2022 was not a good year for crypto’s legitimacy. A year of smart contract hacks and DeFi exploits, culminated by the second largest crypto exchange by market cap bankrupted overnight on the discovery that it almost certainly misappropriated customer funds and used them as a personal checking account.
For crypto critics, it’s just another sad tale of how crypto aids and abets criminal behaviour. Yet for those who know better and have been around longer than the last few years, the events at the end of 2022 represent a fantastic opportunity to get back to basics and understand what crypto is great at: total transparency and total self-custody of one’s money.
With the recent drama, many have decried how impossible it is to work out what FTX did with their customers’ money, fulminating about crypto’s obscurity. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fantastic thing about a decentralised worldwide public ledger is that you can prove, incontrovertibly, what happened to the money.
The Blockchain and Total Transparency
The strange little secret – insomuch as everyone has said it about the blockchain ever, except it falls on deaf ears – is that everything is traceable. A far cry from the talk of on-chain activity being a place for crooks to hide their dirty money – that’s simply a matter of inexperience, poor regulation, and the natural obfuscation that comes with any new groundbreaking technology.
Dapp developers don’t help, and for good reason. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to create an effective UI that translates blockchain actions into legible script that the layman can understand. However, it can make many dapps feel like Pandora’s box, with only blithe assurances of transaction ids that assure them transactions have executed. For the initiated, it’s all they need. For the newcomer, it can at best feel overwhelming, and at worst scary. The experience, shared by all, harms adoption.
The truth is, with a bit of simplification, the natural transparency of the blockchain would be clear for everyone to see. Smart contracts and transaction IDs give any trained accountant in blockchain everything they need to trace billions, or even trillions, of dollars of on-chain money. The information is all there, and it’s all irrefutable. All that’s needed is a way to parse the secrets hiding in plain sight.
How Bytekode Decodes the Blockchain for Everyone
That, then, is the goal of Bytekode, Bytekode is a simple widget that takes any smart contract data, transaction id, public key, or other blockchain information and renders it in legible plaintext automatically for the end user. Their plan is to create an easy, modular, open-source information rendering service that dapp developers can bake in seamlessly into their own projects and provide instant clarity about the transactions contained within it and how they are interacting with the wider blockchain ecosystems they are built upon.
This kind of lucidity is exactly what is needed before the next cycle of crypto adoption begins. Especially when there is ever morte scrutiny around the major actors in web3 and how they handle their on-chain finances. It’s true, with current analytics software and block explorers, that illicitly gained money can be easily traced through the network.
However, that is the domain of blockchain experts who are comfortable with currently block explorer tools and can grok transaction ids and smart contracts as though they are blondes and brunettes. Yet for most these tools remain obscure, and the fact they are creates resistance to crypto and a lack of faith or certainty in the system they are participating in. Transparency is part of the gift of the blockchain. Nakamoto knew it, early crypto adopters knew it.
Everyone knows it now, but changing that knowledge into something the every man can work with is what Bytekode is attempting to do. Bytekode’s software will also be a boon for dapp developers who are creating custom wallets for their protocol and want to have modern, parseable, clean interfaces with easy-to-digest payment and receipt information.
Bytekode creates bitesize readable code. The information contained in a Bytekode message is as certain as the underlying blockchain transaction or smart contract function it is processing. It translates directly from ‘the source’, so users begin to get a handle on what the transactions they execute are doing exactly.
A Clean Lens Through Which to Find the Truth
It means that in the case of FTX, we know where the money went. We can trace it through on-chain transactions. Right now, the general public – even crypto enthusiasts – rely on experts to sift through block explorers to produce the answers. However, with Bytekode, everyone will be able to do.
It’s not just in the case of big name actors too. Perhaps you have bought an NFT from a new crypto community that has outlined a roadmap of how they are going to deploy the funds. Even if you know nothing about crypto you would be able to easily track what the DAO or community does with the community treasury wallet that, buying the NFT, have contributed to. Bytekode will help the general public more easily understand the underlying fundamentals behind the blockchain, and in doing so bring them closer to the communities they participate in, and more active, involved, value-delivering users of web3 itself.
In time, Bytekode will use its network effect of onboarded protocols and software to build a block explorer platform that even your grandma could use. By creating this fundamental legibility about smart contract functions, it will create a more trusting base for crypto as a whole. This transparency and legibility is already hard-coded into crypto itself, it just needs bringing out into the light so that everyone can see – and that’s exactly what Bytekode is aiming to do.
A New, Clearer Financial System
The ‘crypto financial system’ then is not some dark web of blind money pits and untraceable funds stashed in tax-free havens. No, that’s the current financial system, and it’s funny how it’s a more traditional, boardroom product – like FTX – was what ended up causing so much damage to crypto’s reputation – when really it was the same old bad actors in TradFi up to their old tricks in a brand new shell. Well, no – we know what you did. The blockchain will tell us.
With Bytekode, it will tell everyone. Bytekode will integrate anywhere and everywhere, reading unimpeachable smart contract code and laying it out in simple language for the everyday user. The project is in alpha, and interested dapp developers and end-users can head over to their website to sign up for their beta test, and get the latest information about Bytekode’s building process from their Twitter. Crypto may be plunged into darkness but, with Bytekode, the future is very bright indeed.