In brief

  • FIO Protocol mainnet is now live and taking registrations for crypto domain names.
  • The idea is similar to the Ethereum Name Service and others that aim to help improve crypto usability and adoption.
  • FIO Managing Director Luke Stokes says FIO wants to keep wallet naming and transactions "as private as possible."

There’s a new way to send and receive crypto while avoiding complicated, hard-to-remember addresses--and it’s got the support of some major players in the industry.

The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) protocol, which last year raised $5.7 million in a Series A led by Binance Labs, went live with its mainnet earlier this week. The idea behind the FIO protocol is to help improve usability of crypto products and grow mainstream adoption with easy to remember addresses and domain names. 

The FIO mainnet launched with over 21 block producers and domain registration is open on a first come first serve basis using Trust Wallet.

“The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) is a consortium of leading wallets, exchanges, and crypto payment processors supporting the FIO Protocol,” FIO Managing Director Luke Stokes explained to Decrypt. It is a “decentralized Service Layer that removes the risk, complexity, and inconvenience of sending and receiving tokens and coins identically across every blockchain,” he added.

The FIO Protocol runs on its own delegated proof-of-stake blockchain. It allows users to initiate transactions using human-readable and memorable identifiers like "name@trustwallet" or "yourname@shapeshift." FIO domains are registered on a yearly basis and can be paid with crypto. 

Some well-known wallets and exchanges are already in the process of integrating the open-source FIO Protocol into their software, including Shapeshift, MyCrypto, Edge, Guarda, Mycelium, and Scatter Wallet.

FIO is similar to other projects that aim to increase mass adoption of cryptocurrency by making usability easier, such as the Ethereum Name Service (which uses Ethereum-based .eth names) and Unstoppable Domains with their .crypto addresses. Digital exchanges and wallets continue to implement these solutions to improve user experience. For example, Coinbase Wallet has added support for ENS names, and MyEtherWallet has integrated with Unstoppable Domains. 

But, according to Stokes, FIO offers an important alternative to these other crypto domain solutions: “Many of the solutions in the space focus on wallet naming in a similar manner to how DNS works,” he said.

“DNS is fundamentally a public protocol because the IP addresses have to be in plain text, and they don't change all that often. FIO believes wallet naming should be as private as possible, easily support deterministic wallets which generate new addresses for each send, and in order to solve the usability challenges of public addresses, enable features beyond just name mappings.”

Privacy is no small thing. A recent Decrypt report revealed, for instance, just how easy it is to track transactions made using addresses on the Ethereum Name Service.

As for the future for FIO, which recently won the prize for best startup at the BitAngels pitch competition during the CoinAgenda Caribbean conference in Puerto Rico, the FIO team is already looking to iterate on its product.

The next step is to “quickly implement the ability to transfer domains and addresses as NFTs,” said Stokes. FIO also plans to build a “friends list” functionality to keep all wallet mappings private between the individuals involved in a transaction.