Proof of Work #55

Added a short description of each project, and also (in italics) a broad overview of what the project is working on over the next few months for those projects I was able to reach. I hope this contextualizes the updates—if you’ve been following along since issue 1 it’s easy to see a pattern but for occasional readers this will make it clearer who is hitting goals and who isn’t.

Being able to write for such a large audience of extremely smart people is a privilege, and I try to respect everyone’s time. Proof of Work is best when it’s concise as hell, so I’m going to start moving updates from teams who don’t have anything super exciting to report in a given week from the newsletter to the forum, to keep the newsletter nice and readable. If this happens to one of your updates, please don’t feel discouraged—it’s not every week that something exciting happens.

Also, welcome to NEAR protocol (yet another smart contract platform, but by a very credible team. I was resistant to adding them to be honest but I’ve been impressed by their fast progress towards something which resembles the “eth 2.0” vision) and to Theta, a project working towards an incentivized network for video distribution, something which I’ve been curious about given the potential network topology benefits of a highly distributed network of edge nodes for video.

Bitcoin & Friends

James from Summa

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

Summa's pushing to release a multi-chain wallet with fast p2p trading built in.

  • We pushed multiple bugfixes for secpy256k1. Look for a new library using it this week 

  • The Summa team will be hacking on BTC/ETH2.0 interoperability at EthDenver this weekend. Come say hi 

  • We are prepping to ship the next major version of the Summa app. Watch this space 

Jimmy, Steve, and Eric on Bitcoin [ed: subscribe to Optech for a deeper BTC dive]

Bitcoin is Bitcoin

Bitcoin continues to focus on stomping out extreme-edge-case networking issues, hardening the codebase, and preparing for a potential soft-fork that would add Schnorr Signatures and Taproot to BTC.

  • Blockstream has released a tool that allows “proof of funds” without creating an onchain transaction. The tool works by creating an almost-valid transaction that contains all of the same information a valid transaction would contain, using the increasingly popular BIP174 Partially Signed Bitcoin Transaction (PSBT) format.

  • A pull request to Bitcoin Core changes the way transactions are requested to make it harder for an attacker to cause delays in transaction propagation by opening many connections to your node and exploiting the 2 minute delay before your node will start requesting a given tx from other nodes. The change doesn’t fully mitigate this attack but it makes it more expensive and difficult, and future work based on something like libminisketch might be able to completely solve this issue for any node with at least 1 honest peer.

JZ from Decred

Decred is a hybrid proof-of-stake/proof of work blockchain intended to be a complimentary store of value with Bitcoin. It features a community directed treasury to ensure continuous development and flexibility.  

The Decred team is currently focused on getting a lightning network activated, and shipping our unique privacy implementation to enable true fungibility.

Zack from Stellar

Stellar is a non-PoW non-PoS BFT protocol for moving value between banks and other financial infrastructure providers, with a native token XLM.

The stellar team is currently working on Stellar is working on substantial database performance improvements to the Bucket List with the help of Graydon Hoare. There's also a focus on improving the semantics of fee paying. Additionally new features like deterministic accounts and relative time outs still being fleshed out which will vastly improve Starlight, stellars equivalent to the lightning network. Lastly, there are imroovements to co-signed assets in the works.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency with a constant sized blockchain, which it achieves using recursive zk-snarks, compressing the entire blockchain into the size of a few tweets.

Coda continues to work towards mainnet launch!

  • O(1) Labs is hosting the OCaml/Reason meetup this Tuesday, February 10. Yuki Li, Sean Grove, and Avery Morin will be speaking. And there will be food and fun conversation!

  • Speaking of, we welcome Avery Morin who joined O(1) Labs as a hybrid frontend/protocol engineer. Avery submitted an RFC for an internal API for accessing blockchain internals.

  • Matthew has been majorly overhauling the surface syntax of snarky to be more user friendly. Right now, it basically looks like ReasonML. If you want to shape the future of zk-SNARK programming, join us on GitHub or Discord and let us know what you’d like to see!

  • Echo has implemented the trust score system for detecting node misbehavior.

  • We’re hiring for the following roles: product managerengineering manager, front-end engineer, protocol reliability engineer, developer advocate (new postings forthcoming, check our jobs page for updates).

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a bitcoin-derived blockchain that uses ZK-snarks to provide the strongest privacy guarantees possible for shielded transactions. 

The Zcash team is working towards robust wallet support and a new type of ZK proofs that can work without a trusted setup.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a new coin that was launched in a fair manner by a group of anonymous founders. It derives privacy from a combination of non-reusable addressing (CT) and the mimblewimble protocol.

Grin is working to support better wallet infrastructure, stamp out minor bugs, and increase the security of interactive transaction building

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update this week

Beni from Beam

Beam is a competing implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that powers Grin
  • Working on Testnet-Mainnet Coexistence and planing Testnet’s Release: We’ve been designing the download page for Testnet (#396)building clear indication for users to differentiate between Testnet and Mainnet (#392) and establishing interoperability between the two environments (#397).

  • We’ve fixed several bugs - Here are the main ones: Transaction stuck in in_progress state (#169), the sum in error message didn’t include fee (#360), transaction was registered in the chain after canceling (#402), estimated time on restoring and creating new wallet changes disproportionately to the time (#206)

  • We’ve been working on performance enhancements - Here are the main ones: removed GPU miner from UI wallet (#448), all miners are now built on builder (#308), added option to avoid using TLS for Stratum (#357), added ability to export and import addresses for users (#346), and removed mining threads from wallets (#361)

  • We have worked on Wallet API integrations, including adding ability to use JSON RPC over HTTP in Wallet API (#423), implemented wallet API (#76), added current difficulty to wallet_status api (#429), added `from` field to `tx_send` wallet api (#417), added rules configuration options to wallet-api (#310) and some wallet API enhancements (#306)

  • 134 open issues and 310 closed issues, 29 commits by 5 unique contributors

  • We have created a comprehensive Documentation Base for Beam on Read the Docs platform. Read it here.

Smart contracting platforms

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded, developer-friendly blockchain and smart contract platform which addresses both usability and scalability at the protocol level.  

Near is working on getting a testnet shipped!

  • The NEAR DevNet is now live: See https://studio.nearprotocol.com or https://docs.nearprotocol.com to start diving into v0.1 and to deploy a TypeScript smart contract in about 4 seconds.

  • Tech talk on Sharding from Alex Skidanov, usability and scalability from Erik Trautman.

  • Built a hosted wallet with OAuth flows

  • Switched to use protobufs for encoding transactions across nearcore and nearlib.

  • Nearlib: updated docs, syntactic sugar for contract method calls, easy way to wait for transaction completion using promises, handle failed transactions and return readable errors through promises, get logs from node into JS console

  • Refactored runtime and transaction/receipt processing to allow for validation of the receipt source

  • Integrated BLS signature aggregation and verification for block production

  • Finalized rewriting the network protocol and started to build integration testing for TestNet

Michael from Loom

Loom is one of the first Plasma implementations in the wild, currently being used to create a blockchain gaming platform.

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is the currently most-used smart-contracting platform, with native token ETH. 

Rather than summarize what the various Ethereum teams are working on, I’ll link to this interesting write-up of the state of ETH 2.0, and try to have a more complete look at this next issue .

Myles from EOS

EOS is a smart-contract platform that uses delegated proof of stake to deliver a high performance blockchain platform, at the potential cost of some centralization. The EOS protocol allows holders of the token to access computing resources like CPU and RAM in proportion to their EOS holdings. 

The EOS team is currently working on the economics of RAM/CPU distribution, and a native DEX

Zaki from Cosmos

Cosmos is a platform for building blockchains which are necessarily economically self-sufficient, powered by a bft consensus layer (tendermint) and a cross-chain communications protocol (IBC).

Cosmos is wrapping up the adversarial testnet Game of Stakes, and is approaching the final preparations for the IBC hub launch.

  • The first in a 3 part series on final launch preparations for the Cosmos Hub.

  • The Cosmos V 0.31 is the release candidate for the Hub Launch. 

  • Zaki did a 1 hour webinar on the Cosmos Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol.

  • Game of Stakes is in last week and will be concluding on Friday.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Agoric is a smart-contracting platform using a secure subset of javascript to create an object-capability (ocap) security architecture, in which access to a programming object itself is the authority to use the object.
  • SES-0.3.0 is released and up on npm. This release improves security and functionality and fixes all known confinement leaks. It also improves usability by allowing the user to turn on console.log and display uncaught exceptions.

  • This week we had a lot of great activity on ocapjs.org, the community forum for discussing object capabilities in JavaScript.  

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is building open-source code that supports margin and derivatives trading of blockchain assets.
  • We're looking for crypto traders to talk to about a new margin trading product we're building. Reach out to contact@dydx.exchange if you're interested in providing feedback or becoming an alpha tester!

  • Hiring engineers & designers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is building tokenized debt on the blockchain, to support a variety of use cases including leveraged trading and loan products. 
  • Based on the increased confidence we've built in Dharma Lever's smart contracts and feedback from early Alpha partners, we have made a few changes to the way Lever loans work. We now support loans of 28-day durations and enforce a 25k USD limit on loans (for both ETH and USDC).

  • Right now we have some very aggressive lenders offering 0.10% APR on loans through Dharma Lever

  • We are rolling out a brand new look and feel for Dharma Lever, including loan management tools for borrowers and lenders

  • We're hiring for a blockchain developer and a front-end developer. Our open roles are listed here: angel.co dharma jobs

Coulter from MakerDAO

MakerDAO is a decentralized organization and set of smart contracts that allow people who wish to margin ETH to create a stable token (DAI).

MakerDAO is working towards a multi-collateral DAI that can be created using CDPs of other assets besides just ETH.

  • One of our latest blogs dives deep into Dai usage, and the numbers behind it. TLDR: Dai usage is growing ~20% per month! 

  • The folks at MyCrypto did a great writeup on stablecoins and an intro to Dai. A nice primer for those looking to get educated! 

  • The Aave team has added Dai to EthLend, allowing users to borrow against Dai. 

  • Part Two of CEO Rune Christensen's appearance on Laura Shin's Unchained podcast went live

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun on Handshake

Handshake is a protocol creating a new decentralized root zone for DNS using a blockchain, and allowing human readable names for crypto and web addressing.

The handshake team is putting the finishing touches on the final testnet and preparing for Mainnet launch!

  • No update this week, something cool next week.

Paul from Veil

Veil is a curated prediction market system running atop 0x and Augur, with a user friendly UI. 

The team is working to increase the number and type of available markets on Veil

Rahul from 0x

0x is a protocol for decentralized trading of cryptoassets on the Ethereum blockchain.

The 0x team’s number one priority priority over the next half is to have the most liquid DEX for a number of key pairs by making market making easier and more profitable. On a tactical level, we’re doing through this through our Market Making program (which is massively over-subscribed) and our sponsorship of Hummingbot.io. On a higher level, we’re releasing a number of Coordinators that allow off-chain cancellations, which improve market making UX and eliminate trade collisions and frontrunning

Dong Mo from Celer

Allows offchain transactions via generalized state channels to massively increase blockchain throughput and allow applications that were previously not possible with only on-chain transactions
  • Fixed a ton of bugs on mobile

  • We've made a CelerX mobile web view gaming prototype, and drafted a list of javascript APIs for CelerX developers 

  • We are finishing coding the new OSP protocol and duplex channels, and have made significant progress on the websocket-based SDK, near completion 

  • We started the design of the multi-region (multi-datacenter) scalable OSP 

  • We are continuing implementation of LiBA and PoLC contracts and web UI 

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

  • At Melonport's M-1, Gavin Wood discussed upcoming Substrate and Polkadot developments, including: HODL voting bonus, correlating multi-origin slashing, runtime parallelism, offchain compute, delegated voting, and more. Recording here.

  • We were notified that a special RPC request can crash Parity Ethereum nodes pre-2.2.9 or 2.3.2. We released a fix the day we were notified—please update your Parity Ethereum nodes ASAP. While the vulnerability only directly affects Parity Ethereum nodes that serve JSONRPC as a public service (e.g., Infura, MEW, MyCrypto, etc), we recommend everyone to update their nodes immediately.

  • New article on lip2p, a highly modular network framework that could be the standard for the decentralised web, and is being used by Filecoin, Agoric, Golem, IPFS, Substrate, Polkadot, and perhaps Ethereum 2.0. 

  • New Substrate-TCR-UI - a react-based frontend for the Substrate TCR runtime which uses PolkadotJs API for connecting to the Substrate node.

  • Going to ETHDenver? Come hang out at our meetup

  • We're hiring—new positions listed.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer enables decentralized live video streaming on the Ethereum blockchain 
  • Governance proposal is open for discussion on increasing the # of active transcoders on Livepeer's network to 25. The Streamflow update should enable an increase on the order of hundreds of active transcoders.

  • Partial unbonding was enabled in Livepeer's Explorer, so token holders can now unbond and withdraw a portion of their LPT, without unbonding all of their staked LPT.

Wes from Theta

Theta is an economic system for incentivizing nodes to handle live-streamed video, also hosted on the ethereum blockchain.
  • Theta mobile wallet will be released for both iOS and Android this week  

  • Optimizing of streaming video delivery for Theta mesh network. Support for dynamic video fragment slicing was implemented to achieve a high peer offload ratio even with bad network conditions.

  • Finalizing validator staking mechanism. This allows Theta stake holders to deposit/withdraw stake to the validator nodes.

  • Snapshot export/import. A Theta node can export a state snapshot for any given block height with a compact cryptographic proof for the validity of the snapshot. With the snapshot, instead of downloading all the blocks from genesis like Bitcoin/Ethereum, a blank Theta node can simply load the most recently state from the snapshot, which takes only minutes instead of days. The compact cryptographic validity proof of the snapshot only takes seconds to verify, and can handle validator set changes.  

Ryan from FOAM

The FOAM Proof of Location protocol empowers a permissionless and autonomous network of radio beacons that can offer secure location services independent of external centralized sources such as GPS through time synchronization.
  • Released a new post analyzing the FOAM Map, this one focusing on territorial disputes on a chain of islands that sit right in the middle of the Sea of Japan. 

  • Community Call round up, with more map analysis, staking statistics and new feature previews 

  • Formally announced a new NFT campaign for our upcoming event. 

  • Competed building the "Geo-Pie", a custom server rack of Raspberry Pi's running the time synchronization protocol in real world conditions 

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized storage platform secured by blockchain technology

Sia is focused on bringing full decentralized disaster recovery to market. Knowing nothing more than a wallet seed, a user should be able to recover their most precious data. Additionally, they’re focused on a major integration that should increase the number of users of Sia by 100x.

  • This week was spent tracking down bugs and fixing them (10 Merge requests were bug fixes). Some users got early access to the release candidate which will be made available in the coming days. As stated in previous updates this release introduces a lot of new code and features. The development team is being careful to preserve backward compatibility and functionality of the new code.

  • Chris finished a new API endpoint that allows a user to create and restore a backup of their .sia files. This will allow users to more easily back up their installations and is an important step towards proper seed based file recovery. 

  • Matt finished a new RecentRepairTime metadata timestamp that’s used to record when a file was repaired. This helps Sia decide which files are the highest priority to repair and should improve the reliability and performance of file repairs. For those who aren’t familiar, file repairs are needed when Sia hosts go offline. If a host goes offline Sia will “repair” your files by automatically uploading your data to a new host, therefore, ensuring its available when the user needs it.

  • An astute Sia follower noticed that the total Siacoin supply is nearing 40 Billion Siacoins. Block rewards decrease by 1 Siacoin every block until it hits 30,000. Siacoin does not have block reward halving like Bitcoin.

Other

Martin from Tezos

Tezos is a proof of stake blockchain with an onchain governance mechanism built in.
  • Come Join us at TezTalks on March 23 @ Hero City, San Mateo. Tezos Commons and Draper University present a day of curated 15 minute talks about Tezos and the future of the Commons. Guest speakers include a diverse set of community members such as Tezos Co-founder, Kathleen Brietman, and many more! RSVP here

  • Elevated Returns and Securitize will tokenize $1B USD of real estate on Tezos and build new compliant security tokens issuance standards. Learn more

  • TezVote is a free voting tool developed by Stephen Andrews of TezTech Labs. Vote your preference for the upcoming proposal! Learn more about the proposal and join the discussion at Kialo

  • Meet the creative team of ‘Baking Bad', an independant tool to calclcute baking rewards and making sure the community isn’t ‘Baking Bad’ -- check out their fun parody video

  • Join the vibrant community of Tezos developers at Tezos Stack Exchange and start building

Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual reality environment, with property rights secured by the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Released version 2.2.6 of the CLI, including bug fixes, improved testing pipeline, and updated dependencies.

  • We’re implementing feedback to the SDK from the hackathon: adding docs for the UI API, adding support for XML to the CLI, adding a new ID protocol, and adding a “goto” command for teleporting between parcels.

  • We’ve merged in the bidding feature to the Marketplace’s master branch and have begun testing. The audit will begin next week!

  • We’re adding the UI flow for the Creator Contest to the Builder, we’ve added new ground textures, and have improved the UI based on internal feedback.

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • No update this week.

Proof of Work #54

Hi from Boston and thanks for reading.

Quick note for newcomers: the projects which are featured in PoW are not my portfolio companies, but rather just a list of projects I think are interesting, less than 30% of which I’m also an investor in. I am by no means giving investment advice here! Regularly shipping cool stuff is necessary but not sufficient to be a good investment, and the only way to get listed in Proof of Work is to be working on something that’s truly interesting. Offering free tokens (multiple projects have tried!) is very much not the move.

A counterfeiting vulnerability was revealed by the Zcash team yesterday—the vulnerability was actually discovered by Ariel Gabizon (formerly a Zcash team member, and according to some folks there one of the absolute best people in the world at finding extraordinarily well-hidden bugs in encryption schemes) 11 months ago but was not disclosed while a fix was worked on. I delayed this PoW to be able to give a full writeup of this bug.

I’m not going to even attempt to explain the details of the bug—it was so obscure that it managed to evade every single member of the Zcash team and many other teams using the work in the BCTV14 proof generation paper from Ben-Sasson et. al, and I’m not going to do it justice here. You can read about it in technical detail in the Zcash Company’s post, or in the addendum to the paper.

Instead I’ll run through the potential implications of the bug, how it has been and will be dealt with, and what this means for privacy and for cryptocurrency disaster recovery.

In a sentence, this bug potentially allows someone to create ZEC coins from thin air within a shielded pool. This type of “counterfeiting bug” is much worse in Zcash than it would be in e.g. Bitcoin, because there is no simple way to audit the total supply of ZEC, so a counterfeiter could potentially go undetected long enough to actually spend some counterfeit coins. A small complication is that Zcash upgraded their node software from “sprout” to “sapling” fairly recently, so there are actually three types of Zcash addresses at the moment: Sprout shielded pool (old shielded), Sapling shielded pool (new shielded), and transparent pool, which is very similar to Bitcoin and has no privacy features. This bug only enables counterfeiting of Sprout shielded coins, not Sapling ones, so we can be sure that the Sapling shielded pool is “clean” and of course that the transparent pool is clean—we just aren’t sure if the Sprout shielded pool secretly has a bajillion counterfeit coins lurking in it.

However, from a practical standpoint, that’s very unlikely. This bug was truly an obscure one, and it also required access to a transcript produced by the initial Zcash setup ceremony which was surreptitiously taken down when this bug was discovered, and was downloaded by very few people before that occurred.

Further, a mitigation to this attack exists: to move coins from the older Sprout shielded pool to the newer Sapling pool, one must first “rotate” through the turnstile of a transparent address. That allows an observer to count coins coming in and out and make sure that we haven’t exceeded the expected total because of counterfeited coins. One option would be to add a consensus rule that renders any coins leaving the Sprout shielded pool unspendable if they exceed the total—the downside of this is that it becomes a bit of a game of musical chairs. If there are indeed counterfeited coins lurking, then the counterfeiter would rapidly move them to transparent addresses, effectively burning all the real coins left in the old shielded pool.

Another option would be to just wait and see if any counterfeiting occured, and if it did then to roll-back the tx(s) that moved the coins out of shielded sprout, and render that entire pool unspendable.

It’s important to note that no one I’ve talked to, including people who really dislike Zcash for a variety of reasons, think that this vuln was actually exploited. But the potential is a nasty one, and it potentially suggests that the Bitcoin Core team’s resistance to implementing strong privacy features on the base layer of BTC is not without reason. Another interesting discussion that came out of this bug was whether it’s better for a privacy coin to fail by losing privacy but keeping balances, or fail by maintaining privacy but losing balances (this is a real tradeoff in many privacy systems.) Interestingly from most of the folks I spoke with, they preferred that a privacy coin erase their balances rather than reveal their spending—the logic being that anyone using a privacy coin has strong reasons to prefer no one can see what they are spending it on. I’m not sure I agree with this, but the intuition is an interesting one.

I continue to be insanely excited by this space on both a technical and social level. The last Proof of Work prelude that contained some thinking about how crypto could be used to resist unjust government seizures that often precede genocides got an incredible amount of feedback and we’re working on putting together a seminar on this topic—stay tuned.

Finally, I read this interesting article about how clever traders broke Huobi’s meta-stablecoin by the Neutral team—adversarial thinking is one of the hardest things to learn, and one of the most crucial skills to have in this industry.

Bitcoin & Others

Tony from Kadena

  • The Pact (smart contract language) testnet is now live with real time linting (in editor error reporting)

  • Launched Pact module explorer, which lists available functions and a dialog for quickly calling functions

  • Released Pact live property checking while typing so any failed properties will display as warnings

  • Emily Pillmore, Pact lead maintainer, gave a lightening talk on Pact at Stanford Blockchain Conference

  • Emily also spoke on a panel at Grincon sharing "Perspective on Grin Use Cases"

  • New blog post on Chainweb 101 and FAQs about Kadena's public PoW blockchain in development

  • Deployed free "community edition" of Kadena's enterprise blockchain on AWS Marketplace

Daniel from Grin

Jimmy on Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin Energy Claims are BS

  • Bitcoin Developer Network article about node analytics and how to play with that data

  • MiniScript, Peter Wuille’s idea of a more easily composable subset of Bitcoin Script. [ed: Bitcoin scripts can be used for some really cool things, but are currently underused. This is an attempt to fix that]

  • Sporks, probabilistic Soft Forks, interesting analysis from Jeremy Rubin on how to smoothly activate soft forks and avoid situations like what happened around Segwit.

Aviv from Spacemesh

JZ from Decred

Johnny from Stellar

  • CAP-0005, a combined set of changes that rationalize how we throttle the network, and also makes it easier for clients to craft transactions that will make it into a ledger even when network fees are changing rapidly has been finalized, and is ready for implementation. It hasn't been formally scheduled yet.

  • CAP-0006, which introduces the ManageBuyOffer operation with functionality similar to the ManageOffer operation except that the amount is specified in terms of the buying asset instead of the selling asset is pending some final changes before being marked as finalized.

  • The CAP/SEP process has received some larger updates that are currently in review. We're open to any feedback regarding the process, and it's absolutely still open to evolution over time.

  • Currently there are three different proposals around fee mechanism (especially with regard to pre-auth transactions): CAP-0010CAP-0015, and the discussion here brought up by David Mazieres (pre-draft).

  • Release candidate for 10.2.0 is out. Much of the focus is on changes to the overlay (in particular, peer discovery among nodes). Will likely include a SCP fix for the final release.

  • 10.3.0 will focus on performance particularly at the database level.

  • Currently working on roadmap for the upcoming year along with the platform team.

Mahoney from Coda

  • We welcomed Jiawei Tang to the team as a new protocol engineer. 

  • Paul wrote an RFC that details what to do in each situation in our protocol when we detect a misbehaving peer.  

  • Corey mocked the hashing code during testing to speed up integration tests by an order of magnitude.

  • Deepthi landed a change to enable cheaper (in US dollars/ hr) snark workers to process transactions in our network.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

  • Final review and merging of tickets going into upcoming 2.0.3 release 

  • Fixing issues in zcashd for zcash bitcore/insight libraries support

  • Ironing out CI system for Windows support

  • 2018 audit results of Overwinter and Sapling upgrades are now published [ed: nothing exciting, which is good]

  • The Foundation opened up applications for Zcon1 [ed: last conf zcon0 was one of the best conferences of the year]

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update, update coming next week.

Smart contracting platforms

AJ from Tezos

Evan from Ethereum [ed: Evan’s newsletter also great]

Myles from EOS

  • A number of high-profile teams have collaborated to build the dGoods token standard for digital items on EOS

  • The Bancor/LiquidEOS team offers a first look at their LiquidApps scaling solutions 

  • Block.one secures two trademarks-- one for a social network called MEOS and another for an exchange called EOSX

  • Cypherglass debuts the EOS Name Service to buy custom EOS usernames 

  • Everything EOS now has a developer-focused video series 

Zaki from Cosmos

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

  • No update

Brendan from Dharma

  • No update

Coulter from MakerDAO

  • No update

Bass from MARKET Protocol

  • January was a big month for our beta exchange MPX! We made a number of significant improvements, which we have not yet released: Refactored internals and UI to support a 0x relayer, improvements to wallet UI, redesigned user on-boarding flow, and an ew user home page and dashboard

Robert from Compound

  • No update

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun & Boyma on Handshake

  • Boyma gave an awesome talk about the new type of authenticated data structure that Handshake uses, Urkel Trees.

  • Anthony from Namebase thought a bit about some potential anti-squatting measures.

  • Dylan released FistBump, an open source search tool for Handshake domains

Paul from Veil

Rahul from 0x

Janine from Liquidity.Network

  • Our Tech Road Map for the first half of the year has been published and includes exclusive details on the new mainnet hub, mobile app v2, DEX mainnet release and much more.  

  • NOCUST Client library documentation updated and now available for developers to use at docs.liquidity.network

  • Deployment of improved contract with new features on rinkeby testnet.

Dong Mo from Celer

  • We've completed the implementation of OSP multi-server scalability 

  • We had significant progress on the coding of the new OSP protocol and duplex channels 

  • We are working on the WebSocket-based SDK, and have completed its server framework 

  • We significantly reduced the cost of the on-chain dispute process 

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

  • Completed "Minimum Viable Streamflow" development and testing milestone, implementing the protocol update for reducing costs and increasing reliability for video transcoding on Livepeer's network.

  • Spec'ed out "Scaled Streamflow" milestone, which assumes adversarial conditions and double spend prevention in the probabilistic micropayments scheme on a public network. 

Ryan from FOAM

  • Finalizing a new email notification and subscription functionality to the FOAM Map for alerts if your point has been challenged or if you need to reveal a vote 

  • Started work with Blocklytics on a new leaderboard feature for the FOAM Map to be launched at the end of this month 

  • Developing a new heat map layer for the Map to better explore Signals 

  • Released a summary of Dynamic Proof of Location — FOAM Community Call, Jan 24th

  • Released a new Reading List on Location Data Mishandling  

  • Announced the NYC Blockchain Showcase event with MakerDAO and Relevant. We will be launching the second NFT Treasure Hunt game on the Map alongside this event. 

David from Sia

  • Renter compatibility: ChrisSchinnerl worked on the code that will migrate the old metadata of renters to the new Sia file format: Empty folders on the renter directory will be cleaned up during the migration. A bug was fixed.

  • File repairs (work in progress) MSevey is currently working on finishing the file repair code: he is fixing bugs and improving the code that detects files needing repair and file chunks being stuck during the upload.

  • Release Progress: 1.4.0 The dev team considers probable to publish this week the Release Candidate version of 1.4.0 among contributors for beta-testing.

  • Stats 1 Nebulous repo was updated. 1 issue was created. 2 MRs were merged. GitLab user ChrisSchinnerl had code contributions merged into Sia. Also, users MSevey, lukechampine worked on MRs not yet merged.

  • From the community: The Goobox Team introduced their free file sharing solution that allows you to upload files using a web interface. Files can be easily shared using a link and an optional password. Data is stored on the Sia network, so files are shredded, encrypted and distributed across the Sia hosts around the globe.

Michael from Loom

  • Released the latest Zombie Battleground build (0.1.11) for all platforms -- AndroidiOSWindowsmacOS.

    • Includes new login system (use existing Loom.Games account, deck data synced across devices, no login required for solo matches), revamped in-game tutorial, improved connection stability and how the server handles disconnection errors, improved AI Overlord’s behavior, added new batch of cards, game animation enhancements, and several bug fixes

  • Latest video tutorial on the Loom Transfer Gateway, covering how to transfer ERC20 and ERC721 tokens from Ethereum mainnet to a Loom sidechain, and vice versa.

  • The first external validator on PlasmaChain is live in production!

Other

Ari from Decentraland

  • Builder now includes out-of-bounds detection, top-bar controls, improved undo action, and first-person view. We’re currently working on item rotation and support for the Creator Contest.

  • Finishing the API for the Client UI, adding XML support to the SDK 5.0, conducting visual tests in the Unity Client, and updated to the latest Kronos plugin (adding support for GLTF).

  • Completing the Estate transfers to each District.

  • Adding support for a bidding feature to the Marketplace. The proposal has been sent to auditors, and we’re working on an improved frontend UX

  • We’ve also just completed an internal hackathon for the SDK 5.0, with the winner to be announced next week! 

Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io

  • Hydro Protocol SDK new version:A client for interacting with the Hydro API 

  • Launched DDEX mobile App 1.2.1 with full Ledger support

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • We are rebasing IPFS on the server side. This rebase allows relay support which will improve connectivity within the OpenBazaar network..

  • Work continues to integrate Ethereum into the application. Because OpenBazaar was originally built for Bitcoin and Ethereum expects different levels of precision, we are working to make them compatible. The wallet integration is completed and is in testing now.

  • Some minor features and bug fixes are being worked on for the next release (2.3.1), including the ability to do bulk listing updates.

  • Work continues on the Haven mobile app, built on OpenBazaar. Private testing has begun.

  • The OpenBazaar team will be attending TABConf in Atlanta from Feb 8-10 with a booth and a live demo of the mobile app.

Martín from Zeppelin

  • No update.

Proof of Work #53

Hi from a plane en-route to SFO! Why is JetBlue’s so so much faster than Uniteds? Is one ground-based and the other satellite?

Friends of the newsletter Sharon Goldberg and Ethan Heilman launched something cool this week, a trading protocol called Arwen that could be summarized as “lightning, but for trading” on testnet. Arwen allows traders to securely trade cryptocurrencies at a centralized exchange, without ceding custody of their coins to the exchange—BTC, LTC, BCH, ZEC as well as Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.  Today's testnet launch is for BTC, BCH, and LTC.  A full protocol description is in their whitepaper. They have a partnership with KuCoin, which strikes me as a great first partner (decent liquidity, still mixed reputation and not somewhere big traders want to keep a ton of coins at risk.)

Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day. I grew up in a household that was extremely left-wing but had a bunch of guns “because the ones who had guns at least got to fight back in Warsaw.” There’s a kind of sad understanding among Jewish people (especially the grandkids of survivors) that every few decades some government loses its mind and starts slaughtering an ethnic or religious minority that lost the dice toss. There’s a sad tendency among some Jews to insist on the unique badness of the capital H Holocaust over other holocausts and genocides, but unfortunately it was just one especially awful instance of a relatively common phenomenon.

One thing that gets lost in our rush to paint the Nazis as pure evil beyond any rational understanding is the financial motivation that was such an important driver of the Holocaust. At the highest levels, the Nazis were driven by the idea that they were “reclaiming” wealth that the Jews of Germany had “stolen” from honest, hard working Aryans. The campaign to rob the Jews of their wealth was astonishingly broad; the Nazi government worked with domestic and international banks to freeze accounts, with insurance companies to seize policy payouts, worked with real estate brokers to find and force to be sold at below-market prices land parcels own by jews, and instituted incredibly high exit taxes on the lucky (?) Jews that fled before things got really awful. The number of people who left with just a tiny bit of gold sewed into the linings of their coats was so high that it’s become a cliché. Of course, soon after that many of their friends and relatives wouldn’t even be allowed to keep the gold in their teeth.

When faced with an atrocity on the scale of the Holocaust, many of us have an impulse to turn away, to seek a simple explanation, to crack an inappropriate joke—anything to not have to think about one group of people systematically stealing everything from another group, and then murdering them in specially designed camps, men, women, and children. But that’s what happened, and similar things will happen again if we don’t address the root causes. These causes are diverse and I don’t wish to make it sound as though crypto is anything like a panacea for stopping genocides. But the financial aspect is truly underappreciated by most non-historians, and it is there that crypto truly shines.

Forget ICOs, forget allocating digital resources, forget gaming. The use case for which crypto is so insanely well-suited that it would take a fool to miss it is as a seizure-resistant easily transportable store of value. At mass adoption, this is a game-changer, as it will be well known that most people have a type of wealth that is deniable, anonymous, and extremely difficult to confiscate. But even way before we get anywhere near mainstream adoption, it will be worthwhile to try and get cryptoassets into the hands of the people who need them most, whether through airdrops, mining, or just enabling easy buys with fiat.

When I tweeted about this, I got a bunch of horrible DMs, but also some extremely moving ones from the survivors of genocide. I also got this really interesting reply:

Making it much easier for people to make the decision to leave is something that can save lives—its very very hard to go from “you own things” to “leave everything behind, or die.” This is the core reason I’m excited about crypto, and if any of you are working on things that make this use case more robust, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Bitcoin & Friends

David from Sia

  • 1 Nebulous repo was updated. 9 issues were created, 20 were closed. 8 MRs were merged.

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

  • ChrisSchinnerl implemented a method to recover file contracts associated with the recovery seed of the user. This feature is the key component for the file recovery from a user backup of the metadata, that 1.4.0 will feature, and the full file recovery from seed that 1.4.2 will include. This method retrieves contracts as long as the wallet is unlocked: (link). Additionally, he added the API endpoint renter/initrecovery for triggering a re-scan of the blockchain that retrieves contracts on demand: (link)

  • MSevey continued working on the file repair revamping. Now file repairs are triggered to the folders with lower redundancy instead of on a file-by file basis: (link). He is also currently improving the routine that detects and repairs file chunks that are stuck in the repair process: (link).

  • Lukechampine made additional progress on the RPC protocol upgrade (the communications channel between hosts and renters).

  • The completion of the Release Candidate of version 1.4.0 approaches, with a few items remaining to be tackled: a bug in the repair process and 2 methods of the RPC protocol.

Daniel from Grin

Aviv from Spacemesh

JZ from Decred

  • We're nearing final release of the Decred Android wallet, v1.0.0-RC3 has just been cut and pushed to the Play store for mainnet and testnet. Our mobile wallet uses true SPV through the P2P network as opposed to relying on centralized servers, making it pretty unique. As always bug reports are welcome.

  • Speaking of bugs, we're happy to announce that we just launched the Decred Bug Bounty program and we'll be paying up to $25,000 USD (in DCR) for discovered vulnerabilities. Degeri, who is running the program has described the rationale behind the initiative.

  • Since 51% attacks seem to be in vogue, Richard has published a piece outlining how Decred's multi-factor consensus (hybrid PoW+PoS) protects from this attack vector.

Johnny from Stellar

  • Stellar please send me updates, I and everyone reading this want to know what you all are up to.

  • Someone in our private telegram chat said you guys hired Graydon Hoare.

Izaak from Coda

  • No update.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

  • We created an “Encouraged Community Work” GitHub board for things that the Company can’t get to in the next 4 months that people in the community are likely to have the context t o work on.

  • This week Least Authority released details about the Private Periodic Payment Protocol, or P4, which aims to define the way in which subscription services can be funded using end-to-end private cryptocurrency payments. P4 incorporates the use of Zcash shielded transactions for private payments and leverages the Tor anonymity network’s onion services to radically reduce the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) available to merchants. In addition, P4 introduces periodicity to cryptocurrency payments by bootstrapping a secure channel between customers and merchants (using the SPAKE2-based "magic-wormhole" library) through which invoices can be delivered and paid.

  • More detail here.

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update.

Beni from Beam

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

  • No update.

Myles from EOS

Zaki from Cosmos

Kate and Dean from Agoric

  • Mark Miller will be speaking at the Stanford Blockchain Conference on Agoric’s smart contract platform, including eventual-sends. Eventual-sends provide a solution to the reentrancy vulnerabilities that have been plaguing smart contracts.

  • We made good progress on one of the remaining security bugs for SES.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

  • Improved stability of our transaction history on expo. Data is now pulled directly from blockchain events

  • Added a new stats endpoint to expo

  • Hiring for Design & Engineering roles full-time in SF

Brendan from Dharma

  • Rolled out new functionality to Dharma Lever Alpha Partners, including updated borrowing features and event-based notifications

  • This week's interest rates on Dharma Lever will start at 2% for ETH and USDC. If you are interested in joining the closed Alpha, email brendan@dharma.io

  • Hiring on our engineering team for a Jr. and a Sr. Full-Stack Engineer. Check our our roles and apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

  • Coingate added Dai as their first stablecoin to the platform. Meaning users of Dai can now use it at over 4,500 merchants!

  • The CES panel featuring Maker President & COO Steven Becker has been shared for those that couldn't make it in person. 

  • imToken introduced 12,000 of their users to CDPs, leading to 762 new CDPs being created. On top of that, we're excited that 5 of 6 of involved users were Chinese, helping expand our international growth. 

  • KyberSwap is rewarding anyone that opened a CDP in December $5 coupons, exchangeable for Dai or MKR. 

  • In a phenomenal use case, user ProgrammableTx used CDPs to help pay off his mortgage. Read more on our (new!) blog

  • VANTA is holding a presale, and by accepting Dai, they're pioneering a strategy to protect against volatility. 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

  • No update this week.

Robert from Compound

  • Completed version 2 of an updated protocol whitepaper

  • Began the Ethereum design process for version 2 of the Compound protocol

  • Completed technical diligence to add WBTC to Compound

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

  • Namebase ported it’s private beta to testnet3 and started KYCing beta users so that they can get early access to the mainnet exchange. New users can register for the next batch of beta invites at namebase.io.

  • The Namebase chrome extension has been updated to work with Testnet3

  • Some scoundrel sniped Namebase CTO Anthony’s favorite domain (turbomaze/) and is currently redirecting it to this site! Although all evidence points to Eric, he insists it wasn’t him [ed note: seriously not me. mystery! the fact that no one knows who did this is a pretty good advertisement for Handshake, though]

Paul from Veil

  • No update.

Rahul from 0x

  • Announcement of some smart contract dev tools for broader ETH ecosystem, along with new extension contracts like Dutch Auction + Multi Asset Proxy and python Standard Relayer API client

  • 0x Roadmap by Will. Three 2019 priorities for 0x are data, DeFi, and liquidity. Introducing ZEIPs 

  • Relayers: Veil announced funding round from Sequoia and others, BoxSwap launches for trading NFTs, Mobidex launches as a mobile first DEX, Ambo acquired by MyCrypto. For more info read Relayer Report #17

  • New team members Brent Oshiro (community), Marc Savino (technical sourcer)

Mo and Sirong from Celer

  • We finished all CelerX features

  • We finished ERC20 integration in Gomoku game

  • We are preparing internal test release for next week

    Backend:

  • We have finished enhancements and bug fixes for the upcoming release and cGomoku tournament 

  • We made significant progress on the implementation of OSP multi-server scalability to reach production-grade scalability

  • We are working on the new OSP off-chain communication protocol and support for channels with optimistic concurrency locking

  • We began work on the websocket-based SDK for javascript .

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Ryan from FOAM

  • Released a General Update on radio development and Developer Update #5 with notes on recent Purescript and Chanterelle changes and new features added to the FOAM Map. Additionally this release contains new API documentation and an updated developer portal. 

  • Hosted a community call on dynamic Proof of Location demonstrating radio time synchronization tests and the tendermint based consensus engine 

  • Published a new post on the "Anatomy of a Zone", unpacking questions like What is a Zone? What does a well formed Zone look like? How can a Zone be trusted? and What is the incentive to be a Zone operator?

Michael from Loom

Other

Martin from Tezos

  • Tezos Stack Exchange Site has successfully reached all required parameters to launch its beta site!

  • Tezos Commons is excited to announce Tezos Capstone, a free self-paced training program that focuses OCaml, dAPP development for Tezos. Top participants in Tezos Capstone program will earn an all-expense paid trip to NYC for the Tezos Global Conference

  • Study, work, and learn with Nomadic Labs, an independant Tezos development team, is opening it doors for students around the world to join its internship program. Nomadic labs is looking for master’s students interested in many research and practical projects ranging from parallel programming using hardware accelerators, to verification of Michelson contracts, creation of ReasonML/Michelson decentralized applications and privacy analysis of the Tezos network

  • Tezos Wallet App is now available to download on Ledger Live for the Nano S

  • Introducing the Tocqueville Group: TQ is a new entity established to advance and support Tezos. TQ will be focusing on 3 key areas, creating open-sourced smart contract tools, providing support to projects and companies building on Tezos, and connecting the global Tezos community.

  • Join Tezos Protocol Amendment #1 discussion on Kialo. This space will allow the broad community to discuss, provide pros & cons for the upcoming Tezos proposal. More information can be found here. To get started, read a simple guide about the first Tezos amendment.

Ari from Decentraland

  • Released CLI version 2.2.3 including security updates and fixes for usability issues

  • Made some open source contributions to the webRTC go library 

  • Continued work on Client UI, added audio and text APIs to the SDK, and added boundaries and limitations checks to the Unity Client

  • Continuing to transfer Estate ownership to each District leadership team

  • The bidding smart contract for the Marketplace is ready, we’re now preparing for the audit and are working on an improved UI

  • The Builder now includes a camera, a project setup page, movement, dark mode, and some helpful metrics!

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • No update this week

Martín from Zeppelin

Proof of Work #52

I rarely go to crypto conferences because so many of them are useless “when mewn!” types of things, but there are a few really great ones I always try to make. The Stanford Blockchain Conference (FKA BPASE) on 1/30-2/1 is going to be awesome, and is free, although registration is either already full or close to it. A couple of days before that is Grincon, which I initially thought was a bit whack for charging pretty large admission fees, but I was later informed that the entire proceeds will be donated to the Grin dev fund, which is pretty rad. A bit later and on the other side of the country is the MIT Bitcoin Expo—speakers are still being added, but this has been absolutely great every year I’ve gone and I highly recommend it.

Grin’s launch has gone off mostly without any hitches—although folks looking to buy some GRIN coins are mostly out of luck since liquidity is still fairly limited. It might be prudent to wait a bit, in any case—this interesting analysis from Bytesize explains why by reference to the ZEC and XMR launches.

More next week, thanks for tuning in!

Bitcoin & Others

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their extremely great Bitcoin-only newsletter]

  • PR opened for spontaneous LN payments: LN protocol developer Olaoluwa Osuntokun opened a pull request to allow an LN node to send a payment to another node without first receiving an invoice. Spontaneous payments help in cases where users just want to do ad hoc payment tracking, for example you initiate a 10 mBTC withdrawal from an exchange and either 10 mBTC shows up in your balance within a few moments or you contact support. Or you just publish your node’s information and users can send you donations without having to get an invoice first.

  • LND #2448 adds a standalone watchtower, allowing it to “negotiate sessions with clients, accept state updates for active sessions, monitor the chain for breaches matching known breach hints, [and] publish reconstructed justice transactions on behalf of tower clients.” This is one of the last pieces of an initial watchtower implementation than can help protect LN nodes that are offline from having their funds stolen—a feature that’s an important part of making LN mature enough for general use.

Tieshun & Chjj on Handshake

  • Users interested in quickly claiming their HNS airdrop, or buying HNS names should sign up on namebase.io and go through KYC asap to be ready for main-net launch.

  • Testnet three has been deployed!

  • Proof of Work has been changed from Cuckoo Cycle to a new algorithm designed to be ASIC friendly, but to break any currently existing ASICs: cBLAKE, s/o to David Vorick for his input on that.

  • The Handshake faucet is now being handled on-chain, in a cleverly privacy-preserving way enabled by work from Dan Boneh and Riad Wahby. Devs will be able to claim their HNS coins using their github RSA keys.

  • The TX merkle root has once again been split into two roots: the witness root and non-witness root. This makes our non-witness sync much more sane (in retrospect, our original deviation from bitcoin was probably a bad idea).

  • Another reserved field has been added to the block header. This field is designated to become a filter commitment for neutrino.

  • Blacklisted names belonging to other naming projects (ENS, GNS, Namecoin, etc) are now blacklisted by policy rules instead of consensus. This allows those projects the ability to create some kind of compatibility bridge in the future. A few more "blacklist" names have been added at the suggestion of Jeremy Rand.

  • Name rollout has been reduced to 6 hours instead of 12 (the testnet still has a finite lifespan of 1 month).

James from Summa

  • We published an in-depth guide to Ethereum 2.0's roadmap, including an overview of sharding's trade-offs as a scaling approach

  • We've open sourced a python ECDSA library leveraging the excellent secp256k1. It features access to the underlying library, as well as a simplified API for quick usage

  • riemann-zeta, got a major version bump, and now supports syncing and coin tracking on both main and test networks. We're deploying it in the wild for our auction this week

David from Sia

  • 1 Nebulous repo was updated. 9 issues were created, 10 were closed. 8 MRs were merged.

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

  • ChrisSchinnerl added backwards compatibility code for renters with old data stored on Sia that upgrade to 1.4.0. The next Sia version will feature a complete redesign of the of the SiaFiles, and this MR ensures that upon the first startup of the new client, the old metadata files of the renters will upgrade to this new format (link).

  • MSevey merged the first MR, out of a series of 3, focused on improving the file repair process. This first MR implemented a new routine that will check and update over time the health and repair status of uploaded files. The health of files and directories will be re-evaluated every hour (link).

Aviv from Spacemesh

JZ from Decred

  • Marco announced this week that work is well underway on the Decred DAE (Decentralized Autonomous Entity). The DAE will be the last piece of the treasury decentralization puzzle, while Politeia is responsible for gauging the will of the stakeholders in a cryptographically verifiable way, the DAE will control the actual disbursement of funds, thus eliminating individuals from that process. [ed: interesting!]

Johnny from Stellar

  • No update this week

Mahoney from Coda [ed: welcome to new updater Mahoney Turnbull, ex-Consensys]

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update this week

Daniel from Grin

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

  • No update this week

Myles from EOS

  • No update this week

Zaki from Cosmos

  • No update this week

Kate and Dean from Agoric

  • This week was all about SES. In SES, you can run code in a featherweight compartment that has no access to things like `window` or `document`, keeping the data on your page safe from exfiltration. SES also can keep third party code from accessing other third party code, making it perfect for a plugin or module architecture. This week we:

  • Also, we wanted to highlight an awesome MetaMask project that is in process. Sesify applies SES to browserify, keeping your code safe from the modules you might want to import.

Financial Infrastructure

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

  • No update this week, will be back next week

Layer two and interoperability

Paul from Veil

Janine from Liquidity.Network

  • Published the NOCUST library on npm - NOCUST client Library is in development and designed to replace the current liquidity SDK making it even easier for developers of all levels to integrate a NOCUST hub.

  • Testing carried out on the new features for the Mobile app V2. Bugs and inconsistencies found and fixed.

  • We successfully ran a large scale testbench with more than 100’000 users executing transfers on the new payment hub currently being developed. 

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Mike from Loom

  • Announced upcoming token bridge between Loom PlasmaChain and Cosmos Hub. Once Cosmos’ DEX is live, DApps running on PlasmaChain will be able to transfer assets like NFTs to Cosmos for trading. Additionally, ATOM holders will be able to trade their tokens on Loom, and deploy EVM Smart Contracts to PlasmaChain.

Other

AJ from Tezos

  • Vote for Tezos proposals from your Ledger Nano S: New Ledger firmware released for Tezos apps which enables voting/proposal function in wallet app.

  • Nomadic Labs is preparing to submit the first Tezos protocol amendment for the community to vote, more information can be found here. The first proposal will revolve around increasing gas limit and decreasing the amount of tezos required to bake

  • Storage Improvements: Nomadic Labs is intending to release an improved version of the Tezos node software in efforts for a lighter disk footprint and faster synchronization of the node.

  • Join Tezos Protocol Amendment #1 discussion on Kialo. This space will allow the broad community to discuss, provide pros & cons for the upcoming Tezos proposal. More information can be found here

  • Tezos wallet, Kukai, version 1.3 has been release with security updates

  • A call out for developers -- participate in the Tezos Stack Exchange Proposal (TSEP). Tezos Commons Foundation has decided to offer those of you who commit with high reputation a custom Tezos tshirt to thank you for your current and future contribution to this exciting domain. Details are can be found here. Tezos Stack Exchange is now only 7 commits from launching its beta site.

Ari from Decentraland

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • OpenBazaar version 2.3 was released. This major update includes the new multiwallet, which allows OpenBazaar users to buy and sell goods, services, and cryptocurrencies with several different coins on the same node. Right now users can choose BTC, BCH, LTC, and ZEC, with ETH coming soon.

  • OB1 announced Haven, a privacy-focused mobile app which enables you to shop, chat, and send cryptocurrencies.

Proof of Work #51

Making Alice Grin Again, economics of coin launches

Hello from Boston, where the weather is so cold that as a San Franciscan I’m unwilling to even look at the thermometer.

For those who just joined us, Grin is a new cryptocurrency that implements the Mimblewimble protocol described in an anonymous paper dropped into the #bitcoin-wizards IRC chat in 2016 by one Tom Elvis Jedusor, and later refined by Bitcoin’s own Andrew Poelstra. There’s a lot of excitement around it for a few reasons.

First, it’s one of the first truly interesting coins to be launched with no investors, no premine, no ICO, and no founder’s reward. Launching a new coin can be extremely lucrative for founders, even in a marginal outcome—completely forgoing this financial reward turns a lot of heads.

Second, it’s being implemented by a team of mostly pseudonymous people, with a development culture that seems similar to Bitcoins.

Third, from a technical perspective there are some real benefits to MW from a scalability perspective, and Grin has a unique approach to privacy that differs from the two leading privacy coins (Zcash and Monero) in ways that may prove useful. There have been a ton of great technical overviews, so I won’t rehash that here.

One thing that’s interesting is that unlike Bitcoin, which was so maligned and ignored at launch that Satoshi had to mine by himself on a single Intel CPU for most of 2009, there is (by our conservative estimates) 100 million dollars of mostly VC money invested into special-purpose investment vehicles to mine Grin. This does a lot of weird things: it turns a bunch of people who would have been buyers of grin into sellers of it, it changes the composition of the early holder roster, and it means the chain will launch with an extremely high degree of security via high PoW hashrate. What Bitcoin pulled off, an organic launch without any professional investment early on, is unlikely to ever be possible again.

Despite the big amount of professional investor interest in Grin, the community itself is the closest thing I’ve seen to how the early Bitcoin community felt. The lack of a premine does magic things to human psychology; when you are doing free work for something that someone else gave themselves a huge bag of, you feel like a chump! When you do free work for something that everyone has a fair chance to mine, you feel like you’re part of a tribe, and that effect is in full swing with Grin. Wallets, decentralized exchanges, stats pages etc are all popping up, and our Grin community channel has smart devs asking what they can build every day.

Due to the interactive transaction format, the biggest exchanges will probably take a while to list Grin—currently anyone wanting to get Grin exposure will have a few options:

  1. You can pre-register on galleon.exchange, the world’s first Grin exchange, (disclosure, we’re investors and are big fans of this team) and will be able to buy and sell Grin immediately at launch.

  2. I wanted to offer some decentralized easy-to-use methods of getting some Grin here, but none appear to be quite ready to go—some people working on them are in this Telegram channel and will probably loudly announce them when they’re ready.

  3. You can buy Grin OTC if you are purchasing in blocks larger than $100,000 USD, although depending on price you’re going to have to wait a bit on delivery because at 1 grin per second, there are only 86,400 Grins produced every 24 hours. Many OTC brokers are also hanging out in the above telegram channel and can onboard you.

Before you do any of those things though, I’d urge everyone to wait at least a few days before making any big purchases, to allow pricing to stabilize. Those around for Zcash’s launch remember that the constrained supply in the first few days caused a massive price spike, which then crashed, and began a much more steady claim weeks leader. I’d recommend everyone check the prices on Galleon (and any other exchanges that list) and let there be a little bit of liquidity before jumping in.

Bitcoin & Friends

Daniel from Grin

Aviv from Spacemesh

JZ from Decred

Izaak from Coda

  • Numerous changes were made to support the new snarkitecture. Preliminary benchmarks show that prover performance is improved by about 40% across the board after switching from Groth--Maller to Groth16 in certain places.

  • We're now generating coda documentation using OCamlDoc.

  • Windowing for the Pedersen hash was implemented, speeding up performance by about 60%.

  • Coda now builds natively on Mac OS after some modifications to libsnark, which should make development and use a lot easier for those running on Mac OS.

  • We welcome Rebekah Mercer to the Coda team. Rebekah is a researcher in cryptography and cryptocurrency, most recently working on the QuisQuis anonymous cryptocurrency protocol.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Smart contracting platforms

Mike from Loom

Myles from EOS

  • EOS referendum system-level contract goes live! 

  • EOSInfra launches freemium dApp infrastructure service

  • EOS New York launches Transit API to connect dApps to multiple signature providers

  • dfuse debuts new product for searching blockchain data

  • EOSBet details its new account system 

Kate and Dean from Agoric

  • We’re doing a major overhaul of our planning document for Safe JavaScript Modules, adding a concrete example throughout the document.  It’s a great overview of how Realms and SES can load modules securely, and actually prevent incidents like the event-stream exploit. Feel free to check it out and add comments. We’re also discussing it on ocapjs.org.

  • This week we got the first version of our security kernel running on the XS JavaScript engine. This is huge because it means that the features of JavaScript that our security kernel and smart contract platform rely on are implemented in XS.

Financial Infrastructure

Coulter from MakerDAO

  • Our Head of Backend Services, Mariano Conti, did an interview with Witnet going in-depth on Oracles, how they work, and more

  • We are hiring for an Events Manager. If you know anyone that's interested, please let us know! 

  • Our friends at MakerScan continue to amaze, adding the ability to wipe Dai and add ETH to CDPs you don't own. Examples of why this might be useful is if you're away from your hardware wallet and want to add additional collateral to your CDP to avoid getting liquidated. Or maybe you're just feeling charitable :) 

  • You can now pay for freelance services with Dai and Canya

Layer two and interoperability

Paul from Veil

  • Announced our upcoming Mainnet launch (Tuesday 1/15/19) and seed round from Paradigm, Sequoia, and 1confirmation.

  • Opened up early signup for Veil on Mainnet. Sign up, connect your Ethereum wallet, and fund your account now to be ready for the launch.

  • Updated market UI to be compatible with categorical markets. See the Academy Awards Best Picture market as an example.

  • @veilmarketbot, a twitter bot that posts new markets created on Veil, launched. It’s the first community-contributed product built on top of Veil using our API.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

David from Sia

  • 8 Merge Requests were merged into the Sia repository this week.

  • The dev team spent this last week working on the upcoming 1.4.0 release. Several minor improvements have been made to the documentation, the file repair mechanism, the file streaming functionality, and the reporting of file health

  • Chris added a new API endpoint to query the most recent addresses generated by the wallet. This will help wallets with thousands or even millions of wallet addresses have a performant API experience. Chris also started the compatibility code that will enable current Sia users to transition to the 1.4.0 release in a few weeks.

Other

AJ from Tezos

  • A call out for developers -- participate in the Tezos Stack Exchange Proposal (TSEP). Tezos Commons Foundation has decided to offer those of you who commit with high reputation a custom Tezos tshirt to thank you for your current and future contribution to this exciting domain. Details are can be found here.

  • Tezos co-founder, Arthur Breitman, reflects on 2018 and shares his excitement for Tezos 2019

  • Coming soon: Voting on Tezos proposals with your Ledger Nano S!

  • Kiln v0.3.0 -- Kiln already monitors Tezos nodes and sends alerts when they run into an issue. This version introduces two additional layers: baker monitoring and Tezos release monitoring. An introduction of Kiln can be found here

  • Community member, catsigma, has released an update for TezBridge

  • Tezos Commons Foundation is offering co-working space at Tim Draper’s Hero City in San Mateo, California for those building with or on Tezos Protocol. More information can be found here

Ari from Decentraland

  • Released new SDK, content server and CLI

  • Worked on the first version of the Builder, our drag-and-drop editor. Defined prefab'd 3d assets taxonomy.

  • Finished first version of Bid contract to make offers on the marketplace, as well as its backend and product design.

  • Finalized requirements for Unity client MVP. Working on Unity implementation, SDK protocol, authentication service, content filter definitions and communication service.

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