Oxen Progress Tree: Bringing It All Back Home
Can you feel it? The winds of change are blowing at Oxen. Since taking over as CEO, the team and I have been working tirelessly to create, refine, and reveal our plans for the future of the project. I admit that it has been a difficult process. Having said that, not only was the challenge worthwhile, but necessary — necessary for us to question how we were doing things, to be honest about the improvements we need to make, and to be realistic about the future we are working towards.
The result of that struggle is a strong, shared vision for the future of Oxen. I am excited to share it with you. This article will be long — but stick with me and I will lay out a clear, logical process for where we are heading.
Building the Oxen ecosystem
WTF is Oxen? If you are reading this, I’m sure you have an answer to this question in your head. As I’m writing these words, I have my own answer. Our answers are probably similar, but not quite the same. Since the birth of Oxen, the answer to this simple, pivotal question has had many different answers — but they haven’t always lined up with the true soul of our project.
The origin of Oxen
We must return to our roots — to the Oxen Project’s first principles. It is clear to me that Oxen is a privacy ecosystem. It’s Oxen itself which is the most fundamental part of our ecosystem, it is the essential brick required to build Session and Lokinet.
Oxen’s ecosystem is already achieving incredible things, feats which frankly other, better-known projects will never come close to matching. Oxen isn’t just an idea, a schematic, or a proof of concept — it is already alive and it is ready to change the world.
All parts healthy
Session is growing rapidly. Lokinet is becoming more mature. While their success is extremely energising, all parts—Oxen, Session, and Lokinet—must be strong and healthy for our ecosystem to thrive.
Crypto is part of our DNA. It is what makes us unique. It is what makes all of this possible. To realise new, greater possibilities — Oxen needs to start flexing its muscles.
All for one
Oxen is the mechanism by which we deliver on our mission: protecting and progressing digital privacy. It is both part of the ecosystem and its ultimate purpose. As a privacy ecosystem, the connection between Oxen and its powerful creations (Session and Lokinet) is obvious to anyone who cares about privacy.
More closely associating Session and Lokinet with Oxen is important to ensure that our cryptocurrency ecosystem returns value to its own backbone.
Rising through the ranks
Oxen’s true strength is being overlooked, but not for much longer. It is simple to explain the importance, significance, and value of Oxen to literally anyone. Oxen’s current position is an indication to me that people do not currently understand its value, and it is my mission to correct this and ensure that Oxen’s true value is recognised and realised.
This is our ultimate goal and focus in 2023. Everything we are doing can ultimately be traced back to this simple mission. With fresh leadership, a burst of energy, and a clear plan for the future, we are ready to grab the bull by the horns this year and direct its powerful momentum.
Monetising our ecosystem
The shift in how we conceptualise Oxen will be monumental. So many of the obstacles we have faced will fall by the wayside. Of course, it is not enough on its own — but we have also meticulously planned each step in our path forward.
Every step has its purpose, and gives us the footing we need to make the next jump.
Building on Foundations: Wallet3
Wallets are the gateway to any and all cryptocurrency. Whether it is ease of integration and implementation, ease of use, or just simple trustworthiness — a robust, functional, and sleek crypto wallet is a non-negotiable part of any crypto project.
Wallet3 represents a quantum leap forward for Oxen — it will just…be better. Faster syncing. Less crashes. Easier integration with third-party apps like Session, or complex mechanisms like the Lokinet Exit Marketplace or ONS Marketplace.
To increase the use of Oxen in its own ecosystem, Wallet3 is an essential step forward.
Session monetisation has often been Oxen’s holy grail. A huge amount of progress has already been made, including night-and-day reliability improvements, the creation of a robust customer support system, the development of more sophisticated features, and of course (the most important element) a large and growing user base.
There is, of course, more work to be done. 1 million users has often been considered the break point where the economics of a ‘Session Pro’ monetisation become extremely beneficial for the overall project. We are continuing to work towards this goal, and anticipate we will reach it this year.
On the technical side, we still need to improve the reliability and performance of Session to court paid users. Lokinet integration will be one of the most significant stepping stones for improving the Session experience — a process which currently hinges on the development of liblokinet. Once Lokinet is integrated, you can expect dramatically improved overall performance as well as the introduction of world-first features like onion-routed calls.
Note that the growth of Session’s user base does not only represent an expanded monetisable base, but also provides social proof and awareness for other ventures, such as Session enterprise.
Outside the scope of Session Pro or similar models, is deeper integration of ONS into Session. Some work has already been completed, such as ONS Resolution in Session — but we can take this feature so, so much further.
In-app ONS purchases will greatly increase Oxen uptake within the Session user base (albeit by proxy), and we anticipate this being a widely desired feature. It’s also possible for us to create an ONS Marketplace. This marketplace could further streamline the process of registering a namespace, as well as providing the opportunity for users to obtain namespaces which have already been registered by others. Some fraction of the transfer value would be burnt, returning value to the network.
Lokinet is very much the dark horse of the Oxen ecosystem. It has quietly evolved into an astonishing piece of technology. Lokinet has limitless applications — in the future it may be built into the security of the internet itself.
Late last year we released the new Lokinet GUI, a sleek new user interface which opens the door to consumer adoption. We’ve got plans to enhance this interface further, but there are some important technical milestones that we need to hit first. We are working on fine-tuning the engine that powers Lokinet to match its hot new look. These changes will future-proof Lokinet and underpin all the work that is going towards making it the best that it can be in 2023.
Beyond this, we are working on the creation of a fully-fledged version of liblokinet. This is the library which will allow Lokinet to be integrated into Session — as well as pretty much any other app that you can imagine. There may be avenues towards monetisation via helping other products with Lokinet integration in the future, first we will focus on creating our reference implementation via Session.
The big kahuna is the exit marketplace. The rollout of exit functionality was probably Lokinet’s biggest milestone yet — partly because it paved the way to the eventual creation of exit marketplaces. We are currently in the process of fleshing out designs for the exit marketplace, and we are confident that an MVP will launch this year.
To infinity, and beyond (not financial advice)
Oxen has achieved things that other projects couldn’t dream of. So much hard work has already been done — and we are ready to capitalise on the excellent progress we have made over the last several years.
There is no limit to what we can achieve, and we are ready to punch through the barriers which have been holding us back. The clarity of our vision and the energy have never been stronger than they are right now — and that strength increases with each step we take down this path.
This roadmap charts the path we’ve travelled, the things we’ve achieved along the way, and the goals we’re gearing up to smash throughout this year. So strap in — our foot is already floored on the gas pedal and the early stages of the biggest year in our history have already begun.
As you may have already seen, we are dropping a visualisation of our roadmap. For absolute clarity, I am providing descriptions for all the listed items which are not yet complete.
Config Fixes: Improvement to configuration messages, which contain profile profile information used for syncing and restoration.
Multi-device V2: Improvements to multi-device, including message syncing, leaving Groups and Communities, and notifications.
Push Notifications V2: Increasing reliability of push notifications.
Disappearing Messages V2: Disappearing messages are removed from swarms on destruction, improving reliability and preventing ‘ghost’ messages.
Lokinet Integration: Integration of Lokinet (replacing Onion Requests) in Session.
Onion-routed Calls: Voice and video calls onion routed via Lokinet. Requires liblokinet and Lokinet Integration.
Session Technical Docs — Whitepaper V2: Re-written technical paper describing Session’s design, inclusive of the Session Protocol.
Communities — Deep Links: Allows users to join Communities via clicking a link, and it will also allow you to start a conversation in Session via link. If a user does not have Session installed, they will be redirected to the App Store, Play Store, or other relevant download source.
Communities — Mod Power Tools: Introduction of new Mod Tools such as muting, time-limited restrictions, permissions granting, distinct moderator vs admin privileges, and mod-only group messages.
Communities — SOGS Bots: Support for bot extensions to be installed on SOGS, allowing for easier, automated moderation and other bot functionality.
Groups V2: Rebuild of Groups from the ground up to address various shortcomings.
Text String Audit: Consolidating the text strings in Session to provide for simpler and faster localisations.
Session Pro: The planning, development, and release of a ‘Pro’ version or features for Session.
ONS — In-App Purchase: The ability to purchase an ONS and link it to a Session ID within the app or through the relevant app store.
ONS — Marketplace: Creation of a secondary marketplace where you can buy or sell an ONS.
Community Discoverability: Regulatory and technical research, technical specifications for implementation, technical and UI/UX development required for implementation and release.
Onboarding Enhancements: Complete redesign of the UI/UX of the Session onboarding.
Oxen Economics Paper — Session Monetisation Economics: Document detailing the specific economics of Session monetisation with respect to Oxen. Includes discussion of possible implementations and strategies.
Oxen Economics Paper — Lokinet Monetisation Economics: Document detailing the specific economics of Lokinet monetisation with respect to Oxen. Includes discussion of possible implementations and strategies.
Oxen Technical Docs — Whitepaper V2: Updated Oxen Whitepaper reflecting key technical changes, including Pulse, Blink, changes to Service Nodes, and changes to Session and Lokinet.
Oxen Technical Docs — Lightpaper: A shorter, more marketable paper describing the technical design, purpose, and value of Oxen. See Session Lightpaper for an example.
Wallet3: Complete rebuild of the wallet from the ground up to allow new features, capabilities, and performance.
Wallet3 — Back-end: Technical development of Wallet3.
Wallet3 — Oxen Wallet Component Library: Creation of UI elements required for UI/UX testing and eventual development of Wallet3 GUI.
Wallet3 — GUI: Design and implementation of new GUI for Wallet3.
Ledger Integration — Full Support: OXEN progressing from Experimental/Developer Support to Full Support in Ledger wallets.
Exit Marketplace MVP: Functional prototype for a Lokinet exit marketplace.
Exit Marketplace: A complete, ready-for-market version of Lokinet exit marketplace.
Lokinet Application — UX/UI Testing: Creation of UI elements; testing user flows for the exit marketplace.
Lokinet Application — GUI Enhancement: Addition of new Lokinet functionality (such as the exit marketplace) into the GUI.
LLARP — Back-end Overhaul: Making the lokinet easier for us to build on and maintain
Liblokinet: A slim version of lokinet for embedding into programs like Session
Liblokinet — Session Integration: Actually putting liblokinet into Session.
Liblokinet — Other App Integration: Documenting and releasing liblokinet as a library other programs can use. (Like Wallet3!)
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