Proof of Work #61

Hi from San Francisco!

At Primitive, my partner Dovey and I feel that a part of our advantage over other managers is our visibility into both the US and Asian crypto scenes. There’s a real blindness among many people in the US scene to what’s going on in Asia, particularly in China. We’ve decided to give away this advantage to everyone reading PoW, in the form of an additional column of updates on the Asian crypto scene: mining, exchange hacks, random shitcoins raising hundreds of millions of RMB, Chinese government regs and all. This is a bit experimental: if you like it, or if you don’t please hit reply and let me know!

Some highlights this week: Sia hit a huge milestone with their 1.4 release, which gets them close to being able to work as a truly viable low-cost filesharing solution, Grin got a cool Chinese name (古灵币, literally “ancient spirit coin”), and Coinbase launched a staking service that supports Tezos to start.

Tiny housekeeping thing: projects that don’t update in a given week won’t be mentioned. Don’t worry, they haven’t been dropped—they’ll be listed again any time they send an update.

Thanks as always for reading PoW, and please ping me here or on Twitter if there is any way I can make it more useful for you!

China & Asia Updates

Mining

  • Upcoming wet season brings extremely low electricity costs (lower than 3 US cents) revitalizing the mining community

  • The consensus among miners is that total BTC hashrate will go back up to 60E. Even if BTC price stays around $4000, thanks to cheap electricity, many old mining models can be back online and profitable again (even WhatsMiner M3 and Avalon 7 Series, which are in the red now)

  • Bitmain announced new CEO, Micree remains as chairman of the board, and Jihan remains a board member. Jihan made a first public appearance for a keynote 3 days after the announcement

ASIC

  • Sales of the new AntMiner S17 from Bitmain will start on April 9th

  • A new ASIC firm VidToo (Hangzhou) announced a Cuckoo Cycle ASIC G1, claiming to be 50x more efficient than GPUs. Detailed specs will be published in late April. Currently announced Grin ASICs now include Innosilicon, VidToo and Obelisk—of these, only Obelisk has published specs so far.

Exchanges

  • DragonEx was hacked, Bitthumb was hacked, and there is some suspicion that Coinbene was also hacked. [ed: I assume that 100% of “hacks” are actually inside jobs until proven otherwise]

  • Gate.io (finally) announced its own exchange coin with a fairly unique distribution model (different than all the BNB clones)

  • Too many IEOs to keep track of (Huobi, Bittrex, ZB, ..everybody is doing IEOs)

Regulatory

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China (ed: I wonder what Gibson thinks when he reads those four words) announced the first batch of companies that are compliant with regulation filing known as “blockchain information service registration” There are 197 companies in the first batch including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu (full list here, filing requirements here).

Bitcoin & Friends

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

  • Bitcoin fees are up a bit recently: after over a year of most Bitcoin transactions confirming rather quickly as long as they paid a feerate above the default minimum relay fee (except during a brief exceptional period), a modest backlog has developed over the previous week and raised the feerates for people who need their transactions to confirm within the next several blocks. Spenders willing to wait a bit longer can still save money. For more information, we recommend Johoe’s mempool statistics and P2SH.info’s fee estimate tracker.

  • Trampoline payments for LN: Pierre-Marie Padiou started a thread on the Lightning-Dev mailing list suggesting that Alice could send a payment to Zed even if she didn’t know a path to his node by first sending a payment to an intermediate node (Dan) and asking Dan to figure out the route the rest of the way to Zed. This would especially benefit Alice if she ran a lightweight LN node that didn’t attempt to keep track of the entire network. For increased privacy, Alice could use several intermediate nodes rather than just one (each one receiving its own instructions encrypted by Alice). A downside described in the email is that Alice could only make a rough guess about the required fees as she wouldn’t know the actual path, so she’d probably end up paying more in fees than if she chose the route herself.

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

  • Dave Collins has made some dcrd optimizations which will be landing in our v1.5 release. They make an initial blockchain sync 20-25% faster, bringing things down to around 45 minutes for a full sync on typical hardware.

  • Richard has published a new issue of the Politeia Digest covering March 15-31, it includes discussion of the two live dev proposals that are up for vote; one to put out an RFP for Trust Wallet integration and another to move forward with the planning phase for potential ATM integration work.

  • We also have about 9 days to go for our on-chain consensus vote, so stakeholders who wish to participate should make sure their vote choices are set in their wallet. The vote can be monitored at https://voting.decred.org/.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

  • Core — CAP005 (surge pricing), CAP006 (buyOffer), CAP020 (Bucket list) got first round of reviews, ETA unchanged (end of April release).

  • Platform — Making good progress planning for new ingestion system, proposed Q2 Platform goals will be out this week.

  • Platform —  Additional work is being done on improved ticker.stellar.org

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • We have finished fixing all of the known bugs in our proof-of-stake and implementation and now have a fully-functioning Ouroboros Praos.

  • Deepthi implemented a check in the SNARK to ensure coinbases are correctly distributed.

  • Paul has been improving the versioning of types for backwards compatibility.

  • Jiawei fixed an important bug in how common ancestors of blocks are computed. 

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a digital currency utilizing zk-SNARKs to enable its privacy-protecting properties.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

  • The wallet will support socks proxy (for Tor/i2pd/Kovri).

  • Monero researchers and developers are now fully funded thanks to a generous anonymous donor(s).

  • The quick fact sheet for politicians, journalists, etc. has been updated by the Monero Outreach workgroup.

  • While the possibility "colored coin" transactions with RingCT/Monero has been known, the signatures were previously proportionally sized to the number of colors. A new approach removes this dependency, i.e. fixed size regardless of number of colors.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

  • 12 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 8 unique contributors.

  • We passed 100k blocks height this week, @antiochp put together some stats. 330k transactions resulting in 728k outputs, but only 48k UTXOs to keep track of...

  • @ignopeverell showed progress well under way for I2P support. Work includes dusting off the abandoned /i2p-rs client to make it ready for integration in Grin. This, and more, in his new monthly progress update.

  • @yeastplume is in the process of merging a final version of the v2 API, and getting ready for an upcoming v1.1.0 release.

  • Slean mining was announced by @lolliedieb at the Grin Amsterdam event, making it possible for low memory GPUs to mine the Cuckatoo ASIC tuned algorithm efficiently.

  • And almost simultaneously, there was another announcement for another method that can be used to solve Cuckatoo with less memory.

  • In the Governance meeting, ETH donations and potential changes to the phase out schedule was discussed.

  • Some incorrect news reporting made me clarify the proof of work discussion in that meetingaccording to my own understanding of it.

  • @tromp submitted a proposal for specifying our proof-of-work commitment to hold for 18 months into the future, and to put later phase outs on hold. To be discussed and possibly voted on in the next governance meeting.

  • @garyyu worked with the community to give Grin an official Chinese name: 古灵币

  • 2Miners announced support for Grin in their mining pool for SOLO and PPLNS.

  • Grin++ node and wallet is now on mainnet.

  • GrinPurse: A closed source grin GUI wallet for macOS and Windows, made by Bitmesh exchange. To be open sourced in the next week according to the developers.

  • More Grin info in this weekly newsletter.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 24 PRs in nearcore from 10 different authors

  • Clean ups and bug fixes for TestNet and dev ops configuration to run on GCP

  • Updated docs for running a TestNet on GCP and syncing to a local node

  • Added persistent collections to NEAR AssemblyScript library

  • Integrated NEAR, React and next.js at our internal hackathon with a fun toy and a simpler example.

  • near-shell updates

    • Near new_project generates a blank project in chosen dir

    • Ability to run tests against devnet now works.

  • Updated UI for the debugger.

  • Made example chess game deployed on GitHub Pages

  • Automated deployment: `npm run deploy` builds contract, deploys it to devnet and deploys frontend to GitHub Pages.

AJ from Tezos

Tezos is a self-amending blockchain that features formally verified smart contracts, on-chain governance, and a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm which enables all token holders to participate in the network. 

Topper from Quorum Control

Tupelo is a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • New release 0.1.1 live

    • Adds support for TUPELO_PUBLIC_IP environment variable which libp2p will broadcast for routing

    • Renames coins to tokens throughout API and codebase

    • Improves reliability through several defect fixes including a race condition in gossip code

  • Initiated transition to Go modules

  • Read our take on Why a DLT is often better for Centralized Systems

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • Agoric's "SwingSet" vat platform now supports evaluation of contract code outside of SES, providing a fallback for use in typical standard JS development tools, to preserve line numbers and stack traces.

  • The shim which implements the proposed Javascript "Realms" API is being moved out of the TC39 proposal repository into a dedicated repository. The TC39 repo will continue to host the specification text itself.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • Received final security audit report from Open Zeppelin on our new smart contracts, no critical issues were found. We will release the report when we open source the code in advance of our upcoming product launch

  • Finishing up final features and testing for the alpha launch of our new margin trading product

  • Work trialing one engineering & one design candidate

  • Hiring software engineers and product designers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • Dharma Protocol hit cumulative 1M USD in transaction volume this past week, the vast majority of that volume coming from the past 6 weeks since the rollout of Dharma Lever.

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email (nadav@dharma.io or brendan@dharma.io) or apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • We released a major update on the status of Multi-Collateral Dai, including a sneak peek of the CDP Portal and more.

  • We announced Protea as one of the first grantees of the Community Fund.

  • Coinbase Custody announced upcoming support for MKR governance (!) 

  • Ujo Music integrated Dai into its new feature, Streaming Payments, in order to help support artists.

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • We launched our exchange MPX on mainnet! Our whole team is proud of this accomplishment, woot woot!

  • Currently wETH / DAI is available for trading so that our market makers can integrate and begin providing liquidity.

  • This release is a big step towards the mainnet launch of our Position Token minting platform, which is coming soon. We will have more information to share in the coming weeks.

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • No updates this week.

Layer two and interoperability

Paul from Veil

Veil is a peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur, 0x, and Ethereum.

  • Started auditing user-created markets. Now by default Veil shows audited markets to users. Unaudited and draft markets are still available, but we want to encourage trading in markets that are very unlikely to resolve as invalid on Augur.

  • Launched Instant Settlement via 0x's new MultiAssetProxy, which enables Veil to relay redemptions for multiple tokens at once—like both long tokens and short tokens in a market. This feature is one of the first on Mainnet to use ZEIP-23.

Rahul from 0x

0x is an open protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

  • 0x Roadmap Part 3, introducing 0x Mesh, a peer-to-peer communication network that should greatly advance shared liquidity capabilities 

  • Had a successful meetup that will be on our YouTube channel soon 

  • Check out our new explore page to deep dive into the 0x Ecosystem

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We've completed CelerX server code and integration with game server. 

  • We implemented more efficient multi-session generalized channel. 

  • We recently open sourced new Celer channel contract and continued planning Q2 milestones. 

  • On our mobile side, we've finished and improved CelerX gaming platform UI design.

  • We refined UI for a new game on CelerX platform. 

  • We keep fixing bugs and improving CelerX stability.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer is a decentralized video infrastructure network, dramatically reducing prices for developers and businesses building video streaming applications at scale. 

  • Beta signups are open for testing out Livepeer's Streamflow transcoding network. The ideal user here is a video developer who works on an application that streams video at scale. Sign up here if you'd like to test the network.

  • The Livepeer Streamflow paper was translated into Portugese, with Chinese and French translations pending.

Ryan from FOAM

FOAM is building spatial applications and proof of location that bring geospatial data to blockchains and empower a consensus driven map of the world.

  • Completed work on a custom LoRa radio firmware for time synchronization that can speak to the FOAM blockchain stack with 12 modules, which represents 4 Zone Anchor nodes.

  • Released version 2.0 of Chanterelle, with more on the way 

  • Making progress on our ForthState Plasma fork 

  • Challenges are on the rise on the FOAM Map, see recent activity in the FOAM Daily Digest 

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • The RC4 of the upcoming version 1.4.0 of Sia was released for beta-testing among the Sia #contributors. The bugs for Windows bugs identified during the testing of the RC3 have been corrected, together with some contract formation issues. This is probably the last RC version before the final general release, which is expected to be released this week.

  • 3 different improvements and bug corrections related to stuck uploads, by DavidVorick and ChrisSchinnerl

  • An improvement to the contract formation process: better handling of cases where the host has a locked wallet or insufficient collateral, by lukechampine

  • Better calculation of the `maxcollateral` parameter of hosts, by lukechampine

  • Richer logs during contract formation, by MSevey

  • 2 Nebulous repo were updated. 7 issues were created, 8 were closed. 8 MRs were merged.

  • GitLab users ChrisSchinnerl, MSevey, lukechampine and DavidVorick had code contributions merged into Sia.

Other

Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io

Hydro Protocol is an open source framework for building Decentralized Exchanges. DDEX is the first decentralized exchange for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens built on the Hydro Protocol.

  • Hydro Starter Kit launch 4/2 

  • Hydro Scan online -https://hydroscan.io/ 

  • Launching US Stock Index Token with MakerDao and UMA 
    https://medium.com/uma-project/announcing-us-stock-index-token-powered-by-uma-and-dai-c394586c575a

Sam from OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace.

  • OpenBazaar version 2.3.2 has been released. This is a hot fix to address the problem with users running in dual-stack mode. There are a few minor other bugs fixed as well.

  • Minor IPFS changes introduced while we worked on the major recent rebase are now being implemented on the server side.

  • Significant changes are being made to how product discovery works in order to speed them up and decrease the likelihood of getting stale listings; early results show huge speed improvements and we believe they'll be included in the next release.