Sending Crypto to a new user has never been easier
18 Aug 2019
Cashlinks are an amazing and unique feature of the Nimiq Blockchain that allows you to introduce your friends and family to the “Crypto Space” by sending them NIM in a message over WhatsApp, SMS, Email or virtually any messaging service. When someone receives a Cashlink, they enter the world of non-custodial and peer-to-peer payments. A place where you — and only you — control your money, free of borders and censorship.
What’s great about Nimiq Cashlinks is that this new crypto user will join in an ideal situation:
To send a Cashlink to a friend who’s new to crypto, simply visit safe.nimiq.com and click the “Send” button. You will find the Cashlink option at the bottom of the screen.
All you then need to do is create (fund) the Cashlink and share it with your friend via Messenger, SMS or Email.
When your friend clicks the link, their browser will open up. And guess what? Because Nimiq is browser-first, no extra downloads or installations are needed. Instead, Nimiq will greet your friend with the personal message you entered and guide them through creating a Nimiq Account. All in just about 30 seconds!
Let’s start by describing what “Non-Custodial” actually is. It basically means that you are always in control of your money and at no point does a third party (Nimiq or anybody else) hold custody of it (or its private key). This, as you might imagine, provides higher security than centralized services which can be hacked (and have been hacked multiple times). Instead, your money is protected by cryptography and the entire Nimiq Network, rather than a single entity that might fail. As long as you are the sole custodian of your funds, you are the only one responsible for them. This is the trust-less, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency spirit!
Now that we have established the importance of non-custodial payments, let’s move on to Cashlinks. In essence, a Cashlink is a cryptocurrency payment done over text. Sending money via text requires these texts to contain the necessary information for the recipient to assume control of the money. It also requires some kind of software that the recipient would use to manage the newly received crypto assets, e.g. “some kind of wallet”.
The concept of Cashlinks has been part of the Nimiq Blockchain since the very beginning of the project, going back to the very first Betanet released in mid-2017, months before the Nimiq Mainnet. This feature comes naturally to Nimiq. The key here is that “kind of wallet”. Thanks to Nimiq being Browser-first, users can use the Nimiq Safe (Nimiq’s official wallet) by just entering a webpage — safe.nimiq.com to be specific.
The Nimiq Safe works completely client-side, like MyEtherWallet. But the Safe also runs a Nimiq Node in your browser which is where Nimiq stands out when compared to a web app like MyEtherWallet because with MEW you have to either use one of their nodes (which can get congested or hacked, remember?) or run your own Ethereum node which requires the know-how, a robust server, and good Internet connection. In other words, running your own Ethereum node is no piece of cake. But running a Nimiq Browser-Node IS a piece of cake. If you haven’t already, then try it out here! Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you to come back.
Done? Easy, right!? We can check off the “some kind of wallet” question thanks to Nimiq’s unique client-side, no-installation, run-your-own-node magic. Every new user who clicks on a Cashlink is shown the Cashlink contents and is invited to create a Nimiq Account. After Account creation, the user can claim the Cashlink and receive its funds into their newly created Account.
The next challenge is the “necessary information for the recipient to hold control of the money.’’ If you are thinking “private key” you are on the right track. If you didn’t think private key (or don’t know what that is) don’t worry, Nimiq requires no technical knowledge. Just keep in mind that a private key is all someone needs to control the crypto assets at a specific account address.
Usually, you should keep your private key only to yourself (thus the word “private”) because anyone who has access to the key can control the funds which mean: steal them. That is why the real problem here is that if you send a private key to a new user then also you know that user’s private key, and you could therefore still control the funds. The solution is again Nimiq’s browser-first technology. By creating a go-between account that holds the Cashlink funds, you can send the private key of that temporary account to your friend with peace of mind. As soon as your friend has the key, they send a transaction to their own new account that only they control.
Usually, sending crypto over a text message requires the recipient to install a “wallet”, which is a piece of software or application to manage that specific cryptocurrency. It also requires you to send a key that controls the funds that are being sent. Nimiq is different thanks to being browser-first. The Nimiq Cashlink feature creates a temporary account to hold the NIM User A wants to send and creates a link from that. User A can now send the link to User B. Clicking this links opens Nimiq’s wallet app — directly in the browser, no software installation necessary. An onboarding process will greet User B, guide them through creating their own account in a few seconds and afterwards transfer the NIM from the temporary account to the newly created account that only User B controls (has the private key).
The result of this process is a happy new user with a cryptocurrency address and some NIM ready to be used — without requiring a Nimiq node managed by a third party. All this in under a minute!
Now that you have learned about Nimiq Cashlinks, you might have noticed that a Cashlink requires the creation of a temporary account which is not used again after the Cashlink was used. The reason not to use this go-between account again is because two users already have control of that account (from the link), which is of course insecure. Thus the account is not reusable. A Cashlink also requires two transactions on the Nimiq Blockchain. One transaction goes from User A to the temporary account, the second transaction moves the NIM from the temporary account to User B.
Because Cashlinks require two transactions and the creation of an account, they are not recommended for transactions where the recipient address is known. Direct transactions between two accounts are twice as fast and require no temporary account and no shared private key.
Cashlinks really shine when you want to reach users who don’t yet have an account address on the Nimiq Blockchain.
Cashlinks have been a much-requested feature from the Nimiq Community and Team Nimiq is very excited to deliver them at the expected high level of Nimiq’s quality. We encourage all Nimiq supporters to introduce friends and family to the Nimiq Ecosystem by sending them Cashlinks. And please share their reaction and post them over on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram with the hashtag #Cashlinks!
To kick-start the usage of Cashlinks, Team Nimiq will be handing out some brand new engaging Cashlink business cards at the Web3Summit and CCC events in Berlin as well as the BDLT event in Vienna, where Nimiq Developers will be giving a talk and a workshop.
This way attendants of these technical conferences can experience first-hand how easy it is to manage your own money in the Nimiq Ecosystem.
Cashlinks are the ultimate onboarding tool and we hope you have as much fun inviting new people with them as we do!
None of the statements must be viewed as an endorsement or recommendation for Nimiq, any cryptocurrency, or investment product. Neither the information, nor any opinion contained herein constitutes a solicitation or offer by the creators or participants to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service. All statements contained in statements made in Nimiq’s web pages, blogs, social media, press releases, or in any place accessible by the public, and oral statements that may be made by Nimiq or project associates that are not statements of historical fact, constitute “forward-looking statements”. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause the actual future results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expected, expressed, or implied by such forward-looking statements.