Today we are excited to release the wallet and graphical user interface for Configurable Asset Privacy for Ethereum (CAPE). The product is currently live on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet for users to start building and experimenting with.
You can get started
Configurable Asset Privacy offers asset creators the ability to configure fine-grained rules around their assets. For instance, an asset creator can define a viewing policy which specifies exactly who can see transaction data for the assets they issue. Configurable Asset Privacy can be rolled out on any EVM-compatible chain, and will be a native feature-set of the Espresso layer 1 blockchain where users will also be able to benefit from a higher-throughput, lower-fee environment. While the Espresso L1 is in development, we are thrilled to offer Configurable Asset Privacy for Ethereum.
CAPE runs as a smart contract application on Ethereum and can be used to enhance existing Ethereum assets with greater privacy guarantees, allowing users to create wrappers with custom privacy and transparency policies into which any individual can wrap their ERC-20s or (soon) their ERC-721s. CAPE can also be used as an easy interface to develop brand new Ethereum assets with previously-impossible privacy features.
What can I do with CAPE?
CAPE solves a long-standing problem in Web3: the vast majority of transactions are fully exposed to anyone who cares to look. In Web3, if you wanted to, you could find out the net worth of your colleagues (also making them a target for criminals), how much your friend is making as a freelancer, what DeFi strategies different funds are deploying, what your partner’s taste in NFTs was 5 years ago, and the amount of money I have lost trading. This involuntary exposure removes even the most basic assumptions of privacy, and therefore is unsuitable for the vast majority of real user cases.
These dynamics have prevented Web3 products from being adopted by enormous cohorts of potential users. As an example, consider how limited the utility of something like a stablecoin is for a major business if it entails revealing real-time data about their operations, sales, and profitability to competitors. For the next set of applications and for the next groups of users of crypto, it will be necessary to empower developers with the ability to determine the levels of privacy and transparency of transactions. Espresso Systems is building for that future and CAPE is a preview of what that looks like.
Using CAPE, a stablecoin provider can enable users to transact privately from the public, even while the issuer maintains real-time insights into transactions with the asset. A DAO can move their treasury into CAPE to limit the transparency of its balance sheet, trades, transfers, and distributions to only the admins of the DAO. A freelancer who earns in ETH can receive funds through CAPE so her income is not broadcast to the world. An artist can use CAPE to create NFTs that users can buy, hold, sell—revealing their actions only to the artist who is receiving royalties from the trades and not to the general public.
With CAPE, we are opening the design space of Web3 to include the possibilities of data privacy. You can interact with the full functionality of CAPE on testnet through the command-line interface or you can engage with the core product functionality through the front-end GUI that we have created.
We can’t wait to hear from you about what kind of assets you create and wrap using CAPE, what kind of privacy policies you care about, and what other features and functionality you would like to see supported.
What is CAPE?
CAPE is an implementation of Espresso Systems’ Configurable Asset Privacy Protocol on Ethereum. Configurable Asset Privacy is a protocol enabling asset creators to issue private digital assets while designating parties that can see specified data regarding ownership and transactions. Using CAPE, a digital asset creator like a stablecoin provider or NFT artist can define viewing policies for their assets concerning any of the following data:
Sender and receiver addresses
The amount of an asset sent, received, and held
The type of asset being set, received, and held
CAPE also supports more advanced policies making use of private verifiable credentials, freezing keys, or threshold schemes. An asset creator can leverage credentials by requiring users of their product to have, for example, KYC or accreditation status or membership of a given DAO. Freezing policies may be used by organizations like stablecoin providers that need to maintain control over their assets in order to maintain avenues to be able to address fraud, theft, and dispute resolution. A threshold scheme would mandate that multiple key holders must come together to view or freeze assets, which might be applicable to a group of DAO admins. CAPE aims to provide sufficient flexibility to cover a wide range of possible applications.
There are two main actions that an asset creator, like a stablecoin provider or an NFT artist, can undertake with CAPE: (1) origination of a brand new asset on CAPE and (2) the configuration of a CAPE-wrapped version of an existing ERC-20 token.
To originate a new asset on CAPE, the creator simply configures the asset as a new record with a name, symbol, icon, and associated policies. Each asset is defined by a unique identifier code and set of rules to be compiled when transferring the asset, including who has viewing and freezing capabilities.
To configure a CAPE-wrapped version of an existing asset, the asset creator enters the contract address for the relevant Ethereum address and defines a name, symbol, icon, and policies for the CAPE-wrapped version of it. Holders of the existing Ethereum asset can then freely deposit their assets into the CAPE wrapper to make use of the privacy properties that the creator has set up.
To get started using CAPE, go to the CAPE User Guide found in Espresso’s docs here. We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and how you’d like to use CAPE. You can find us on Twitter and Discord.
What is next?
CAPE is the first Espresso Systems product to be released to users and is a showcase of some of the privacy functionality that will be featured natively on the Espresso layer 1 blockchain. CAPE today runs on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet so that users can start experimenting with its functionality, provide feedback, and start designing new types of assets and applications. We are excited to contribute a new data privacy solution to the Ethereum ecosystem, and look forward to sharing more of what we are building soon as we look to solve for privacy, scalability, and anything else required to make Web3 usable for everyone. Keep an eye out as later this summer, we will be releasing the first Espresso testnet which will feature Configurable Asset Privacy as one type of transaction possible on the high-throughput, low-fee platform.
Go get started with CAPE here!
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