Several months ago, I published the first Pillar Wallet Roadmap, with the caveat that this was a general direction, not a specific promise. We’re building the foundation for the personal data locker, to realize our dream of data sovereignty and personal empowerment. Now that we have more information, it’s time for an update. This new roadmap is influenced by the speed of our development and by regulation.
THE SPEED OF OUR DEVELOPMENT has not been as great or as agile as I would like. We hire for joy and culture fit; we’re self-managed; and we require people to be in our offices rather than working remotely. We have happy people, but we haven’t been as productive as we had hoped. Our goal has always been to go to a Kanban system to run the office, and we’ve just been starting that lately. I take full responsibility for the fact that we don’t have a wallet ready by the end of Q1. On the other hand, we’ve added many features that other wallets don’t have, and if it takes a few months longer than I predicted last June, I’m not too worried. I don’t watch the price of our token. I don’t watch the calendar. I watch our ability to change the world with a new operating system. By summer, we should have a very strong platform, and those who come to our big event in Vilnius will learn that the Pillar wallet will be a place where you can put your data and trust it, where you can set up your business and serve customers, where you can have your equity token sale and know you’ll be fully compliant with all laws, and where future developers create new things that have never existed, all without advertising or large organizations having any control or influence. We’ve written over 20,000 lines of code, and as you’ll see below we’ll be going into testing fairly soon.
THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION has recently started to take large-scale action, stating that exchanges that trade securities must be regulated. The message, while stern and significant, is still unclear. Last week, Poloniex, in being acquired by Circle, said they intend to register as a fully regulated exchange. Bittrex has said they will continue to determine which tokens are utility tokens and allow them to trade. GDAX is probably too far out over their skis, saying they will continue to get around regulations by calling tokens utilities. The SEC has also published a guide for consumers, pointing out the risks but again failing to educate the public about the difference between risk and exposure. While we hope cool heads prevail, we may well be at the top of a very slippery regulatory slope.
I’ll break this down briefly: 1) SEC chairman Jay Clayton says that almost all tokens meet the definition for securities because they are fixed in number, allowing them to appreciate and attracting speculators. 2) Many so-called security tokens have already been sold, but very few can restrict their flow, so it’s fairly easy for an accredited investor to buy a token from an issuer and then sell that same token to a non-accredited student in Wichita. 3) Millions of tokens are already in the hands of Americans, so just regulating issuers and exchanges doesn’t put all the milk back in the bottle. In fact, clamping down on those extant tokens will surely cause millions of small American investors to lose money, which could be another possible pain point for the SEC. I can imagine the SEC is wondering how to strike a reasonable balance.
INTO THIS ENVIRONMENT comes the Pillar wallet. We have two important goals this year:
- To provide the safest and easiest-to-use wallet possible and expand from there to help people manage their personal data.
- To pro-actively work with regulators to help bring some order and rationality to the ICO market.
I have said before that the ICO market is broken. Most tokens will be worthless, and people are overconfident in building their portfolios. To accomplish our goals, and taking into account I have already announced that there will be a way to buy and sell Pillar tokens in the wallet, we have the following update and nomenclature for our wallet shipments this year:
About the Token Wallet: the Pillar wallet will be a huge improvement over most existing wallets, with many features designed to keep consumers safe from hackers, spammers, and phishermen.
- It will connect wallet-to-wallet, so you don’t have to cut and paste addresses. It will have several different ways to connect, including a public white pages service similar to Skype’s. (Of course, you can remain anonymous and use it as you use MyEtherWallet today.)
- It will have an address book, where each person you send to/receive from will have a personal detail card. It will have its own built-in blockchain explorer to give users relevant messages about their transactions.
- It will have an up-to-date tax report all the time.
- You’ll be able to send encrypted, decentralized messages from your wallet to anyone else in your address book.
About the Pillar exchange: We are working on a special kind of exchange. It’s similar to Shapeshift, but it’s more similar to eBay. As I wrote in The Pillar Gray Paper, the Pillar wallet will bring you the world of offers. The first offers will be for buying and selling cryptocurrencies and tokens. We’re building an offer platform and a market-maker dashboard, where anyone can be a market-maker and compete with others. At first, it will be trusted companies that we know and monitor (like 20|30). Later, it will be individuals who can sell things person-to-person. But we’ll still maintain some standards, so people can’t sell anything illegal on the platform. The exchange is coming along nicely, but we must be mindful of regulators, so here is the plan as we see it today:
Pillar Wallet 0.8x: This is the token wallet we have been promising. It will not have an exchange. This release will use test ether and will be available only to a limited number of volunteers chosen from our online community. This should be available to our limited alpha testers in April.
Pillar Wallet 0.9x: The same token wallet as above but using live ether for testing. We will roll this out to beta testers and security professionals in May.
Pillar Wallet 1.0: The basic token wallet, tested and available in the Apple app store and Google Play. It will not require the use of Pillar tokens, it will be free for all. Expected ship date, assuming testing goes smoothly: late May/early June. Ships to all app stores/Google play countries that we can get it into.
During this time, we will debug and test the exchange. This has been going on for some time, with one team in India developing the offer platform that will scale to offer millions of different kinds of assets and services, while the market-maker dashboard team is working in our London office.
Soon after, we will switch from the Ionic platform to React native, giving us more control over the user experience. This will take time but will provide a better foundation for future mobile-app development. We are expecting a one-month transition to React, and it will take place when we have the team to do it. I’ll have to give another timeline update when we commit to that switch.
We have already opened an office in Vilnius, Lithuania, where a new team will develop the KYC and storage capabilities:
The Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process establishes that you are the verified owner of your wallet. This is a digital identity you can use for many things over and over. You make it, you keep it— we don’t have access to it. If you’re one of our original ICO purchasers, we’ll ask you to go through KYC and give us permission to use your information to attach your identity to your purchase of Pillar tokens. We have met with many KYC teams and will soon start integrating one solution. This will connect to an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checklist that helps comply with banking and securities laws.
Second, you’ll be able to store your profile, address list, and KYC information that form the basis of your future personal data locker. Again, this will be under your control. We’ve done a lot of research on storage — eventually you’ll have several different storage options, including just backing up to your own hard drive or USB stick. It’s your data; Microsoft and Facebook aren’t paying to store it — you are.
Pillar Wallet 1.1: This is the basic token wallet with KYC and storage. We will ask Pillar token holders to go through KYC. We also expect to add several nice-to-haves and start adding more cryptocurrencies.
As our very first e-commerce demo, we hope to create a Pillar store to offer Pillar t-shirts right in the wallet, giving us a chance to turn that experience into a tutorial for others at our July unconference and teach them how to offer their goods and services in the wallet later. We are working on getting the team together for our SDK and this demo.
Pillar Wallet 1.2: This wallet will include the exchange. As of today, we don’t expect to ship this to Americans, but we hope that changes. At the very least, we would like to find a solution that lets Americans buy and sell Pillar tokens in their wallets, but we want to make sure we’re compliant, so this depends on our conversations with the SEC.
During this time, our sister company, 20|30, will be setting up a broker dealer (BD) and an alternative trading system (ATS) in New York. We’ll be working with FINRA and the SEC to allow us to tokenize equity, sell those tokens, and, after a suitable waiting period, allow trading to US accredited investors only. Over time, we hope to be able to allow international trading. We can also take some of these tokens public using existing rules 144 and Reg A+.
Pillar Wallet 1.3: This is our ICO wallet. We hope to launch it in September. We expect to compete with tZERO in tokenizing and trading equity. We may offer utility-token ICOs to non-Americans — that depends on how other regulators respond to our conversations. Because the Pillar ecosystem is a closed system to prevent spam and scams, we can use it to tailor the sale and trading of any token to any arbitrary regulations.
Pillar Wallet 1.4: This is the “grandma wallet” we’ve been planning, with more social and security features.
We’ve talked a lot about GDPR and personal data, and we’ve done a lot of work in this area already. Because we’re not building the foundation as quickly as I would like, I’m focusing all our energy on the core product, which forms the foundation of everything we want to build in the future. It will almost certainly be September before we can start talking about GDPR and the personal data locker. We expect to focus on e-commerce solutions at the beginning.
This isn’t everything we’re working on, but this is the basic framework for 2018. We’re committed to transparency and honesty. If these plans change, we’ll let you know. Be sure to sign up for the Pillar project newsletter to stay up to date.
Don’t forget — we’re looking for strong React Native mobile-app developers for full-time jobs in our offices in London and Vilnius. Please send potential teammates to our web site.
Finally, on March 30th I’ll be giving a live wallet demo, going through this agenda, and answering your questions on YouTube. See you there.
David Siegel is a serial entrepreneur from the United States. He is the founder of Twenty Thirty AG and the Pillar Project, both of which have newsletters you may wish to subscribe to. 20|30 provides consulting services and is building the CryptX — a broadly diversified portfolio of cryptocurrencies in a single token. His full bio is at dsiegel.com. Connect to him on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes and does not constitute a legal contract.