Listen to the exclusive interview with the Founder of Bisq, on 6 October 2018 edition of the Daily Podcast below did an exclusive interview with Manfred, the Founder of Bisq, which is a decentralized crypto exchange that is available worldwide. Bisq is so decentralized that it can not be stopped, regardless of government regulations, much like Bitcoin.

Decentralized exchanges are necessary for the crypto space since centralized exchanges are often hacked, lose funds in other ways, or get shutdown due to government regulations. With a fully decentralized exchange like Bisq, these problems simply do not occur since the users themselves hold the key to their cryptocurrency at all times.

Manfred says “With Bisq you can trade Bitcoin against any fiat currency, as well as against any altcoin listed on Bisq. The focus of Bisq is to exchange in a privacy protecting way and in a secure way, where you don’t have to expose your Bitcoin keys to any other trusted 3rd parties. You are always holding your Bitcoin keys in your wallet, and you are not sharing any personal information with any company or any central server”. The only data shared during a Bisq trade is between peers who are directly trading with each other, but Bisq does not see or collect any of this data.

Bisq is built in a fully decentralized way and is integrated with the Tor network, making it highly anonymous and secure. The peer to peer trading aspect of Bisq is similar to LocalBitcoins, but Bisq is fully decentralized, so there is no central company or website. This allows Bisq to be freely used throughout the world, whereas LocalBitcoins is banned in Germany and perhaps some other countries. Each user of the Bisq network acts as a node, and all of these nodes make up the decentralized Bisq network. Manfred says “Bitcoin is basically the blueprint for Bisq”; Bitcoin is similar to Bisq since both are decentralized and have no single point of failure.

Sellers post a trade on Bisq, and every Bisq node can see the trade. If someone is interested in the trade they open up communication with the seller. Both traders make a relatively small security deposit, and the seller deposits the amount of crypto to be sold. This creates an escrow system, like on LocalBitcoins. The buyer then sends the fiat with the information provided by the seller, and then the buyer confirms that the payment is complete by signing the transaction. The seller confirms the payment and signs the transaction. After both traders sign the multisig transaction the crypto is sent. A 3rd key is held by Bisq itself, since in case of a trading dispute there is a Bisq arbitrator that can sign the transaction and release the crypto to the buyer, or not sign the transaction and then the crypto goes back to the seller.

The major difference between LocalBitcoins and Bisq is that crypto is held in LocalBitcoin’s wallet during a transaction, and with Bisq the crypto is put into a multisig transaction in an address not controlled by Bisq. The Bisq arbitrator cannot stop a trade if the buyer and seller are in agreement. Only 1-2% of trades end up in Bisq arbitration, and this is mostly due to problems with fiat networks. Bisq has banned most reversible payment methods, like PayPal, Venmo, and Square Cash. Apparently, Bisq allowed Square Cash for a time, but it caused a surge of arbitration disputes due to payment reversals, forcing them to ban that payment method. Bisq allows in-person cash transactions, as well as all other fiat payment methods that are relatively safe and not easy to reverse.

Bisq is planning on launching a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which will be a decentralized governance system to raise funds for development. Manfred says “We have the need to have a funding model to find more developers, to be able to pay them”. There is a fine line to walk with creating a DAO, since centralization would put Bisq at risk of getting attacked by regulators. A Bisq token will be launched by the end of 2018, which will play a pivotal role in funding the DAO and voting. The Bisq token will be a color coin that runs on the Bitcoin blockchain. Beyond this, Bisq is planning on integrating lightning network technology to accelerate transactions. Additionally, there is the possibility of launching a decentralized foreign exchange, where users can directly trade USD for EUR, or any other fiat currency.

At this time it would be impractical and not cost effective for governments to attack Bisq, even in countries where trading crypto for fiat is illegal. Bisq is anonymous thanks to its Tor integration, and there is no personal information submitted or collected when opening an account. Further, Bisq has relatively low transaction volume with less than USD 500,000 traded per day, as opposed to Bitcoin’s global volume of USD 5-10 billion per day, making it nonsensical for any government to attack Bisq. Perhaps the only point of weakness is when exchanging personal information to send or receive fiat payments, and it is up to users to shield their personal information properly when talking to other Bisq users.

Even if the entire Bisq development team disappeared due to a government crackdown, the software is open source, and another development team could fork Bisq if this worse case scenario ever happened. Basically, it is impossible to get rid of decentralized open source software like Bisq, making it likely that Bisq will be operational long term.

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Image Courtesy: Bisq
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