On 27 May 2020 we had the privilege of an AMA with the TokenSet community. The questions included how Argent is different to other wallets, our roadmap, plans for gas and our seedless security model. Itamar, Argent's CEO, provides the answers.
What is Argent?
Argent's purpose is to empower everyone to control and prosper from their digital assets and identity. We're a non-custodial Ethereum wallet (on mobile) that combines insane security (daily limits, whitelisted addresses, lock & unlock) with extreme simplicity (no seed phrase, no gas and one-tap access to DeFi).
How is Argent different to other wallets?
To start, we're a smart wallet, which means your funds are in a smart contract, and the key on your phone is the remote control. With this we can add the following benefits:
1. Unprecedented security
- Recover without a seed phrase: Other non-custodial wallets are only as secure as your seed phrase. If you don't have a steel-engraved seed phrase in a bank vault, or something equally crazy, your wallet is unlikely to be secure. People in a crypto Discord group may have good opsec, but many people just have a picture of their seed phrase on their phone. Our recovery is instead based on Guardians (other keys, friends or services) that you trust to trigger a recovery. These Guardians never have access to your assets.
- Lock and unlock your wallet: You can do this just as you would if you lost your bank card.
- Daily transfer limit: You can set a daily limit. Transfers above it are delayed for 24 hours and you can cancel them. This means that even if someone got access to your private key (which is extremely unlikely) they couldn't drain your wallet.
- Whitelist addresses: Select trusted addressed to which you can send as many funds as you want.
2. One tap DeFi
Argent is the easiest way to access decentralized finance. We have one tap access to Set, Compound, Maker DSR, Uniswap V2, PoolTogether, Aave and Kyber. And there's many more coming.
Another big benefit of how we've integrated these Dapps is that you don't need to do an ERC20 approve. (An ERC20 approve is how you access a Dapp from other wallets. It involves giving a Dapp permission to take a potentially unlimited number of tokens from your wallet. This is a hassle but, more importantly, is a security risk too. Argent's native integrations avoid this).
Gas (Ethereum transaction fees) is complex for people to deal with. We've abstracted it completely so using Argent feels much more like using Venmo/Revolut than a traditional wallet. I discuss our plans for gas next.
Will Argent always cover gas?
While we launched we paid for everyone's gas for all transactions. But as we've now integrated gas-intensive Dapps we'll soon introduce a fair use policy. The aim will be to balance simplicity and sustainability. We'll announce more details as soon as they're finalized. We'll certainly keep all security actions (e.g. locking) free, and we'll also likely keep payments free too. We'll then cover some DeFi actions but not all.
When the fair use policy starts we'll ensure you don't have to have only ETH to pay for gas. For example you'll be able to pay in DAI and have a DAI-only wallet, which could be interesting for people using Argent as a Venmo for emerging markets.
Smarts contracts and security
Security has always been our top priority and that's why we had a waitlist for 18 months, took time to battle-test the hell out of our smart contracts, had independent audits, ran bug bounties and more.
Importantly, the contracts are public and open-source for everyone to see. In our opinion that's the best way to secure software. By contrast, you cannot audit the black box that is your hardware wallet.
Will Argent ever provide an optional seed phrase?
Seed phrases are an awful security practice and should disappear. We won't make Argent less secure to please some users. For a less secure experience with seed phrase there are a lot of options out there.
We know it's an aggressive answer but we're really pushing for better security, and seed phrases should only be used in rare scenarios for people with insane opsec.
If you really want a seed phrase with Argent you can set Metamask or a hardware wallet as your Guardian and keep that seed phrase instead.
Even without a seed phrase, with Argent you can be assured that you always have access to your assets, as this post explains.
What's the roadmap?
Our roadmap at a high level is:
1. Further improve our DeFi hub
We'll add more Dapp integrations and better performance tracking.
2. Improve Dapp access outside of Argent
We're working on a solution for people without a wallet to use any Dapp instantly - all the while getting the security and usability of Argent. We'll soon share more but in the meantime you can find an overview from my talk at Ethereal. This will make it easier to access any Dapp in a normal browser on mobile or desktop.
For Set in particular, we're working with the Set team to add more Set tokens and provide more information on using them.
Rapid fire round
- Scaling? This is an important topic for us and we're spending a lot of time researching Optimistic and ZK Rollups. Someone who holds $1m and invests in DeFi might not prioritize scalability, but we think Argent can also be a great DAI-only wallet for payments for someone with just $100, especially as we abstract gas. For these users scalability will be valuable.
- Localization? We're now exploring this much more actively. In the last couple of weeks we've had a big uptake in Argentina and we'll likely start with Spanish.
- What will catalyse mass adoption? We think we've solved usability and security. Next, we, as an ecosystem, need to work on more use cases that deliver value to a wider audience.
Thanks to the Set team for having us, and thanks to the awesome Set community for the great questions.
For those wanting to try Argent and one-tap DeFi, download here.
A reminder of how easy it is to use TokenSets with Argent.