Proof of Work #74

Don't call it a comeback

Hi! Proof of Work is back!

We’ve been on hiatus for quite a while, while I learned how to juggle having an (extremely adorable) 6 month old baby with doing literally anything else at all. I feel very grateful to all the projects have been loyally updating every single week during this time, and have permanently decentralized PoW to eliminate myself as a SPoF.

There's a famous saying in property law that "possession is 9/10ths of the law.” Unfortunately in the (increasingly omnipresent) digital world there's no such thing as objectively verifiable possession—unlike in the physical world, where our eyes suffice to determine who is in possession of something. Instead ones "ownership" of a currency balance or digital object is granted purely at the pleasure of whoever is running the system; Blizzard, in World of Warcraft, or Paypal for eBay sellers. This form of "ownership" is far weaker than possession of a physical object, but until fairly recently there's been no way to establish a consensus that doesn't rely on a single trusted party to determine who possesses what. This lack of real possession puts a low ceiling on how valuable digital assets can be; their very existence depends on a centralized party that might misbehave, or more commonly, simply disappear.

Distributed consensus (which is what blockchains, Bitcoin etc. get us) create the possibility of possessing digital property in an objectively verifiable way. They create a set of rules that everyone in the system agrees on to determine who owns what, with no privileged “superuser” that can change that ledger and “repossess” assets without the consent of the owner. Indeed, saying that they grant us a kind of vision or new sense by which we can apprehend ownership in the digital realm is not at all off-base.

This kind of immutable, uncensorable, difficult-to-confiscate digital ownership is a huge enabler of individual liberty, because it allows an individual to own something without worrying that they will be judged unworthy of that privilege by some more powerful party. Individual liberty itself is something that I care about at an axiomatic level, but it's worth caring about even if you have more communitarian values because societal evolution is driven by small groups of enlightened individuals who work to push their thinking into the larger group. Moxie Marlinspike wrote brilliantly about why privacy is also a necessary enabler of this effect, and real ownership in the digital world is likewise necessary to enable individuals to resist the immense coercive power of the state.

I’ve touched before in this newsletter on why everyone should care about the individual’s ability to resist state power, but I’ll reiterate briefly for those who are just joining us. In a word, states have shown themselves to be extremely willing to use their power over the financial system (power which is increased to omnipotence in a centralized digital money world) to abuse individual rights. We see this recently with “civil forfeiture” law where local police departments steal (and it really is stealing, I’m unwilling to use any euphemism here) cash from people with no due process at all, and we saw it on a horrifying scale during the Holocaust, where the Austrian and German state apparatuses were mobilized to steal billions of dollars from Jews, before systematically exterminating them. The Holocaust itself was in fact very much a financially motivated event, and making it more difficult for states to take money from individuals is a useful tactic in the fight against future genocides.

In a world where we don’t have objectively verifiable digital possession via crypto, the move from a cash-based to a centralized digital-money based economy is a massive setback for individual freedom. Interestingly, a world in which we do have cryptocurrency is actually even more freedom-preserving than cash, since its a lot harder to take someone’s Bitcoin from them than it is to take their cash (indeed, harder to even prove they have any Bitcoin).

As the cryptocurrency space matures, we’ll have highly robust systems that can be used to quickly and at scale establish who is who, who owns what, and who wants to pay whom—that’s exactly what everyone featured in this newsletter is working on a piece of.

I don’t have space to go into each piece of this puzzle in detail right now (Substack is already helpfully telling me that it’s too long for most email clients) but over the next few issues I’ll be giving an overview of each project in the intro of the newsletter.

The first is Handshake, a project aiming to enable robust identity online by creating a decentralized alternative namespace for (primarily) domain names. Without going into excessive detail, the way the current domain name system works is appalling from both a governance and security standpoint—a single centralized entity (ICANN) decides what TLDs (.com, .org. etc) will be allowed to exist, and a large set of trusted (but in some cases VERY untrustworthy) certificate authorities manage the infrastructure that assures your browser that the website it is browsing is actually the real (e.g.) google.com. ICANN, despite token efforts to the contrary, is mostly captured by US interests, and domains which the USG doesn’t like have in the past been seized from their rightful owners via legal action against registrars.

What Handshake does is move the root of trust from ICANN to a blockchain (one which is very similar to Bitcoin in terms of its consensus rules), and uses an on-chain auction process to allow anyone to register a TLD that they wish to use. In practice this means that instead of me registering ericmeltzer.com (not actually mine, haha) and essentially having the right to rent “ericmeltzer” from Verisign in perpetuity, or until some random 3 letter agency decides they don’t like something I put up, I can register the .meltzer TLD on handshake, and direct a nameserver to point eric.meltzer to whatever site I choose. Put very simply, this brings Bitcoin’s “objectively verifiable possession” model to names! So now, instead of bouncing from registrar to registrar with the hellhounds of Elsevier hot on their heels, Scihub can simply register a domain on Handshake and have a permanently unseizable address for their service.

Why this is exciting from an “internet person” perspective should be obvious; unseizable domains, and also a massive opening-up of the namespace itself. I can’t wait to see who gets farts.poop first, and there are a couple of other goofy ones I won’t even mention here because I don’t want to get sniped. From an investor perspective my excitement mostly stems from the fact that domain names in aggregate are currently more valuable than all cryptocurrencies combined, so a more difficult to seize implementation of the naming system is very cool. Finally, with my crypto-person hat on, the Handshake system will also be very easy to use as a human-readable crypto addressing system! So if I register “eric/” on Handshake, I can then put a TXT record with my Bitcoin address, and people with compatible wallets can simply send Bitcoin to “eric” instead of a long human-unreadable address. This same logic can of course be followed for naming on any kind of system one might conceive of, from social networks to gaming. If this has piqued your interest and you’d like to read more about Handshake, there’s a fantastic article here.

More next week on Tuesday, and again after that. Thanks for reading! Please bear with me while we shake the dust off this puppy—some updates are a bit late, and other teams didn’t make it in this week. Things will be back to normal in an issue or two.

Bitcoin & Friends

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

  • If the first send of a transaction doesn’t result in reasonably fast confirmation, the wallet will rebroadcast the transaction to ensure it is relayed to miners. However, this is the only time full nodes do this, so spy nodes can assume any node rebroadcasting a transaction is operated by the user who created that transaction. Amiti Uttarwar’s proposed solution is having the node treat all transactions the same, rebroadcasting any of them when a heuristic indicates they should’ve been mined recently but weren’t. First PR from Uttarwar implementing this here.

  • Blockchain design patterns: Layers and scaling approaches by Andrew Poelstra and David Vorick briefly describes a long list of existing and proposed technologies for making effective use of a space-limited block chain. [ed: very much worth a read!]

  • Olympus: Lightning enabled fiat onramp. Very cool.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

James from Summa
Summa builds tools to exchange crypto in a convenient and trustless fashion.

  • We released v2.0.0 of bitcoin-spv, featuring a new interface, >30% gas savings, and a branch for a new experimental cross-chain relay :)

  • We're launching Cross-Chain Group with our friends at Keep to standardize developement and interoperability across chains. Get involved at https://crosschain.group/


Aviv from Spacemesh
Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

  • Spacemesh Protocol Paper V1.0 released

  • Fixes and improvements in the desktop app (wallet + fullnode) after 2 rounds of reviews and QA, moving forward to full integration with node. Fixed bugs

  • Implemented a safe node shutdown in the Go fullnode implementation

  • Added fetch queue to avoid double requests on same data when syncing

  • Added some fixes and memory optimizations to the Hare Protocol (Merged issues)

  • We are continuing to stabilize the codebase for the Spacemesh Virtual Machine before moving towards the next milestone, which is a standalone smart contracts vm based on wasmer with fixed storage / no gas metering.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • Deepthi improved error handling for invalid blocks which were causing issues on our last testnet.

  • I (Izaak) made two PRs implementing the super-efficient Rescue hash function. Preliminary benchmarks show it should speed up one of our SNARKs by 8-10x.

  • Jiawei added profiling for bootstrapping and catching up after a reorg or long disconnect from the network.

Privacy coins

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

  • This week, optimisations, clean-up, and merging outstanding PRs. We’re adding the finishing touches before last audit, and MPC.

  • We’ve also been working on Huff recently, refactoring the compiler and adding better errors.

  • The team will be at ETHIndia (we’re sponsoring a prize if you want to get your hands dirty with AZTEC). Do say hi!

  • Last week we hosted ZK-LDN0x03, with a talk by Rami from Liquidity network, and Olivier from Hopper. The event was recorded and will be available on the ZK-LDN youtube channel.

  • We are always hiring for Solidity Engineers and Senior Engineers. You can apply here, or by emailing arnaud@aztecprotocol.com with the name of the role you see yourself filling as the subject.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

  • Interop week is over, but the results are spectacular: seven Eth2 clients talking to each other. This was the last major hurdle before clients focus on optimizations, auditing, and UX in preparation for launch.

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

Quorum Control makes Tupelo, a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Major Release: Released a new web assembly sdk allowing developers to build applications that connect directly to the Tupelo network from multiple development platforms (like web pages) without needing to proxy through an rpc server or running a full node. Read the documentation here.

  • Published an article describing how Tupelo relates to IPLD and Presented Tupelo on the Protocol Labs IPFS call highlighting the most exciting work in the community at large.  

  • Ongoing optimization of production Tupelo TestNets including new dedicated game TestNet.

Andrew from Solana

Solana is a scalable blockchain that utilizes proof of history to verify the ordering and passage of time between events. It consists of a network of 200 physically distinct nodes which support a sustained throughput of more than 50,000 TPS. 

  • Great response to our Tour del SOL, or Solana’s validation-client competition. We are about to kick it off! Good luck to everyone in the event (round 2 signups will be in a few weeks).

  • We just published a blog post on Replicators — Solana’s Solution to Petabytes of Blockchain Data Storage. It is one of our seven key innovations that make the Solana network possible. 

  • We are hiring a few key developers, especially in Rust. Intros welcome! 

  • We are looking at our conference schedule for the fall. Going to something that looks amazing? Let us know. andrew@solana.com

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • We hosted a very successful token design workshop last weekend. A big thanks to all of the guests willing to share their knowledge.

  • We analyzed performance issues on our testnet and came up with some concrete solutions

  • We designed and documented a new SwingSet kernel API.

  • Mark, Dean, and Aaron Davis (kumavis) from Metamask presented at TC39 (the JavaScript standards committee) on SES, sesify, and "infix bang", i.e., distributed object programming in js with promise pipelining.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • Launched native ETH-DAI market complete with limit orders!

  • Working on adding isolated positions to native ETH-DAI market

  • Onboarding market makers to native ETH-DAI market. Check out our newly released Python and TypeScript clients to get started building a trading bot!

  • Hiring software engineers & product designers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • We brought on a Senior Engineer and a Full Stack Engineer!

  • Began working on revamped lending architecture

  • Settling up with many of our liquidators who helped keep the Dharma system secure during ETH's recent price fall

  • We're hiring a Lead Protocol Engineer! all smart contract architects are welcome

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • Two critical elements of the Maker Protocol are Auctions and Keepers. We introduced documentation for those that want a deep dive into both.

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Supply increased to $100 million, setting a new milestone for the protocol

  • Experimental announced a Compound lending proxy, for developers building stake-to-play, stake-to-buy, and stake-to-X dapps.

  • WBTC was added to the protocol

  • Bitgo added support for cTokens; now, users can earn interest from the Compound protocol while their balance is stored at one of world’s most trusted custodians.

  • Friday, we also unveiled our new brand

  • ERC-2212: Earning Interest Stakes was introduced

  • Pooled cDAI library was released by community developers

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase (with Handshake updates)

Namebase is the easiest way to buy, sell, and use Handshake.

  • Namebase launched their new private beta to test their name registrar, onramp, and pro exchange for Handshake. Join the waitlist at namebase.io

  • Handshake community ambassadors are hosting meetups in LA, Nebraska, and Australia. Sign up for your local meetup or join the ambassador community for the latest community updates on Handshake

Alexandra from Polkadot

Polkadot empowers blockchain networks to work together under the protection of shared security.

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We continued on the integration and testing of new CelerX gaming API layer.

  • We were developing layouts for the new gaming UI and refactoring the local database for payment history.

  • We continued on the integration and testing of new CelerX backend. 

  • We were finalizing the work on Celer Web client and improved the new OSP protocol and multi-OSP routing.

  • We completed SGN staking and withdraw components.

  • We fixed bugs and improved stability.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Wes from Theta

Theta is an end-to-end infrastructure for decentralized video streaming.

Matt from Keep Network

The Keep Network is a privacy layer for public chains, enabling interactivity with private data and interoperability across chains. It does this with keeps, off-chain containers for private data that help smart contracts harness the full power of the public blockchain.

  • tBTC:

    • We made progress on ACLs between contracts - continuing this work this week

    • We implemented an algorithm for ECDSA signature recovery ID computation

    • Finishing touches on the setup on how we are going to integrate with Uniswap to liquidate tokens

    • We are finishing designs for the v1 redemption dApp

    Random beacon updates: 

    • Beacon pricing and staker rewards - made good progress both on the research and implementation, hope to have this work finished this week

    • Misbehaving group member disqualifications during distributed key generation - we have about 80% of misbehavior cases covered, continuing work on that this week, and hope to have it done by Friday

    • For more updates and questions join our Slack and check out the Keep blog.

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • Matt wrote extensive documentation for the renter module. David rearranged old code related to renter compatibility. Marcin made siad show an appropriate error message if the user skips to start up essential modules.

  • Matt published a roadmap update for 2019, detailing the next priorities of the development team: clearer financials, support for small files, continuous backups, and an SDK library for developers. For the long term, file sharing and a multi-device file system experience are planned.

  • The whole Sia team hosted an AMA on Reddit

  • Zach published a blog post explaining why Sia is today the most viable non-financial blockchain application

  • Discord user @ScottG released new versions of Repertory and Repertory-UI. This app allows you to mount Sia storage as a drive on your desktop. This new version corrects multiple bugs and improves the performance on Windows

  • Hoesa released VLCia: a light media player that scans and streams the contents that the user has stored on the Sia network, making the media streaming experience even easier

  • Rezant teased his upcoming SiaCentral desktop app: a UI dedicated to hosting with features as more detailed financial metrics and notifications when the host goes offline or presents issues

  • Hakkane released the version 1.1 of Decentralizer, an app for contracts micro-managing that now displays performance scores of hosts allowing for more customized host selection. A guide for this new feature was published

  • Chris fixed a bug reported by some users unable to finish downloads. Destination files are now properly closed at the end of the downloading. He's also working on the fix for a bug that can cause a download to be randomly corrupted. The fix is almost ready, pending on final tests. A hotfix for 1.4.1, fixing these issues, will be released over the next days.

  • Continuing the work on improving the documentation of the Sia component, Chris and David wrote extensive documentation for the siafiles. These are the small files created when a renter uploads a file, and contains the minimal information required for their download: some metadata, the public keys of the hosts storing the file and the list of file chunks. Chris worked also on the partial file uploads feature.

  • Discord user @ScottG released final versions of Repertory and Repertory-UI. This app allows you to mount Sia storage as a drive on your desktop. Compared to the betas published last week, they feature optimizations on memory and CPU usage: here and here  

  • Blocknet integrated the Sia blockchain into their services, allowing users to interact with their hosted Sia nodes. This can be a useful app for developers that need to interact with multiple blockchains remotely, using Sia as a storage layer

Other

Sam from OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace.

  • Major news: The Haven app is live! Private ecommerce on a mobile device. This is the culmination of two years of development, and this week has been devoted to wrapping up testing and launching the product.

Proof of Work #72

A few housekeeping notes; We’re now running updates from Keep & Solana, two interesting new projects. As I’ve noted before, we run updates from a variety of projects with the only criteria being that they are doing something interesting technologically or socially in the space—I’m not an investor in either Keep or Solana, but am personally interested in reading their updates and seeing how they progress.

A neat thing someone built recently: PoolTogether, a lottery based on the prize-linked savings account mechanic, where each user locks up some money, and then one user is awarded all of the interest accrued on everyone else’s deposits (which are lent out on PoW’s own compound.finance, but the principal is returned to each depositor. Interested to see if anyone forks this to a rake-free version (PoolTogether takes 10%), since doing so would be trivial. In the case where PoolTogether spent all of their 10% rake doing marketing, I’d expect that to outcompete a totally rake-free version that no one would have any incentive to market.

Especially interesting updates from Sia, Grin, and the Plasma group this week. More next week!

Bitcoin & Friends

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

  • Full node: Added ed21599 signatures to transactions and made the p2p address-book persistent to store, and configurable from store. we've added numerous improvements to our automations tests and to the framework itself, as a preparation for more rigorous tests.

  • App: focus is on node integration for getting transactions and statuses and on error handling across the app.

  • Community: Made available Wasm 2019 Berlin Workshop videos.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • Avery hooked up wallet GUI to interact with working daemon.

  • We sent out the first edition of our ’Succinct’ newsletter, which was a team effort but special thanks to Claire and Carey.

  • Our most recent testnet ran for 2250 blocks with proof of stake! It crashed due to some bad infrastructure code.

  • Paul added GraphQL apis for querying the trustworthiness of peers.

  • Conner re-added MacOS builds to our CI.

Privacy coins

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • We are happy to announce the 2019 Qtum & Beam Privacy Hackathon that will challenge participants to leverage the Qtum and Beam platforms in order to develop anonymous assets and blockchain privacy solutions - June 19th - August 18th, 2019 - Learn more here and register here

  • [SWAP] List of cases when we need to notify second side about failures (will be supplemented) #702

  • [SWAP] Display "Swap conditions match" first before claiming "Swap Accepted." #666

  • [SWAP+CLI] - Move the all related SWAP command to separate group in help #731

  • There are 163 open issues in /beam

  • Excluding merges, 10 authors have pushed 51 commits to master and 57 commits to all branches. On master, 90 files have changed and there have been 10071 additions

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Jing from Plasma

Plasma Group is building "Generalized Plasma", a layer 2 scaling infrastructure for Ethereum that allows for general state transitions on layer 2.

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 21 PRs across 10 repos and 10 authors. Featured repos: nearcore, nearlib, near-shell, and near-wallet

  • Streamlined our release process

  • First version of staking is complete and currently being tested

  • Deployed test version Nightshade, our new model consensus

  • Updates across all libraries for Nightshade merge

  • Bug fixes and UI improvements in wallet

  • Updated syntax in near-shell

  • Added advanced access keys in core

  • Chunks for sharding are underway in a ~1800 line PR

AJ from Tezos

Tezos is a self-amending blockchain that features formally verified smart contracts, on-chain governance, and a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm which enables all token holders to participate in the network. 

Topper from Quorum Control

Quorum Control makes Tupelo, a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Opened the 0.4.0 TestNet to the public!  It is now fully available for anyone’s use.

  • Held an event in conjunction with BerChain to demo the Tupelo platform for the Berlin development community.

  • QC team is fresh off a full team offsite where we finalized the Q3 roadmap focusing on ease-of-use and adoption for application developers.

  • Check out the PGC talk by QCs CMO Stephanie Mello as she lays out strategies for bringing blockchain and community to gaming for developers.

Andrew from Solana

Solana is a scalable blockchain that utilizes proof of history to verify the ordering and passage of time between events. It consists of a network of 200 physically distinct nodes which support a sustained throughput of more than 50,000 TPS. 

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

  • Block.one published details on EOSVM, a new WASM-based VM that will be introduced in EOSIO 2.0

  • NEWDEX has developed smart contracts for fully on-chain matching and settlement of exchange orders. They are now in the process of having the contracts audited by security firms. 

  • Korean exchange Bithumb announced its plans to start participating in EOS voting

  • Everipedia launched Everipedia 2.0

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • We are excited to announce Agoric’s partnership with Cosmos and Cosmos’ Interchain Foundation. Agoric and Cosmos are jointly creating the IBC (Inter­Blockchain Communication) protocol. IBC will provide true interoperability across multiple blockchains, and expand the market available to millions of current and future smart contracts developers worldwide.

  • Dean spoke at Zcon1 (video here) with an update on what we’ve accomplished since last year’s Zcon0, including the creation of a secure runtime for JavaScript (SES), a running end-to-end Cosmos-based testnet, the Cosmos IBC collaboration, and further work on our smart contract framework and components.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • Launched upgraded borrow experience! borrowers can now submit orders with custom principal amounts, interest rates, and collateral requirements. We'll go out and find the lender.

  • Rolled out new community updates to Dharma telegram group and various high value accounts

  • Began working on an affiliate program

  • We're hiring full stack engineers in SF!

Coulter from MakerDAO

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • We officially launched MPX and Position Tokens, introducing our first token  – leveraged BTC/DAI! Traders can start trading on MPX (ex. US for now)

  • We published Part 2 of our MPExplained educational series: Trading Position Tokens. Check it out to learn more about trading BTC/DAI tokens

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Helped launch PoolTogether, a no-loss lottery built on Maker's DAI and Compound v2

Layer two and interoperability

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

Alexandra from Polkadot

Polkadot empowers blockchain networks to work together under the protection of shared security.

Paul from Veil

Matt from 0x

0x is an open protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

  • Liquidity Network's COO Guillaume Felley will present NOCUST at the Ethereum Technology & Application Convention at Beijing on 29-30 June 2019. Let's join him there! Full event details here

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We've fixed CelerX game bugs under unstable network conditions.

  • We are integrating new off-chain service provider data.

  • We completed syncing game and reward history data and finished setting up sing-up and invite flow testing environment. 

  • We are preparing for mainnet internal release.

  • We completed work on upgradability of channel contracts and migrated system setup to Kubernetes.

  • We began end-to-end system and performance testing this week.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Matt from Keep Network

The Keep Network is a privacy layer for public chains, enabling interactivity with private data and interoperability across chains. It does this with keeps, off-chain containers for private data that help smart contracts harness the full power of the public blockchain.

  • Private testnet is up and running

  • Callbacks for relay entries - as an application developer you can specify what contract and what function should be invoked when your relay entry is ready

  • Command-line interface for calling smart contract functions - it's used primarily for development purposes - we can call any function from our smart contracts from the command line, and execute view functions in previous blocks' context, it's very helpful for debugging purposes.

  • EIP 152 confirmed for next Ethereum hard fork

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • RC2 version of the upcoming 1.4.1 version of Sia was released in Discord for testing. It features memory use, performance and UI improvements compared to the previous RC.

  • Eddie, Zach, Manasi, and Steve worked on multiple improvements on the UI, as more clear explanation texts, improved screens when creating an allowance or recovering backups, the ability to cancel the allowance on the UI and the correction of multiple visual glitches.

  • Matt added a new API endpoint for checking the current filter of hosts set up by the user: /hostdb/filtermode [GET]. On siac, this is used with the command siac hostdb filtermode. The previous command for setting a new filter has been moved to siac hostdb setfiltermode.

  • David tweaked the Hosts selection process when the renter forms an allowance, that now penalizes harder hosts with little remaining storage if the software expects it won’t suffice for our storage needs.

  • The Sia network reached 400 TB of used storage. This represents a 100 TB increase in the last 25 days

  • The Goobox app developers published an article explaining how to backup Synology NAS machines on the Sia network using their SiaS3 product: https://medium.com/@goobox/backup-files-to-sia-using-synology-nas-goobox-2f31e273bbab

Proof of Work #71

A quick note about an attack on Bitcoin that’s been observed in the wild recently. Block witholding attacks have been discussed for a long time—the term refers to two different things, confusingly, but what we’re discussing here is when someone (often from a competing pool) joins a mining pool that pays out based on the average hashrate of the pool but withholds valid blocks, so the pool misses out on earnings and potentially becomes unprofitable.

Recently, F2pool mentioned on wechat that it was observable from hashrate distribution that this was actually happening a lot. Interestingly, there’s been a proposed fix for this from Luke Dashjr for a long time, but it would require a hard fork so it hasn’t been implemented yet. While it might not be a massively urgent problem, I would love to see increasing adoption of things at the pool level which make Bitcoin more decentralized (like Matt Corrallos BetterHash) and I plan to write a bit more about that in the next issue.

More next week!

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

  • Bitcoin Core contributor meetings: many contributors met in person for a periodic CoreDev.techevent last week, with real-time transcripts provided by contributor Bryan Bishop:

  • Presentation: The Next Softfork: Bitcoin Optech contributor Steve Lee gave a presentation during last month’s Optech Executive briefings about possible future Bitcoin soft forks. The video is now available

Tony from Kadena

Kadena is building Pact, a formally verifiable smart-contracting language for financial applications, and Chainweb, a PoW blockchain that uses multiple chains in parallel to increase throughput.

  • The Kadena team is working on stability as we look forward to Chainweb Testnet v2 in a couple months.

  • Pact 3.0 was released, the smart contract language with Formal Verification now supports modular governance, SPV and hybrid blockchains.

  • Pact API overhaul for Chainweb PR 504 and PR 510.

  • Pact support for cross-chain multi-step transactions using SPV PR 246.

  • Released JavaScript pact-lang-api to work with Pact 3.0 PR 530.

  • Chainweb node startup performance improvements PR 241 and PR 243.

  • Chainweb improvements to mempool sync logic PR 234.

  • Ability to send a single transaction to Chainweb for submitting and resolving via an internal listen call PR 231

  • Kadena CEO Will Martino was a guest on a recent episode of the Crypto and Blockchain Talk podcast to chat about enterprise blockchain.

  • Monica Quaintance explained Chainweb on NEAR Protocol's Whiteboard Series Episode 19.

  • Monica Quaintance had a TV interview with Bloomberg Technology's Emily Chang to discuss the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a digital currency utilizing zk-SNARKs to enable its privacy-protecting properties.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • We are happy to offer our European friends the capacity to purchase Beam using Euros, thanks to our integration on Elastum

  • We have launched a unique Web Series on Youtube, #FocusOnPrivacy where you will discover what Crypto players feel and think about privacy

  • Swaps: Fixed rollback/rescan, added addition test for TX without “change”, changed Beam Lock time for testing

  •  Wrong error in our bridge when LTC user doesn't have enough money to swap #717

  •  Add a command to get full transaction details #613

  •  Add the transaction type to transaction history #614

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

  • This week, we are starting work on adding note management to our client side software, to abstract away our UTXO based model from dapp developers.

  • We are also starting work on upgradeable note registries to make it easier to add support for new public token types, and mixer contracts.

  • We’re welcoming Charlie Cowan to the team as a summer intern.

  • In addition to the two cryptographer roles, we are now hiring for a Senior Solidity Engineer and a Senior Engineer. You can apply here, or by emailing arnaud@aztecprotocol.com with the name of the role as the subject.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Jing from Plasma

Plasma Group is building "Generalized Plasma", a layer 2 scaling infrastructure for Ethereum that allows for general state transitions on layer 2.

  • Hosted Scaling Ethereum, a workshop with developers and teams from all over the world coming together to solve outstanding research problems. Focuses on oracles, DEX, layer 1 and layer 2: 

  • Found a solution to history compression in Plasma Cash, utilizing SNARKs

  • Created a design for a more efficient rollup chain using optimistic execution, allows for any Ethereum smart contract on plasma!! Wowowow

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 29 PRs across 9 repos and 11 authors. Featured repos: nearcorenearlibnear-shell, and near-wallet 

  • Added authorized apps management in Wallet with additional UI fixes

  • Setup CI for Nightshade integration in nearlib

  • Updated AssemblyScript JSON and bindings

  • Wait properly for compiler loading in Studio

  • Basic end-to-end tests for Studio workflow (running on CI) in operations

  • Added self-call for contract-based account in blockchain layer

  • Major progress on separating large logical blocks into chunks for the new Nightshade sharding design (commits 1 and 2)

AJ from Tezos

Tezos is a self-amending blockchain that features formally verified smart contracts, on-chain governance, and a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm which enables all token holders to participate in the network. 

Topper from Quorum Control

Quorum Control makes Tupelo, a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Ongoing Optimization of Production Tupelo TestNets

  • Initial exploration of in-browser transactions (temporarily blocked by uncovered libp2p defect).

  • Moved signer configuration to file-based system making it easier to setup and maintain custom notary groups with their own validation rules.

  • Prototyped moving from BN to BLS12-381 curves for signatures but the performance was too severely compromised in the library’s current state.

  • NFT series complete please check out any you missed: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

  • Released developer tutorial covering how to sign Layer 2 transactions on PlasmaChain directly from native Ethereum wallets

  • Announced Loom Wallet, which will allow users to display Loom PlasmaChain assets, send/receive transactions, deposit/withdraw to Ethereum + major chains (soon), and sign in with MetaMask

  • Over 213M tokens have been staked on Loom, which amounts to ~27% of circulating supply

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

  • Decentium — a censorship-resistant Medium alternative (with a very slick UI) launched on EOS

  • EOS NY responds to reports of widespread "bot" activity on EOS 

  • Blockchain gaming company Upland raises money from EOS VC

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

  • The DGaming Foundation open sourced a modified Cosmos SDK with a secure random beacon.

  • The Folks at Lunie HQ opensourced a number of Javascript client libraries for the Cosmos SDK.

  • HackAtom Berlin was insanely successful producing prototype code for WASM in the CosmosSDK, several IBC application prototypes, transferable staking rewards.

  • The Interchain Foundation released a Request for Proposals for the Q3 grants program.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • We had a blast working with Cosmos this week in Berlin at the Interchain Conversations conference and their hackathon. Two Agoric-related entries won at the hackathon:

    • Aaron Davis (kumavis) of MetaMask has created a plugin for browserify using Agoric’s SES that reduces the risk of using third-party packages. At the hackathon, he additionally built a visualizer for JavaScript package dependencies that colors each module node based on the level of security exposure.

    • We demoed our integration with Cosmos, running “Swingset” on a cosmos chain. In order to show our full stack, we built a simple pixel marketplace (think Million Dollar Homepage or Reddit’s /r/Place) that uses our Electronic Rights Protocol and provides the ability to color, buy, and sell pixels as well as create further abstractions.

Financial Infrastructure

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • Learn Dai. Earn Dai. Coinbase has launched the Dai Earn campaign. Simply watch the lessons, answer a quick quiz, and the Dai is yours! 

  • Dai continues to find its way into gaming. We partnered with Axie Infinity, one of the biggest blockchain games, on an integration for unique Dai-themed NFTs for those who have opened CDPs. We're also contributing Dai to the top Axie players. 

  • A VERY deep dive into why people are using Dai and how it affects UX -- Great read of (and for!) organizations choosing to integrate Dai.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • Last week we announced the upcoming launch of our platform MPX. Early access is available now prior to market makers onboarding before launch

  • We published Part 1 of our MPExplained educational series: Pricing Position Tokens. Check it out to learn more about our first product, BTC/DAI

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Launched a Market Overview, with detailed transparency into the protocol

  • Hired two software engineers

Layer two and interoperability

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We finished wired up sign-up flow, invite flow and reward flow.

  • We refined CelerX APIs for game developers. 

  • We reinforced multi-token support.

  • We finished new functionality for upcoming mainnet release.

  • We finished code fixes, structural improvements, and improved error handling. 

  • We are continuing to work on channel contract upgradability and begin the migration of system set up to Kubernetes.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer is a decentralized video infrastructure network, dramatically reducing prices for developers and businesses building video streaming applications at scale. 

Matt from Keep Network

The Keep Network is a privacy layer for public chains, enabling interactivity with private data and interoperability across chains. It does this with keeps, off-chain containers for private data that help smart contracts harness the full power of the public blockchain.

  • Major stakers have been invited to begin testing on our private testnet

  • Stake delegation is done!

  • We’ve made progress on state management (woohoo, groups survive client restarts!)

  • Merged RFC specifying contract upgrade schemes

  • Implemented a network node bootstrap mechanism

  • Implemented support for concurrently running relay requests

  • Keep’s Ecosystem Growth & Innovation Lead Jarrell James joined a privacy in a blockchain panel at CogX in London

  • For more updates join our Slack and check out the Keep blog

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • Release candidate 1 of Sia version 1.4.1 was publicly released for testing. This release introduces seed-based file recovery, several new API endpoints, changes in many siac commands, significant scaling improvements, and many bug fixes

  • As mentioned last week, community member Danger and Sia Core Developer Nemo created a proof of concept mobile app for Sia that allows a user to upload and download files from the Sia network without syncing the blockchain. Read more.

  • Sia based product, Filebase, wrote an excellent tutorial on using Filebase with Arq.  Read more about it here 

  • Sia based product, Goobox, wrote an excellent tutorial on using Goobox as a mounted disk and file sharing.  Read more about it here 

  • Community member tbenz9 released a 2nd public beta for Siasync.  Read more about the changes here 

  • The Sia network continues to grow, passing 360 TB this week.

Other

Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io

Hydro Protocol is an open source framework for building Decentralized Exchanges. DDEX is the first decentralized exchange for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens built on the Hydro Protocol.

Proof of Work #70

State power weakening

Normally I try to avoid speculating on the medium-term or far future—my job is to speculate on the relatively near future (5 years or so), and I know first hand how hard that is to do well. But if you’ll indulge me in a bit of long-term speculation for the length of this email, I’d like to think out loud a bit about what’s happening to state power as a direct result of technology. I also won’t bother to hide my glee about these developments—as a Jew I have a deep-seated distrust of nation states, and I’ve been dismayed by the increasing power that surveillance and weapons technologies have granted to state actors. That the tide is changing now is a source of deep joy for me, and a strong motivator to keep me investing in this space (as if the moongainz weren’t enough, haha)

The first and most obvious trend is that of cryptocurrencies eroding the State’s ability to print money. This started with Bitcoin, and was clearly part of Satoshi’s intent in releasing the Bitcoin software. Unsurprisingly, this is becoming most apparent in countries with extremely weak fiat currencies like Venezuela—and also, it happens slowly (then fast) because the fiat financial system resists outflows pretty well. But at the end of the day it’s a leaky bucket, and the cat is not going back into the bag on this one. The money landscape in Dec 2008 was entirely national fiat currencies—in January 2009 it suddenly included a decentralized digital currency. In January 2019, Bitcoin and a plethora of altcoins exist. In January 2029, I suspect that FacebookCoin style corporate currencies, decentralized currencies like Bitcoin, and national fiat currencies will all be competing, with the former two categories making up a very large chunk of world commerce.

The second ongoing trend is the inability of state defense agencies to deal with what William Gibson termed “an increase in individual lethal agency.” Put simply, the number of people one determined individual can kill if they want to is increasing and shows no signs of slowing down. From a State power perspective, this means that waging war even on supposedly much weaker adversaries is way more costly, because they can respond asymmetrically e.g. through terror attacks.

The final trend that seems to be reducing state power is the existence of the Internet as an information dissemination tool. This one is a bit of a mixed bag—the internet permits surveillance that increases state power, but it also permits people to share information widely in a way that was previously only available to state actors. I think on balance this will end up decreasing state power; surveillance will become more and more difficult as financial transactions move onto things like Mobilecoin, Zcash etc and as communications increasingly are over end-to-end encrypted open source tools like Signal; at the same time, the tools of mass influence will be wielded increasingly by non-state actors (corporations, small interest groups, etc).

One of the main differences between people who have been in the crypto space for a long time and people who are relatively new is the degree to which they understand that cryptocurrencies are inherently an anti-state technology, and need to be built from the ground up to withstand multi-state attacks. At the moment, very few if any cryptocurrencies meet this bar (although Bitcoin is by far the closest). Naval Ravikant referred to the State as the “final boss” for crypto; I agree with that assessment and think that the boss fight may be coming sooner than people think.

More next week. Especially interesting updates this week from Sia and Maker!

Satoshi’s Treasure Hunter’s Journal

  • Released the Clan Key which required users to start a chain by shooting videos of themselves outside making a clan gesture, and posting the video on twitter. To extend the chain, the next person should have someone shoot a video of them holding a phone playing the previous video in the chain, and making the same secret gesture, and then quote-tweet the previous “block” in the chain. Every tweet of this game includes a hashtag #clanchain

  • All tweets can be seen here

  • This clue will end on June 15th, and the team with the longest chain wins. So far, some of the longest chains include: #CipherToshi #steemclan #clarksonclan among which #CipherToshi is so far the longest with 51 tweets

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

  • A new paper by Gleb Naumenko, Pieter Wuille, Gregory Maxwell, Sasha Fedorova, and Ivan Beschastnikh describes an alternative transaction relay protocol, Erlay

  • Bitrefill CEO Sergej Kotliar gave a presentation about LN for the Optech executive briefing last month. The video is now available.

  • The author of the COSHV proposal we described last week has replaced it with a similar proposal under a different name.

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

  • The May edition of the Decred Journal has dropped, covering the latest hard fork that activated DCP4 and paved the way for Lightning Network, which is now mainnet ready. It also brings word of the iOS wallet for Decred which just put out a release candidate this week in preparation for the imminent final release.

  • We also have a new issue of the Politeia Digest which summarizes the four proposals that were up for vote, all of which passed with support between 76% and 99%. The Decred treasury balance hit 617k DCR (approx +15k DCR/month) — $16.5 million (+$408k/month) based on $26.70 DCR price.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • Deepthi rewrote the parallel-scan (one of Coda's two core data structures), and the new code is beautiful!

  • Paul removed all the warnings from our codebase.

  • Carey, Avery, and Pranay have been pushing the desktop wallet UI forward.

  • Jiawei refactored the flow of async communication between various components of the daemon to make it more explicit.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a digital currency utilizing zk-SNARKs to enable its privacy-protecting properties.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • Focus on Privacy - Team Beam is attending the Blockchain Cruise - June 9th-13th 2019

  • Alex Romanov, Beam CTO, will lead our first Vietnamese AMA on Telegram on June 18th, 2019, 1:00 PM (GMT)

  • Swap: changed Beam Lock time

  •  Swap: process invalid credentials

  •  Swap:  Transaction statuses change #703

  •  Swap: Rename "--swap_coins" to "--swap_init" #698

  •  Swap: Don't show help list after errors with 0 (zero) amount #704

  •  Desktop: Address book - Add ability to edit comment for addresses #623

  •  CLI Wallet: Add a command to get full transaction details #613

  •  Wallet - Multi-language support #618

  •  Edit Address pop-over should allow user to select / copy the address #608

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

  • This week in addition to updates to our client side library and our MPC code, we added the multisig with timelock contract which will help us administer AZTEC

  • We also received the first ever pull request for our EVM scripting language Huff by an external developer

  • Next week, Oana and Tom Waite will be at the zkp coding workshop in London. If you're around, say hi!

  • In addition to the two cryptographer roles, we are now hiring for a Senior Solidity Engineer and a Senior Engineer. You can apply here, or by emailing arnaud@aztecprotocol.com with the name of the role as the subject.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 29 PRs across 9 repos and 10 authors. Featured repos: nearcorenearlibnear-shell and near-wallet 

  • We now support smart contracts written in Rust

  • You can attach tokens to any call and send tokens to accounts from the command line in near-shell

  • View account and command syntax improvements in near-shell

  • Feature fixes in wallet such as display username, send money, account recovery, login redirect and UI.

  • Add keys for account in nearlib

  • Switched to u128 to nearcore

Topper from Quorum Control

Quorum Control makes Tupelo, a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

  • Ivan on Tech interviewed Dan Larimer about Voice, EOS VM, EOSIO 2, and more

  • Ashe Oro published an overview of the B1June event 

  • EOSIO Labs released a WebAuthn Example Web App for EOSIO YubiKey Support

  • The Block reported that B1 has a $150M budget for Voice, its social network project

  • Block.one released a detailed "strategic vision" roadmap 

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • Added front-end improvements to Dharma Account page

  • Lowered interest rates across all assets. The following rates are what borrowers pay and what lenders earn: ETH — 1% APR USDC — 6% APR DAI — 8% APR

  • Built out new custom borrow feature that will allow borrowers to specify custom loan terms

  • Worked with a number of CDP holders to refinance their DAI debt with Dharma

  • We're hiring a General Counsel and Full Stack Engineers in SF!

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • A new Dai in Numbers report is out. TLDR: Adoption continues to grow ~20% per month. A record 1.4 billion Dai were traded in May, and 325M Dai have been generated through the Maker Protocol. 

  • Dai and gaming are becoming a perfect match. This week Maker partnered with Axie Infinity to bring Dai to their game, and for those that have CDPs, you can claim an NFT that has unique benefits in-game.

  • Publish0x now lets users tip in Dai on their platform.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • We announced our mainnet launch coming June 24th! See our blog post for more information

  • Our first product available for minting and trading: tokenized BTC/DAI positions (both long and short)

  • Early access is now available, users can try MPX prior to our official launch with market makers

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Added cToken API to retrieve detailed market and token data for each supported market

  • Added Market History API to retrieve historical interest rate and market size data for each supported market

Layer two and interoperability

Matt from 0x

0x is an open protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

  • Have you ever wished an explorer for Liquidity Network's off-chain transactions? Now, it comes! Head to https://explorer.liquidity.network/ to get some statistic data of our off-chain transfers.

  • We are excited to join USDC’s ecosystem to bring crypto to the masses by offering a simple and innovative way to transfer and swap crypto assets. Read more about this collaboration in the Liquidity blog and Centre Blog

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We were updating our mobile app reward features: sign-up, referral, and daily check-in. 

  • We were updating game features: multi-token and onboarding. 

  • We were testing state channel-related APIs: state migration and deposit. 

  • Stability & robustness improvements in backend servers. 

  • Operational enhancements in monitoring & automated maintenance. 

  • We are continuing work on channel contract upgradability.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer is a decentralized video infrastructure network, dramatically reducing prices for developers and businesses building video streaming applications at scale. 

Ryan from FOAM

FOAM is building spatial applications and proof of location that bring geospatial data to blockchains and empower a consensus driven map of the world.

  • FOAM Location Update and Demo Documentation, We recently demonstrated a major milestone in our Proof of Location technology by processing and validating a Presence Claim over radio.

  • FOAM.tools has launched, The Cartographer Tools are designed to help validators with voting and challenge decisions. The Cartographer Tools complement the FOAM Map and display information differently than the main map to help cartographers make more efficient decisions on challenges.

  • The Foamspace Developer Team had a great time in LA hosting a weekend of lectures and hacking sessions on Functional Programming with Haskell/Purescript and building with the FOAM web3 stack https://0mphalos.github.io/mayday-convoluted-weekend/about/

  • foam.space relaunched 

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • As part of the upcoming seed-based file recovery feature, lukechampine added new API endpoints for handling remote backups.

  • Matt improved the file repair process, that is now better identifying the file chunks with low redundancy needing repair. He also improved the handling of large uploads and memory usage

  • Community member Shatnerz corrected errors caused by the 1.4.0 update on the Sia-Ant-Farm package, which is used as a local testnet for Sia

  • The Release Candidate of 1.4.1 is expected to be released for community testers imminently

  • Eddie added an advanced prompt for setting up the renter’s allowance in Sia-UI, that now can be customized for the duration of contracts, number of hosts and how much it is expect to be uploaded and downloaded.

  • Eddie added also the very anticipated dark mode to the Sia-UI.

  • The Sia team has hired Manasi Vora as Head of Product Strategy. She will focus on the growth and improvement of the Sia network, as well as enterprise business development

  • Goobox has added the possibility of paying their SiaS3 storage service with cryptocurrencies. Additionally, they now offer a free trial of 14 days

Proof of Work #69

Hi from Beijing! This is my last day in the capital—I’m heading to Shanghai now and then back to the US. Almost immediately after my last post, the SEC announced enforcement action against Kik/KIN. Katherine Wu has a great annotated overview, so I won’t go into depth about the specifics of this case, other than to say that I think KIN did a bunch of things they shouldn’t have. In my mind most of the SEC action has been against projects that are “obviously bad” and I don’t think this breaks that mold—that said, I’ve heard there are more worse things in the pipeline. While some projects have been able to work within this extremely hazy framework well, I think a lot of other projects will end up either moving to easier (mostly Asian) jurisdictions, or will simply be copied by teams in these less regulatorily encumbered areas. The fact that jurisdiction still matters at all of course means that these “defi” projects are not sufficiently “de” yet—over the next year or so I think a combination of decentralized namespace (Handshake), decentralized storage (Sia, maybe Filecoin), and an encrypted transport layer (Nym, another secret project I heard about a few days ago, maybe Orchid) may render a lot of these concerns moot by making it possible to anonymously ship truly censorship resistant easy to use defi GUI products, but for now the US seems to be a uniquely bad place to do this.

Satoshi’s Treasure Hunter’s Journal

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy Song + Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

Tony from Kadena

Kadena is building Pact, a formally verifiable smart-contracting language for financial applications, and Chainweb, a PoW blockchain that uses multiple chains in parallel to increase throughput.

  • Kadena released Chainweb Testnet v1 on May 30. The mining whitelist application is now open.

  • Pact-web support for importing external keys.

  • Pact-web can now send transactions to Chainweb.

  • Simple payment verification (SPV) support for Pact and Chainweb PR 192.

  • Chainweb support for Pact 3.0 API changes PR 208PR 213 and PR 218.

  • Performance testing for Chainweb transaction execution PR 200.

  • Chainweb improvements to mempool behavior surrounding transaction reintroduction PR 162 and PR 204.

  • Chainweb improvements to memory usage and stability PR 218.

  • Release of open source Haskell package for directed graphs PR 228.

  • Monica Quaintance gave a presentation on Kadena's hybrid blockchain at Token Summit 2019.

  • Monica Quaintance spoke to Crypto and Blockchain Talk about the crypto sharing economy.

  • Monica Quaintance was interviewed by the CryptoBasic podcast about Pact and other topics.

  • Stuart Popejoy and Monica Quaintance shared Kadena's roadmap on the Construct stage at Consensus 2019 (scroll down to the section with the Construct videos).

  • Kadena CEO Will Martino spoke about enterprise blockchain at Amazon's AWS Blockchain Days NYC.

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

  • It's been a busy week on the proposal front with five currently under discussion on Politeia.

  • One interesting thing to note regarding the "Block Header Commitments Consensus Change" submitted by Dave is that it's essentially a vote to gauge whether there is support to write up a DCP as well as the actual code to be activated by a future on-chain consensus vote. That way if there is no support on Politeia we don't end up writing a bunch of code that will likely never be used.

  • Richard has also submitted the follow-up to the "Decred Open Source Research Proposal" for another six months of funding.

  • Jake has made a formal request to have some trusted community members write up a specification for the Decred DEX.

  • Ditto has also made a proposal to renew their contract for another six months and has outlined how they will continue to build upon the work that has been delivered thus far.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

  • Stellar Protocol 11 Upgrade is scheduled for Monday, June 10th 2019 at 1600 UTC. More details can be found in this thread on our validators email list.

  • Horizon v0.18.0 is set to be released on Monday, June 10th, with an RC deployed to SDF's Horizon instances on June 3rd.

  • The Stellar Core team is focusing on tooling and changes to make it better for quorum health on the Stellar Network.

  • The Platform team is focusing on a SEP-0006 reference implementation to facilitate easy deposit/withdrawal of non-native assets on Stellar.

  • Jed gave a Q&A during blockchain week in NYC about the past, present, and future of Stellar.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

Privacy coins

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

  • Merged PRs: 11 in /grin | 6 in /grin-wallet | 9 unique contributors

  • @tromp proposed Cuckarood, the tweaked version of the ASIC Resistant POW that is due to go live as part of the mid-jury hard fork.

  • New beta for v1.1.0 version of grin-wallet.

  • Last week's dev meeting was split out over two days and covered the v1.1.0 and v2.0.0 releases and migration paths in detail.

  • We're tracking Erlay, a recently proposed transaction propagation protocol for Bitcoin, and thinking about its usefulness in Grin.

  • @quentinlesceller pushed an update to the libgrin Go libary. It can now use slate versions 0/1/2, and supports the new Cuckarood cycle verification.

  • More Grin info here.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • Summer is coming? Our Roadmap Update too. Discover what will be delivered by Team Beam during the next couple of month

  • Join Beam Community AMA on Youtube Live on June 10th, 6:00 PM (GMT), hosting Beni Issembert, Beam’s CMO and let’s speak frankly about Privacy

  • Focus on Privacy - Team Beam is attending the Blockchain Cruise - June 9th-13th 2019 

  • Cold Wallet 2.1.4915 - Release Notes

  • Outgoing transaction is failed when wallet receive info about expired transactions #664

  • [desktop] Show QR code in address book #629

  • Multi-language #618

  • HW wallet integration #624

  • Atomic Swap - Display "Swap conditions match" first before claiming "Swap Accepted" #666

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

  • Oana Ciobotaru has joined the team as lead cryptographer. Oana’s doctoral and postdoctoral researched focused on zero-knowledge cryptography and universal composability, and was most recently an applied researcher at Pegasys.

  • This week we are finishing off a rework of our proof construction code to make it easier to build dapps using AZTEC, and to make building new proofs easier.

  • Zac wrote a first implementation of Barrentenberg, an optimised scalar multiplication library for bn128.

  • In addition to the an applied cryptographer roles, we are hiring for a Senior Solidity Engineer and a Senior Engineer. You can apply here, or by emailing arnaud@aztecprotocol.com with the name of the role as the subject.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 10 PRs across 5 repos and 5 authors: NEARstudionearcorenearlibnear-shell and near-wallet 

  • Support for viewing authorized apps from wallet and revoking access keys added to nearlib

  • Ability to send tokens added to nearlib

  • Account recovery working cross-browser in the wallet

  • Ability to configure separate network IDs for starter project config environments in the CLI deploy process.

  • Improved templates compatibility with CLI tools in the online IDE

  • New react-template created for quickly scaffolding full web DApps

AJ from Tezos

Tezos is a self-amending blockchain that features formally verified smart contracts, on-chain governance, and a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm which enables all token holders to participate in the network. 

  • The Tezos upgrade proposal, Athens, has successfully been implemented on the Tezos Protocol autonomously. The implementation has proven that Tezos can upgrade to new protocol changes in an automated, decentralized, and self-funded manner. Nomadic Labs proposal attached a 100 XTZ invoice which the protocol automatically minted and distributed after successfully implementing the protocol change. This exercise enables any developer to submit a proposal with their own invoice attached to the proposal.

  • What’s next? Nomadic Labs, Cryptium, Marigold, and others will submit multiple proposals for Tezos at the end of June.

  • Tezos Korea has started it’s developer program in Busan National University

  • Elevated Returns, a firm that will tokenize 1 Billion USD of real estate on Tezos, is finalizing their integration of a new Tezos token standard which will launch at the end of June.

Topper from Quorum Control

Quorum Control makes Tupelo, a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Ongoing Optimization of Production Tupelo TestNet

  • Work and testing on infrastructure move to protocol buffer messages completed as described last week and new release for download imminent (Tupelo v0.3.0).

  • A supplemental “Community Service” has been built which has messaging (with public storage network to come) built on libp2p for use in certain Tupelo application scenarios.

  • Kubernetes implementation of signing nodes completed as part of a project to migrate Experimental Berlin to Tupelo DLT.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

  • Loom 2.0 Release, Build 1085 – the team has been focusing on mainnet builds, so this has a large backlog of features for third-party chains. Major updates for Performance, Caching and DPoS.

  • PlasmaChain averaged 34K transactions per day last week (~4% of Ethereum)

  • Axie Infinity's Land Marketplace saw 3,100+ gas-free transactions and 81 ETH in volume in its first 24 hours on Loom

  • Over 209M tokens have been staked on Loom, which amounts to ~26% of circulating supply and ~$17M in value

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

  • Block.one has partnered with Coinbase to offer EOS as part of their Coinbase Earn program. EOS is also now available to buy and sell on Coinbase itself. 

  • B1 announced the upcoming release of EOSIO v2, which features a custom VM called EOSVM. It's a version of WASM that has been tailored for blockchain use cases. They also announced an integration with Yubikey and a few other improvements that have resulted in 6-12x speed improvements for EOS execution times. 

  • Finally, B1 announced its first product, a blockchain-based social network called Voice (see Voice.com

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

  • We patched a serious vulnerability in the proof of stake mechanism is the Cosmos SDK on the Hub and various downstream projects. One of validator posted some details here. Expect a detailed timeline from the Interchain Foundation this week. But 72 hours from report to patch on mainnet was pretty cool.

  • Summary of the most recent IBC call. 

  • We made some releases of the Cosmos Hub software to patch the security issue.

  • Version 0.31.6 of Tendermint was released with many bug fixes

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • We’ve been continuing progress towards our upcoming initial testnet, including new releases of our Swingset environment. The new features include a different way of handling the state of our “nanokernel”, merging Mark’s higher order contracts onto trunk, and adding new devices to enable interaction with HTTP requests.

  • We’ll be joining Cosmos in Berlin next week at their Interchain Conversations unconference and their HackAtom hackathon. Mark will be participating in the Interoperability panel and Brian and Dean will be presenting on our integration with Cosmos. Hope to see you there!

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • Did over $5.5M trade volume in the past week

  • Crossed $1M in value liquidated on dYdX. Liquidators have earned over $35k so far in protocol fees from liquidations / expirations. If you're interested in liquidating on dYdX, check out our open source liquidator bot

  • Working on adding TradingView charts to the app

  • Working on adding DAI-USDC and ETH-DAI markets to the app through 0x

  • Hiring product designers & engineers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • Upgraded system-wide smart contract architecture

  • Began concepting and designing new borrow functionality

  • Continuing work on productizing our liquidations system

  • We're hiring a General Counsel and Full Stack Engineers in SF!

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • Coindesk put together a fun explainer video of how MakerDAO works. You can watch it here.

  • May was extremely busy for Maker (in a good way!). If you missed anything, we recapped all the integrations, partnerships and events in our latest Making Maker blog.

  • If you missed any of our talks, parties or interviews at Blockchain Week New York, you can find them all here.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

  • Continued testing the Position Token expiration & settlement flow

  • Deployed updated smart contracts to Kovan

  • Many bug fixes ahead of the mainnet launch of MPX

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Successfully migrated the majority of assets from v1 to v2 of the protocol

  • Announced the deprecation schedule for v1 of the protocol

  • Announced the hiring of a general counsel

  • Began preparations to add additional tokens to the protocol

Layer two and interoperability

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

  • Attention all bug-hunters! Grab the chance to earn up to 10,000 USD for finding security vulnerabilities in Liquidity Network's NOCUST smart contracts. Learn full details here.

  • Liquidity Network will participate in a meetup in Singapore on 13 June. Registration is free, join us! Click here for more information.

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We finished iterating new wallet UI and refined game platform architecture and UI.

  • We finished instant cold bootstrap flow and new user wallet onboarding flow.

  • We completed new user game onboarding flow PART I and improved the CelerX JavaScript SDK.

  • We are in the process of developing daily check-in GT reward UI. 

  • We completed new features for the end-of-June CelerX milestone.

  • We finished user referral & credit service.

  • We supported multi-token game leaderboards.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • The dev team has been working hard on the seed-based file recovery process, API endpoints, and testing infrastructure. It’s working well in testing and finishing touches are being applied

  • The Sia community has reported bugs that the dev team is working to resolve before 1.4.1.

  • The Sia network currently has 326 TB of stored data, and that number is still climbing quickly.

  • Chris implemented better duplicate handling when restoring backups.

  • Chris has been working hard towards partial uploads. This will enable upload streaming, modifying of files on the Sia network, and more efficient bandwidth usage by Sia utilities.

  • Community member tbenz released a new tool for Sia, Siasync. It allows you to set a local folder on your computer that have it’s contents automatically synced with Sia.

Other

Sam from OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace.

  • The Haven website is ready in preparation for launch of the mobile app. The closed beta will start once we figure out some final networking issues testers are experiencing across cellular networks.

  • Chat is now working in the OpenBazaar web version.

  • Ethereum precision work on the server side is nearly done, which brings us one step closer to the 2.4 release with Ethereum integration.

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