On the 30th of September, 2023, Samourai Wallet initiated a pre-planned server maintenance phase. The scheduled downtime was initially pegged at two hours, starting from 13:00 UTC; however, due to unforeseen circumstances, Samourai later extended the downtime of their wallet server, including their self-hosted public node, to just under 10 hours.
Understanding the Downtime Implications
Samourai Wallet and Whirlpool have a vast number of sovereign users operating personal RoninDojo or Vanilla Dojo nodes. These particular users, including those using clients with non-Dojo nodes, faced no issues during the extended downtime. The reason? Their wallet backends operate in a self-hosted manner and do not rely on Samourai's wallet infrastructure.
The maintenance did take longer than expected, resuming regular service later that evening at 22:36 UTC, a total extended downtime period of 9 hours and 36 minutes. While this was longer than expected, causing temporary inconvenience for those relying on Samourai's public node, it provided valuable insights concerning the Whirlpool user base.
Some users of Samourai Wallet's hosted node were unaware of the scheduled maintenance and confused about why their wallets were not reporting accurate balances or functioning correctly. Missing Samourai's notifications regarding the downtime, they did not realize that their wallets had no active Dojo to query.
Diving into the Whirlpool Data
The maintenance period acted as an unexpected quasi-experiment. With self-hosted Dojo users running Whirlpool without interruption, a unique opportunity arose to evaluate the volume of Whirlpool users dependent on Samourai's self-hosted public node. These users, in the absence of an online Dojo backend, could not continue their usual Whirlpool operations.
The resulting figures from this data were promising and something that many had already long believed to be correct. Whirlpool users' continuing remixes without interruption constituted 85-90% of the total user base actively mixing before the downtime.
This data provides a transparent and verifiable metric, measuring the volume of Whirlpool users reliant on Samourai Wallet's public node, a figure now confirmed to be a minority of only 10-15% of the Whirlpool community. Due to the public nature of the Bitcoin blockchain, anybody can verify the credibility of this data independently. While many critics of Samourai Wallet claim that 90% of users are using the default settings and connected to Samourai Wallet's node, this downtime shows exactly how inaccurate these claims are.
Whirlpool goes Brrr!
Now that we are aware most Whirlpool users are not reliant on Samourai's hosted wallet infrastructure, let's take a look at a random selection of Whirlpool rounds that were functioning as normal, completely unaffected by the server maintenance, during the same period.
Overall, Samourai Wallet's recent maintenance and the data it unveiled underscore the growing trend toward decentralization in the Samourai and Whirlpool communities. As more users migrate towards self-hosted solutions, the ecosystem becomes more resilient and aligns more with the cypherpunk roots of blockchain technology.
In the following visualization, it is evident that Whirlpool liquidity is exhibiting a consistent and sustained upward trajectory, reaching unprecedented all-time highs on an almost daily basis. Intriguingly, despite these impressive growth metrics, the vast majority of Whirlpool users continue to operate independently without reliance on Samourai's public node.
The Path to Full Decentralization
The overarching mission of Whirlpool is achieving complete decentralization. The next major milestone is eliminating the need for a centralized coordinator, perceived as Whirlpool's last primary attack vector. The Samourai Wallet team is deeply invested in this mission. Efforts are currently underway to transition from a centralized coordinator framework to a self-hosted, decentralized system present on all individual Dojo nodes.
Running your own Dojo Server
Taking advantage of Samourai's advanced privacy tools is a massive advantage to maintaining privacy on Bitcoin's public ledger. By establishing your own Dojo-backed Bitcoin node, you can wield these tools in a self-governing manner.
The passively cooled RoninDojo Tanto is the only authentic Dojo-backed Bitcoin node wrapped in a fully plug-and-play package. The perfect solution for both new and advanced users.
Manually installing and configuring Dojo on any x86_64 device is another option open to those with the hardware and confidence to do so. This is relatively simple, following the excellent documentation written by @PavelTheCoder.