in a very simple manner. The idea is to allow a user to express their desired outcome and simply outsource the execution process to a third party. 

For example, a simple Intent of a user can be a swap on Uniswap. The intent of the user is to swap token A for token B. They express this outcome, and it is then fairly easy to execute. 

A more complex action would be something like managing liquidations on a lending market. A user can express their intent to the protocol by saying their desired outcome is to be as profitable as possible as a liquidator on Compound. Achieving this manually requires a lot of research and knowledge, after which the user then has to identify the most efficient transaction route to achieve this. With an intent-centric design, this can all be done by a third party. 

To champion the change towards intent-centric designs, Particle created the Intent Fusion Protocol. 

At the heart of this protocol is the Domain Specific Language (DSL). This is a unified framework that allows users to specify input and output data constraints. From the developer side, this framework effectively eliminates the long-standing tradeoff between product complexity and usage simplicity. 

The Intent Fusion Protocol has three core components: 

  • Intent Object: Developers accurately express the users’ intents. 
  • Request For Solver: The intent solver monitors the intent mempool and responds to users' requests. These solvers compete with one another to build the Intent Object. 
  • Reactor and Executor: Once a solver receives the Intent Object with the user's signature, they call upon the reactor contract. They then specify their executor contract to execute the intent. 

This sums up the crux of the Particle Network with its comprehensive suite of products. 

As a user, your journey will look a little like this:

But that’s not all. To go along with this, they have a couple of additional services Particle Network offers. 

Additional Services

Particle Node - 

The Particle node is a service that provides a robust and secure blockchain API. It allows developers to do a lot, for example, smartly encode/decode transactions, obtain token prices, receive transaction information, and much more. 

In short, it allows developers to build Dapps much faster while also ensuring they perform better. 

At the moment, it is available on all EVM chains and Solana. 

Particle NFT - 

The Particle NFT service is a quick way for devs to create, manage, and distribute NFTs within their Dapp. They provide SDKs and APIs that make creating and implementing NFT-related functions into a protocol easy. Additionally, it allows for the creation of NFT marketplaces and supports a variety of sales forms. So, say you’re a game developer and need your own marketplace for your game; it can be done with ease by Particle NFT. 

Particle NFT will also soon offer advanced analytics for those using their service so developers can keep track of their performance and quickly adjust to their customers' demands. 

This is basically a one-stop NFT service solution that is currently available on five chains. Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, BNB chain, and Avalanche. However, they will soon be expanding to more chains.

Particle Network token

While details around the tokenomics are not released yet, Particle’s Token will have a lot of important intended use cases. 

As mentioned earlier, the most important use case is that it will act as a unified gas token. Users can transact on any chain and make complex multichain transactions using one unified gas token to make the process simpler for the end user. 

This essentially means the token gets significant value accrual while also being a distribution mechanism. Similar to how a user would use the gas token of two different chains for one swap, the Particle token will be the singular token in the swap, establishing itself as a distribution mechanism. At the same time, being the unified gas token reaffirms its value as a commodity, making it accrue value similar to other L1L2 gas tokens. 

If that’s not bullish, I don’t know what is. 

On top of this, the Particle Chain uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, and the token that will need to be staked to participate in the Particle Chains PoS system is the Particle Network's token. 

In addition, it will be the token used to pay for the generation of cryptographic proofs. This is specifically for the proofs generated in the confidential zkStack. 

Another important use is for the Intent solvers. They can pledge their tokens to show their commitment to participating in the competition for intents. 

Lastly, it will also function as a governance token. Holders can participate in the governance of the Particle Chain and vote on things like protocol changes and updates. 

Concluding Thoughts 

Particles are a beautiful thing, tiny & invisible, yet they make up everything in the world. They are attached to everything, making our lives better, without many people noticing them. 

Particle Network is quite similar; it positions itself between developers and users, fairly unnoticed, yet making an impact so big that it may completely change the way we interact with this industry in the future. 

It’s an ambitious vision, but they have the mettle in the team to back it up. Somebody needs to take a step forward and finally fix the issues with crypto applications. We know that they solve real problems and are really powerful applications, but if they are so difficult to use, they will never see the adoption they deserve. 

Particle Network is at the frontlines of taking our industry to the masses, and we believe it’s high time everybody starts paying attention. They already have over 800 partners and over 20 million activated wallets with $8.5M in funding. 

Keep in mind that they’re still at the beginning of their journey. A vast majority of their products are yet to be released. 

The upcoming Particle growth story will be something to marvel at. Just make sure you’re along for the ride.

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