Proof of Work #32

Hello dear readers, from rainy Boston.

I spent most of this week playing around with the Handshake testnet, bidding on names and trying to mine some testnet coins. Since we last talked, the Namebase team shipped a Chrome extension that allows anyone using Chrome to resolve decentralized names on the Handshake testnet! Once you’ve installed the extension, type “turbomaze/” into your address bar in Chrome, and you’ll see the Namebase CTO’s personal blog—kind of magical.

Why I’m so excited about Handshake is that it’s one layer in a stack of services that will eventually allow for completely “ownerless” (and therefore, unstoppable) websites. Imagine a blog hosted on IPFS with its DNS being resolved on Handshake, and the IPFS pinning fee being paid either in Filecoin if they manage to ship, or Bitcoin/zcash/whatever if they don’t. I was chatting with a dev working on a decentralized file-storage solution, and he told me that he lost the private keys to his testnet implementation and then just had to wait for his account to run out of money, because he had no way to take the site down! Proof of censorship-resistance indeed..

Mining is the most brutal part of the crypto world by far. It’s more zero sum, more competitive, there’s massive capex on the line for big players, and most of the interesting part is conducted in secret. A few months ago, there was a big kerfluffle when Bitmain announced ASIC miners for the Sia network, in a way that made the Sia community very suspicious and unhappy. The basic complaint was that Sia community consensus was that miners should be pre-announced so that purchasers of an ASIC could accurately forecast what they would be getting—Bitmain announced their ASICs a week before shipping them. At the time there was a huge rift in the community over whether Sia should make use of a secret feature on their ASICs that would allow them to fork away from the Bitmain ASICs but keep the Sia ones usable—in the end, there wasn’t adequate consensus, and the fork was not pursued. However, the aftermath of the Bitmain ASICs has wreaked havoc on the Sia community, and there appears to now be a solid community consensus towards activating the fork and in a sense “bricking” the Bitmain ASICs that would no longer be able to mine on the Sia network. It appears to me likely that this will go forward, which is a boon to anyone holding a Sia miner, and a small black eye to Bitmain on the eve of their IPO. Will be interesting to watch!

I’ve added updates from a really interesting off-chain scaling project called Celer, which I think will lead to people building a lot of cool stuff on Ethereum that currently can’t be done on-chain. I’ve also added a project called Berminal that is fairly different from anything else on PoW. I’m pretty skeptical of dAPPs, but I’m keeping on eye on these guys because they are building something that will test my hypotheses around using tokens to incentivize user behavior. Additionally, going forward the Bitcoin updates are going to be more substantial because we’re adding a second contributor to augment Jimmy’s already awesome coverage. Updates below!

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

  • Dandelion PR made. [ed note: Dandelion is a really cool feature that supports better transactional privacy on Bitcoin. Transactions are first broadcast to a single peer, and then after a random number of hops, “poof” like a dandelion and are broadcast out to all peers. You can read way more about it here]

  • Bitmain, BTC, BCH and IPO [ed note: a bearish look, but an interesting analysis]

  • Responsible Disclosure of BCH consensus bug [ed note: this is one of the most underreported and frankly insane stories in crypto. A bitcoin core developer, theoretically the ideological enemy of BCH, discovered a seriously gamestopping bug that could have caused a chainsplit, and instead of exploiting it responsibly disclosed it. Had he done otherwise, and perhaps opened a short at the same time, he could have profited immensely at the expense of all BCH holders. What a story]

JZ from Decred

  • The July issue of the Decred Journal has been released. There are tons of updates on development, marketing, media, and the broader Decred ecosystem. Be sure to check it out.

  • We tagged the first release candidate for both Decrediton and dcrd this week. RC1 for Decrediton introduces optional SPV support using client-side committed filters. Dave has written up a post detailing the many enhancements made to dcrd this cycle. Interested parties should download the appropriate binaries and take them for a spin.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

  • Zcashd 2.0.0 (aka the first Sapling compatible version) is on track for release next week [ed note: sapling, the zcash update that massively reduces overhead on z-transactions making them doable on mobile devices, is going to be a Big Deal]

  • Getting ready for RustConf in Portland (come see us at our booth!)

  • Open Android developer position

  • More detailed update here on the forums!

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

  • No update [ed note: my fault, reminders went out late this week!]

Zaki from Cosmos

  • We are releasing Cosmos-SDK version v0.24.

  • Cosmos is the process of building the most complex staking and slashing state machines so far in blockchains. Slashing conditions are enforced against validators and their delegators. Fees and inflationary rewards are automatically distributed to delegators in protocol. The difficulty of testing the implementation of this complex machinery and conformance to specifications has led to a bunch of different decisions. On one hand, we've invested heavily in simulation and fuzzing approaches that have started to land in v0.24. On the other hand, we've decided to launch with simplified versions of the remaining state machine features.

Bill from Agoric

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

  • Merged Bucket Lender contract (#357) which makes lending as simple as sending a token. Merged several proxy contracts (#393) that allow the protocol to be used with ETH directly.

  • Published an npm package and docker container to make interacting with the protocol easier

  • Completed security audits with SoHo Token Labs and CryptoFin

  • Building out end user apps to make interacting with Short & Leveraged Tokens simple

  • Working with exchanges and market makers to ensure early liquidity

  • -Hiring engineers, designers, a technical recruiter, and an office manager / junior recruiter in SF

Brendan and Nadav from Dharma

  • No update [ed note: my fault, the reminder got sent late!]

Coulter from MakerDAO

  • Released Alpha of a new JavaScript library that provides an easy interface for interacting with CDPs and making exchanges on Oasis, with full support for all of Maker's contracts on the way. The team is actively seeking developer feedback on this early version, so feel free to reach out on RocketChat.

  • Though it's been a tough week for crypto, Dai remained stable and saw it's highest 24hr volume all-time ($7.7m), providing safe harbor during a dip in the market. [ed note: honestly super impressive]

  • Announced an integration with The Ocean, bringing Dai into their platform.

Phil from MARKET Protocol

  • Ever have one of those bug stompin', branch blocking, clean up weeks? This was it.

  • You want to trade derivatives and we get it. SimEx (Simulated Exchange) is coming. Community contributor Dan is onboard and started work on the order book plumbing.

  • Several MARKET.js releases went out, so make sure you rebase your code!

  • Product design guru Nitin is on UI/UX overload with our trading interface, fill order functionality, user login, and deploy contracts.

  • We're going to the ETHIndia Hackathon to take home the prize! Hook up with Ethereum ninjas Eswara and Nitin and join the MARKET team if you're out there.

Robert from Compound

  • Hardened infrastructure and planned secure production environment

  • Working with security consultants, developed key management strategy

  • Finished Market Risk API. Broke ground on infrastructure for Historical Market Data API

  • Began implementation of updated UI (final designs) for dApp web interface

  • Presented Compound at Stanford’s Distributed Trust Initiative

  • Announced fund partnerships with 24 crypto hedge funds

Layer two and interoperability

Dong Mo from Celer

  • We announced a partnership with L4 Ventures, in order to together define the standard for off-chain state channel scaling for Ethereum and also research cutting-edge topics in off-chain scaling.

  • We completed the UX and UI design for home screen and usage flow for on-chain part of cOS mobile, and implemented a local database for saving the above data and provisioning the UI.

  • We also finished the first workflow design of how a user interacts with off-chain dApps. This interaction can be seamlessly integrated with the on-chain workflow, but some more user study and tuning is needed.

  • We’re currently working on modularizing backend components and finalizing the design of cNode interface and of low-cost on-chain griefing flows. Implementation in progress!

  • Implemented the generic interaction layer between off-chain backend and blockchain.

  • Finalized the design of state persistence and recovery. Finished the implementation of the persistent datastore library that is platform agnostic. This will be used in cOS mobile and also cNode full Celer Network node. Integration into business logic in progress.

  • Proof of Liquidity Commitment mining prototype is in progress and we are doing some game theoretical analysis on what should be the dynamic algorithm to control the issuance of CELR token through PoLC mining.

Janine from Liquidity.Network

  • Resolved issue with the faucet which allows users to receive a small amount of Wei to experience the capabilities of the wallet without depositing.

  • We are also excited to announce the launch of our fortnightly community newsletter, where the community can keep up to date with Liquidity’s chronological achievements and events directly from the team. Please subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of our website. A Chinese translation will also be available for our Asian community.

  • Crafting a Bitcoin token in Ethereum: Arthur has published with his co-authors at Imperial College London the latest design on how to make a Bitcoin token in Ethereum

  • Such novel techniques will significantly improve trustless cross chain capabilities. The whole blockchain ecosystem will benefit from such interoperability solutions, such that different blockchains will not only compete but rather develop healthy synergies moving the usability of blockchains to the next level.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

  • In the final stages of testing before next week's Tributary release delivering partial token unbonding, and direct networking connections between broadcasters and transcoders for more reliable video ingest.

  • This weekend Livepeer was used to stream three concurrent Ethereum ecosystem events - EthIndia, the ENS Hack Unconference in London, and the Ethereum Core Devs call.

  • ENS Hack bounty is in progress in which a team is integrating human readable names for transcoders on Livepeer's network, allowing token holders to actually easily identify whom their staking towards using a name rather than an Ethereum address.

Ryan from FOAM

  • Successfully launched our token and sale with the new Token Foundry standards/ The reception of the sale structure has been extremely positive, and we’re proud to be a first-mover in adopting such standards.

  • Migrated the FOAM TCR Map to the Rinkeby test net for the final weeks of testing and development before the upcoming main net launch.

  • Entered a new stage in development for Proof of Location with nano-second level time synchronization fimware for our LoRa radio developer boards and Tendermint ABCI application


Jimmy from Berminal

  • Built a simple, hybrid demo and aquired over 300k new users within a month

  • Updated the nomination & advertising related modules

  • Updated the content assignment module

Ari from Decentraland

  • Last week, the team added Ledger support to the CLI, and updated the CLI’s linker dApp to use the decentraland-dapps library, which is also now fully documented here!

  • The Linker dApp has also been updated so that it only is closed when your transaction is successful.

  • We’re making progress with LAND Estates: we’re currently conducting an external audit and are making some improvements to the frontend UX based on early user-feedback.

  • Finally, we’re translating our LAND Marketplace into Japanese and will also be adding the ability to edit your parcel content data directly from the Marketplace's parcel page view.

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • Working on a new bugfix release to fix problems migrating existing listings.

  • The 2.2.3 multiwallet server work continues; the wallet interface is now using coin-agnostic addresses and work has begun on the API for migrating existing addresses.

  • We open sourced our ETH smart contract work

Bowen from Hydro/

Katherine from Messari

  • Our engineering team released individual asset pages for cryptoassets. Head over to and click on any of the assets to see pricing information, project overview, metrics, and related news.

  • Officially launched our Discord Community, and wrote our first weekly Messari Community Update

  • Ryan is featured on three podcasts to talk about what we are working on over at Messari: Hidden Forces, Invest like the Best, and Epicenter.

  • Internally, we are reviewing our token economic model with several investors, TCR developers, and projects. Some verbal commitments from top crypto projects as our TCR launch partners, which we will announce in September.