Offline Signing on Kukai: Interview with Tezos Builders Dee & Klassare
In the third in a series of interviews on the maturing Tezos ecosystem, Bitsonline spoke with builders Dee and Klassare, the minds behind Kukai — an XTZ wallet that allows users to sign transactions offline.
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‘We Wanted to Shift Focus on Building and Preparing Tools’
William Peaster, Bitsonline: As the minds behind the Kukai wallet, how would you characterize the wallet’s focus? What motivated you to build Kukai?
Dee and Klassare: The main motivation behind Kukai was that we wanted to offer an easy to use and secure solution to the Tezos community.
It’s the reason why our first release offered an offline-signing feature from the start.
Tezos has been under the radar and was hindered by ongoing scandal. We wanted to shift focus on building and preparing tools that would help adoption.
William: For the more uninitiated, could you walk our readers through what offline signing is like via Kukai?
D & K: Vablant, one Tezos community member, has written an excellent guide on how to setup and use this feature. And as he explains, the idea is to use one computer to create and send transactions to the Tezos blockchain, and another separate, disconnected computer to sign these transactions with your private key.
It’s a process where the signing is done on an offline system. That way you create an air-gap that protects the private key similar to the way a hardware wallet does.
In Kukai, you first create an unsigned operation on your online system. The unsigned operation is then moved as a file to the offline system using, for example, a pen drive.
After the operation have been signed, it’s moved back to the online system to be broadcasted. This provides an alternative to hardware wallets and a much more secure solution than an online hot wallet.
William: In looking into Kukai, I saw on Reddit that the wallet was built with Angular. Could you speak a little bit on why Angular was chosen? Might your choice have ramifications for others who are interested in building their own Tezos projects?
D & K: Angular is a popular front-end framework built and supported by Google. It has a great tooling system and a complete dev kit, which allowed us to support multiple platforms.
Kukai can be accessed online in the browser, but we have also released the wallet as a standalone program for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Another major advantage of Angular is the modular component-based approach, which makes the code easy to understand and thus easy for others to contribute. If you’re a developer and would like to hone your skills, then the wallet can be a great place for you. As the saying goes, the more, the merrier.
There are other equally popular frameworks like Vue.js and React. All of them are well suited for building up the user interface. And there are probably other good alternatives. The technology stack would really depend on the project and the developer’s affinity with a particular approach.
For people wanting to build or learn more about the technical aspects of the Tezos network, we highly encourage them to dive in our wallet’s code and see how we interact with the RPC. The code is open source, and we’re available on our Riot channel if there are any questions.
William: Has the Kukai team grown in recent weeks, or is it still predominantly managed by the two founders?
D & K: We are still the main driving force behind the wallet. We have received a great amount of help from the community, from logo design to picking the name of the wallet, and more recently with guides, videos, and translations.
Tezos is a thriving community and we’re excited to be part of it. We are going to have a security audit this month, and currently we’re working on integrating ledger’s support.
William: And looking out to the wider Tezos ecosystem, what are some projects or research that have currently piqued your interest?
D & K: The landscape is changing very fast. An easy example to see is the amazing growth of the baking, or staking, services. In just three and a half months, over 70 services have been created.
We’re very much pleased by the role played by Tezos Commons Foundation and how they’ve promoted events and meetups around the globe in such a short timespan.
The Tezos Foundation has been supporting and funding the backbone of the ecosystem. With educational material and the Liquidity language going mainstream, Tezos is going to be one of the strongest smart-contract platforms.
And we’re excited to see how the governance is going to play out. A great ecosystem map has been created that shows the buzzing activity within the community.
Personally, we’re looking forward to see the experimentation with Avalanche consensus mechanism and see where it could lead too. This is still a very early stage but the possibilities are endless and we’re exciting to see what’s ahead of us.
Bake It Up, Tezos Style
As Dee and Klas mentioned earlier, baking services have recently exploded in the XTZ ecosystem.
But, for those on the outside looking in, what’s baking?
“Bitcoin has mining, Tezos has baking. In Bitcoin, miners compete to publish blocks containing a proof-of-work stamp by repeatedly hashing block headers. In Tezos, block creation is done by bakers. Rather than deriving the right to create a block by finding the solution to a proof-of-work problem, bakers obtain that right when a Tezos token […] they own (or that is delegated to them) is randomly selected to create a block. Since not everyone holding tokens is interested in being a baker, tokens can be ‘delegated’ to another party.”
Alas, expect the profile of baking to grow as Tezos’s popularity grows in kind.
What’s your take? Have you ever tried an offline transaction with any cryptocurrency? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.
Images via Kukai, Pixabay