Proof of Work #56

Double header

Hi from Boston! Last week’s PoW was delayed due to an internal process switchover. Future PoW’s will be sent out on tuesdays instead of mondays, to give some teams who needed more time the ability to reliably get updates in.

I think too way much attention is paid to complicated smart-contracts which are meant to enable something like an app, and too little paid to simple smart contracts (or even just multi-signature setups) used coordinate action outside of a system of legal contracts. Recently a lawyer I know explained that he had a client who’s assets had been frozen as part of an investigation and was therefore unable to pay him. Naively one would think the client could just send BTC (since you can’t freeze that) but as all the lawyers reading along know, doing so would put both the client and the lawyer in violation of a court order.

So let’s imagine a multisig wallet controlled by a group of highly trusted friends who are instructed to disburse funds only in the event that you need legal defense and are unable to pay for it. Such a setup could hire you a lawyer when you need it most, without being in violation of any asset freezes or court orders. It might be possible to set up some sort of trust that could function in a similar way, but whether asset freezes apply to the trust of which one is the sole beneficiary is a complicated question to answer for every global jurisdiction.

Such a multisig could be thought of as a “FrienDAO,” a minimalist decentralized organization with a single purpose: to provide funding for legal defense when the defendant themselves is unable to do so for whatever reason. Of course, to reduce the amount of capital an individual has to lock up, a group of people who were each individually relatively unlikely to face legal action could each make a contribution to such a DAO and appoint a few of their own friends to the multisig committee, in a sort of small-scale insurance pool…

So far, the usability around multi-signature wallets has been so incredibly poor that even simple use cases like this have barely been seen in the wild. The main users of multisig now are crypto funds and exchanges (for custody) and services like Abra or LocalBitcoins (for escrow) who have a high degree of technical competence and can avoid the many pitfalls that surround anything more complex than a simple keypair wallet. It’ll be interesting to see user-facing wallets integrate simple multisig, and also interesting to see how the legal system treats such constructs.

Bitcoin & Friends

Optech on Bitcoin [subscribe to full newsletter here]

  • Schnorr-ready fork of libsecp256k1 available, bringing us another step closer to Schnorr on Bitcoin. Read here about why that’s cool. This library doesn’t make the features available on sidechains by itself, but it does provide the code upon which both signature generation and verification can be performed. It is hoped that the code will receive additional review and be ported into the upstream libsecp256k1 library for eventual use in Bitcoin Core related to a soft fork proposal

  • Bitcoin Core #15348 adds a productivity hints document describing tools and techniques developers have found to improve their efficiency. Although some are specific to Bitcoin Core and C++ development, others more generally apply to anyone who develops with git or GitHub.

  • Eclair #821 improves the heuristics used to help find a good route over which to send a payment.

James from Summa

  • We went to EthDenver and built a UTXO-ifier for ERC20 tokens. It puts bubble wrap around revocable tokens so they don't accidentally break smart contracts or harm users

  • Some great projects from Denver will be entering our work flow. Barbara and the frontend team are real excited about using Eth Dev Tools

  • Despite all the fun, we're a bit disappointed in the state of the ecosystem. Buffidai was a centralized, fractional reserve, fiat currency. And event check-in with the identity dapp was rough.

Tony from Kadena

  • We're continuing to strengthen Pact's scalability, which is a significant step forward for our hybrid blockchain platform. Chainweb (public) blockchain Testnet launch ETA is end of Q1.

  • Deployed formal verification on Pact so that formula construction gets automatically tested with all potential inputs.

  • Taylor Rolfe wrote a Medium post on "Turing Completeness and Smart Contract Security."

Aviv from Spacemesh

  • Merged first implementation of a running full node with Hare consensus protocol and unoptimized tortoise

  • Merged a new system-wide logging service that supports sending and events and metrics to a global test network orchestrator

  • Merged a fixed size pseudo-random Oracle for role and block validation as preparation for system testing

  • Implemented a rudimentary CLI wallet

  • Added definitions and flow charts for the Hare protocol

  • Merged basic POET server infrastructure

  • Merged the first test of a complete network running hare and tortoise consensus protocols, agreeing on the state of the networks shared ledger

  • Merged optimal Tortoise protocol implementation

  • Added node events for improved test networks debugging

  • Added genesis state configuration

  • Announced our next upcoming live dev community sync on Youtube >> Set a reminder and ask us anything.

JZ from Decred

  • We published our stats for January of select Decred repositories; we had 242 active PRs, 243 commits, 60K additions & 47K deletions across 2-8 devs per repo. As always there's a link to a pretty chart in the tweet.

  • We also have a few new proposals that have gone live on Politeia, one of them is interesting for Java devs who might want to become Decred contributors and earn some coin as it's a vote to authorize an RFP process to build Decred support for crypto ATMs. Two of the proposals were authored by Dustin our marketing lead and seek stakeholder approval for an annual marketing budget and events budget.

  • There has also been tons of spirited discussion on Jake's Decred DEX proposal for an exchange that uses a client/server model and atomic swaps (right, no having to use our coin/chain to trade). Think of it as a fancy messaging system that matches buyers and sellers who then trade without counterparty risk (full details here). Basically, any coin that has merged code to our atomic swap Git repo could be supported and anyone would be free to run their own exchange supporting any pairs they please.

  • Some exciting news on the conventional exchange front as well.Vertbasenow offers its customers the ability tobuy DCR directly with USD. Swiss exchangeLykkealso added Decred with bothBTC and USD pairs.

Johnny from Stellar

  • No update

Izaak from Coda

  • We’re discussing the construction of a more efficient of elliptic curves for recursive composition on the #cryptography-cafe channel of the Coda discord. Join us!

  • Paul landed a series of PRs for a principled system for versioning types.

  • Izaak replaced all uses of SHA256 with blake2.

  • Deepthi completed the initial work for tracking proper attribution of coinbases within the SNARK.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Diego and Riccardo from Monero

  • No update, finding a new updater and will have an update in next week’s issue!

Daniel from Grin

  • Grin v1.0.2 has been released! Make sure you upgrade, anybody with a node running behind NAT should see more stable behavior in terms of number of outbound connections.

  • 7 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 4 unique contributors.

  • @yeastplume begun effort to split out wallet into its own repo. Will allow node and wallet individual roadmaps, and makes it easier to support third party development.

  • Libgrin, a grin library written in Go, was open sourced by Grimint.

  • Coinspect was chosen for the security audit of the core, keychain, wallet, and chain crate in the latest governance meeting.

  • The C++ implementation developed by @DavidBurkett went live on windows.

  • SuperGrin, a GUI wallet for OSX was open sourced by @rheza.

  • WIP PR by @JeremyRubin to switch to CuckooCache data structure.

  • WIP PR by @mcdallas to add webhooks for network and chain events.

  • Development meeting notes planning the v1.0.2 release, discussing v1.1.0 scope and error management.

  • Facebook live video from last week's Bangkok meetup where @garyyu presented.

  • More Grin info here.

Beni from Beam

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

  • Constantinople’s network upgrade is scheduled to happen around Feb 28th at block 7280000. Update your clients so you don’t get left behind. Here’s the Foundation’s FAQ

  • Zether and Sigmabullets for confidential/anonymous Ethereum transactions. 7m gas now, but could be lowered to 1.7m with EIP1108 and 1109. Paper by Bünz, Agrawal, Zamani and Boneh.

  • Plasma: Streamr opensourced Monoplasma for one to many payments.  Also, Gluon Plasma goes live on mainnet with Leverj’s exchange.

Erik from NEAR

  • 40 PRs in nearcore and 12 commits in NEARStudio.

  • Switched from Parity WASM interpreter to WASMER JIT. Got 100x raw improvement and 18x improvement when other components factored in.

  • Finalized the design and started implementation of a new consensus for beacon and shard chains “Nightshade”, replacing previously used consensus TxFlow. See a draft of a paper for an early DAG-based version of Nightshade here, and a simplified version without a DAG here.

  • Initial working API for cross-contract calls using AssemblyScript.

  • Benchmarks for the client excluding network and consenus

  • Launched NEAR Place app as a lightweight collaborative DevNet demo at (source)

  • Improved APIs and integration tests for DevNet while improving stability.

AJ from Tezos

  • An in-depth look on how the amendment process works in Tezos for it’s upcoming proposal vote from Nomadic Labs

  • Tezos Statistics: 79% are staking, 453 roll owners, 50,211 total rolls, and 12,589 delegators

  • Tezos Stack Exchange has successfully completed it’s private beta with 200+ questions and will be open to the public on February 19th

  • Introducing Athens -- The first Tezos on-chain upgrade proposal to be voted by the community.

  • Fi -- a new way to develop smart contracts for Tezos

  • Introducing Arronax, a tezos block explorer developed by Cryptonomic, that will enable users to search blocks with keywords.

  • Tezos Stack Exchange has successfully completed it’s private beta with 200+ questions and will be open to the public on February 19th

Topper from Quorum Control

  • The Quorum Control team is in full swing on closed Testnet for Tupelo, our DLT platform with an innovative new data structure (ChainTrees) modeled flexibly for ownership.

  • Developers can request access to the testnet, read through our documentation, or install locally and start building immediately.

  • Launched V0.0.10 of testnet

  • Binaries available for local install

  • Launched a ChainTree web explorer

  • Shipped improved client storage plugins

  • Introduced new infrastructure for measuring network performance & improved network visibility

  • Made platform improvements and general bug fixes to gossip protocol and API

  • We're hiring for a Community Developer. See the job description here and send any resumes to

Michael from Loom

Myles from EOS

Zaki from Cosmos

Kate and Dean from Agoric

  • We’ve moved a couple of libraries out of SES so that they can be used outside of a SES environment.

    • One of them is Nat. Nat() can be used to check that a value is a safe integer and should be used on things like account balances and any kind of manipulation of value represented in JavaScript numbers.

    • Another library is makeHardener, which creates a function (harden) that performs a full “deep freeze” on JavaScript objects. More information on why you might want to “harden” an object here.

  • We released a new version of the "SES" Secure EcmaScript library (0.4.0). This version adds require() to the confined code, allowing it to perform module imports, fully controlled by the enclosing realm.

  • We also released new utility libraries (@agoric/nat, @agoric/make-hardener, and @agoric/harden), which used to be part of SES. By splitting these out into external modules, application code which uses them can be unit-tested either inside or outside of a SES environment. "Harden" performs a deep Object.freeze, to protect an API object from external tampering, facilitating safe interaction between mutually suspicious code.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

  • Started a security audit with Open Zeppelin on the smart contracts for our upcoming new product release

  • Looking for alpha testers for our new margin trading product. Reach out to if you're interested!

  • Hiring engineers and product designers full-time in SF

Brendan from Dharma

  • We released two huge UX improvements in Dharma Lever: a) an updated Dashboard that contains a user's borrowring and lending history; b) "Optimistic" flows that cut down the time to borrow to ~1 minute

  • Last week we did 48k in borrow volume. We've already done >50k in 2 days this week

  • We're hiring for a blockchain developer and a front-end developer. Check our our open roles here:

Coulter from MakerDAO

  • ETHDenver was spectacular as we had a variety of talks, bounties, and after parties, all while promoting the use of buffidai. We'll have a full wrap-up soon, but one of the things we're most proud of is that we sold our swag for one buffidai, will all proceeds going to Unicef. We collected over $1000! 

  • The vote for the stability fee increase (from 0.5% to 1%) was approved. Governance in action! 

  • Meridio is using Dai to enable their investors to seamlessly trade real estate shares. You can read about it in our latest blog here.

  • Maker CEO Rune Christensen appeared on The Blockcrunch Podcast to discuss how Maker plans to scale, who's using Dai, and more. 

  • The bloqboard team has integrated CDPs directly into their lending platform. Check out the video here

  • ETHDenver was a massive success with the help of Austin Griffin and the amazing burner wallet which helped power 4000+ meal purchases. 

  • The Maker Foundation Risk Team will place a proposal into the voting structure to raise the Dai Stability Fee by 0.5%, for a new rate of 1.5%. Read more here and don't forget to join our governance calls Thursdays at 9am PST

  • Announced an awesome real-world integration of Dai: Invest in a Brooklyn property, with Dai, and receive an expected yield of 13.24%, also in Dai.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

  • Continued work on MPX API endpoints

  • MPX 0x order book is now functional

  • Implemented base design layout for our user dashboard

  • Fixed bug that was preventing response when deploying a contract

  • Our exchange MPX is functional on testnet, we demoed at ETH Denver!

  • Order fills now correctly update order state to filled

  • Orders now include their asset pair name, enabling improved lookup

  • User trade history now appears within the fills section of the dashboard

  • Implemented wallet and contract section UI within the dashboard

Robert from Compound

  • No update this week.

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

  • We’ve put forward a proposal for a Handshake address naming spec that would allow people to send cryptocurrency on any chain to a human readable name! No more sending to 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa—instead, you can just send to “satoshi” and be done with it! Our proposal also has an additional layer that allows address privacy even with human readable names.

Paul from Veil

  • Launched a redesign of our market pages. Check out the new design on any binary or categorical market. Scalar markets are now only available to trade in Pro.

  • Introduced a new concept called wagers. Wagers are like limit orders—you pick your own odds/price—and each wager has a unique link you can share for others to take the opposite side.

  • Veil.js version bump, including updated 0x libraries, new method for fetching user orders by status, and new user balances API.

  • Added notifications. Now when you log in to your Veil account, you’ll be notified of order fills, markets that have resolved, and other activity since your last visit.

  • Added the ability to toggle between different odds formats. The two supported formats are price (the price per Augur share, between 0-1 ETH) and decimal (traditional European style odds representing the return multiple).

  • Re-integrated the order book into the default buy and wager forms. After launching a redesign of our market pages last week, one of the most requested features was adding the current order book back to the order form.

  • Uniswap and Compound markets. Veil just listed two new markets that track the ETH locked in popular DeFi products. Now you can speculate on DeFi’s growth.

Rahul from 0x

  • ZEIP 23 voting ends tomorrow, which if passed will enable the trading of bundles of assets

  • 0x is hiring! Check out our careers page, looking for engineers, product managers, product designers, and more

  • Offering free infrastructure credits to companies building on top of 0x 

  • 0x + CoinList Hackathon recapCFTC response about 0x and Ethereum from our lawyer Jason

Janine from Liquidity.Network

  • No update this week.

Dong Mo from Celer

  • We released iOS and Android v0.8.5 public beta testing, fixed bugs, and improved stability. Optimized the server configurations in different regions and created MVPs for the referral program. 

  • We finished testing and bug fixes before ETHDenver to be able to support hackers building on top of Celer. 

  • Finished the websocket-based SDK, and presented it at ETHDenver hackathon. Fixed bugs in the new OSP protocol and completed the design and planning for the multi-region scalable OSP. 

  • Finished implementation of LiBA web UI.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Application infrastructure

Wes from Theta

  • Theta mobile wallet for Android published to Google Play store. The iOS version targets next week.

  • Blockchain sync improvement for shorter download time for a new node 

  • State trie pruning which could dramatically reduce the disk space usage of Theta blockchain

  • Streaming mobile SDK improvement. Fixed issues for different hardware devices.

Ryan from FOAM

  • Released new analysis and statistics, "A closer look at challenges and incentives on the FOAM Map" 

  • Recap and Videos now live from our NYC Blockchain Showcase featuring MakerDAO, Livepeer, Relevant and Balance 

  • Challenge notifications, new heat map layer and Map Leaderboard in final stages of development, to be released next week.

  • Running tests on the GeoPickle, a custom server rack of Raspberry Pi's running the time synchronization protocol in real world conditions recently built. We will be walking through a demo of this technology in our next community call 02/21

Doug from Livepeer

David from Sia

  • The second Release Candidate for Sia 1.4.0 was distributed in the #contributors channel. This release candidate has “a few big bugs fixed, a few little bugs fixed, a few performance optimizations.” Taek went on to say “There will be an RC3”. The Sia community has been testing this release candidate thoroughly, perhaps more thoroughly than any other previous RC in Sia’s history. The thorough testing has identified several bugs that the Sia team is still tracking down and fixing.

  • The vast majority of merge requests this week were bug fixes, debug statements, and improving testing to ensure a stable release.

  • New commands were added to the siac utility that enable .sia file backups and restores. This feature was previously added to siad and the API, but now siac supports the same functionality (link).

  • New pricing fields were added to the API and siacminbaserpcprice and minsectoraccessprice are two new fields that allow a host to set prices for a renter to execute host rpc calls and access specific sectors. Most users won’t need to adjust the default values (link).

Ari from Decentraland

  • Our UI API is now available for testing via decentraland-ecs@next. Some early documentation is available here.

  • We’re working on version 5.1 of the SDK, which will increase LAND parcel size to 16m by 16m, add loading feedback to scenes, add version 2.0 support to the CLI, remove the MetaMask requirement for previewing scenes, improve performance of the comms services, and add an identity protocol.

  • We’ve completed the audit for the Marketplace bidding feature, with some resulting minor fixes and UI work planned for next week. 

  • The Builder now includes a UI for adding scenes to the Creator Contest, new ground textures, a Chinese New Years themed model pack, segment events, and support for custom scene layouts.

Bowen from Hydro/

  • No update.

Sam from OpenBazaar

  • 2.3.1 update is being finalized. Bulk of work is the IPFS rebase, which will improve network connectivity. 2.3.1 also will include a bulk coin updater which allows vendors to change the coins accepted for all listings instead of individually. Release candidates for testing should be available soon.

  • Ethereum integration work continues. Use as a currency is mostly completed and in testing, further integration of ETH-based tokens is being worked on now. Will not be ready for the 2.3.1 release but we're aiming for initial ETH support soon after.

  • The web version of OpenBazaar now has a React website prototype built.

  • IPFS rebase in testing now. Other minor bug fixes and changes for upcoming 2.3.1 release are included and being tested.

  • The Blockbook infrastructure needed for the multiwallet to properly function is being improved to assure high availability.

  • A service (not affiliated with OB1) called Zokos which hosts OpenBazaar stores via the web was released this week.

Martín from Zeppelin

  • No update.