Peer-to-Peer: An Interview with Chia Network engineer Rigidity

Peer-to-Peer is a series of Q&A style interviews with members of the Chia community. This interview is with Rigidity, software engineer at Chia Network Inc. and creator of a couple very interesting upcoming Chia projects: Sage wallet and the Rue programming language.

Hi Rigidity, thank you for taking time to chat! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in Chia?

Hey, I’ve been writing code since I was around 10. I started off with QB64 (BASIC) and learned Java to write Minecraft mods. Then I got into Node.js and spent many years writing applications with TypeScript in my free time. I was initially introduced to Chia by someone I used to do contract projects for, to develop a plotting service. We decided to instead work on a wallet (and had plans for an NFT marketplace, though never got around to it). So me and a few other devs designed Arbor Wallet, the first mobile wallet on the Chia blockchain. We also won first place in the Chia hackathon.

Screenshot of the finalists from the 2021 Chia Hackathon (Source)
How did you find yourself working for Chia Network Inc. and what is your role there? Any examples of things worked/working on that you can share?

After that, I was invited to work at CNI as a Developer Relations Engineer. I worked on various projects such as an example app written in Rust and TS, overhauling the Chia documentation, and a bot for the Chia Discord server. I was affected by the layoffs, but a while later was invited back to CNI to work as a Software Engineer, which was my original goal. Now I’m working on improving the wallet protocol (CHIP-0026) and porting various aspects of the blockchain code to Rust.

How has your experience been working at CNI? What do you like most about it and what do you think could be improved?

Although I had some amount of prior experience working on team projects and had been programming for quite a while, CNI was my first full time job. It has been an awesome experience working with so many talented people, and CNI has a great company culture. I’d say that the only thing I’d love to see is more people joining us at CNI in the future.

Let’s talk about your personal project, Sage Wallet. What motivated you to build a wallet?

While Arbor Wallet was really fun to build and was relatively successful at first, there were a few flaws with it. It used a non-standard puzzle, so it’s the only app people can access their wallet mnemonic and coins on. It also requires connecting to a centralized full node (although private keys are kept locally on the device). This is my main motivation for building Sage Wallet (shoutout to BWFree for coming up with the name). I want it to use the light wallet protocol to talk to the network directly, and use standard puzzles while still supporting the old Arbor Wallet puzzle for compatibility.

What sets Sage Wallet apart from the other wallets out there? Is there a list of features you are aiming to build?

It will support XCH and CATs at first. However, I have plans to support NFTs, DIDs, NFT minting, CAT issuance, offer file trading, and various other core primitives. Additionally, Sage will support iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux, so you can take the same wallet with you anywhere you go. I’m taking key security seriously, and will support importing cold wallets via public key even upon initial release. I plan to support secp256k1 and secp256r1 keys, which will enable passkey and secure enclave signing.

Editor’s note: secp256k1 and secp256r1 key support is huge! Stay tuned to XCH.today for content discussing the potential of passkey wallets.

It’s a lot, but I’m developing it with the help of a cross platform Rust codebase, using the chia_rs repository which I’m helping maintain at CNI, and my personal Wallet SDK project.

How would you define success for Sage Wallet? Profit? Number of users?

I am not building this with the idea of large profits in mind, but rather for the good of the Chia community. That said, I do intend to eventually monetize it somehow (e.g. a premium version) so that I can keep developing this app long term. However, I am committed to keeping the app open source (which will be public the same day the alpha release is). I would say the biggest indicator of success for me is if many users are happy using the app and if I can ship new features successfully.

When can we expect a version for testing? Are you looking for testers?

I plan to release an alpha version of Sage either late April or early May. Timelines may shift, as I do have various other projects I’m working on at the same time. Once I release an alpha, testing from the community and review of the code would be appreciated. I will announce more info at that time.

Do you have a sneak peak of Sage Wallet so far?

I have posted some pictures of Sage on the Discord server. I don’t have anything more tangible to show yet, since it’s still somewhat early in development. More updates will be posted there as they come!

Sneak peak of the cross-platform Sage Wallet UI.
I saw recently that you’re working on Rue, what is that?

I’ve been interested in parsing and programming language design for a long time, so once I got into Chia I had the idea to design “ChiaScript”, a new language for smart coin programming, based on Chialisp, that also compiles to CLVM. Over time this idea has evolved, and I’ve tried many times to write the compiler, only to restart the project again later. Finally, I’ve reached a point at which it’s starting to come together and work, and I’m comfortable sharing the project. I’ve decided to call it Rue. If anyone is interested in trying out this language and following its development, the repository is at https://github.com/rigidity/rue.

Thank you again for taking time to chat with us today! Where can readers find you to ask further questions or to follow your development of Sage Wallet and Rue?

Thanks for having me!

The Sage Discord is at https://discord.gg/CbStdK22VA
The Rue Discord is at https://discord.gg/Hbz3x3yTx2.

Feel free to give your thoughts and ask questions there, if you’re interested in what I’m working on.

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