This newsletter tries to be kind of like Bitcoin: Few features, slow to change, delivered according to probabilistic block-time, but unstoppable week after week. However, one feature people have been asking for since issue #1 is for projects to be categorized by type, and we finally did that! Now you can all send me emails complaining that I miscategorized your favorite project :)
The secret project that I have been alluding to for weeks and weeks has finally launched and is in testnet mode! Handshake is a decentralized root DNS and naming system which allows anyone to obtain a censorship-resistant DNS name. Sites beloved by users but hated by governments like Sci-Hub have had to change domains over and over as censors play whack-a-mole with their names—now with Handshake, SciHub can migrate to a permanent Handshake domain that is preserved by a proof-of-work blockchain rather than a centralized authority.
Moreover, Handshake allows users to associate arbitrary records with a given name, so if one were to register “brucelee” on Handshake, and then associate a textfile with a BTC address, ETH address, EOS address etc, wallets could easily allow users to send and receive funds to a human readable name.
A lot of work remains to be done, and the Handshake team aims to incentivize a massive amount of open source development by giving away almost all of the coins to verifiable open source contributors, via Github, Freenode, and the PGP web of trust. If you’re someone that has made contributions to open source, there are 7500 HNS coins with your name on them, which you can claim here.
If you want to play around with Handshake, you can download the full node CLI here, or you can sign up for Namebase, an exchange our fund helped incubate that will be the first place supporting Handshake domain name registration. Since Handshake is currently in testnet phase, Namebase isn’t active yet, but there will be some surprises for early signups, so it’s worth getting signed up now.
Bitcoin & Its Discontents
Jimmy on Bitcoin
CERISE website [ed: easier BTC payments]
Xapo reduced UTXOs by 4 million! [ed: Xapo continuing to be very good bitcoin citizens]
James from Vertcoin
Researching a one-click miner deployable on any platform
Development work on our own hashing algorithm currently called Verthash continues
Vertcoin.org refreshed, lots of new marketing materials, showcase of merchant adoption
Full dev update can be read here.
JZ from Decred
Our July activity tally is complete, we saw 252 active PRs, 220 commits, 34,754 additions, and 12,847 deletions in total spread across 6-10 devs per repo. As usual, we have a pretty graphic to visualize things.
For those interested in the technical details of how Decred PoS ticket selection works, Matheus has put out a tutorial explaining the ins and outs.
Final preparations are being made for our v1.3 release candidate, we expect it to ship next week, it will introduce an optional secure SPV mode so downloading the entire Decred blockchain is no longer necessary for most users. Trace will be hosting an episode of Decred Assembly on August 6th at 16:00 CET (21:00 UTC) with lead dcrwallet developer Josh Rickmar and our project lead Jake Yocom-Piatt to discuss compact filters, fraud proofs, and the other goodies that make our implementation unique.
Zac from Stellar
Horizon v0.13.1 patch release is out. It fixes a bug in ingestion system. You should upgrade to this version as soon as possible.
Js-stellar-base package v0.8.0 with Bump Sequence operation support has been released.
You can use Stellar Laboratory with your own Horizon node and custom standalone network. Just press “Custom” button in the Laboratory header menu.
Paige & Zooko from Zcash
Engineering continues to focus on working towards a Sapling MVP for v2.0.0
Launched support channel for external development teams to request support
Several additions and updates to documentation addressing Overwinter related issues and general developer guides, much more detail here.
Diego and Riccardo from Monero
Monero will have a village at Defcon this year, stop by if you are around
Smart contracting platforms
Evan from Ethereum
Vitalik proposed a three-stage beacon chain plan. To make the roadmap more incrementalist, we assume a fixed validator set in stage 1, and introduce the dynasty transition in stage 3.
Zaki from Cosmos
Kate and Dean from Agoric
Brian Warner of Agoric gave a great talk at the Decentralized Web Summit on “Fearless Cooperation: giving eval() to your worst enemy for fun and profit” (slides)
We also updated the look of our website
Antonio from dYdX
Check out TechCrunch's article about the upcoming launch of dYdX Short & Leveraged Tokens
Implementing frontend for user facing applications
Work trialed a design candidate
Hiring engineers, designers, a technical recruiter, and an office manager / junior recruiter in SF [ed note: great place to work, from what we hear]
Brendan and Nadav from Dharma
Released the Dharma Relayer Kit. Relayer Kit gives you everything you need to start building a Dharma debt relayer—React front-end, database & demo blockchain, customizable UI, and Dharma integration.
Launched our Developer Portal. At launch, Dev Portal includes a high-level primer on Dharma Protocol, refreshed API documentation, starter kits and tutorials, and an extensive FAQ. We'll be adding additional features to Dev Portal over the next few weeks.
Most of our team is in Beijing and Bangalore this week. If you live in one of those cities and can meet up, reach out to Brendan and we'll set it up!
Coulter from MakerDAO
The second part of the Governance Risk Framework identifies the risks of the MakerDAO system and how we intend to handle them. You can also watch our most recent governance and risk call here to go more in-depth.
The follow-up to one of our favorite blogs, "Maker for Dummies" is now live. Part 2 was written by our Head of BD, Greg DiPrisco and posted this week.
Our Stablecoin blog series has it's third installment. In it, the team looks at the risks, benefits, and tradeoffs of different Stablecoin models.
Phil from MARKET Protocol
Big MARKET.js refactor, sweet syntactical sugar, compliments of the core team. Yeah, it's Phil's doing before vacation... MARKET.js now at v0.2.2. Come check the project out and partner with us!
On the march to mainnet, tracking towards our August release. Huge progress and details here, (available to anyone with a GitHub account).
The community is strong! The top six contributors on https://gitcoin.co/leaderboard either work for MARKET or currently work on the MARKET project. Over 80 contributors across all of our projects. Come join us!
The plumbing almost complete for the MARKET Simulated exchange. Great progress on the UI/UX for the trading interface. This comes from folks that used a desktop with six 30" monitors to trade derivatives on the CME. ;)
Check out the deployment of contracts using the MARKET dApp
Robert from Compound
Revamped production environment for API systems (Market History and User Risk APIs), and continued hardening services for robust operational security
Continued development of the User Risk API, to assist liquidation partners
Continued development of the Liquidation dApp Interface, with a focus on improved UX
Finalized strategic partnerships with 22 Fund Partners, who will be working closely with us up to and through our launch, testing our protocol and providing feedback as well as committing initial liquidity
Layer two and interoperability
Janine from Liquidity.Network
Our Liquidity App beta can now be experienced on iOS!
Our first community competition Canvas.Liquidity.Netwrok is entering its second week. Due to the high level of participation we have enlarged the board and reduced the maximum number of pixels per checkout to 1500px. Go and have some fun over https://canvas.liquidity.network/ For more information about participation read this.
Alexandra from Parity Technologies
Doug from Livepeer
Work continues on Livepeer's next protocol updatet—the Tributary Release—which is scheduled for August 20th. It will focus on two key features: networking stability between broadcasters and transcoding nodes for more reliable video streaming, and partial unbonding which will allow users to withdraw a portion of their staked tokens without having to stop staking entirely.
Week 1 of the open claim period in the ongoing MerkleMine saw approximately 56000 proofs submitted, resulting in LPT available for approximately 2% of ETH holders to stake in the Livepeer network.
Ryan from FOAM
Coinbase announced that it is exploring FOAM Token, alongside many others, for custody storage
Released an overview Our Values — Privacy, Decentralization, Security, Verifiability, Openness & Delivering
Released a new overview of the FOAM Developer stack covering the libraries and tools available for use today
Ari from Decentraland
Sam from OpenBazaar
The 2.2.3 version of OpenBazaar was released. This is a bug fix update after 2.2.2 introduced some connectivity issues for Linux users connecting over Tor.
Focus is now on the 2.3 update which allows for a single OpenBazaar node to use multiple cryptocurrencies (multiwallet).
Ethereum payment integration continues as well as development on the openbazaar.com web interface.
Demi from Zeppelin
ZeppelinOS libraries had 3,000 downloads in July. This is a 21% growth compared to last month's downloads.
OpenZeppelin crossed the 150,000 total downloads this week. Growing at an average of 11% week-over-week, OpenZeppelin has become the standard framework for smart contract development.
We kickstarted a ZeppelinOS community in Telegram. If you are interested in smart contract development and security, or want to keep track of the project's new developments, join the conversation!