SpectreCoin

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A beautiful S-shaped logo

Spectrecoin (XSPEC) is the premier privacy-focused cryptocurrency, featuring an energy-efficient proof-of-stake algorithm providing fast transaction confirmations, and a fully integrated Tor+OBFS4 layer for network privacy. Spectrecoin is actively developed, with an ambitious roadmap that prioritises privacy, security, and true decentralisation with innovative features such as low-power mobile wallet staking in our upcoming Android wallet. - spectreproject.io

The goal of the Spectre project is to develop tools for private financial transactions and private communication. Unlike other projects, we're not only focusing on the "private transactions" part, that is sending money anonymously, but take a more holistic approach to protect the user's privacy. All communication is happening exclusively on the Tor network. Our goal is to establish a private payment ecosystem using mobile phones, similar to cash and inspired by Hawala and Localbitcoins. The mobile app will feature a chat, a wallet and a web of trust system to find good peers, all running over the Tor network to hide the user's locations. The name of the app will be "Spectre Cash". To lay a solid foundation for this great vision, we're also aiming at improving and innovating on the basic cryptocurrency technology and making Spectre a solid and private general-purpose currency.

All development is funded by the community.

Specifications

Variable Value
Ticker XSPEC
Announcement date October 20, 2016
Consensus method Proof-of-Stake 3.0
Initial supply 20,000,000
Max supply None
Block time 60 seconds
Staking interest 5% p.a.
Maturity 288 blocks
Min stake age 8 hours
Initial distribution ICO
Average ICO price ~83 sat

History

SpectreCoin was created in 2016 to improve on the concept of ShadowCash (SDC). The ICO took place starting Nov 20, 2016, until Jan 8, 2017. The goal was to add Tor integration to the ShadowCash codebase, and further extend the concept of an anonymous currency to target remittances via a mobile application, using a system inspired by Hawala. To release the ICO funds through an escrow, the Tor integration part was completed and submitted a few days after the ICO had ended.

Unfortunately, only few funds could be acquired during ICO, totaling to ~17 BTC (~16,000 USD at that time). The reason for this was unclear, part of it could be a bad timing and some people calling it a scam or "ShadowCash clone" repeatedly. Still as planned, the entirety of 20 Mio. XSPEC was proportionally distributed to the participating investors, resulting in an astonishing ICO price of only 83 sat on average (most investors paid more like 90 sat per coin, due to a bonus system to benefit early birds during ICO). As soon as the Tor integration was submitted and the coin was listed on exchanges, the coin was listed at a more realistic price of 1000-2000 sat, leading to a very high initial return for ICO investors. A large portion of the money acquired through the ICO was immediately spent on paying the contracted developers for their initial development work.

Since April 2017, the ShadowCash project has been abandoned for a new project of the ShadowCash developers called Particl, which ultimately stopped the accusations of SpectreCoin being a ShadowCash clone.

During summer 2017, SpectreCoin founder mandica started facing serious health issues and finally handed over the project leadership to lead developer jbg, who is now developing the coin.

On Aug 9, 2017, SpectreCoin version 1.3.0 was released by jbg. This update fixed a lot of issues in the old codebase, updated Tor, included a 32-bit binary for Windows and added support for the OBFS4 obfuscation protocol. Also, a new website was created on https://spectreproject.io/ with updated information and a new, clean design to display the philosophy of the new project leadership.

From Aug 20 to Aug 25, 2017, the community raised ~37,500 XSPEC and 1 BTC (which was about ~$4000 USD at that time) to fund development, which allowed jbg to quit his job and work as a full-time developer for SpectreCoin.

Sept 10, 2017, an ex-colleague of jbg, @brycel, joined the project as a cryptographer in order to improve the stealth transaction mechanism, so that it could be used as the default transaction mechanism in future versions. Brycel was initially paid by Mandica from her own pocket to work for 1 month.

Sept 11, 2017, wallet version 1.3.1 was released by jbg, which addressed a visual bug in previous wallet versions that had become known as the infamous zero-balance bug, because it made the users balance appear as zero. Furthermore, this release was the first to include a binary for Apple MacOS. A change to the stealth transaction mechanism was introduced so that the wallet allows for non-anonymous ring signatures with only 1 or 2 members. The reason for this was that at that stage, the network often did not have enough participants for ring signatures to do a full ring signature transaction. On the same day, version 1.3.2 was released that fixes a minor bug in version 1.3.1.

Sept 12, 2017, version 1.3.3 was released, which fixes some further GUI issues, and brings faster wallet startup and sync performance.

During October, the community raised additional funding for Brycel so that he could continue working on the project.

Current development

The current development is focused on migrating the wallet from Qt 4 to Qt Quick (Qt5), in order to improve the reliability and user experience of the wallet, and to prepare it for being ported to Android in the future. Furthermore, the stealth transaction mechanism is being worked on.

Tor integration

Many cryptocurrencies today support connecting your wallet to other nodes on the network through Tor in some way. With these coins, other nodes are still addressed by their IP address, but each user has the choice to hide his IP address by routing his traffic through several hops on the Tor network, including one entry and one exit node. Such a scheme has several downsides. For example, the exit node can read the unencrypted traffic that goes from a node that uses Tor (A), to a node that doesn't use Tor (B), and can act as a man-in-the-middle. Furthermore, exit nodes could collaborate and prevent A (or any cryptocurrency user that tries to use Tor) from doing transactions altogether. Finally, if not every coin node uses Tor, an attacker could analyse the network structure at the unprotected nodes and maybe use timing analysis attacks or correlation attacks to deanonymize nodes that are routing through Tor.

In SpectreCoin, all nodes on the network are operating as Tor hidden services. They are not addressed by their IP address, but by their .onion address which encodes a public key used for traffic encryption along with a way to find a route to that node. No exit nodes are involved, and at any point in time, the communication between two nodes is fully encrypted. SpectreCoin comes bundled with the latest Tor software that has been included without any functional changes. It is not possible to connect to the SpectreCoin network without using Tor, as all nodes are only reachable via their hidden service address. No real IP addresses are known to any network participant except for their own, and it is infeasible for an attacker to analyze the network structure or censor the network.

OBFS4

SpectreCoin has inbuilt support for OBFS4 to use it with Tor Pluggable Transports. OBFS4 is an obfuscation protocol that hides the nature of the traffic that goes through it. By incorporating OBFS4, it is possible to use SpectreCoin even in countries where access to the Tor network is censored, like China or Iran. It is currently the recommended pluggable transport of the Tor project. More info can be found on the Pluggable Transports page of the Tor website.

Comparison with other coins

In this section we will answer the common question of "How does SpectreCoin compare to X?", where X is one of the following coins.

CloakCoin

  • Both Cloak and SpectreCoin use PoS only and don't have masternodes.
  • Cloak has 6% inflation, SpectreCoin has 5% inflation.
  • Both have a block time of 60 seconds.
  • Cloak uses the proprietary terms "CloakShield" and "ENIGMA transactions", while SpectreCoin uses Tor and ring signatures. This makes SpectreCoin technology easier to understand.
  • Cloak seems to also target applications sending data between each other via the Cloak network, while SpectreCoin focuses on being simply a currency.
  • While CloakCoin has its own onion routing network, SpectreCoin is part of the official Tor network. This makes SpectreCoin more anonymous (as there are much more nodes participating in the network), and more difficult to censor.
  • Cloak's ENIGMA protocol seems to be based on mixing, whereas SpectreCoin uses untraceable ring signatures that we find to be more efficient and also more secure: Ring signatures (using private fixed-size tokens) are information-theoretically anonymous, while mixed transactions could possibly be prone to correlation attacks and malicious nodes.
  • All funds are visible on the blockchain, whereas in SpectreCoin, funds that are stored as private balance (tokens for ring signatures) are not publicly visible.

DeepOnion

  • DeepOnion gives you free money, SpectreCoin does not.
  • Both operate on the Tor network.
  • DeepOnion uses both Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake, SpectreCoin uses Proof-of-Stake only
  • DeepOnion does not offer transaction privacy, all transactions are publicly visible. In addition, SpectreCoin also supports stealth addresses and ring signatures for private sending and receiving of coins.
  • Users are able to send encrypted messages using DeepOnion, this does not quite work with SpectreCoin yet, although we will be adding that feature.
  • DeepOnion is a marketing-airdrop scheme on Bitcointalk, whereas SpectreCoin had a plain ICO.
  • The last time we checked (during the airdrop), the developer of DeepOnion held the majority of the coin supply. Right now, we could not find any block explorer that displayed the (unmodified) rich list, to check whether this is still the case or not. In contrast, SpectreCoin is fully transparent about the information that is publicly available, such as the balance of addresses that hold a public (i.e. not private) balance. This can be checked via a number of block explorers (see section Project links). The SpectreCoin devs do not hold a significant portion of the coin supply, as that would have significant implications for the trustworthiness and security of the coin (as for any other blockchain-based cryptocurrency).
  • The Spectre project has a vision that goes beyond private transactions and targets to establish a private payment ecosystem similar to cash, whereas DeepOnion does not seem to have any further goals beyond having an anonymous currency.

Monero

  • Monero is a much bigger project than SpectreCoin and has a lot more devs, but also a much higher price. So Spectre has bigger potential to grow.
  • Monero uses Proof-of-Work, SpectreCoin uses Proof-of-Stake.
  • The Monero wallet is mature and stable, while there are still some bugs in SpectreCoin.
  • In Monero, you can send money anonymously, while this does not quite work with SpectreCoin yet, because there are too few "tokens" available for making a ring-signature. We want to make Spectre Tokens (for ring signatures) the default in future versions, which should solve this problem.
  • SpectreCoin has a rich list, while Monero does not. This comes from the fact that SpectreCoin's anonymity is an add-on to normal Bitcoin-like operation at this point, so anonymity (and storing coins as tokens instead of on a public address) is optional in SpectreCoin. We want to make it the default in future versions. Spectre tokens that are stored as "private balance" in the wallet are not visible in the block explorer.
  • SpectreCoin has native Tor integration and all nodes run as hidden services. Monero plans to add an I2P implementation called "Kovri", but it's not the default for Monero yet. Monero can also run via Tor, but only using it as a proxy that uses Tor exit nodes, which comes with some problems (see the Tor integration section).
  • The goals and vision of SpectreCoin and Monero are different.
  • In a Twitter post [1], "fluffpony" (the Monero project leader) noted that using Tor hidden services in SpectreCoin might be susceptible to isolation attacks because .onion address are costless to create. This problem is mitigated in SpectreCoin because the onion addresses used to join the SpectreCoin network have certain requirements, which requires the user to "mine" for a suitable Tor public key first before joining the network. Also, like most Bitcoin-based wallets, SpectreCoin has sophisticated security mechanisms for node selection, so running an isolation attack is not so simple.

Official team

Role Name Activity Bitcointalk Slack Twitter
Founder Heidi Kaulitz Part-time mandica @spectreproject @SpectreCash
Lead developer jbg Full-time spectre_jbg @jbg -
Community manager Beachguy Part-time Beachguy @beachguy -
Cryptographer Bruce L Full-time - @brycel -

Exchanges

You can use exchanges to buy and sell Spectre coins (XSPEC) for Bitcoin (BTC). They are free to use, you just need to make an account and deposit some BTC to the site. You need to get Bitcoin from somewhere else, first. A list of exchanges that support SpectreCoin can be found here: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/spectrecoin/#markets

Bigger exchanges like Bittrex and Poloniex usually decide on their own which coins they want to add, there is no way to force them or pay them to list XSPEC.

After you bought XSPEC from one of the exchanges, you should transfer them to your wallet. See the Download section below. Sending coins to someone else directly from an exchange does NOT give you the same anonymity guarantees as if you use the standalone wallet!

Download

Windows

The download links (for 32 and 64 bit) are available from the official website. Please make sure to check the SHA256 sum after downloading the file, to verify that it is not corrupted! There are different ways to check the SHA256 sum:

  • Using a dedicated checksum tool like Quickhash GUI.
  • If you have 7-zip installed (a very neat archive extractor), you can check the SHA256 sum using a context menu entry called "CRC SHA". (We would recommend you to install 7-zip, as it is a very useful utility anyway! ;))
  • If you are command-line savvy, you can use the Windows command "CertUtil -hashfile pathToFileToCheck SHA256".

Please do not download the wallet from other sources than the official ones!

MacOS

The download link is available from the official website. Please make sure to check the SHA256 sum after downloading the file, to verify that it is not corrupted! To do so, launch a terminal inside the download folder and run the command "shasum -a 256 <filename>.zip". Compare the hash sum with the one listed on the official download page.

Unix

If you are using a different Unix-based operating system (e.g. Linux), please compile the software on your own system using the instructions found in the Github repository. You can also ask for help in Slack if needed (see "Links" below).

Code names

Starting with wallet version 1.3, the SpectreCoin community started giving code names to major releases, based on the most common reactions from newbies using the wallet or problems people were experiencing, written in intentionally broken English. Version 1.3 was named "Why my balance is zero?", which refers to a bug in the user interface that was left over from the old ShadowCash code and leads to the displayed balance not being updated after the start of the wallet, making it appear as "0.00".

Technical information

Data directory

The data directory contains the application-specific files, such as the downloaded blockchain and your private keys. It is created on the first start of the wallet on your system. You should usually not touch this folder, unless you know what you are doing. The location of the data directory depends on your operating system, as listed below.

Operating System Data directory path
Windows C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\SpectreCoin
Unix-like (Linux, *BSD etc.) ~/.spectrecoin
Mac OS ~/Library/Application Support/SpectreCoin

Depending on your system settings, you might need to display "hidden files" in order to access these directories.

The file "wallet.dat" contains your private keys, make sure to not delete it accidentally. You can make backups of it using the graphical wallet, via the "Backup" menu.

Default ports

In most cases, the SpectreCoin wallet should be able to connect without any manual configuration.

Purpose Port number
Wallet 37347
RPC 36657
Tor Socks 9089

Media coverage

September 2017

October 2017

Previous ANN threads

This is the list of previous announcement threads on Bitcointalk (ANN threads), in ascending order, for the sake of transparency:

Project links

Coins

ANC ARG BET BQC BTB BTC BTE CGB CLOAK CLR CRC CSC Curecoin DEM DGC DOGE DTC DVC EZC FLO FRK FTC GLC GLD GME GRC INDI I0C IFC IXC JKC LBRY CREDITS (LBC) LKY LTC MNC MSC NET NMC NRB NVC NXT ONION PPC PTS QRK Ripple SBC SXC TAG TIX TRC WDC XPM XSPEC YAC ZET