Proof of Work #62

Good afternoon from sunny but ridiculously windy Boston.

When I found out about Bitcoin in 2013, it felt like stumbling into a parallel reality. I grew up on a strict diet of cyberpunk scifi and it felt like something straight out of a Gibson or Sterling book—I couldn’t stop reading about how the protocol worked, how people were using it (shoutout SatoshiDice!) and what effects it might start to have on the global community.

Since then, as FinanceBros and other establishment critters descended on the space, a lot of what happened with Bitcoin was exciting to me an investor, but frankly boring as a child of the Neuromancer/Snow Crash era of scifi.

In the course of exploring custody solutions for Primitive with Dovey, I learned about Shamir’s secret sharing, an algorithm that allows you to take a secret string of text and split it into m pieces, of which n are required to reconstitute the original “secret.” Invented by Adi Shamir (the “S” in “RSA”) in 1979, SSS is a time-tested piece of pretty simple cryptography, but it enables a lot of cool things. The more I played around with it, the more I wanted to use it as the basis for a game, an epic hunt for Bitcoin that would be spread around the world.

Long story short, we assembled an amazing team, and yesterday sent out the first clue (via the Blockstream satellite, shoutout @grubles!) that kicked off a global hunt for 1 million dollars in BTC. The response has been absolutely overwhelming. People showed up to the 10 spots we indicated around the world where keys would appear en masse—some drove over 3 hours to get to a spot. Others figured out how to brute force the encryption we used and solved the clues without having to travel (something which we hoped would happen, but thought would take weeks—in reality it took 30 minutes..)

People are forming teams, talking strategy, speculating on the value of keys and where the next clues will show up… and our hypothesis that Bitcoin and cryptography enable a new type of online/offline game experience seems to be getting validated. Subreddits are being created. Telegram groups are forming. Our poor mongoDB is getting hammered with signups. We’re all a bit exhausted after this first day, but we’re also incredibly excited to see what people do with the next set of clues.

Small housekeeping update: we now order PoW updates by EricRank, a proprietary algorithm that produces an ordinal ranking based on how interesting Eric finds a given update. It’s prone to false negatives, but it feels better than the old way where some of the coolest projects (Hi OpenBazaar! Maker! Sia!) are permanently relegated to the bottom of the update. Let me know if you guys like this better, or prefer the old format.

More next week, thanks as always for reading.

China & Asia Updates

Mining 🔨

  • Bitmain S19 (53T) sold out in 4 mins. However, some believe this was a show to make it appear as though it was in high demand. The actual sales number is unknown

  • Whatsminer launched their flagship M20S (68T) the same day in Shenzhen, expected shipment around July

  • The so-called “mining ban” last week does not impact ANYTHING on the ground, period. [ed: dovey tells it like it is]

  • $LTC hashrate hit ATH before, while $BSV continues to drop. Network hashrate is the only security guarantee for a PoW coin, and a clear indicator of where miner confidence lies. $LTC has a very strong miner community in Asia, second to $BTC

Trading 💰

  • The biggest bank in Japan, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, started the trial of its yen pegged stable coin “MUFG coin” last week. Over 10k of its banking customers participated in the trial

  • It’s said that over half of the newly issued $200M tether were distributed to Chinese traders through a few local brokers [ed: I also heard this independently, seems likely]

Regulation 🚧

  • Many lending or OTC desks in China which turned out to be Ponzi schemes are now on the verge of blowing up, so be careful if you are dealing with any

  • China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) urged further investigation into illegal fundraising activities involving cryptocurrency and other commonly used concepts. The use of cryptocurrency is common in local ponzi schemes. A formal legislative bill will be out in a few months. But to be honest, I rarely see any regulatory action from China impact the macro crypto market, unless it plans to fully legalize crypto and revert what it banned before

Misc 🤓

  • Star Xu, the founder of OKEx, stepped down as the legal representative of OKEx’s operating entity in mainland China. Doing so sort of de-risked himself from any criminal charges that might be lobbied towards OKEx on the mainland

  • Tencent launched a Pokémon Go -like LBS game called “Let’s hunt the beat together” powered by its blockchain platform TrustSQL to enable gaming features similar to CryptoKitties

Korea

  • Government regulation continues to stifle exchanges by blocking new customers from making fiat deposits to exchange accounts. Korean companies are also not allowed to deposit to exchanges for fear of money laundering.

  • Crypto-collateralized lending is considered to be a banking service and thus restricted, so it has not been as active in Korea as it has in the US.

  • Any sort of crypto derivatives trading is illegal. In the past, Coinone tried to launch a 4x BTC token and it was banned.

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 happening! Marco has released his proposal outlining a DAE (Decentralized Autonomous Entity) that would have full control over the Decred project treasury. To protect against a wide variety of attacks there will be a two-fold process needed to release funds; a draft spending proposal will need to be signed by a Politeia identity key (off-chain) followed by the stakeholders approving the transfer through a vote (on-chain) much the way consensus votes are effectuated. Some more details were provided in an interview with Marco that was published by Invest in Blockchain this week.

  • We're psyched to be hosting our second San Francisco Decred meet up on April 18. Coinbase has been gracious enough to provide a venue for us, and Decred dev Luke Powell will be giving a talk on governance and funding in Decred, followed by a seminar on the broader topic of cryptocurrency funding models.

  • The March edition of the Decred Journal is out. This issue marks a year of amazing work by bee the editor who manages the journal, and who a few of us suspect might actually be a small team of anonymous contributors.

  • On the Politeia front, the stakeholders authorized a budget to fund integration work for Trust Wallet. As it turns out the Trust Wallet team has already completed most of the work. If someone is looking to cut their teeth on a Go project relating to Decred and earn some coins in the process we're looking to have a dev do the final piece of the integration which involves adding Decred support to Trezor Blockbook. We're always looking for motivated devs so don't hesitate to reach out.

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 Progress: 1.4.1: The Sia team and various community contributors have been squashing various bugs in Sia and Sia-UI including bugs around file renaming, memory leaks, and using the `siac` utility.

  • Community contributor geo-gs got an interesting bit of code merged in to Sia this week. His Merge Request titled “Add Genesis Siacoin Allocation” sets up Sia to be more easily forked from the genesis block for use in other Crypto projects supporting an Airdrop. Just to clarify, this is a fork of Sia, and Sia is not airdropping any coins; this MR simply makes it easier to fork and airdrop coins for projects based off Sia.

  • Nebulous is hiring for 5 new positions. Check them out here.

  • Community member tbenz9 wrote a blog post on how to secure your wallet, renters, and hosts.

Coulter from MakerDAO

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

  • We have another testnet release for Multi-Collateral Dai. A full rundown of what's been updated can be read here

  • We have introduced a DIY Meetup program and micro-grants initiative. If you're a fan of Maker and want to meet with others in your region to talk about Dai, check it out.

  • Announced upgrades to the Maker Ecosystem Foundation structure.

  • At The Bold Awards, we won Best ICO/Cryptocurrency (though we never had an ICO so we'll focus on the latter). 

  • Dai is now integrated into Origin Protocol, allowing you to pay for goods or services with our decentralized stablecoin. 

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. 

  • Last week we officially started the first of our two audits. During our prep run, we reached 96% test coverage, and fixed a couple of important bugs.

  • This week, we are working on 2 new proofs: public range proofs and private range proofs, which allow AZTEC assets to test whether an encrypted balance is worth more, or less than either a public balance or a private balance.
    This is used for assets which have minimum/maximum notionals for trades, or maximum/minimum ownership requirements for asset holders.

  • This week we've also started work on the trustless post-processing step of our trusted setup. We'll be publishing more information soon.

  • We’re still hiring for two cryptographers to join the team. You can apply here, or by emailing arnaud@aztecprotocol.com with the name of the role as the subject

Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual world where you can build and explore 3D creations, play games and socialize. [ed: decentraland has managed to get a serious community together and people are making some pretty beautiful things. I’m a fan]

  • The Creator Contest for the Builder concluded with around 10,000 unique submissions!

  • Since the Creator Contest, the Builder now has several UX improvements and bug fixes: a redesigned project overview page and mobile site, and we are finishing an import/export feature allowing scenes to be transferred between the SDK and the Builder.

Zaki from Cosmos

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

  • We anticipate governance proposal 3 will pass on April 17th and layout the procedure for the first network upgrade to enable transfers between on April 19th or soon after.

  • Code is complete for the proposed upgrade of the Hub.

  • We are very excited about Cosmos SDK chain Terra opens sourcing their chain.

  • Lino: A Cosmos SDK powered chain with ~800k registered on the Dlive App has done about 12 million transactions and recently announced PewDiePie moved to their platform. We are appreciating all the performance stress testing data coming back from these users.

  • On the Inter Blockchain Communication specification front, we merged high level documents on the design goals and architecture of IBC

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

James from Summa

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

  • This week we released riemann-ledger, a simple Python library for signing Bitcoin transactions using a Ledger hardware wallet

  • Zeta got a major version to allow use by multiple applications. We also trimmed the electrum server whitelist to mitigate the effect of the recent Electrum DoS attacks

  • We just released an in-depth exploration of standardness in Bitcoin. Transaction standardness controls what transactions normal users can put into blocks

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

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.

  • Core: Stellar Core v11.0.0 is planned to be released on 4/25, with a soft release on testnet on 4/15 or 4/16 based on release of snapshot.

  • Core: Stellar Core v11.1.0 is planned for a mid May release, with a continued focus on performance related fixes.

  • Platform: New Go SDK is currently being dogfooded, with a plan to release more widely in the next few weeks.

  • Platform: Initial work on new Horizon ingestion service has begun — most Q2 efforts will be around creating a separate, pluggable system from the Horizon API service.

  • Kelp: Kelp UI is currently in progress, along with initial refactor of the Stellar ticker.

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 halved the latency between when a transaction is confirmed and when it is folded in to the succinct blockchain.

  • Brandon and Avery have begun working on our desktop wallet! UX is a priority so if you have feature requests please make an issue.

  • Corey has spec'd out our libp2p integration. This will make it possible for browser-tab nodes to connect to the gossip net and get the succinct blockchain directly.

  • I made a SNARK function "more deterministic" using a trick I learned from Dan Boneh. The PR has an example of the kind of semantic reasoning about SNARK programs I think people should be practicing.

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.

  • Started work on a new Curator Dashboard page for Cartographers to better track the outcome of challenges, in addition to the daily digest and email notifications 

  • Integrating 3Box NFT badges into the leaderboard 

  • Announced first Cartographer badge for top mapper of April

  • Announced a new FOAM Map Treasure hunt game in collaboration with Blockcities. A prize will be issued weekly to the Cartographer that solved the clue and adds the correct point https://www.blockcities.co/hunt

  • Progress on our Plasma demo MVP 

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.

  • Monero had a bug with the Ledger device that had possible loss of funds due to incorrect change address, but the bug has been fixed, and all money that was lost has been recovered due to clever math.

  • Ledger is now safe to use provided the user is:

        - Using GUI v0.14.0.0 (or CLI v0.14.0.2)

        - Using Ledger Monero app v1.2.2

        - Using Ledger Live firmware v1.5.5 or v1.6.0

Daniel from Grin

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

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.

  • NEAR is improving developer experience and researching a new model of staking

    • 25 PRs in nearcore from 6 different authors

    • Hosted two events with Cosmos and Fluence

    • Application/Dev layer

    • Blockchain Layer

      • Alex began discussion around a new model of sharding called Whale Fishing.

      • Added testing infrastructure and improved testing coverage. 

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

Tupelo is 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.

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 merged in a number of small pull requests this week and have been working on better tutorials for our “SwingSet” vat platform for testing out smart contracts. Some of the pull requests included:

    • Using the realms-shim repo in SES rather than the TC39 Realms proposal specification repo.

    • Deleting a property called “domain” that the Node.js REPL adds to promises. When SES tries to harden (deep freeze) all of the objects provided by Node.js, it notices that it didn’t expect the “domain” property and purposefully errors to avoid a potential vulnerability.

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.

  • Gearing up for the launch of our new product, stay tuned for an announcement later this week!

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.

  • In Dharma's first week open to the public, users borrowed over 1M USD and lent over 1.4M USD. This volume was primarily denominated in Dai, as users levered up their ETH holdings.

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email (nadav@dharma.io or brendan@dharma.io) or apply here

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

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

  • Added variable fee structure to solidity contracts

  • Completed user account administration

  • Bug fixes and backend infrastructure clean up

  • Fixed email service integration with MPX and our website

  • Updated privacy policy and terms & conditions on our website

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.

  • Deployed Compound v2 to Rinkeby testnet

  • Announced testing instructions

Rahul from 0x

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

  • 0x Roadmap 2019 part 4: Proposal for Stake-based Liquidity Incentives

  • Detailed economic analysis here; our R&D lead Peter explaining the proposal here

  • Reddit AMA going through community questions and concerns

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 CelerX Javascript SDK for solo game developers and the first CelerX platform-compatible game. 

  • We are preparing for CelerX game internal release and are doing some advanced UI research from our users. 

  • Testing CelerX and fixing bugs for upcoming Private Alpha release.

  • We enhanced the scalability of the boolean pay flow. 

  • Code and process improvements for Celer backend deployments.

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.

  • Released Pre-Guardian Node client, an early onboarding tool ahead of Theta’s Guardian Node functionality coming in Q3 2019

  • Support for Trezor wallet for Theta mainnet at command-line interface level

  • Introduced new algorithm for peer to peer stream sharing for sub-optimal networking conditions 

Doug from Livepeer

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

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.

Sam from OpenBazaar

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

  • The 2.3.3 release candidate, and hopefully full release, will be published this week. This includes an IPFS rebase and changes to routing, which will improve speed significantly.

  • Haven app work continues and is undergoing internal testing before the open beta testing.

  • The code to improve precision on the server side for Ethereum integration is completed and being reviewed now.

Proof of Work #61

Hi from San Francisco!

At Primitive, my partner Dovey and I feel that a part of our advantage over other managers is our visibility into both the US and Asian crypto scenes. There’s a real blindness among many people in the US scene to what’s going on in Asia, particularly in China. We’ve decided to give away this advantage to everyone reading PoW, in the form of an additional column of updates on the Asian crypto scene: mining, exchange hacks, random shitcoins raising hundreds of millions of RMB, Chinese government regs and all. This is a bit experimental: if you like it, or if you don’t please hit reply and let me know!

Some highlights this week: Sia hit a huge milestone with their 1.4 release, which gets them close to being able to work as a truly viable low-cost filesharing solution, Grin got a cool Chinese name (古灵币, literally “ancient spirit coin”), and Coinbase launched a staking service that supports Tezos to start.

Tiny housekeeping thing: projects that don’t update in a given week won’t be mentioned. Don’t worry, they haven’t been dropped—they’ll be listed again any time they send an update.

Thanks as always for reading PoW, and please ping me here or on Twitter if there is any way I can make it more useful for you!

China & Asia Updates

Mining

  • Upcoming wet season brings extremely low electricity costs (lower than 3 US cents) revitalizing the mining community

  • The consensus among miners is that total BTC hashrate will go back up to 60E. Even if BTC price stays around $4000, thanks to cheap electricity, many old mining models can be back online and profitable again (even WhatsMiner M3 and Avalon 7 Series, which are in the red now)

  • Bitmain announced new CEO, Micree remains as chairman of the board, and Jihan remains a board member. Jihan made a first public appearance for a keynote 3 days after the announcement

ASIC

  • Sales of the new AntMiner S17 from Bitmain will start on April 9th

  • A new ASIC firm VidToo (Hangzhou) announced a Cuckoo Cycle ASIC G1, claiming to be 50x more efficient than GPUs. Detailed specs will be published in late April. Currently announced Grin ASICs now include Innosilicon, VidToo and Obelisk—of these, only Obelisk has published specs so far.

Exchanges

  • DragonEx was hacked, Bitthumb was hacked, and there is some suspicion that Coinbene was also hacked. [ed: I assume that 100% of “hacks” are actually inside jobs until proven otherwise]

  • Gate.io (finally) announced its own exchange coin with a fairly unique distribution model (different than all the BNB clones)

  • Too many IEOs to keep track of (Huobi, Bittrex, ZB, ..everybody is doing IEOs)

Regulatory

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China (ed: I wonder what Gibson thinks when he reads those four words) announced the first batch of companies that are compliant with regulation filing known as “blockchain information service registration” There are 197 companies in the first batch including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu (full list here, filing requirements here).

Bitcoin & Friends

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

  • Bitcoin fees are up a bit recently: after over a year of most Bitcoin transactions confirming rather quickly as long as they paid a feerate above the default minimum relay fee (except during a brief exceptional period), a modest backlog has developed over the previous week and raised the feerates for people who need their transactions to confirm within the next several blocks. Spenders willing to wait a bit longer can still save money. For more information, we recommend Johoe’s mempool statistics and P2SH.info’s fee estimate tracker.

  • Trampoline payments for LN: Pierre-Marie Padiou started a thread on the Lightning-Dev mailing list suggesting that Alice could send a payment to Zed even if she didn’t know a path to his node by first sending a payment to an intermediate node (Dan) and asking Dan to figure out the route the rest of the way to Zed. This would especially benefit Alice if she ran a lightweight LN node that didn’t attempt to keep track of the entire network. For increased privacy, Alice could use several intermediate nodes rather than just one (each one receiving its own instructions encrypted by Alice). A downside described in the email is that Alice could only make a rough guess about the required fees as she wouldn’t know the actual path, so she’d probably end up paying more in fees than if she chose the route herself.

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.

  • Dave Collins has made some dcrd optimizations which will be landing in our v1.5 release. They make an initial blockchain sync 20-25% faster, bringing things down to around 45 minutes for a full sync on typical hardware.

  • Richard has published a new issue of the Politeia Digest covering March 15-31, it includes discussion of the two live dev proposals that are up for vote; one to put out an RFP for Trust Wallet integration and another to move forward with the planning phase for potential ATM integration work.

  • We also have about 9 days to go for our on-chain consensus vote, so stakeholders who wish to participate should make sure their vote choices are set in their wallet. The vote can be monitored at https://voting.decred.org/.

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.

  • Core — CAP005 (surge pricing), CAP006 (buyOffer), CAP020 (Bucket list) got first round of reviews, ETA unchanged (end of April release).

  • Platform — Making good progress planning for new ingestion system, proposed Q2 Platform goals will be out this week.

  • Platform —  Additional work is being done on improved ticker.stellar.org

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.

  • We have finished fixing all of the known bugs in our proof-of-stake and implementation and now have a fully-functioning Ouroboros Praos.

  • Deepthi implemented a check in the SNARK to ensure coinbases are correctly distributed.

  • Paul has been improving the versioning of types for backwards compatibility.

  • Jiawei fixed an important bug in how common ancestors of blocks are computed. 

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.

  • The wallet will support socks proxy (for Tor/i2pd/Kovri).

  • Monero researchers and developers are now fully funded thanks to a generous anonymous donor(s).

  • The quick fact sheet for politicians, journalists, etc. has been updated by the Monero Outreach workgroup.

  • While the possibility "colored coin" transactions with RingCT/Monero has been known, the signatures were previously proportionally sized to the number of colors. A new approach removes this dependency, i.e. fixed size regardless of number of colors.

Daniel from Grin

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

  • 12 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 8 unique contributors.

  • We passed 100k blocks height this week, @antiochp put together some stats. 330k transactions resulting in 728k outputs, but only 48k UTXOs to keep track of...

  • @ignopeverell showed progress well under way for I2P support. Work includes dusting off the abandoned /i2p-rs client to make it ready for integration in Grin. This, and more, in his new monthly progress update.

  • @yeastplume is in the process of merging a final version of the v2 API, and getting ready for an upcoming v1.1.0 release.

  • Slean mining was announced by @lolliedieb at the Grin Amsterdam event, making it possible for low memory GPUs to mine the Cuckatoo ASIC tuned algorithm efficiently.

  • And almost simultaneously, there was another announcement for another method that can be used to solve Cuckatoo with less memory.

  • In the Governance meeting, ETH donations and potential changes to the phase out schedule was discussed.

  • Some incorrect news reporting made me clarify the proof of work discussion in that meetingaccording to my own understanding of it.

  • @tromp submitted a proposal for specifying our proof-of-work commitment to hold for 18 months into the future, and to put later phase outs on hold. To be discussed and possibly voted on in the next governance meeting.

  • @garyyu worked with the community to give Grin an official Chinese name: 古灵币

  • 2Miners announced support for Grin in their mining pool for SOLO and PPLNS.

  • Grin++ node and wallet is now on mainnet.

  • GrinPurse: A closed source grin GUI wallet for macOS and Windows, made by Bitmesh exchange. To be open sourced in the next week according to the developers.

  • More Grin info in this weekly newsletter.

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. 

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 24 PRs in nearcore from 10 different authors

  • Clean ups and bug fixes for TestNet and dev ops configuration to run on GCP

  • Updated docs for running a TestNet on GCP and syncing to a local node

  • Added persistent collections to NEAR AssemblyScript library

  • Integrated NEAR, React and next.js at our internal hackathon with a fun toy and a simpler example.

  • near-shell updates

    • Near new_project generates a blank project in chosen dir

    • Ability to run tests against devnet now works.

  • Updated UI for the debugger.

  • Made example chess game deployed on GitHub Pages

  • Automated deployment: `npm run deploy` builds contract, deploys it to devnet and deploys frontend to GitHub Pages.

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

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

  • New release 0.1.1 live

    • Adds support for TUPELO_PUBLIC_IP environment variable which libp2p will broadcast for routing

    • Renames coins to tokens throughout API and codebase

    • Improves reliability through several defect fixes including a race condition in gossip code

  • Initiated transition to Go modules

  • Read our take on Why a DLT is often better for Centralized Systems

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.

Zaki from Cosmos

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

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.

  • Agoric's "SwingSet" vat platform now supports evaluation of contract code outside of SES, providing a fallback for use in typical standard JS development tools, to preserve line numbers and stack traces.

  • The shim which implements the proposed Javascript "Realms" API is being moved out of the TC39 proposal repository into a dedicated repository. The TC39 repo will continue to host the specification text itself.

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.

  • Received final security audit report from Open Zeppelin on our new smart contracts, no critical issues were found. We will release the report when we open source the code in advance of our upcoming product launch

  • Finishing up final features and testing for the alpha launch of our new margin trading product

  • Work trialing one engineering & one design candidate

  • Hiring software engineers and 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.

  • Dharma Protocol hit cumulative 1M USD in transaction volume this past week, the vast majority of that volume coming from the past 6 weeks since the rollout of Dharma Lever.

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email (nadav@dharma.io or brendan@dharma.io) or apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

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

  • We released a major update on the status of Multi-Collateral Dai, including a sneak peek of the CDP Portal and more.

  • We announced Protea as one of the first grantees of the Community Fund.

  • Coinbase Custody announced upcoming support for MKR governance (!) 

  • Ujo Music integrated Dai into its new feature, Streaming Payments, in order to help support artists.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

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

  • We launched our exchange MPX on mainnet! Our whole team is proud of this accomplishment, woot woot!

  • Currently wETH / DAI is available for trading so that our market makers can integrate and begin providing liquidity.

  • This release is a big step towards the mainnet launch of our Position Token minting platform, which is coming soon. We will have more information to share in the coming weeks.

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.

  • No updates this week.

Layer two and interoperability

Paul from Veil

Veil is a peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur, 0x, and Ethereum.

  • Started auditing user-created markets. Now by default Veil shows audited markets to users. Unaudited and draft markets are still available, but we want to encourage trading in markets that are very unlikely to resolve as invalid on Augur.

  • Launched Instant Settlement via 0x's new MultiAssetProxy, which enables Veil to relay redemptions for multiple tokens at once—like both long tokens and short tokens in a market. This feature is one of the first on Mainnet to use ZEIP-23.

Rahul from 0x

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

  • 0x Roadmap Part 3, introducing 0x Mesh, a peer-to-peer communication network that should greatly advance shared liquidity capabilities 

  • Had a successful meetup that will be on our YouTube channel soon 

  • Check out our new explore page to deep dive into the 0x Ecosystem

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've completed CelerX server code and integration with game server. 

  • We implemented more efficient multi-session generalized channel. 

  • We recently open sourced new Celer channel contract and continued planning Q2 milestones. 

  • On our mobile side, we've finished and improved CelerX gaming platform UI design.

  • We refined UI for a new game on CelerX platform. 

  • We keep fixing bugs and improving CelerX stability.

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. 

  • Beta signups are open for testing out Livepeer's Streamflow transcoding network. The ideal user here is a video developer who works on an application that streams video at scale. Sign up here if you'd like to test the network.

  • The Livepeer Streamflow paper was translated into Portugese, with Chinese and French translations pending.

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.

  • Completed work on a custom LoRa radio firmware for time synchronization that can speak to the FOAM blockchain stack with 12 modules, which represents 4 Zone Anchor nodes.

  • Released version 2.0 of Chanterelle, with more on the way 

  • Making progress on our ForthState Plasma fork 

  • Challenges are on the rise on the FOAM Map, see recent activity in the FOAM Daily Digest 

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 RC4 of the upcoming version 1.4.0 of Sia was released for beta-testing among the Sia #contributors. The bugs for Windows bugs identified during the testing of the RC3 have been corrected, together with some contract formation issues. This is probably the last RC version before the final general release, which is expected to be released this week.

  • 3 different improvements and bug corrections related to stuck uploads, by DavidVorick and ChrisSchinnerl

  • An improvement to the contract formation process: better handling of cases where the host has a locked wallet or insufficient collateral, by lukechampine

  • Better calculation of the `maxcollateral` parameter of hosts, by lukechampine

  • Richer logs during contract formation, by MSevey

  • 2 Nebulous repo were updated. 7 issues were created, 8 were closed. 8 MRs were merged.

  • GitLab users ChrisSchinnerl, MSevey, lukechampine and DavidVorick had code contributions merged into Sia.

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.

  • Hydro Starter Kit launch 4/2 

  • Hydro Scan online -https://hydroscan.io/ 

  • Launching US Stock Index Token with MakerDao and UMA 
    https://medium.com/uma-project/announcing-us-stock-index-token-powered-by-uma-and-dai-c394586c575a

Sam from OpenBazaar

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

  • OpenBazaar version 2.3.2 has been released. This is a hot fix to address the problem with users running in dual-stack mode. There are a few minor other bugs fixed as well.

  • Minor IPFS changes introduced while we worked on the major recent rebase are now being implemented on the server side.

  • Significant changes are being made to how product discovery works in order to speed them up and decrease the likelihood of getting stale listings; early results show huge speed improvements and we believe they'll be included in the next release.

Proof of Work #60

Hi from increasingly warm Boston! Something I’ve been curious about for a while is how the social differences in Proof of Stake vs. Proof of Work will affect the security of those two systems. Many PoS adherents emphasize its similarity to PoW by saying that stake can be thought of as “virtualized ASICs” and that the security model should be in many ways identical. Recently I’ve been lurking in some private groups for people running EOS, Cosmos, and IOST validators/block producers in order to understand more about how the PoS sausage is made. The thing that leapt out at me was how social PoS is. The various validators know eachother, talk to eachother, and often try and collude or break collusion (for example setting fee floors etc) in the course of a given days worth of messages.

This is in stark contrast to PoW miners, who rarely talk to eachother, and have thus far never made a very serious attempt at collusion.

I think there are two major forces driving this disparity:

  1. Proof of Stake validation capex is an infinitesimal fraction of PoW capex, so the main competitive edge one can get is increasing the stake AUM via delegation (essentially increasing ones block reward for “free”). To do this one needs to be loud, and social! You need to go get to know all the big stakeholders, and this leads to an atmosphere which is conducive to collusion. In PoW, to increase the amount of coinbase reward you get, you just need to bring more ASICs online.

  2. PoS validators are mostly being used in systems with complex rulesets around smart contracting, which leads to the need for intervention (i.e. EOS’s fund recovery stuff, etc) whereas the main PoW coin wants nothing more from miners than SHA256 nonces. Thus, in PoS systems unfriendly collusion has a nucleation point around the already ongoing discussions about what types of transactions and featuresets to support, whereas in PoW collusion would have to start purely for the sake of collusion. To be clear I do not think this is an inherent feature of PoS but rather a coincidence of what systems are using what consensus algos.

I think PoS (and the Stellar consensus algo) remain the most interesting alternatives to classical PoW, and wish PoW diehards would be less dismissive of them outright, but at the moment I’m pretty unimpressed by the state of the art. I will keep an eye on how these systems develop—stuff like Cosmos is a fascinating test at scale of how a really well-engineered PoS system will develop, and anyone interested in crypto should be watching them closely.

In other news, Blockstream has finally released a really good Bitcoin mobile wallet. As one would expect from the company that employs more Bitcoin Core devs than any other, it has a bunch of features that most mobile wallets leave out, like the ability to increase the fee attached to a transaction if fees get higher and you need something to go through quickly, a 2 of 2 multisig with a really clever timelock recovery mechanism, the ability to set a threshold after which 2FA is necessary (so you can send your friend 100$ in BTC when you lost a bet with no hassle, but an attacker can’t take your entire balance) etc. After playing around a bit, this is definitely my go-to Bitcoin mobile wallet rec.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Version 2 P2P transport proposal: Jonas Schnelli sent a proposed BIP to the Bitcoin-Dev mailing list that specifies an algorithm to be used to encrypt traffic between peers. It also specifies some other minor changes to the creation of protocol messages, such as allowing peers to use bandwidth-saving short identifiers and eliminating the SHA256-based checksum on messages, as the AEAD-based encryption scheme protects data integrity

  • Loop announced: Lightning Labs announced a new tool and service to facilitate submarine swaps, HTLC-based atomic swaps of offchain bitcoins for onchain bitcoins. In essence, Alice sends Bob an LN payment secured by a secret she knows, preventing Bob from claiming it. Bob then creates an onchain payment that Alice can spend by revealing the secret. Alice waits for the payment to receive a suitable number of confirmations and then spends it onchain to any address she chooses—revealing the secret in the process. Bob sees Alice’s onchain transaction and uses its revealed secret to claim the LN payment Alice sent him earlier. If Alice doesn’t reveal the secret, the onchain payment contains a refund condition that allows Bob to spend it back to himself after a timelock expires.

  • Square Crypto developer group announced: the CEO of Square announced on Twitter that they are forming a group to employ several contributors to open source Bitcoin projects, including both developers and a designer. See their announcement for application instructions. (Note: Square is also a sponsoring member of Optech.)

James from Summa

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

  • Barbara and the frontend team are hard at work polishing the new wallet app

  • As part of a new integration, the research team has designed a novel cross-chain relay mechanism. Look for an introductory blog post soon :)

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 just went live with Chainweb Testnet for our public blockchain! We’re proud of the whole team for shipping a scalable proof of work blockchain that is environmentally friendly. If you’re in NYC and want to see a demo, come to our meetup tonight (3/27) at 6pm. Below are bullets of what’s in v0 of Chainweb Testnet along with other updates.”

  • For a detailed description of Chainweb’s architecture, see here.

  • Download and test the network yourself with a chainweb-node.

    ·      v0 includes 10 chains as we are testing the security and stability of braiding multiple Bitcoin-like (proof of work) chains.

    ·      v0 is testing global latencies by syncing across servers in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

    ·      v0 supports transactions written in Pact, Kadena’s open-source smart contract language that is easy to learn and purpose-built for blockchain.

    ·      v0 is private but open source on Github so you can look at the code as well as compile and run your own network & tests. We plan for v1 to offer a mining client; sign up here to get on the mining list.

    ·      Chainweb is designed to provide blockchain scalability and security through its multi-chain configuration. We believe it is the first of its kind. For more about Chainweb, check out the 101/FAQs and read the whitepaper.

  • Tony Pham wrote a Medium post on Kadena’s roadmap to a hybrid blockchain platform, sharing learnings and milestones as the company looks ahead in 2019.

  • Will Martino (Kadena CEO) and Kyle Samani (Multicoin Capital Managing Partner) hosted an AMA on PoW and PoS on Kadena’s Discord on March 20.

  • Will was interviewed by CoinDesk’s Nolan Bauerle about Kadena’s blockchain platform on the Road to Consensus podcast which was published on March 20.

  • Will was interviewed on The Blockchain Show podcast that aired on March 21.

  • Kadena founders Stuart Popejoy and Will Martino were interviewed by Anthony Pompliano on the Off the Chain podcast episode that aired on March 22.

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.

  • We're super pleased to launch https://timestamp.decred.org/, a web fronted for dcrtime which allows users to anchor unlimited records to the Decred blockchain for free (dctime built upon the work of Peter Todd's OpenTimestamps). It achieves this by creating a Merkle tree with all the hashes it receives and then anchors the Merkle root in the OP_RETURN field of an on-chain transaction it creates on an hourly basis. So basically, anybody can take any amount of data and create a cryptographic record of its existence at a certain point of time while keeping their data totally private.

  • We also just released version 4.0 of dcrdata our Decred block explorer written from scratch in Go. It comes with a number of performance and UI improvements as well as sweet charts. It's quite cool to visualize things like the Decred network hashrate increasing 1,000x in just over a year.

  • Our consensus vote to activate DCP-0004 and enable Lightning Network is still ongoing. There have been some interesting discussions as of late on participation in cryptocurrency governance among projects that attempt to empower their stakeholders. What we're seeing with the current vote is that of the ~47% of Decred in existence that is locked in PoS ~53.5% are actively participating in this consensus vote so far. The vote can be followed on https://voting.decred.org/ and it currently has 99.97% support.

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.

  • Core - 10.3.0 released, rollout uneventful so far (a good thing); expanding quorum set as validators upgrade

  • Core - V11 - Protocol changes landing: Cap0005, cap0006 in code review, cap0020 shortly

  • Platform - Release of Horizon 0.17.4 went smoothly

  • Platform - Bartek in SF next week, working on new Horizon ingestion prototype with core team

  • Platform - New Go SDK on track to be ready end of Q1

  • Platform - Nikhil starting work on basic Kelp web UI

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.

  • Matthew reduced witness generation time attributable to Snarky by >2.5x. 

  • Nathan rewrote our logging infrastructure, upgraded our JSON logging format to support value interpolation, and optimized our log processor. 

  • Echo refactored and documented how we synchronize merkle tree ledgers and patched a potential vulnerability which could allow peers to answer unasked messages.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

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

  • A security announcement was posted in the forum regarding a bug in the Zcashd wallet, which could result in Sprout z-addresses displaying an incorrect balance. Sapling z-addresses are not impacted by this issue. This would occur if someone sending funds to a Sprout z-address intentionally sent a different amount in the note commitment of a Sprout output than the value provided in the ciphertext (the encrypted message from the sender). A code fix for the wallet has been written and the integration into an official Zcash release is targeted for our next release (version 2.0.4, expected March 25th).

  • We developed consensus code that preserves the Zcash monetary base in the event of a counterfeiting compromise within Zcash’s shielded supply. We intend to deploy this as a backwards compatible consensus rule in the Zcashd v2.0.5 release, scheduled for the beginning of May. We believe this new rule does not materially affect users and is low-risk to deploy. Read more about turnstile enforcement against counterfeiting, including tracking shielded value pools and codifying the existing policy.

  • Jack Gavigan, Product and Regulatory Relations, outlined why Zcash is Compatible with AML/CFT Regulation: “From an AML/CFT perspective, Zcash is similar in nature to cash..."

  • eToro released a market research report which concluded, “Zcash is … reinventing the way people think about 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.

  • Translating 8 new languages for the GUI: Kurdish, Bengali, Persian, Irish, Urdu, Zulu Greek and Nepali. If you speak a language besides English, we welcome your translations.

  • Had a special 2.5 hour developer meeting to discuss the future of Monero’s approach toward proof of work algorithms, most likely RandomX with an ASIC-friendly SHA-3 fallback. Summaries can be found here.

  • We’re beginning to thoroughly review the RandomX proof of work algorithm. Every set of eyes helps, so check out the design and specs.

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. 

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

  • Counterfactual releases Playground developer alpha with demo environment and multiple demo applications. Go build with generalized state channels

  • How Vitalik sees Eth’s strategy: “Ethereum is best suited to continue to provide value and prosper in the presence of a growing number of such chains by going for the “stable L1, no on-chain governance, focus more innovation on L2 over time” approach, ie. basically moderate bitcoin values, except that it’s actually a very defensible position when you have a scalable data layer and any kind of richly-stateful VM at all at L1”

  • Two great dev tool update: Ganache v2.0 and Embark v4.0 

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 17 PRs in nearcore from 10 different authors

  • We can now run a multi-node Proof-of-Authority version of our network

  • Follow the documentation to launch your own network and attach our studio IDE to it

  • Implemented the first version of concurrency model checking for our Nightshade consensus algorithm

  • Updated runtime WASM API to support faster reads and writes

  • Streamlined command line tools for local development, testing, and deployment

  • Benchmarks for the client excluding network and consensus

  • Improved APIs and integration tests for DevNet while improving stability

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

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

  • New release 0.1.0 released:

  • Incorporates the actor model for improved performance and maintainability

  • Improves troubleshooting options adding open tracing

  • Adds an ipld chaintree storage adapter

  • Includes automated docker builds

  • Read our use-case analysis “DLT for the supply chain”  

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.

  • No updates this week.

Zaki from Cosmos

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

  • We hits 100 million atoms out of 236 millions Atoms staked. 
    The first Cosmos Hub governance proposal is being voted on.

  • We kicked off the first implementer's call for Cosmos IBC. The IBC protocol is being specified in the Interchain Standards Repo.

  • A draft proposal to enable Atom transfers is in proces.
    Version 0.34 of the Cosmos SDK is in process and with the approval of governance will be part of the transfers enabled upgrade.

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.

  • Mark wrote the draft specification for a standalone SES engine. Rather than taking an existing JavaScript engine and creating a SES runtime within it, this would be SES compliant from the beginning, meaning that many of the problematic and non-deterministic parts of JavaScript just wouldn’t exist in the first place.  

  • Agoric's new "SwingSet" vat implementation is now feature complete and passes all tests, including the ERTP contract host examples (Mint, Purse, ContractHost, and Escrow Agent).

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.

  • Testing initial version of our new margin trading product. Gearing up for a private alpha release in a few weeks

  • Reach out to us at contact@dydx.exchange if you'd like to participate as an alpha user!

  • Work trialing an engineering as well as a design candidate

  • Hiring 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 had our best week ever with over 250k USD in borrow volume. We're on track to do .5M in borrow volume in March

  • Based on the increasing Maker stability fee and demand for borrowing DAI, this week's APR for DAI will be 5.5%

  • This week we are raising our transaction limits to 250k USD and 2k ETH

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email (nadav@dharma.io or brendan@dharma.io) or apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

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

  • An executive vote to increase the Stability Fee to 7.5% has gone live. You can read more here or join the discussion on our subreddit.

  • Thanks to boxylabs, you can now get Dai directly within a tweet. Pretty neat functionality! 

  • You can now book a vacation in Dai. Travala added Dai as a native payment to their platform. Aloha & Mahalo! 

  • The team at Dether created a bridge between Dai and cash. So you can buy and sell Dai for cash. 

  • Dai is also integrated into 0x Instant, making it super easy to add Dai purchasing to any app or website. 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

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

  • Last week we focused on bug fixes and preparing a release candidate of MPX, our DEX

  • We will not add new features until after mainnet launch

  • Next up is penetration testing and our security audit

  • Soon we will share more information about our mainnet release timeline

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.

  • Announced Compound v2, an upgraded version of the Compound protocol that will support a wider array of assets

  • Continued security audits for Compound v2

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • No updates this week.

Paul from Veil

Veil is a peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur, 0x, and Ethereum.

  • Added search to the Veil homepage to make it easier to find markets.

  • Created market-specific Discord channels and linked to them from markets in Veil.

  • New user profiles that show markets created by that user in addition to their activity.

Rahul from 0x

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

  • Hosting a 0x meetup this Thursday March 28th in San Francisco

  • 0x Roadmap Part 2, Scalability R&D: our research engineer Remco dives into ZKPs (zero knowledge proofs)

  • Dai integration with 0x Instant: with just a few lines of code, add Dai purchasing to your website

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 have finished player matching API validation on CelerX. 

  • We are continuing the development of game platform UI design. 

  • We have developed popups during and after the game. 

  • We added a game result screen and finished quick match data integration. 

  • We finalized design of CelerX platform client/servers interactions and continuing the development of CelerX server code. 

  • We are implementing on-chain dispute flow in new OSP protocol and preparing to open-source cChannel 1.0.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Application infrastructure

Wes from Theta

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

  • No update this week

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.

  • Working on a fork of the Forth State Plasma MVP Side chain with Tendermint Consensus as well as collaborating on open issues here

  • Given that the FOAM Token has "Proof of Use" restrictions on those that participated in the Token Sale, this has lead to some technical issues when it comes to 0x DEX integrations. To resolve, the 0x protocol will need to additionally check for token transfer permissions before allowing an order to be placed, we have been coordinating on this and the Pull Request "Simulate Maker transfer in order validation" is here

  • Hosted a Community Call on the theme of building decentralized infrastructure featuring the Althea Mesh project, video here

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.

Other

Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual world where you can build and explore 3D creations, play games and socialize.

  • On March 18th, we launched the drag-and-drop scene Builder and started the Creator Contest, rewarding creative scenes with MANA and LAND.

  • Since the Builder’s launch, we’ve been running continual QA testing, making iterative UI improvements, and fixing bugs.

  • In the SDK, we’ve added a new component making texture support more robust and optimized. A bug in GLTF model rotation has also been fixed so model rotation matches the standards of other platforms - making it easier to import content.

  • Finally, we’ve started to set up up performance tests in the Decentraland Client.

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.

  • Hydro Scan live  - Visualize # of  Traders, Trading Volume - https://hydroscan.io/

  • Hydro Starter Kit  - Finish documentation - Public BETA 4/2 

  • Hydro Protocol v1.1 - Smart Contract Upgrade on 3/27 12:00 AM Beijing time, update maker rebate logic, Goal : To be more market maker friendly 

Sam from OpenBazaar

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

  • A new OpenBazaar release was published, 2.3.1, a minor release which primarily includes a rebase to the latest IPFS code. It also includes multiple bug fixes and the ability to update which coins vendors accept on listings in bulk.

  • Work on 2.3.2 has begun, with a focus on improved message protocol routing and a sweep wallet feature.

  • Work has begun on a simple UI for claiming rewards from usage of the token.

Martín from Zeppelin

Zeppelin builds tools for the secure development, deployment and operation of decentralized systems. Zeppelin also helps companies secure their systems by performing security audits.

Proof of Work #59

Today’s PoW is abbreviated a bit because I’ve been busy with welcoming a new Bitcoiner into the world. Proof of Baby here.

More next week… :)

Bitcoin & Friends

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

  • Help test Bitcoin Core 0.18.0 RC2: The second Release Candidate (RC) for the next major version of Bitcoin Core has been released. Testing is still needed by organizations and experienced users who plan to run the new version of Bitcoin Core in production. Use this issuefor reporting feedback.

    Spy node ban list updated: some IP addresses are performing various attacks that are likely aimed at monitoring transaction propagation so that they can attempt to determine which nodes originated which transactions. To help node operators refuse connections from those IP addresses, Gregory Maxwell maintains a ban list that can be imported into Bitcoin Core and compatible nodes. There is absolutely no need to use this centralized list—your fully decentralized node will attempt to connect to a diverse enough set of peers that it should establish at least one honest connection—but using this ban list may reduce the amount of traffic you waste on spy nodes and other bad actors. The list comes in two formats, one for use on the command line with bitcoin-cli and one that can be pasted into the debug console of Bitcoin Core GUI. The blacklisted IP addresses are banned for one year and Bitcoin Core will remember the bans between restarts, so you only need to import the list once. Note: some users have reported that the ban list may exceed the maximum buffer size for the GUI on some platforms, requiring pasting it in chunks of about 250 entries each in order to load the whole list.

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

JZ from Decred

Decred’s vision is to build a self-directed, decentralized future ruled by the collective intelligence of the community. It will be built upon the pillars of sovereignty, transparency, inclusivity, privacy, and security. Everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake, yielding decisions and policies in the best interest of all — not just a select few. 

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Our global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease. In doing so, it’s faster, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly than alternative platforms, and it empowers users and organizations to create a global, dependable network of trust while maintaining decentralization.

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

  • Echo began hooking in the trust and peer-banning mechanism.

  • Jiawei has been fixing bugs and writing several integration tests.

  • Paul has been making sure all network communication will be backwards compatible across protocol upgrades.

  • Matt has made numerous improvements in snarky, including adding a generic conditional.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a privacy-protecting, digital currency built on strong science.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source privacy-focused cryptocurrency, maintained by a grassroots community of volunteers and crowdfunded contributors since 2014. Monero uses an ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm, and 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

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. 

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain that enables great usability for both developers and their end-users.

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. 

  • Introducing a new smart contract langauge for Tezos, Ligo. LIGO is a simple smart contract language designed for developing longer contracts than one would naturally write in Michelson. It is an imperative language that compiles down to clean Michelson code, featuring a Pascal-like syntax and a simple type system.

  • Tezos smart contract initiatives announced so far in 2019: SmartPy.io, Ligo, ConseilJS, Liquidity 1.0 with ReasonML toggle, and Fi.

  • Prestigious Thai University, Chulalongkorn University, has partnered with Tezos Southeast Asia to create the nation’s premier blockchain education and research programme.

  • Tezos 101: B9labs has launched its free Tezos introductory development course, sign up here

  • TQ will be hosting a ‘Tezos Day’ event on April 18th in Paris during Paris Blockchain Week.

Topper from Quorum Control

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

  • We spoke at this year’s NFT.NYC conference in February. Hear our full talk Moving NFT Checks Off Chain

  • We made scalability and efficiency improvements to our gossip protocol

  • We introduced more flexible and configurable storage options for data that interacts with the platform

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.

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains, creating the foundation for a new token economy.

  • Cosmos community launched the mainnet for the Cosmos Hub with the suggested allocation of ATOMs from the fundraising process: https://cosmos.network/launch 67 validators participated in launch and stability was achieved within minutes of the expected genesis time.

  • More than 70 million of 238 million atoms have been staked. I am super pleased that 3 of the top 10 validators were not participants in the fundraiser.

  • What next? The Hub might halt and recover. The Hub might vote for a software upgrade that enables transfers.

  • Look for governance proposals here. I'm surprised there hasn't been one.
    Work is in progress on the next Tendermint and Cosmos Hub software release but no upgrades on Hub will happen without governance.

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.

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.

  • Gearing up for the alpha launch of our new margin trading product

  • Testing internally on Kovan Testnet

  • Wrapping up security audit with Open Zeppelin

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

Brendan from Dharma

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

  • R

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is unlocking the power of the blockchain for everyone by creating an inclusive platform for economic empowerment -- allowing equal access to the global financial marketplace.

  • The vote to raise the Stability Fee to 3.5% passed and went into immediate effect. We encourage anyone to join our Governance & Risk calls where these are discussed.

  • For PiDay (3/14), we worked with @SendCrypto to create #PiDai for #PiDay, where anyone could send Dai to charities, just by tweeting. 

  • Helena Network became the first project to create a dapp on the xDai sidechain, bringing their prediction markets platform a better UX.

  • Connext released Dai Card, a browser-based wallet for low cost payments instantly in Dai. 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets, providing financial access to anyone.

  • Another big week! We have a full version of MPX up and running for internal testing

  • Implemented Error logging across dev, staging, and production environments

  • Completed work on admin panel API, now focused on user account API

  • Completed user account design flows for new & returning users

  • Lots of bug stomping across APIs, admin, & DEX

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.

  • No update this week.

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • No updates this week.

Paul from Veil

Veil is a peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur, 0x, and Ethereum.

Rahul from 0x

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

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Transfer and Swap Platform for any Token

  • Bug fixing on client library, which is fully compatible with all major browsers

  • Revive Liquidity Canvas 

  • Liquidity Faucet included on coming V2 mobile app

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a leading layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contract. It enables everyone to quickly build, operate, and use highly scalable decentralized applications through innovations in off-chain scaling techniques and incentive-aligned cryptoeconomics.

  • We continued on our design and implementation of the CelerX platform. 

  • Investigation of OSP performance with a larger number of users.

  • Design enhancements for OSP protocol and system storage.

    - We finished the following CelerX game UI: game menu, history, history detail and quick match. 

    - We continue to fixed bugs and improve stability.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure. From Parity Ethereum, the most advanced Ethereum client, to Polkadot, the next-generation interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Wes from Theta

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

  • Theta mainnet successfully launched on March 15th

  • Exchange integration with mainnet expected to wrap up early to mid-week

  • Theta Fuel (operational/gas token of the protocol) distributed to all Theta tokenholders on mainnet

  • Announced partnership with MovieBloc startup to distribute movies + other video content

Doug from Livepeer

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

  • Active contributions from collaborators Epic Labs on a classifier to very non-deterministic GPU video transcoding

  • In an effort to continuously increase reliability of the network for the Streamflow release, work continued on the orchestrator failover and redundancy strategies for video broadcasters.

  • On the research track, we explored a multi-registry construction for nodes on the network, in an effort to aid double-spend prevention in probabilistic micropayments and make additional services available on the Livepeer network.

  • Network participation surpassed 31% of LPT actively staked.

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.

  • Hosted a talk on The Importance of Time Synchronization by way of historical examination and updates on Proof of Location Developments, video here

  • Progress on time sync simulations on our local test net and Tendermint based MVP as well as on the custom firmware we are developing for the radio nodes. 

  • Leaderboard moving out of beta with 3Box web3 identities now integrated 

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 path towards the final 1.4.0 release: The public testing of the latest Release Candidate 3 has revealed issues for renters using the Windows version. The team is currently working in their correction:
    - DavidVorick identified a misuse of the Sia paths in multiple parts of the code, that while compatible with Unix systems, are incorrect on Windows
    - eddiewang is finishing the last 2 tasks from a list of 8 issues identified on the UI: a problem of stuck uploads on the UI and the correction of paths on Windows

  • Bug fixes and other improvements
    - A bug that could throw a panic error while shutting down Sia, repaired by ChrisSchinnerl
    - Two bugs related to writing logs during file repair checks, corrected by ChrisSchinnerl and DavidVorick
    - An optimization during file chunk repairs, by MSevey
    - eddiewang updated the contents of the Sia website, as links to the Sia blog and the Sia Youtube channel. Also, some biographies of the team were corrected by stevefunk

  • Stats
    - 3 Nebulous repo were updated. 5 issues were created, 2 were closed. 7 MRs were merged.
    - GitLab users stevefunk, zherbert, eddiewang, ChrisSchinnerl, MSevey and DavidVorick had code contributions merged into Sia.

  • From the community: Decentralizer 1.0
    The community member @hakkane released the UI version of Decentralizer and the updated 1.0 version of its CLI tool. Decentralizer is an app that allows renters to micro-manage their contracts, detect and avoid hosting farms, manual selection of hosts, and geo-fencing. It is free and open source: https://keops.cc/decentralizer

Other

Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual world where you can build and explore 3D creations, play games and socialize.

  • No update this week.

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.

  • Hydro Contract update 1.1 : Remove EIP 712 Domain, Add isMakerOnly field, Update makerRebateRate logic,  
    - 0xE2a0BFe759e2A4444442Da5064ec549616FFF101 

  • Hydro Relayer Starter Kit - Read.me ready, ETA Launch by the end of March 

  • Mutli Chain Wallet in Development - Flexible framework to support more Public chains, ETA 4/18  

Sam from OpenBazaar

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

  • 2.3.1 release candidate testing has found some bugs relating to the IPFS rebase. Data migrations weren't handled properly and are being fixed now. We're working on a 5th release candidate now.

  • An external audit for an OpenBazaar token smart contract that controls a major aspect of token distribution was completed and only minor issues found. They are being resolved now.

  • Development on the Haven mobile app continues. The 2.3.1 rebase is needed for the social and messaging aspects of the app and is expected to speed up parts of the app significantly.

Martín from Zeppelin

Zeppelin builds tools for the secure development, deployment and operation of decentralized systems. We also help companies secure their systems by performing security audits.

Proof of Work #58

Good morning from unexpectedly sunny Boston!

The MIT Bitcoin Expo last weekend was amazing as expected—particularly of interest, Gary Gensler and Hester Peirce’s dialog left me convinced that the US regulatory apparatus, while still pretty muddled in terms of their approach to crypto, at least want to provide a stable environment for cryptocurrency projects to grow. David from Sia gave a fascinating talk about why trusted setups are a systematic risk even if you think a specific trusted setup is OK. Boyma from Handshake gave another great overview of what they are doing to create a decentralized root zone for DNS. All talks were recorded (they haven’t been edited yet, but you can view the schedule and jump to whatever you want to watch)

I delayed this update a bit because I wanted to have some time to write about Cosmos in the context of Bitcoin, since Cosmos launched yesterday. If you just look at Twitter, you’d think Lightning is the only real layer 2 proposal for Bitcoin, but I think Cosmos actually presents a fascinating alternative, with very different tradeoffs.

Imagine a Cosmos zone with a validator set (maybe the ATOM validators, or maybe not) who control a Bitcoin multisig wallet. There are a lot of ways you could choose these validators (with a staking token, using BTC itself as a stake, or even with some variant of Proof of Work) but you can use this basic framework to have a zone where users can send Bitcoin, and then use it in ways that mainchain bitcoin can’t be used, for example in complex smart contracts that extend functionality beyond what Bitcoin Script allows.

Something that’s always put me off about a lot of the ETH ecosystem is that seemingly every new project comes with a new, increasingly illiquid token. Cosmos plus Bitcoin gives us the chance to create things like prediction markets without needing a new token at all—and using the single cryptocurrency that is most “money-like” as a result of its superior liquidity and acceptance.

That Cosmos works this way is no accident—many of the Cosmos team are sort of closet Bitcoin maximalists. One of them told me in conversation that he thinks the world needs one and only one massive-hashpower Proof of Work chain, and that Cosmos is intended to act as a massive powerup for BTC.

While there are of course tons of non-BTC uses for Cosmos (the much-touted IBC hub which intends to allow easy swapping between different tokens and zones, all the Ethermint stuff etc) it’s the Bitcoin stuff that has me the most excited. Importantly, validators and smart-contract authors now have a business model that doesn’t involve issuing a token: if you have a bunch of Bitcoin in your cosmos zone, you can earn fees either by extracting a small rent from all Bitcoin in the zone, or by taking transaction fees in BTC. While the specifics have yet to be worked out, it’s likely that BTC in a cosmos zone can earn a return that is in excess of the miniscule routing fees that lightning provides.

Of course, this comes with risk—while lightning is completely non-custodial, you can think of Cosmos bitcoin (at least, the implementations I’ve seen) as semi-custodial—your Bitcoin is being controlled by a set of economically incented validators who could collude to steal your coin. However if any of the validators defected from such a scheme they could get everyone else slashed (and potentially directly profit, depending on how slashing mechanics work in a given zone) so this risk is largely mitigated.

There was some grumbling from the usual critics on Twitter that Cosmos has taken too long to launch, but the reality of taking a consensus mechanism from academic literature and turning it into a live blockchain is that doing so right takes time. I don’t expect Cosmos-enabled Bitcoin projects to appear overnight, but I think it’s something worth paying close attention to for Bitcoiners.

Bitcoin & Friends

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

  • Suhas Daftuar disclosed a vulnerability affecting Bitcoin Core 0.13.0 to 0.13.2. (Note: those releases have been past end-of-life for several months.) The vulnerability would allow an attacker to convince your node that a valid block was invalid, forking you off the consensus block chain and making it possible to trick you into believing that you received confirmed bitcoins you wouldn’t actually control. [ed: Bitcoin has compatibility with old versions as a value, but it’s important to stay ahead of the EOL curve. Luckily it seems almost everyone is on more updated versions by this time]

  • The first Release Candidate (RC) for the next major version of Bitcoin Core has been released. Organizations and experienced users who depend upon Bitcoin Core are highly encouraged to test it for regressions and other problems that could affect your use of it in production. Any testing is appreciated, but if you have some extra time after testing for your specific use cases, please consider helping test 0.18’s changes to the GUI. This interface is primarily used by less experienced users who are unlikely to test RCs themselves but who would be especially affected by any problems that slip through.

  • Chris Belcher published an extended summary of various privacy concerns present in Bitcoin. That page and the Wiki’s related Privacy category provides an excellent starting point for anyone researching Bitcoin privacy concerns.

  • Optech publishes book chapter about payment batching: paying multiple people in the same transaction can reduce the average transaction fee cost per payment by more than 70%. The technique is especially convenient for high-frequency spenders such as exchanges. As part of Optech’s ongoing work to create a guide to individually-deployable scaling techniques, we’re publishing our draft chapter that describes this technique and its tradeoffs in detail.

James from Summa

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

  • James gave a talk at the MIT Bitcoin Expo yesterday about non-atomic swaps, video should be up soon

  • Slides are available here -> link

  • Feel free to reach out on Twitter to @summa_one or @_prestwich with questions about it :)

Tony from Kadena

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

  • "We've added namespaces and improved key management to the open source Pact smart contract language. We'll be head's down for the next couple weeks so this will be our last update until the Testnet launch of Kadena's public blockchain, Chainweb, at the end of this month. If you're in New York, come to our Chainweb meetup on March 27 at 6 pm ET!"

  • Merged namespaces to the Pact smart contract language, which allows users to claim a prefix to their code. Namespaces provide a secure way to claim ownership of all modules with a particular name prefix. 

  • Improved key management to Pact Web REPL (pact.kadena.io) so users can now copy keys to the clipboard for easy export. This facilitates an improved virtual wallet experience during Testnet.

  • Marie Leaf spoke on a NYU Future Labs' Focus | Blockchain panel about the future of blockchain, including the trilemma.

  • Ben Jessel shared his analysis of JP Morgan's stablecoin with the Crypto 101 podcast and CoinDesk.

  • Emily Pillmore, Haskell.org Committee Member, wrote a post about how "The EVM is Fundamentally Unsafe," which was referenced on the March 4th Insureblocks podcast.

  • Stuart Popejoy had a dynamic trans-Atlantic Twitter exchange with the CTO of R3 (Corda) about ways to handle non-determinism.

  • Kadena is hosting a Discord AMA featuring Kadena CEO Will Martino and Multicoin Capital Co-Founder Kyle Samani discussing PoW and PoS next Wed, 3/20 at 2 pm ET.

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

JZ from Decred

Decred’s vision is to build a self-directed, decentralized future ruled by the collective intelligence of the community. It will be built upon the pillars of sovereignty, transparency, inclusivity, privacy, and security. Everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake, yielding decisions and policies in the best interest of all — not just a select few. 

  • February edition of the Decred Journal is out. Last month marked the 3rd anniversary of the Decred mainnet launch, upgrade requirements for the 4th consensus rules vote were met, Politeia saw unprecedented activity, and $490k in budgets were approved for Marketing & Events.

  • We also saw healthy dev activity in February as usual with 251 active PRs, 224 commits, 39K additions & 24K deletions across 3-8 devs per repo.

  • By the time this hits your inbox the Decred DEX proposal will likely have passed with what seems like 90%+ support from stakeholders. Another great example of something that was thought to be "contentious" but suddenly isn't when you have a Sybil-resistant means of gauging the desires of stakeholders.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Using the Stellar Consensus protocol, we can create a global, dependable network of trust while maintaining decentralization in an environmentally friendly way.

  • No update this week

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

  • Jiawei fixed a nasty bug in our catchup procedure (which is run when a node is a few blocks behind the longest chain).

  • Avery designed the first version of Coda's GraphQL API.

  • Corey fixed several bugs related to our in-memory ledger overlays.

  • Izaak implemented Ouroboros' exponential threshold function in the SNARK. Look out for a blog post about the math behind the optimization.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a privacy-protecting, digital currency built on strong science.

  • Paige Peterson, User Education and Community Team Lead, presented "Defending Against Counterfeiting Attacks in Zcash" at the MIT Bitcoin Expo 2019.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is an open-source privacy-focused cryptocurrency, maintained by a grassroots community of volunteers and crowdfunded contributors since 2014. Monero uses an ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm, and 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

A confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • No update this week

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

  • No update this week

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain that enables great usability for both developers and their end-users.

  • NEAR is working on getting a multi-node “TestNet Alpha” shipped.

  • 25 PRs in nearcore from 12 different authors

  • New Whiteboard Series episodes with Harmony, Interstellar and Plasma Group.

  • First webinar with a live coding session

  • Blockchain Layer:

  • Application/Development Layer:

    • Released command line tools for local development, testing, and deployment

    • Improved NEAR Studio UI and added more templates.

    • Exposed cross-contract APIs in AssemblyScript and published an example with using another token contract.

    • Released new designs for the NEAR Wallet and NEAR website.

    • Released an image that deploys entire NEAR stack (NEARStudio, nearlib, wallet, DevNet, block explorer), which is useful for local development or continuous deployment.

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

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

  • No update this week

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.

  • Over 80M LOOM now staked on PlasmaChain, around 12% of the circulating supply.

  • PlasmaChain staking from Ledger devices is now working on the latest versions of Chrome, Brave, and Opera.

  • 2 more external validators went live on PlasmaChain -- Stake Capital and Blockware.

  • Latest Zombie Battleground alpha build has been released, including fixes to new account registration, adding missing card images, fine-tuning the revamped tutoria, and improvements to PvP out-of-sync client issues. Download latest builds here -- AndroidiOSWindows, and macOS.

Myles from EOS

Zaki from Cosmos

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.

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.

  • Nearing completion of the alpha version of a new margin trading product we're building. Stay tuned for more details in the next few weeks!

  • Looking for traders, lenders, and dApp enthusiasts to participate in the alpha launch of our product. Reach out to contact@dydx.exchange if you're interested!

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

Brendan from Dharma

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

  • Added support for DAI last week. Borrowers can currently borrow DAI for 0.1% APR, about 3% of the current Maker Stability fee

  • Dharma Lever had another strong growth week, doing >160k in borrow (+60% WoW) and >180k in lend (+20% WoW).

  • Our team is growing! We are looking for awesome full-stack engineers, no crypto experience necessary. Check out our open roles at: https://angel.co/dharma-labs/jobs.

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is unlocking the power of the blockchain for everyone by creating an inclusive platform for economic empowerment -- allowing equal access to the global financial marketplace.

  • After passing the Governance Vote, the Executive Vote to raise the Stability Fee to 3.5% is underway. You can read more on the governance in action here

  • In conjunction with twelve VCs, incubators, and exchanges in Korea, we've begun a national relayer campaign there. The purpose is to raise awareness and usage of Dai. If all goes well, we plan to replicate in other regions. 

  • ButtonWallet, a wallet built directly into telegram, has integrated Dai. Now you can send Dai to anyone on telegram simply by @ mentioning them. 

  • The team at Dharma made it so you can borrow Dai at .1% APR. #DeFi FTW! 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets, providing financial access to anyone.

  • We stood up staging environments for MPX exchange, our API, & admin panel!

  • Continued work on user dashboard. This is nearing completion.

  • Continued admin UI & backend work

Robert from Compound

  • No update this week

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • No updates for this week

Paul from Veil

  • Working towards our March 13th launch of Veil’s market creation feature—any Veil user will be able to create their own prediction market. Want to be part of the launch? Add your info here.

  • Bet whether Veil will successfully launch market creation on March 13th (here’s the market). Obviously there’s a prediction market on that.

  • More updates coming March 13th.

Rahul from 0x

  • February dev update: in addition to our three extension contracts, the dev team is also working on an alpha of the Coordinator model for relayers (formerly called TEC), and an ERC-1155 proxy contract

  • Joined the TechStars Blockchain Accelerator as a technical partner and announced our 0x Global Community Meetups program

  • 0x relayer Ethfinex, which pulls liquidity from parent exchange Bitfinex, migrated over to V2

  • Hackathon winners from ETHParis selected: GoMommy, for buying and selling ENS domains, and 12months, for requesting a DAI loan by collateralizing a car via 0x and Estonian E-ID system

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Transfer and Swap Platform for any Token

  • No updates this week.

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a leading layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contract. It enables everyone to quickly build, operate, and use highly scalable decentralized applications through innovations in off-chain scaling techniques and incentive-aligned cryptoeconomics.

  • No update this week

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Wes from Theta

  • Theta mainnet launches on March 15th

  • Snapshot of ERC20 Theta will occur on March 12th at Ethereum block height 7,356,258

  • At mainnet launch, all Theta Token holders will receive a 1:5 distribution of Theta Fuel, the operational or ‘gas’ token of the protocol

  • Theta Fuel is now functioning as the currency of SLIVER.tv video platform (on Theta testnet until March 15th mainnet launch)

Doug from Livepeer

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

  • 3rd party project, Livepeer Studio, launched featuring a Graph integration, and a weekly Livepeer staking rewards email which updates token holders on how much they have earned during the course of the week. This compliments another 3rd party app, Livepeer.tools, which gives daily telegram messages and email alerts around staking and rewards issuance.

Ryan from FOAM

  • No update this week

David from Sia

  • The repository of the new Sia-UI that eddiewang has been working on during the last months on has been made public (link). It features a new modern visual aspect, a more comprehensive file uploading interface, and step-by-step wizards for tasks like creating a wallet, sending a transaction or renting Sia storage. This new UI will be featured on 1.4.0 and it is already available for testing on the RC versions.

  • Fixed a memory leak on uploading files, by MSevey. Other upload optimizations by DavidVorick, MSevey and ChrisSchinnerl

  • A fix on Sia directories, by MSevey

  • A fix on reading settings from hosts using older Sia versions, by lukechampine

  • Three improvements on file repairs and stuck files, by MSevey

  • Updated documentation about the /renter/files API endpoint, by MSevey

  • Improved streaming speeds, thanks to requesting multiple sections of a file in a single request from the renter, by lukechampine

  • Encryption added to the backups of metadata, by ChrisSchinnerl

  • The RC3 of the upcoming 1.4.0 version was published on the #contributors channel of Discord for its beta-testing. It features “contracting bugs fixes, file query performance fixes, repair process fixes, windows filesystem error fixes, memory leak / usage fixes, and a whole host of updates and feature adds to the new UI”. This could be the final RC release before the final general release.

  • 2 Nebulous repo were updated. 13 issues were created, 13 were closed. 24 MRs were merged.

Other

Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual world where you can build and explore 3D creations, play games and socialize.

  • No update this week

Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io

  • Hydro Scan - 3rd Party program to show Hydro Protocol transaction 

  • Hydro Starter Kit ETA 3/30 - SDK and documentation to build an order-book DEX  

  • Hydro Token Economics Draft - Focus on Liquidity sharing incentive and stake mechanism 

  • Humming Bot Partnership - Arbitrage Bot for everyone (No coding experience needed) between Binance and DDEX 

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • Testing on 2.3.1 continues toward a viable gold release. Hardening on the wallet infrastructure is getting completed which will ensure better up-time and availability in the event of problems. 

  • Preparation also continues for the upcoming launch of Haven (https://gethaven.app), the first mobile application built using OpenBazaar.

Martín from Zeppelin

Zeppelin builds tools for the secure development, deployment and operation of decentralized systems. We also help companies secure their systems by performing security audits.

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