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
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
We are getting closer to run our first nodes test network, currently without mining capabilities.
Created a rudimentary wallet grpc and HTTP API for use in the test network.
Created a test Rolacle (Roles oracle) for testing our hare protocol.
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]
Snarky was fully extracted from the Coda repo, and is now easier to use and develop upon. That process has upstreamed months of development changes and drastically improves the development experience on Snarky.
Paige & Zooko from Zcash
Heavy engineering focus on evaluation and specification of Blossom network upgrade features
Final Blossom goals announced [ed note: faster block times, having the founder’s reward automatically distributed to ultimate recipients, better than current manual status quo. notably, new dual mining stuff pushed off til later due to security concerns]
Finalizing last components for official Windows build of zcashd
Updates to the unofficial Zcash fork of the bitcore insight explorer including deployment scripts for deploying a zcash insight explorer with a few easy commands
Read the full update here: https://forum.zcashcommunity.com/t/january-18-2019-weekly-update-engineering/32537
Diego and Riccardo from Monero
No update this week
Daniel from Grin
Mainnet was successfully released. Retrospective by Igno to the mailing list.
22 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 13 unique contributors.
Wallet performance enhancements by yeastplume.
Governance meeting notes, where official currency code (GRIN), currency symbol (ツ) were chosen.
Grin accepted as forum payments on Bitcointalk.
Smirk, a wallet project by IDEO coLAB.
https://grin-tech.org has got a new look, courtesy of @nijynot.
Grinbox/wallet713 now supports end to end encryption. (I'm affiliated)
Grin meetups held in Beijing and Montreal, with another one planned in Singapore on Jan 23.
More Grin info here.
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:
fixed a confinement bypass found by Matt Austin which enabled access to Date.now() and other forms of unsanctioned nondeterminism
fixed a security failure in the confined Function constructor, also found by Matt Austin
improved confinement of RegExp and platform-specific debugging functions
added options to control access to Math.random() and i18n nondeterminism
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.
Lazar from MARKET Protocol
No update this week, will be back next week
Layer two and interoperability
Paul from Veil
Published a guide to Augur/Veil market economics to help educate users on pricing and payouts in binary and scalar markets.
Launched a feature that lets users nominate existing Augur markets for listing on Veil. Nominate a market now.
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
The beta of Parity Fether, a light client-based wallet for Ethereum networks, is out now.
Parity Ethereum new versions 2.2.7-stable and 2.3.0-beta support the Constantinople postponement.
There's now a Substrate Reddit.
We're hiring a Developer Advocate and Tech Ambassador, among other roles.
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.
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.
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
Released the faster and improved version 1.7.0 of the Marketplace
Added ability to load “asset packs” to the Decentraland editor tool
Released version 2.1.0 of the CLI
Building a UI API for the SDK, and establishing user requirements for the Decentraland Client. We’re also updating a new communications protocol for the client, and are continuing development for Unity support
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.