Proof of Work #77

Good morning from Boston! A few unfinished thoughts from my Asia trip that I’ll expand upon in the next few issues:

  1. In some cases, exchanges are the enemy. A few bad-actor crypto exchanges in Asia print coins out of nowhere to engineer pump-and-dumps which they directly benefit from. Neither projects nor whales are colluding here; the exchanges themselves are doing this on their own. I used to think decentralized exchanges were something that only hardcore crypto folks cared about, but in the absence of regulation, decentralized exchanges may start to be in more demand as retail realizes how some of the exchanges are fleecing them.

  2. Bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, there are huge inflows to mining in China (setting up big farms, creating new ASICs, etc) despite the price coming down.

  3. China seems fairly serious about a digital fiat project.

More next time! Thanks for reading.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • Upgrade LND to version 0.8.0-beta: LND’s newest release uses a more extensible packet format, improves backup safety, increases watchtower client integration, makes routing more likely to succeed, and includes many other new features and bug fixes.

  • Upgrade to Eclair 0.3.2: Eclair’s newest release improves backups, makes syncing gossip data more bandwidth efficient (especially for non-routing nodes, such as nodes on mobile devices), and includes many other new features and bug fixes.

  • Review RCs: two popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects have issued Release Candidates (RCs) for the next version of their software. We encourage developers and experienced users to help test these RCs so that any problems can be found and fixed before their general public release:
    Bitcoin Core 0.19.0rc1
    C-Lightning 0.7.3-rc2

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.

  • On Wednesday, 10/30, at 0900 UTC there will be a testnet reset, which means everything will get wiped from the testnet ledger. If you are in the middle of something, make a plan to recreate any ledger entries you need, including accounts and balances. Read here for best practices when using the testnet.

  • Horizon 0.21.1 was just released on Thursday, 10/10. The big change: it includes support for Stellar-core v12.0.0! If you run Horizon, make sure and upgrade now.

  • SEP-0024: SEP-0024 has gone from DRAFT to ACTIVE to replace the now-deprecated SEP-0006. If you are curious about the differences between SEP-0024 and SEP-0006, msfeldstein breaks them down here.

  • Meridian, the first official Stellar conference, has an entire track of programming dedicated to developers. It’s taking place November 4–5, so if you’re interested in attending, grab a ticket. You can use the code 'STROOP50' for 50% off at checkout.

  • The second round of the Stellar Community Fund has come to a close. You can view the winners here! We are now accepting proposals for round 3.

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.

  • Echo reduced memory consumption by 35% by replacing glibc's malloc with Jemalloc.

  • Avery got the Coda wallet working in Ubuntu.

  • Paul and Matthew have made and applied tools to enforce a versioning discipline across the codebase for all types that go on the wire.

  • Izaak is teaching an all-day Zero Knowledge workshop during SF Blockchain Week featuring closing remarks and a happy hour with Vitalik. You'll get hands-on experience programming SNARKs into your dapp - use code POW for 50% off any ticket (limited quantity).

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

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

  • Stanford PING and REJECT: Researchers at Stanford presented two types of active side-channel attacks against private (a.k.a. shielded) transactions in Zcash. This Security announcement has been shared earlier this month in the Zcash community forum. Be sure to upgrade your nodes to Version 2.0.7-3 immediately and discontinue use of older versions. Please note that the issue does not put funds at risk of theft or counterfeiting.

  • Other updates to zcashd core team: 

    • Putting final touches on mempool DoS fix for 2.1.0 which we expect to come out soon

    • Putting final touches in librustzcash v0.1.0

    • Added “developer tooling” making it easier to work simultaneously on librustzcash/zcashd

    • Transitioning to scrum to help increase cycle time

    • Core Team current backlog

  • Dev-Infra team continues to work on updating/migrating Python2 code to Python3 as well as making several major Zcash components Docker compatible. 

  • The reference wallet team has spent the past few weeks paying down technical debt and addressing security concerns. 

    • handled all but one high-level security concerns brought up through internal review (sanitizing inputs, adding encryption between communication, etc.).

    • started to restructure the iOS and Android SDK so that there can be demo apps that showcase and isolate a specific functionality. Right now, the Android app looks more like a demo app--and it's not maintained to be stable. We've started on the iOS one!

    • added docker support and adding CI testing framework for `lightwalletd`. Now you can deploy a lightwalletd server with a simple docker file!

    • gotten feedback from multiple wallet partners on our sdk and lightwalletd server and we’re iterating based on that feedback.

    • In other wallet-related news, ZecWallet lightclient CLI is now available for beta testing on Zcash mainnet.  

  • Workshops and events: Daira and Str4d will give two talks at an upcoming ZKProof Community Event in Amsterdam (10/28 - 10/29). Str4d's talk will be on Halo itself, and Daira’s will be an update of hir scaling proposal.

  • See all Zcash community updates here.

Daniel from Grin

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

  • Merged PRs: 2 in /grin | 3 in /grin-wallet | 3 unique contributors

  • Results of the Coinspect Security Audit were published. Shout out to Coinspect for their excellent audit work, and to all the grin donors who made it possible in the first place.

  • Call for speakers for grincon1: November 22 in Berlin - submit your proposal by Oct 30.

  • Following grin-wallet beta5 all issues are resolved. Release of Grin v2.1.0 for node and wallet is now imminent - likely within a few days of this update being written.

  • Grin v3.0.0 release planning issue.

  • Transaction building over TOR Hidden Services merged. Improves privacy during the tx building process, generates a receiving address, and resolves port forwarding / NAT traversal requirements.

  • In the last development meeting, Security audit publication date, 2.1.0 release, 3.0.0 planning, and release packaging was discussed.

  • Grin is 100% funded by donations. Please support Grin development - Donate now.

  • More Grin info here.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

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

Jing from Plasma

Plasma Group is building "Generalized Plasma", a layer 2 scaling infrastructure for Ethereum that allows for general state transitions on layer 2.

Peter from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

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

  • Topper, our CEO, has recently shared a decentralized version of a ridesharing app demo built on Tupelo.  An explanation of “Decentracar” and its key components can be found here.   The github repo for “Decentracar” and demo site supplement the walkthrough.

  • In addition, an article on the related topic of the difference between disintermediation and decentralization in blockchain apps and DLTs can be found here

  • In our ongoing effort to make it even easier to get started developing with Tupelo, we have migrated to and released an improved version of our website.  We also are continuing to bring new examples and content to our docs site.

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a universal layer 2 hub. Developers can deploy and scale their dapps directly on Loom’s mainnet as well as interoperate with other major layer 1 chains such as Ethereum, Binance, Libra, Bitcoin, etc.

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.

  • Adding native ETH-USDC and DAI-USDC markets

  • Onboarding market makers. dYdX is now the most liquid DEX for ETH-DAI

  • Working on adding trading chart data from our native markets

  • Improving stability of native markets

  • Improving performance & fixing bugs on frontend app

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

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

Namebase is the easiest way to buy, sell, and use Handshake.

  • Namebase's CEO Tieshun Roquerre will give a talk on making the Internet more secure with Handshake at SFBW! He'll be speaking at the Epicenter Technical Stage at 2:10pm on 10/31. 

Alexandra from Polkadot

Polkadot empowers blockchain networks to work together under the protection of shared security.

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 were working on the final checklist for launching async-game.

  • We were designing FIAT solutions for gaming platform.

  • On our backend, we completed the first version of the Celer Web client and continue to test SGN components.

  • We began the design and development of Q4 OSP functionality.

Application infrastructure

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

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

Matt from Keep Network

The Keep Network is a privacy layer for public chains, enabling interactivity with private data and interoperability across chains. It does this with keeps, off-chain containers for private data that help smart contracts harness the full power of the public blockchain.

  • tBTC:

    • Merged Uniswap on-chain liquidation pathway

    • Zeroed in on a minimum feature set for an initial release

    Random beacon: 

    • Finished work on securing broadcast channel for DKG execution; only stakers selected to the group can publish to the channel

    • Implemented additional tests to make sure no duplicate group candidate tickets can be submitted

    • Improved the execution time of our solidity tests, we are about two times faster

    • Made progress on preparing to a public testnet release from the infrastructure side

    • Made progress on pricing implementation but we lost some time on a bug in go-ethereum; we provided a bugfix, and we hope to finish pricing work this week

    • For more updates and questions join our Slack and check out the Keep blog

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.

  • FOAM led successful talks and workshops at DevConV in Osaka on "Functional Programming in Ethereum" and "Rapidly Deploying an ETH 1.x Application in a Day" slides linked 

  • Announced a new platform, FOAM In-Sight in collaboration with Google Cloud Platform, Blocklytics and Chainlink for a hybrid cloud/blockchain application with a demo for DevConV. Main-net next.

  • FOAM participated in the Diffusion Hackathon in Berlin this past weekend with talks, workshops and winning projects building on our stack, linked here 

  • winner of The Graph hackathon built on FOAM with a new way of visualizing votes in the TCR via a subgraph.

  • Participating in "A Chain Reaction: Launching an Interchain Interoperability Standard" with Cosmos in Berlin discussing how IBC will be utilized for location services

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.