The Making Cents team had the honor of hosting Max Freeman, Founder of the EPIC Cash project on our Telegram channel on 9 Dec. EPIC Cash project is a decentralized privacy-enhanced cryptocurrency which was first conceptualized in 2018.
For those who missed the live AMA, the following article recaps the highlights and key topics discussed, which have been edited for brevity. The full AMA exchange is available in the Telegram channel, click on link to go to the start of the AMA.
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Introduction to Max Freeman and EPIC Cash
Max began the AMA by explaining the symbolism behind his pseudonym. “Max Freeman” comes from the idea of “Maximum Freedom for Mankind”. He is also in fact doxxed. His real name is Wayan “Max” Garvey, and was formerly the Founder and CEO of Impro Group (1999–2016) before becoming a venture investor in cryptocurrency in 2017.
The EPIC community identifies themselves as The Freeman Family with over 300 volunteer contributors in almost 100 countries. There are also a few hundred different group chats and online platforms where community members engage with one another.
The project also prides itself for its strong ability to mobilize and call the community to action. For example, when Ashton Addison from the Crypto Coin Show wanted 5,000 $EPIC for promotion on his channel, the community members led the initiative to raise the funds on the project’s crowdfunding platform epicfund.me. Within 24 hours, 40 contributors contributed a total of 5,000 $EPIC.
EPIC Worldwide Network
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Origin of EPIC Cash and EUSD
The idea of EUSD price-stabilized cryptodollar actually came before EPIC Cash (see link for EUSD whitepaper). The concept was first posted on Bitcoin Talk in 2018 at a time when Max was working on a stablecoin solution to compete against the dollar — a fiat debt-based currency system based on fractional reserve banking that has arguably resulted in the widening of wealth inequality. EPIC was then launched as the underlying settlement layer and to collaterize EUSD, given its scarcity and store of value.
Max also drew the distinction between EUSD as a price-stabilized cryptodollar which aims to maintain its price at “around a dollar” and to be exchanged for $1 worth of EPIC, as opposed to a stablecoin which needs to maintain absolute price stability.
When asked about the LUNA/UST blowup and how the project would avoid similar pitfalls, Max explained that LUNA/UST was a self-referential dual token system, where 1 $UST could be converted to $1 worth of $LUNA but the only use of $LUNA was to create $UST. It was therefore a circular reference that is vulnerable to a bank run in a crisis. On the other hand, Max explained that the EUSD price-stabilized cryptodollar is
- A tri-token model made up of $EUSD, $EPIC and $ECR, which functions as the algorithmic central bank. There are also other tri-token models such as MKR/ETH/DAI, LQTY/ETH/LUSD and FXS/USDC/FRAX that are known to have worked well
- Always overcollateralized with more $EPIC than is necessary to pay out liabilities. $EPIC also has independent utility as a medium of exchange and store of value
EUSD has a tri-token model
The EPIC project is also working on Freeman Express, to provide merchants the option to take payments in crypto and convert to fiat for a lower 1.2% fee versus 3+% for credit/debit cards. There are approximately a dozen merchants that have been planned for the beta test in Q1 2023. In addition, there will also be on-ramp solutions where users will be able to instantly buy EPIC using a credit or debit card as well as partnerships with Savvy and Plicards to enable people to buy coins via gift cards. Freeman Express has an ambitious launch plan to serve 162 countries, 17 fiat currencies, 22 payment rails from the get-go (see link for introductory video to Freeman Express).
Freeman Express — Fiat to EPIC to Fiat
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Sustaining Community Growth
When asked how the EPIC project is growing in light of the bearish market conditions, Max highlighted the #EPICeverywhere campaign where communities can earn $ECR tokens by spreading the word on social media. For instance, people in Egypt can post #EPIC20 (20 is the country code for Egypt) and compete against other countries, to earn $ECR. EPIC also has plans to launch its own TV show called Trillions.
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Features of EPIC Cash
EPIC is fairly unique in that it is one of the only networks that has always-on privacy, for all transactions. In contrast, when you send using BTC, for example, it is possible to know the address and amount, all of which are transparent and visible, under surveillance by chainalysis firms. Your public address is linked with your IP, and the amounts are visible. Unlike BTC, EPIC has stealth addresses that don’t get stored anywhere and amounts are not visible (see link for EPIC explorer).
To achieve this, EPIC uses the Mimblewimble protocol, a breakthrough cryptography innovation that was first discovered in 2016 by an anonymous author known as Tom Elvis Jedusor. It took 3 years for the technology to see real-world applications. For instance, Beam, a VC-funded centralized corporate project with Israeli military intelligence links, was launched in Jan 2019, and Grin was launched in Feb 2019 as a community project. Mimblewimble assembles each transaction in a block into one grand multisignature. Currently, each block can hold up to 1k transactions, and each of those is mixed with every other in a process known as CoinJoin which enables the element of privacy.
In addition, when the blocks are mined, the Cut-Through process eliminates intermediate steps, in effect compressing the data. This process eliminates historical data from the chain and improving privacy. For comparison, BTC is 400+ GB, ETH is 12TB, and EPIC is only 3GB now. Even at the same transaction volume with BTC, EPIC’s chain file will only be around 25–50GB.
Max explained that scalability isn’t only about size of the chain file, but also throughput, specifically how many transactions the system can handle. Based on EPIC’s scaling roadmap, the block size is projected to increase from 1MB to 128MB, and the block interval is set to decrease from 60 seconds to 10 seconds. In the long run, this will yield approximately 1.1B transactions a day.
It is also much faster to set up an EPIC node. It takes 3 weeks to bootstrap a new BTC node, but only 3 days for EPIC. This will be further shortened to 20 minutes in the next release.
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On Relevance of Proof-of-Work Consensus
When asked about the continued relevance of Proof-of-Work (PoW) Consensus following the transition of ETH mainnet towards Proof-of-Stake (PoS), Max provided the following elaboration:
- EPIC uses a polyphasic PoW, which means that multiple algorithms are running simultaneously. In particular, 48% of blocks go to CPU on RandomX, 48% to GPU on ProgPow, and 4% to ASIC on Cuckoo 31. An attacker will need to get 51% of all 3 algorithms, which is much harder than just 1. In Q1 2023, EPIC will also release a 4th, quantum-resistant algorithm called Dilithium Crystals to further strengthen its security. In his opinion, PoS, on the other hand, is not as secure.
- One of the concerns around PoW is energy consumption. However, he views this as a feature rather than a bug. In other words, without energy consumption, a system cannot be as secure as one without. What is good about EPIC is that the active miners are consuming power, the rest are on standby. On average, 2/3 of EPIC miners are in hibernate mode and not consuming power as oppposed to 100% of the BTC network consuming power 24/7.
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Other Future Developments
The EPIC project is also working on having emoji transactions, where users can send a string of 100 or so emojis between wallets as a transaction. This is expected to open up new use cases possibilities and ways to do different interface designs.
There will also be the 5th version of our GUI wallet coming for desktop. The Android mobile wallet will be fully released this month, with the Apple version coming shortly after.
The $ECR governance token will also be launched in the next 1–2 months.
For more information on the EPIC Cash project, please visit the following links.
- Website: https://epic.tech/
- Telegram: https://t.me/EpicCash
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/EpicCashTech
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