Last week we reported on Blackcoin releasing a second version of the Proof-of-Stake coin creation method that made the process much more secure. That was an arguably historically significant moment in the Cryptocurrency world (so long as it is as secure as they say) by creating a second reliable way to mine a cryptocurrency.
But, they aren't resting on their laurels. In the race to bring out the long heralded “Bitcoin 2.0” features to the world, Blackcoin hasn't just taken a big step, they may have crossed the finish line. Their long awaited BlackHalo project has been released in a public beta.
A few of the features are still in development, including the inclusion of BTC, but what is here is already significant. Multisig wallets, smart contracts, escrow, two factor authentication, a secure messaging client that works with gmail, joint accounts and a built in peer-to-peer (p2p) system exchange that will eventually become a decentralized exchange.
The smart contracts, I'm told, are very versatile and use an innovative double deposit system that encourages both parties to work out their differences and get the project done. Each party in a contract can put down not only their money, but a deposit. If the parties agree that the contract was completed, the deposits are returned and the money is transferred. If both parties agree to cancel a contract then the money, including the deposits, are returned to their original owners. However, if neither party can agree on the status of a contract and it times out, then the contract's value is returned but the deposits are lost forever.
This way, both parties are protected and if there is a disagreement, both parties have a reason to work things out. Contracts can, of course, be done without the addition of deposits, but it does showcase the platform's versatility.
The system also happens to make transactions completely anonymous, the developers say it is even more anonymous than systems like Coin-Join, which is what Darkwallet uses.
There are a lot of technologies competing to be the first to bring new feature sets to the crypto world. There is Blackcoin of course, but also NXT coin, and CryptoNote's Bytecoin. That isn't even mentioning technologies built on top of Bitcoin, like Counterparty and Mastercoin.
Some features seen in BlackHalo, like Multisig wallets, have been available elsewhere, but end users generally rely on web services to create their wallets. BlackHalo has its multi-signature functionality built right in.
We will have an hands on report on the BlackHalo project tomorrow. You can download the client at its official site now.