Pascal ($PASC) has quite a few unique features which make it a hidden gem amongst blockchain projects. Concepts such as the SafeBox which allows the blockchain to be deleted but still enables users to run fully validated on devices with low storage; Pascal Accounts (PASA) that allow the use of short account numbers for transactions rather than long public keys – and you can name the account and uses that for transactions; Or RandomHash, the first ASIC and GPU resistant proof of work protocol.
Yet one of the features that does not receive much coverage is account recovery. Even my introductory article failed to mention it. This is the process where a PASA and any PASC it holds can be recovered if there has not been any activity on the account for around 4 years. The white paper says:
COINROT AND ACCOUNT RECOVERY
Coin-rot is the phenomenon of coins being permanently lost due to lost/corrupted keys and/or natural owner death and has become a noteworthy issue afflicting cryptocurrencies. For example, it is estimated that approximate 20% of BTC have “rotted.” Pascal solves this issue by allowing an inactive account to be repossessed by a miner after a 4-year period. An account is considered inactive if no state change has occurred within 4 years.
There has been quite a bit of debate over this feature and proposals, that have been voted on, have included
- Removing recovery altogether;
- Allowing recovery only of PASA that are unnamed and have no PASC balance;
- Extending the recovery period to 10 years.
I think that it is another unique feature of Pascal and should be retained as it provides a way to keep PASA available and preventing coin rot. Disabling recovery of named PASA and PASA with coins defeats its objectives. While 10 years is a very long time. Additionally, there is confusion as to what makes an account active. Receiving coins doesn’t. The key is the key – an active account is one where the private key has been used.
A useful feature that recovery supported was the issue of a free PASA to new users which was recently built into the core wallet. However, it became clear at about the same time that recovery was not limited to miners but that anyone with some coding knowledge could make use of the recovery procedures and mop up any ‘expired’ PASA.
As might be expected it was not long before someone came along and started recovering PASA. Around 200,000 PASA were recovered which is considered by some to be a hack or at best not used in the way it was intended. Most of these contained no or only a little amount of PASC. However, other accounts with over 1,000 PASC had been recovered by what seems to have been a cherry-picking exercise. Now there are several users attempting to claim the expiring PASA (some working for the developer fund) but this has the effect that the Free PASA method doesn’t function.
This is obviously an area where there needs to be some serious discussion. In my view, I think these position needs to be stabilised so it is a known base for moving forward. I think:
- The recovery period is left at ~4 years (blocks);
- The v6 requirement that PASA are empty and unnamed be removed before it is implemented;
In order that new users are aware of this and old users don’t forget:
- There is a description of this added prominently to the website;
- A Time To Live column is added to the accounts list in the core wallet;
- A message is displayed in the core wallet to remind users of the recovery protocol.
Moving forward there are many things to be discussed. I think that the recovery feature is a worthwhile unique feature. I think that the discussion should be centred on how it is implemented:
- Should miners automatically get the accounts as part of the block reward?
- Should the recoveries be split in line with the dev reward?
- Should it just be left as an open house? If so how is it made fairer for all users?
- Should receipts be considered an active use?
- Is there a way that just opening the wallet creates a transaction that keeps the PASA alive?
There is plenty to discuss, so please join the Discord Server and get involved.
All opinions are the author’s own. This is not financial advice. Do your own research.