Proof of Work #78

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Help test release candidates: experienced users are encouraged to help test the latest release candidates for the upcoming versions of Bitcoin Core and C-Lightning.

  • Starting the first week of November, several Bitcoin contributors will be hosting a series of weekly meetings to help guide people through review of the proposed bip-schnorrbip-taproot, and bip-tapscript changes. 

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

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

  • Core Team: 

  • Wallet Team

    • We’re making progress on the iOS SDK, which now can get blocks, store them, and scan blocks for transaction data. We have also created an Android SDK demo app that showcases a range of functionality (link here). The demo app exercises: get private key, get address, get the latest height, get block, get block range, list transactions, and send.

    • Librustzcash has reached good enough test coverage (mid-60%), and it not only has more test coverage, but it’s running smarter tests. In addition to this, more of our work has been based off wallet developer feedback, which I think is a good thing. Go team!

  • Zcash turns three years old on Mon 10/28, happy birthday to us! 

  • More updates here

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. 

  • We have officially kicked off Ignition, our trusted setup ceremony. You can follow the progress live at https://ignition.aztecprotocol.com

  • We released our PLONK implementation benchmarks. Proof construction comes in at ~23 seconds for a circuit (built over BN254) of over 1 million gates. We think a typical private transaction on Ethereum will come in at ~128,000 to 512,000 PLONK gates.
    You can find the implementation here: https://github.com/AztecProtocol/barretenberg

  • Outside of Ignition, we’re doing final deploy tests for our mainnet protocol, preparing for our launch later this year.

Smart contracting platforms

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

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

  • As part of our ongoing efforts to productionize the Tupelo Testnet, GameNet, and Community service, we have been running a range of new load tests. The most recent tests uncovered a  defect and optimization opportunity.

  • The defect uncovered (and addressed) prevented highly concurrent reads to ChainTrees in the golang and the wasm clients.

  • To improve client and associated network performance, the team separated block and dht datastores.

  • The QC team actively participated in the Diffusion hackathon last weekend in Berlin, mentoring, presenting, and networking.  We congratulate all the winners and look forward to the next one.

Andrew from Solana

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

Myles from EOS

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

Financial Infrastructure

Nelson from Cadence

Cadence is a digital securitization and investment platform for private credit. Cadence issues tokenized assets that are digital reflections of real world fiat and investment transactions.

  • We published our most recent case-study, exploring our first offering to feature real-time data, a breakthrough in the industry.

  • The past few weeks have seen several media placements with coverage in ForbestwiceBlockonomi and Securities.io, among others.

  • Through Oct. 25, we’ve issued over $30M in structured notes across 27 different offerings.

  • Cadence Founder & CEO Nelson Chu, as well as Prath Reddy, Head of Capital Markets, will be speaking at the Asset-Backed Tech conference in NYC on Nov. 20.

  • We're hiring engineers!

Antonio from dYdX

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

  • Launched native ETH-USDC & DAI-USDC markets!

  • Working on: Isolated position closes through native market, price charts using native market data, updated UI for trade page

  • Hiring Software Engineers & Product Designers full-time in SF!

Coulter from MakerDAO

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

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

Alexandra from Polkadot

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

Dong Mo from Celer

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

  • We finished designing mobile API for depositing USD and finished UI in USD deposit flow.

  • We finished back up UI in adding USD flow.

  • We continue the implementation of Q4 OSP functionality.

  • We continue to work on the enhancements to the SGN Gateway.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Wes from Theta

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

Doug from Livepeer

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

  • The upcoming scaling release - Streamflow - is now live on a public testnet.

  • This release includes concurrent GPU mining of cryptocurrency while transcoding video on Livepeer, probabilistic micropayments, and a more scalable architecture to support large scale transcoding. 

Matt from Keep Network

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

  • tBTC:

    • The team has started working on a design system to accompany the open source release of tBTC.

    • Redemption dApp work is under review as we look at connecting the UX flow to our contracts. 

    • The team has been working on some code reorg for JS to reduce cyclical dependencies. 

    Random beacon: 

    • We completed work on slashing RFC; a document describing what kind of misbehaviour will be punished by the network and how.

    • We optimised block times for distributed key generation and relay entry signing - we now produce new group key and new random number two times faster.

    • We merged the PR implementing pricing for the beacon, we are still iterating on tests and fixing some minor bugs, but most of the functionality is there.

    • We figured out how can we improve the ticket submission algorithm to make it way cheaper.

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

David from Sia

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

  • Sia continued work this week on the file repair process and stuck uploads.

  • Matt and Chris improved the unstuck process of file chunks and speeded up the renter unstuckall command.

  • We’ll be releasing a 1.4.1.3 patch to release a considerable improvement in performance and address multiple file repairs issues. 1.4.1.3 will include this update and improvements to host churn.

  • David added logs to the repair process of files losing redundancy.

  • Chris added the allowance information to the backups that renters create from their metadata (and can later recover just using their wallet seed!). This will make easier and more intuitive to recover your renter, as your allowance will be set up automatically too.

  • Matt added the new API endpoints gateway/blacklist [POST] & [GET] that allows users to manually block other network peers and view the list of those currently blacklisted.

  • Nebulous will host a Sia meetup on San Francisco on Oct 30th together with the team of the Handshake protocol.

  • Community member @trinancrat#8374 released Sia Slice, an app that allows you to maintain a mirror of a large file stored on the Sia network. The advantage of this app over other similar is that the file is split in chunks of 100MiB, so after making a change on the file, only the affected chunks will be uploaded. This allows cheap and fast syncing of large files that need to be frequently updated.

Proof of Work #77

Good morning from Boston! A few unfinished thoughts from my Asia trip that I’ll expand upon in the next few issues:

  1. In some cases, exchanges are the enemy. A few bad-actor crypto exchanges in Asia print coins out of nowhere to engineer pump-and-dumps which they directly benefit from. Neither projects nor whales are colluding here; the exchanges themselves are doing this on their own. I used to think decentralized exchanges were something that only hardcore crypto folks cared about, but in the absence of regulation, decentralized exchanges may start to be in more demand as retail realizes how some of the exchanges are fleecing them.

  2. Bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, there are huge inflows to mining in China (setting up big farms, creating new ASICs, etc) despite the price coming down.

  3. China seems fairly serious about a digital fiat project.

More next time! Thanks for reading.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Upgrade LND to version 0.8.0-beta: LND’s newest release uses a more extensible packet format, improves backup safety, increases watchtower client integration, makes routing more likely to succeed, and includes many other new features and bug fixes.

  • Upgrade to Eclair 0.3.2: Eclair’s newest release improves backups, makes syncing gossip data more bandwidth efficient (especially for non-routing nodes, such as nodes on mobile devices), and includes many other new features and bug fixes.

  • Review RCs: two popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects have issued Release Candidates (RCs) for the next version of their software. We encourage developers and experienced users to help test these RCs so that any problems can be found and fixed before their general public release:
    Bitcoin Core 0.19.0rc1
    C-Lightning 0.7.3-rc2

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.

  • On Wednesday, 10/30, at 0900 UTC there will be a testnet reset, which means everything will get wiped from the testnet ledger. If you are in the middle of something, make a plan to recreate any ledger entries you need, including accounts and balances. Read here for best practices when using the testnet.

  • Horizon 0.21.1 was just released on Thursday, 10/10. The big change: it includes support for Stellar-core v12.0.0! If you run Horizon, make sure and upgrade now.

  • SEP-0024: SEP-0024 has gone from DRAFT to ACTIVE to replace the now-deprecated SEP-0006. If you are curious about the differences between SEP-0024 and SEP-0006, msfeldstein breaks them down here.

  • Meridian, the first official Stellar conference, has an entire track of programming dedicated to developers. It’s taking place November 4–5, so if you’re interested in attending, grab a ticket. You can use the code 'STROOP50' for 50% off at checkout.

  • The second round of the Stellar Community Fund has come to a close. You can view the winners here! We are now accepting proposals for round 3.

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 reduced memory consumption by 35% by replacing glibc's malloc with Jemalloc.

  • Avery got the Coda wallet working in Ubuntu.

  • Paul and Matthew have made and applied tools to enforce a versioning discipline across the codebase for all types that go on the wire.

  • Izaak is teaching an all-day Zero Knowledge workshop during SF Blockchain Week featuring closing remarks and a happy hour with Vitalik. You'll get hands-on experience programming SNARKs into your dapp - use code POW for 50% off any ticket (limited quantity). http://bit.ly/SFBWZKP

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

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

  • Stanford PING and REJECT: Researchers at Stanford presented two types of active side-channel attacks against private (a.k.a. shielded) transactions in Zcash. This Security announcement has been shared earlier this month in the Zcash community forum. Be sure to upgrade your nodes to Version 2.0.7-3 immediately and discontinue use of older versions. Please note that the issue does not put funds at risk of theft or counterfeiting.

  • Other updates to zcashd core team: 

    • Putting final touches on mempool DoS fix for 2.1.0 which we expect to come out soon

    • Putting final touches in librustzcash v0.1.0

    • Added “developer tooling” making it easier to work simultaneously on librustzcash/zcashd

    • Transitioning to scrum to help increase cycle time

    • Core Team current backlog

  • Dev-Infra team continues to work on updating/migrating Python2 code to Python3 as well as making several major Zcash components Docker compatible. 

  • The reference wallet team has spent the past few weeks paying down technical debt and addressing security concerns. 

    • handled all but one high-level security concerns brought up through internal review (sanitizing inputs, adding encryption between communication, etc.).

    • started to restructure the iOS and Android SDK so that there can be demo apps that showcase and isolate a specific functionality. Right now, the Android app looks more like a demo app--and it's not maintained to be stable. We've started on the iOS one!

    • added docker support and adding CI testing framework for `lightwalletd`. Now you can deploy a lightwalletd server with a simple docker file!

    • gotten feedback from multiple wallet partners on our sdk and lightwalletd server and we’re iterating based on that feedback.

    • In other wallet-related news, ZecWallet lightclient CLI is now available for beta testing on Zcash mainnet.  

  • Workshops and events: Daira and Str4d will give two talks at an upcoming ZKProof Community Event in Amsterdam (10/28 - 10/29). Str4d's talk will be on Halo itself, and Daira’s will be an update of hir scaling proposal.

  • See all Zcash community updates here.

Daniel from Grin

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

  • Merged PRs: 2 in /grin | 3 in /grin-wallet | 3 unique contributors

  • Results of the Coinspect Security Audit were published. Shout out to Coinspect for their excellent audit work, and to all the grin donors who made it possible in the first place.

  • Call for speakers for grincon1: November 22 in Berlin - submit your proposal by Oct 30.

  • Following grin-wallet beta5 all issues are resolved. Release of Grin v2.1.0 for node and wallet is now imminent - likely within a few days of this update being written.

  • Grin v3.0.0 release planning issue.

  • Transaction building over TOR Hidden Services merged. Improves privacy during the tx building process, generates a receiving address, and resolves port forwarding / NAT traversal requirements.

  • In the last development meeting, Security audit publication date, 2.1.0 release, 3.0.0 planning, and release packaging was discussed.

  • Grin is 100% funded by donations. Please support Grin development - Donate now.

  • More Grin info here.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

Jing from Plasma

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

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

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

  • Topper, our CEO, has recently shared a decentralized version of a ridesharing app demo built on Tupelo.  An explanation of “Decentracar” and its key components can be found here.   The github repo for “Decentracar” and demo site supplement the walkthrough.

  • In addition, an article on the related topic of the difference between disintermediation and decentralization in blockchain apps and DLTs can be found here

  • In our ongoing effort to make it even easier to get started developing with Tupelo, we have migrated to tupelo.org and released an improved version of our website.  We also are continuing to bring new examples and content to our docs site.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a universal layer 2 hub. Developers can deploy and scale their dapps directly on Loom’s mainnet as well as interoperate with other major layer 1 chains such as Ethereum, Binance, Libra, Bitcoin, etc.

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.

  • Adding native ETH-USDC and DAI-USDC markets

  • Onboarding market makers. dYdX is now the most liquid DEX for ETH-DAI

  • Working on adding trading chart data from our native markets

  • Improving stability of native markets

  • Improving performance & fixing bugs on frontend app

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

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • Namebase's CEO Tieshun Roquerre will give a talk on making the Internet more secure with Handshake at SFBW! He'll be speaking at the Epicenter Technical Stage at 2:10pm on 10/31. 

Alexandra from Polkadot

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

Dong Mo from Celer

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

  • We were working on the final checklist for launching async-game.

  • We were designing FIAT solutions for gaming platform.

  • On our backend, we completed the first version of the Celer Web client and continue to test SGN components.

  • We began the design and development of Q4 OSP functionality.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Matt from Keep Network

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

  • tBTC:

    • Merged Uniswap on-chain liquidation pathway

    • Zeroed in on a minimum feature set for an initial release

    Random beacon: 

    • Finished work on securing broadcast channel for DKG execution; only stakers selected to the group can publish to the channel

    • Implemented additional tests to make sure no duplicate group candidate tickets can be submitted

    • Improved the execution time of our solidity tests, we are about two times faster

    • Made progress on preparing to a public testnet release from the infrastructure side

    • Made progress on pricing implementation but we lost some time on a bug in go-ethereum; we provided a bugfix, and we hope to finish pricing work this week

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

Ryan from FOAM

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

  • FOAM led successful talks and workshops at DevConV in Osaka on "Functional Programming in Ethereum" and "Rapidly Deploying an ETH 1.x Application in a Day" slides linked 

  • Announced a new platform, FOAM In-Sight in collaboration with Google Cloud Platform, Blocklytics and Chainlink for a hybrid cloud/blockchain application with a demo for DevConV. Main-net next.

  • FOAM participated in the Diffusion Hackathon in Berlin this past weekend with talks, workshops and winning projects building on our stack, linked here 

  • winner of The Graph hackathon built on FOAM with a new way of visualizing votes in the TCR via a subgraph.

  • Participating in "A Chain Reaction: Launching an Interchain Interoperability Standard" with Cosmos in Berlin discussing how IBC will be utilized for location services

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.

Proof of Work #76

Hi from Shanghai!

Just a heads up that this is three weeks worth of updates, so some teams’ updates may seem a bit longer. No intro this week but we’ll be back next week!

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Production users of Bitcoin Core are especially encouraged to test this latest release candidate to ensure that it fulfills all of your organization’s needs.

  • Experienced users of LND are encouraged to help test the next release.

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.

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

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.

  • Izaak is teaching an all-day Zero Knowledge workshop during SF Blockchain Week with Vitalik. You'll get hands-on experience programming SNARKs into your dapp - early bird tickets available until 10/18. 

  • Paul made it possible to refer to information about the protocol state in transactions, which will enable time-locked accounts, conditional payments and other more sophisticated functionality.

  • Matthew added an OCaml syntax extension to make versioning types (for backwards compatibility) far easier.

  • Gareth fixed a bug in the GraphQL API.

  • Carey added docs for the GUI wallet, which looks great.

Privacy coins

Daniel from Grin

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

  • Merged PRs: 10 in /grin | 5 in /grin-wallet | 4 unique contributors

  • In the last governance meeting, the site redesign work was reviewed, the process for how to publish the security audit findings was agreed on, and the proposal to hire a cryptographer was evaluated.

  • Yeastplume added experimental support of TOR hidden services in grin-wallet.

  • Node and Wallet milestones for v2.1.0 were all completed and a beta1 was cut. Expect another beta version imminently, and everything is so far on track for a release in mid-October.

  • Grin-tech.org domain has expired. Ignotus Peverell - if you're reading this [ed: pretty sure Ignotus is a POW reader!] , please get in touch with us or renew the domain. The community is working on mitigations, but we'd like to retain control of the domain if possible. We've provisionally redirected to a new project website, https://grin.mw until we regain control of the old grin-tech.org domain.

  • Grin v2.1.0-beta3 was released.

  • In the last development meeting, planning and branching following v2.1.0 was covered, some discussion on the TOR proof of concept, and whether we should alway be storing the kernel excess.

  • Daniel from Grin appeared on the ZeroKnowledge podcast.

  • Grin is 100% funded by donations. Please support Grin development - Donate now.

  • More Grin info here.

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. 

  • Our main priorities are a POC implementation of PLONK (the universal zk-snark construction we released in collaboration with Protocol Labs), the launch of our Ignition ceremony MPC (sign up here), and the final touches for our production launch.

  • Tom and Zac are at Devcon this week, reach out on twitter or at tom@aztecprotocol.com or zac@aztecprotocol.com if you want to meet up

  • We’ve been busy running dress rehearsals for our Ignition ceremony, and making changes to the Ignition codebase to make offline participation easier.

  • This week we have also been shoring up our browser extension, adding a more complete UI test harness and a UI.

  • ASK: We’re looking for people who want to get involved with Ignition. You can sign up here, or learn more about what it entails here.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

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. 

  • TzStats has launched a Tezos Babylon testnet, Babylon is the current tezos upgrade proposal. 

  • Tezos Global Summit, TQuorum is underway with hundreds of people all over the world learning more about the Tezos protocol. The Summit will feature talks from key contributors in the Tezos ecosystem, technical workshops, and panels. 

  • Tezos Agora has launched, the first governance explorer + discussion forum for Tezos. 

  • Tezos Rust Node: a deep dive in the Tezos P2P layer

Topper from Quorum Control

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

  • The team conducted another round of performance testing on the latest version of Tupelo and published the results. The upshot is that when getting transactions signed by the network at 200tx/sec the mean response time was 144 ms. The devil is in the details and you can read more about those here.

  • Additional monitoring was put on the test and game networks this week to improve escalation paths using opsgenie. The additional alerts focus on CPU usage and key processes being up. This work is part of our ongoing efforts to “productionize” the test networks in anticipation of upcoming production apps launching on them.

  • The team released improvements to the wasm SDK moving it to v0.0.13 which includes better memory handling and a simplification of the resolve interface. Additional details on the release and associated PRs are available and we welcome feedback in our developer Telegram channel.

  • Optimizations were made eliminating unnecessary portions of ChainTrees from exchanges between clients, signers, and their associated caches. The update improves performance significantly when large ChainTrees are signed. Tupelo version 0.5.0, available for download next week, includes the change.

  • The team made strides in the development of a Tupelo specific web wallet using our WASM SDK. The Tupelo wallet enables users to create, send, and receive ChainTrees and tokens.

  • Optimizations were made eliminating unnecessary portions of ChainTrees from exchanges between clients, signers, and their associated caches. The update improves performance significantly when large ChainTrees are signed. Tupelo version 0.5.0, available for download next week, includes the change.

  • The team made strides in the development of a Tupelo specific web wallet using our WASM SDK. The Tupelo wallet enables users to create, send, and receive ChainTrees and tokens.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a universal layer 2 hub. Developers can deploy and scale their dapps directly on Loom’s mainnet as well as interoperate with other major layer 1 chains such as Ethereum, Binance, Libra, Bitcoin, etc.

Financial Infrastructure

Nelson from Cadence

Cadence is a digital securitization and investment platform for private credit. Cadence issues tokenized assets that are digital reflections of real world fiat and investment transactions.

  • We were featured in the most recent Asset-Backed Alert in the piece, Burger Chain Tests Blockchain Deal for a $30M+ whole-business securitization.

  • Through August, we’ve now issued over $17.3M in offerings.

  • We recently launched extended authentication with Plaid, allowing our users to connect any bank account they’d like.

  • Our recently launched real-time data feature has been a success and continues to expand with new offerings and new originators.

  • Cadence Founder & CEO Nelson Chu gave a keynote at the World Blockchain Forum in NYC on Sept. 27 titled, “The Future of Securitization On Chain.” He also moderated a panel on “Blockchain & Fintech Industry Trends.”

  • We're hiring engineers!

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.

  • Making various frontend improvements to our ETH-DAI native market

  • Improving reliability of orderbook and matching-engine services

  • Over $4.5M liquidated last week. Liquidators earned over $225k in liquidation fees. Check out our open source liquidator bot to get in on the liquidation action!

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

Brendan from Dharma

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

  • Continued product work on Dharma V2 onboarding flows

  • Released Coinbase oauth for Dharma V2 beta users

  • Gave access to 150 new users from the Dharma V2 waitlist

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • Handshake was invited to present at the ICANN66 Montreal meetup in November. If you're going, look for the people wearing the yellow Handshake t-shirts!

Zaki from Cosmos

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

Alexandra from Polkadot

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

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 new version of game platform page and the result page.

  • We keep working on the new version of payment history and match history.

  • We fixed bugs and improved stability.

  • We were testing and improving the new OSP functionality.

  • Operational setup for upcoming games releases.

  • We were preparing to open-source OSP code. 

  • We completed the development of SGN reward component.

  • We were working on the final checklist for launching async-game.

  • We are designing FIAT solutions for gaming platform.

  • We completed the first version of the Celer Web client and continue to test SGN components

  • We began the design and development of Q4 OSP functionality

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Doug from Livepeer

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

  • The Streamflow release is now feature-frozen and undergoing an external security audit.

  • Users of the popular Wowza media server for live streaming can now tap into the Livepeer Streamflow preview network for transcoding - pilots are open.

  • The Streamflow release is now feature-frozen and undergoing an external security audit with Trail of Bits.

  • A new staking application is now in in beta, with the goal of allowing new users to go through their initial staking experience in under 5 minutes. Give it a try at http://beta.explorer.livepeer.org

  • Benchmarks for initial GPU mining + transcoding are published on the blog.

Matt from Keep Network

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

  • tBTC:R

    • Completed refactoring of how tBTC talks to ECDSA keeps

    • Implemented state management for ECDSA keep sMPC cluster nodes

    • Made good progress on the upgrade to the most recent bitcoin SPV version

    • Implemented a preliminary signer selection process, allowing different signers in the system for different deposits.

    • Implemented the first several steps of the redemption flow.

    • Several dApp updates in the pipe, including an initial pass at a dApp for deposit redemption.

  • Random beacon: 

    • Completed work on random beacon pricing research

    • Refined network setup to allow for nodes behind NAT

    • Enhanced validation of group tickets to cover the check of all ticket values

    • Made progress on the pricing implementation, we are currently filling in the last gaps

    • Support is now there for multiple bootstrap peers.

    • The remaining pieces of beacon group candidate selection have been completed.

    • Progress on beacon pricing as well as stake management.

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

David from Sia

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

  • Community member tbenz9 was busy this week, improving the output for the command siac alerts. It now sorts the output based on alert severity and is easier to read. 

  • He also updated the main README file to include instructions for building Sia for the Raspberry Pi

  • And added a new siac utils bruteforce-seed command that will attempt to find a missing word from a Sia seed

  • Chris fixed a community reported bug where the consensus API endpoint height and block hash did not match

  • Matthew improved the siac ratelimit commands by allowing them to accept values in various units

  • Marcin dramatically improved the formatting and behavior of siac commands when not all the modules were loaded

  • The Sia team held a community meetup in LA on Thursday September 26th

  • Nebulous still has 4 open job postings

  • Community member tbenz9 improved the output for the command siac renter -v to show current allowance details.

  • He also fixed a number of spelling errors and removed duplicate documentation in various sections of the codebase.

  • Marcin updated a piece of code called the transactionbuilder to support double-spend creation. This is necessary for his upcoming watchdog implementation.

  • Marcin also removed a few hundred lines of code that are no longer needed due to previously completed code updates.

  • The Sia team now officially supports the Sia-coldstorage app.  This wallet is used for offline (cold) Siacoin and Siafund storage.

  • Nebulous announced their settlement for Siafunds sold in 2014.  This is a landmark crypto settlement that may influence many other coins that have had a securities sale in the last few years.

  • Sia community site Siastats.info announced a new feature to obtain a csv file with all your transactions converted to local currencies. This feature should make Siacoin taxes much easier to calculate.

  • Sia community site siacentral launched version 1.0.5 of their popular host-manager app.

  • There has been a wave of Discord users impersonating Sia team members and asking for donations.  Nebulous employees or moderators will never ask you for coins, for trades or for your seed. If you’re caught impersonating a team member or moderator you will be banned immediately without warning.

  • Sia had big news this week with the addition of a new core dev, and a big exchange now trading Siacoins.

  • Nebulous hired Peter-Jan Brone as a Sia Core Developer. He will focus in extending the host and renter functionalities and building the future “payment routing” feature of Sia. 

  • Marcin removed the old Host-Renter communication protocol, that got replaced on version 1.4.0. If you are hosting on 1.3.7 or earlier, remember to update your client right away.

  • Matt added a specific API endpoint for cancelling a renter’s allowance /renter/allowance/cancel [POST]. The current endpoint is still valid to avoid impacting compatibility.

  • rishi.vikram.1, tbenz9, pjbrone and lukechampine extended the Sia documentation, improving the API and Resources documentation and detailing instructions for building the code in Go 1.13.

  • Various fixes and improvements have been applied to the miner and gateway modules, to the host database functions and to the file repair functionality.

  • Community member ScottG released the alpha version 1.0.9 of Repertory. Repertory is an app that allows you to mount Sia storage as another drive on your computer. This version enables sharing these mounted drives across two Windows computers

  • The Kraken exchange listed Siacoin, available on the standard, Pro and OTC services.

  • The Sia network reached a new record of used storage on Saturday: 605 TB.

Proof of Work 75

Hi from Boston!

I had lunch with a friend recently who showed me this crazy org she’s assembled called the Yellow Hat DAO. As far as I can tell it’s not really a DAO in the sense I usually think of them, in that it doesn’t have a programmatic reward/rules system that underlies it. But it’s a group of people that seem to have coalesced from the ether, funded by a mix of ICO treasuries, individual wealth, random grants, hackathon prizes etc etc. to reliably churn out weird and interesting stuff. One of the central things the Yellow Hats seem to like to play with is the permissionless aspect of wrapping one thing inside another that blockchain protocols enable. To see how weird and fun this can get, let’s look at LSDai, one of their projects.

So we have Dai, which is created by depositing ETH into a contract. You can then take the Dai and deposit that into another (interest bearing, this time, e.g. Compound) contract and get rDai which is redeemable for your locked up Dai. LSDai takes that rDai as an input, and creates short and long Dai interest tokens, so that people can hedge the interest rate offered by (again, e.g.) Compound.

I find what these guys have built to be pretty interesting (we’ll be running occasional updates from them here), and I’m equally interested by the method of organization, which is completely ad-hoc and flexible, and is in fact a DAO in the sense that there is no legal entity out there. It seems like something Bruce Sterling would be into.

More next week! Also, I’ll be bouncing around Asia from the 1st to the 15th roughly, if you’re working on something cool and are in that half of the world, feel free to ping me on Twitter.

Satoshi’s Treasure Hunter’s Journal

  • The Tezos Minihunt is underway, with 13 clues in the wild and 14 required to unlock a wallet containing 5000 XTZ! Hunters have tracked clues around the world, and chased Eric all over the MIT campus to obtain keys. The 14th and final clue will be released sometime in the following week or so.

  • The Tezos Main Hunt for 1M XTZ is under development, with smart contract work being done by Stove Labs

  • The Bitcoin Hunt continues, with new clues over the past few days. The next set of clues is scheduled to appear on university campuses around the world!

  • If you run a project or crypto business and are interested in advertising to our userbase of over 100k (including many folks new to crypto), ping us at q@satoshistreasure.xyz.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Bitcoin Core #16400 refactors part of the mempool transaction acceptance code, to potentially enable package relay, which could allow nodes to accept a transaction below the node’s minimum feerate if the transaction came bundled with a child transaction whose fee was high enough to pay the minimum feerate for both it and its parent. If widely deployed, package relay would allow users who create transactions a long time before broadcasting them (e.g. timelocked transactions or LN commitment transactions) to safely pay the minimum possible fee and use CPFP to bump it up later.

Aviv from Spacemesh

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

  • Getting app functional on Windows and Linux (Ubuntu) in addition to MacOs and app testing on five-node local network, initial sandbox integration - Merged fixes

  • Currently we are shifting focus to start large scale cloud testing for testnet. We are also starting a process of documenting our code and updating our wikis as preparation for test net launch. Merged issues

  • More updates on our site

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've tagged v1.2.0 of dcrstakepool which is the first release since late 2017, so there are a ton of changes in the 160 pull requests made by 20 contributors. Among them are security and privacy enhancements as well as a slick new interface.

James from Summa

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

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.

  • Testnet [BETA] Launched in Phase 2 this week, with longer, more stable releases; 70 community members signed up to stake and there is a lot of activity on our Discord channel

  • Phase 1 of Testnet concluded last week, we had 120+ community members join, and 90+ run a node. Lots of good technical developments all recapped in our Phase 1 Retro Blog

  • We have a beautiful testnet landing page implemented by Michelle. Thanks to Harold and the whole product team for the design.

  • We are now using the Poseidon hash function, which has improved our SNARKs by up to 8x. Improving SNARK performance will help us to decrease our block times, which is important for fast confirmation.

  • John improved the usability of the CLI by re-prompting the user when they enter an incorrect password for their wallet file.

Privacy coins

Zooko from Zcash

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

  • No update this week as the relevant people are out of office

Daniel from Grin

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

  • Merged PRs: 5 in /grin | 0 in /grin-wallet | 3 unique contributors

  • In the last dev meeting it was established that we're on track for v2.1.0 release for mid-october, audit findings have been fixed, security canaries were agreed and as a result, Igno was removed from the security contact list. The meeting also briefly discussed an RFC proposing to make tor hidden services the default tx building method.

  • The community sub-team was announced, first objective on the agenda is to plan this year's grin conference, grincon1.

  • The fundraising sub-team was announced by community member @nass, which will work to raise funds to help safeguard the long term continuity of Grin development.

  • dedicated repo for security was created to keep track of keys, incidents, audits, canaries, and more.

  • As part of transaction building research, we're collating research papers on mixnets and ACNs in one place.

  • Since we last gave an update, Grin has been joined by a mysterious, always good vibes, abstract painter, @LovelyGrin. Their artwork is unlicensed and on display in this repo, with new work constantly being added. Check it out!

  • Grin is 100% funded by donations. Please support Grin development - Donate now.

  • The Chinese community Gringotts 古灵阁 organised Full Node Day to encourage more users to run full nodes. Overview in English, and full details in Chinese

  • Photos and some details (if you squint) from an event booth about the Avalon Grin G1 Asic miner, allegedly due by end of October.

  • More Grin info here.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • Beam listed on Binance. Read here Binance Research analysis about Beam

  • We have released the latest version of Beam Wallet on Android (Clear Cathode 3.1) with some awesome features including Wallet Restore

  • We have developed Laser Beam (state channels) on Beam. See Alex Romanov, Beam CTO, showing a demo of this awesome tech

  • Clear Cathode 3.1.6 Android - Release Notes

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. 

  • Our main priorities are a POC implementation of PLONK (the universal zk-snark construction we released in collaboration with Protocol Labs), the launch of our Ignition ceremony MPC (sign up here), and the final touches for our production launch.

  • Our CTO Zac has been hard at work building an efficient PLONK prover and verifier proof of concept. This week, we achieved our first round of benchmarks which we’ll be sharing soon.

  • Vitalik announced his participation in our Ignition ceremony, using his own implementation of the MPC. 

  • Trail of Bits is in the final couple of days of their Audit of both our MPC codebase and our protocol codebase. Report to be published in the next couple of weeks.

  • We’ve made progress on our browser extension, adding simplified APIs for most of our proof constructions and a basic UI this week.

  • ASK: We’re looking for people who want to get involved with Ignition. You can sign up here, or learn more about what it entails here.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

  • What’s New in Eth2 including the work being done around BLS sig standardization

  • Matter Labs releases their zk rollup code. Scalability through trustless layer 2 chains is near.

Jing from Plasma

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

  • This past 3 weeks, we've been working on a collaboration with a DEX to create a PoC with our scaling solution Optimistic Rollup, which enables smart contracts on layer 2 (blog post on it here).

    • For this we merged the following issues: #409 Mock end to end rollupchain example

    •  #429 Client-side executeTransaction(...)

    •  #431#432 Ignore empty leaves when calling update(...), and batch merkle update

    •  #435#425 Signature checking for wallet and aggregator, signatures for balances receipt

    • #439 , #441 Persisted state machine for rollup client, and persist pending block

    •  #445#449#446 Rollup serialization, ABI serliazation for wallet, Wallet tree fixes and improvements

    •  #448 Big meaty juicy rollup contracts

  • This work is powered by the Optimistic Virtual Machine, or OVM, an abstraction created from examining architectural overlaps inherent to many L2 constructions.  The OVM is a generalized state machine which can execute a broad class of L2 protocols using optimistic game semantics. We also published a demo State Channels on OVM blog post. 

    • For this we've merged the following issues:

    • #403 Sparse Merkle Tree and MerkleInclusionQuantifier

    • #410 Equality Decider

    • #428 Implement MerkleTree.getMerkleProof(...)

    • #450 State receipt ingestion in rollup OVM

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 47 PRs across 20 repos by 19 authors. Featured repos: nearcore, nearlib, near-shell, near-wallet, near-bindgen, and borsh.

  • "Delete account" added to near shell

  • "Delete account added to nearlib

  • Generic decoder added to AssemblyScript runtime

  • Trust wallet integration in progress

  • Block queries optimized in explorer (2s -> 55ms)

  • Batch transactions exposed in Rust bindgen

  • Transaction signing in Ledger hardware wallet :)

  • Batched transactions implemented

  • NEAR <> Ethereum bridge is underway https://github.com/nearprotocol/near-bridge

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. 

  • Check out the new website from Edukera and learn how Archetype helps to develop smarter Smart Contracts on Tezos. Archetype is a domain-specific language to develop Smart Contracts on the Tezos blockchain, with a specific focus on contract security. 

  • Tezos co-founder, Arthur, is building a coin stabilization technology for Tezos called Checker. Checker is a software project implementing financial logic designed to help stabilize the value of a cryptographic coin with respect to an externally provided index. 

Topper from Quorum Control

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

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

  • Developed more complex benchmarking to model and measure various read/write scenarios under load.   

  • Bumped to Go v1.13 which reduces memory requirements improving mobile browser options for WASM SDK.

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.

  • The big update this week was the successful completion of a hard fork to EOSIO v1.8.0, which will enable dApps to manage resources on behalf of users 

  • Block.onehinted that they may begin voting with their stake on the EOS mainnet soon

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

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

  • Launched Isolated Position on native dYdX ETH-DAI market!

  • Added WalletConnect: now you can connect many different mobile wallets to our desktop app

  • Added Ledger support: connect to dYdX directly through your hardware wallet

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

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

  • Published a comprehensive explainer on Handshake, which was featured in the #3 spot on Hacker News. Lots of great discussion there as well.

Alexandra from Polkadot

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

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Doug from Livepeer

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

  • The design-heavy Livepeer Primer explains the Livepeer network, protocol, and staking in under 10 minutes.

  • GPU's can now mine Ethereum (mainnet) and transcode video through Livepeer concurrently (currently only on testnet) with minimal efficiency loss on the mining side. See early setup instructions for alpha testers here.

  • The Streamflow scaling protocol update, including Ethereum probabilistic micropayments, is running successfully on an internal testnet and is undergoing audits and going to public testnet in the first week of October.

Matt from Keep Network

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

  • tBTC:

    • We fixed a bug about deposit forwarding the initial transfer to keep - the initial transfer included funder bond and keep payment. Only the keep payment should go to keep,

    • We introduced proper logging in t-ECDSA keep clients, the same logger we use in the random beacon,

    • We implemented an algorithm for calculating recovery ID of ECDSA signatures,

    • We iterated on the mechanism for price oracle replacement - more to come!

    Random beacon: 

    • We implemented a misbehaving member disqualification in distributed key generation. Every single misbehavior case is now detected and properly handled,

    • We finished the implementation of a set of integration tests covering all known misbehavior scenarios,

    • We fixed a bug related to disqualifications: we were not dropping shares of a member we found guilty of not providing correct shares,

    • We made progress on pricing for the beacon but it is not yet completed.

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

Ryan from FOAM

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

  • FOAM is refining functional programming tools for a workshop at Devcon.

  • Cliquebait is finally about to support Geth 1.9.x, biggest benefit is using solc 0.5 means you get access to the istanbul evm instructions

  • Continuing work on Hardware developer kit.

  • Chantrelle and purescript-web3 undergoing major updates

  • Work on writing Cosmos SDK and Haskell continues to move along

  • We saw two game-changing FOAM hacks at ETH Berlin and subsequently ETH Boston

  • The Mapcovery project was made by the Gnosis Team and won the grand prize at ETH Berlin. Mapcovery is an innovative solution that allows users to recover their Gnosis Safe Wallet by memorizing Five Points of Interest from the FOAM Map.

  • At ETH Boston, UniSwap created a project for Decentralized Restaurant Reviews with the FOAM Map and 3Box Chat threads. Code is 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.

  • The Sia team is working towards solidifying the features that will be released with Sia v1.4.2.

  • Hotfix version 1.4.1.2 was released this week for Sia. It includes improvements on file downloads, and most importantly, fixes for the propagation of transactions on the network. For this last reason everybody is encouraged to update as soon as possible

  • A usual complain of users syncing their Sia client the first time is that the initial boot after bootstrapping the blockchain (manually downloading it) takes very long. This is because additional renter and transaction databases need to be built, but Chris has enabled instant boot: Sia will initialize immediately and allow some interactions while the databases are built in the background.

  • Work has started on the new alert system of Sia, which will present to the user alerts when something unusual happens that requires his attention. Chris has created the framework of this system and added the first two alerts: when contracts fail to be formed or renewed due to low funds and alerts for files with a dangerously low redundancy.

  • To facilitate checking this new alert system, community contributor tbenz9 has added the new siac alerts command for printing all the alerts emitted by the Sia daemon.

  • Matt added the new API endpoint renter/uploadready to facilitate third-party apps to know when Sia is ready to upload files.

  • Chris added unique IDs to each downloads and the endpoint renter/downloadinfo to check them.

  • Community member @Rezant released version 1.0.3 of his Sia Central Host Manager app, which provides an easy and feature-rich experience for Sia hosts. This new version includes the possibility of bootstrapping the blockchain on your first start up, better validation of settings and other bug fixes

Other

Dave from Decentraland

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

  • Design and development event, Game Jam 2019 kicked off on Sept. 16. It runs for another week until the 30th. Over $250k USD in prizes up for grabs

  • Video tutorial series on working with the SDK released in full on our YouTube channel

  • SDK: We improved feedback for entities out of scene bounds and implemented bug fixes with player movement, materials, P2P communication and exporting to 3rd-party servers

  • Builder: Custom Asset Packs released, allowing creators to add and manage their own 3D assets in the Builder, for a more personal Decentraland

  • Builder: Scaling introduced, allowing creators to set the size of models they use, giving them further flexibility with their creative scenes

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.

  • Margin.ddex.io ready to beta launch on 10/8. 

  • Oracle development - Identified issue in the oracle and fixed 

  • DeFi. WTF  https://www.defi.wtf/ Preparation ongoing with Community members for Osaka Devcon. 

Proof of Work #74

Don't call it a comeback

Hi! Proof of Work is back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bitcoin & Friends

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

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

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

  • Olympus: Lightning enabled fiat onramp. Very cool.

JZ from Decred

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

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

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

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


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

  • Spacemesh Protocol Paper V1.0 released

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

  • Implemented a safe node shutdown in the Go fullnode implementation

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

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

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

Izaak from Coda

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

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

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

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

Privacy coins

Daniel from Grin

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

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

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

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

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

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

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

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

Andrew from Solana

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

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

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

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

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

Michael from Loom

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

Myles from EOS

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

Kate and Dean from Agoric

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

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

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

  • We designed and documented a new SwingSet kernel API.

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

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

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

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

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

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

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

Brendan from Dharma

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

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

  • Began working on revamped lending architecture

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

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

Coulter from MakerDAO

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

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

Robert from Compound

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

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

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

  • WBTC was added to the protocol

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

  • Friday, we also unveiled our new brand

  • ERC-2212: Earning Interest Stakes was introduced

  • Pooled cDAI library was released by community developers

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase (with Handshake updates)

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

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

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

Alexandra from Polkadot

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

Dong Mo from Celer

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

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

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

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

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

  • We completed SGN staking and withdraw components.

  • We fixed bugs and improved stability.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Wes from Theta

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

Matt from Keep Network

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

  • tBTC:

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

    • We implemented an algorithm for ECDSA signature recovery ID computation

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

    • We are finishing designs for the v1 redemption dApp

    Random beacon updates: 

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

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

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

David from Sia

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

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

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

  • The whole Sia team hosted an AMA on Reddit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

Sam from OpenBazaar

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

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

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