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, 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

  • 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.


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.