Although the blockchain mechanics behind the PoW² system are rather complicated. The user facing process for creating a witness account is relatively simple. This guide attempts to show the basics, in future hopefully a more detailed (and prettier) guide will emerge.
Basic account creation:
Start by clicking on the ‘Add account’ button in your wallet.
You’ll then find yourself at a screen where you can select the account type and name for your new account.
Enter a name and click on the “witness” button to proceed.
At this point you will be see the initial funding screen for your new account. Which consists of a list of accounts in which you currently have funds as well as the “Fund account button in the lower right”
Select an account and then push the “Fund account” button.
You’ll now see the detailed funding screen where you can select the amount you would like to lock and the time period for which to do so. As the screen notes the minimum amount which can be locked is 5000 NLG.
After inputting the amount and using the slider to select the lock period text will appear giving an estimate of the earnings over the time period as well as various other information. Note that the earnings estimate is based on overall network weight and therefore is not exact can never be guaranteed and can and will fluctuate over time, especially now in the early days of witnessing it is impossible to predict what the network weight is likely to become so do not make long term decisions based on this amount being guaranteed.
Once happy with the details click the send button.
Your funds will be locked in the witness account for the duration of the selected period and will not be spendable under any circumstances.
You will be shown one last confirmation screen. Please make 100% sure you are comfortable with all the details before proceeding beyond this screen as once you click send your funds will be irreversibly locked in the block chain until expiry is reached.
After this you’ll see the confirmation screen, while sometimes quick it is normal (based on network conditions) for this screen to show for several minutes so do not panic if it takes a while. You are free to use the rest of your wallet in the meantime.
Managing the account:
Once confirmation is done you’ll be able to access the “Overview” page for the account where you can see a graph of your earnings to date vs expected initial earnings and projected future earnings.
Most of the information is self explanatory however some of the more important ones:
Earnings — The total of how much the account has earned to date.
Lock time remaining — How much longer until the funds in the account become spendable again.
Estimated earnings frequency — The current estimate of how often you are likely to earn rewards based on current network conditions.
Required earnings frequency — How frequently your wallet must earn rewards in order not to be kicked off the network.
The last item above is especially important. In order to be a witness it is important that your wallet be open and online 24/7. Note it does not matter if you have the occasional brief (30 minute or even an hour) outage; however frequent or long term outages are likely to have you kicked off and are not ideal.
For those who have computers that are online (most) of the time it is sufficient to just leave your wallet open. Witnessing can operate on a locked (encrypted) wallet so your funds remain safe despite the wallet being left open. For those who do not want to keep a computer running 24/7 or who do not want to keep their main wallet open the system has a built in way to deal with this.
It is possible to add one or more secondary “witnessing devices” that have the capability of witnessing for your account, but are incapable of spending your locked funds.
It is possible to add such a device at any time in the accounts life cycle, and not only on a freshly created account.
To activate this click on the settings button in the upper right corner.
This will take you to the account settings screen.
Where you can click on the blue text to get access to QR linking.
You can then scan this QR with a dedicated witnessing device (currently none yet exist that support this but will in future) — Or push the ‘Copy sync code’ button in the lower right.
You can use this code with another gulden wallet on a different computer via the “witness-only” account button in the add account dialog.
Or you can use this code with a dedicated witness device. Currently the only available devices are those running g-dash https://g-dash.nl/ available from http://guldenstore.eu/
In future it is likely more competing devices as well as web services will arrive.
Note that the system is designed in such a way that it is completely safe to share your witness key as shown above in the sense that even if the device (or service) to which you have given the key is compromised your original locked funds will remain safe and in your possession — however it is possible for someone who has your key to steal earnings as they come in so you should still not be careless with who you share the key.
When sharing your witness key you should therefore also use you main wallet to periodically empty your witness earnings in order to keep them safe.
When phase 4 witnessing kicks in (roughly a month or two from now) it will become possible to periodically rotate your witness key as a safety precaution or if it has been compromised.
The entire system has been designed to keep users safe. A completely decentralized long term ‘deposit’ account on which you earn rewards while the funds remain under your control at all times. A world first.
The system only works however if you use it properly the Gulden is only safe as long as you keep them in your possession, while witness services will emerge over time they should work based on the key sharing described above.
It is inevitable that over time (and already) some services will emerge offering to witness on your behalf, however unlike the instructions above they will have different instructions that involve sending all of your funds to them.
Note that the second you use such a service you are fully placing your trust in the person running that service, your funds are at their mercy and should anything go wrong whether intentionally or otherwise you might find yourself out of pocket. Essentially regular banking except with a third party who is not a bank and quite possibly operating anonymously, pseudonymously or in a manner in which you will have little to no recourse if things end badly. As you may be witnessing for long time periods of months to years this is especially dangerous — as by the time you ask for your funds the person behind the service may be long gone.
The developers of Gulden cannot endorse services like this and in our experience the “crypto currency” industry has been plagued with schemes like this, and almost always the end badly; we therefore advise to avoid engaging in any such service and sticking to the fully decentralised system we have designed for your own safety. If in doubt always ask for assistance before doing something you regret.