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:
You can pre-register on galleon.exchange, 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.
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.
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
We're on track to initiate the release process of Mainnet on Jan 15 @ 3PM UTC
33 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 14 unique contributors.
Lots of new getting started documentation courtesy of Yeastplume.
Photon managed to achieve 50-80% speedups on AMD GPUs and like the trooper he is, contributed it back to the community for use in default grin-miner.
Yeastplume delivered several critical improvements to the wallet.
Bisq exchange introduced Grin support.
The developer working on C++ implementation has been funded, but will not have wallet ready for mainnet.
Latest dev meeting begun planning for releases post mainnet.
Grin London Meetup was a full house with Yeastplume stopping by to do a technical Q&A, and a Bay Area Meetup was announced for Jan 29.
More Grin info here.
Aviv from Spacemesh
Implemented the testnet milestone block structure
Implemented additional Hare protocol tests
Merged these PRs
Finalized an iteration of the Spacemesh Wallet App desktop UX for another round of usability tests
Read our full updates
JZ from Decred
December issue of the Decred Journal is out, another busy month, on the dev side we had 230 active PRs, 196 commits, 33K additions & 106K deletions across 3-9 devs per repo.
For the adventurous v1.4.0 RC2 of Decrediton and the CLI tools are out and feedback is always welcome.
There was a nice piece featuring Decred in Forbes this week, giving a broad overview of how our multi-factor consensus model maximizes sovereignty for those who hold and stake Decred. On that note, a few of our independent contractors have assembled a roadmap for what they plan to work on in 2019. I expect we'll see similar roadmaps and proposals start to trickle in from our corporate and individual contractors that wish to receive funding from the Decred treasury through Politeia.
If anyone is planning on attending The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami this week, come stop by the Decred booth to chat (we also have the best swag). I'll be there seeking temporary refuge from the Canadian winter. We'll also be represented by Morphy Tsai our Taiwan community manager at the OKEx Global Meetup Tour 2019 in Taiwan as well.
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.
Paige & Zooko from Zcash
The final NU2 Blossom Network Upgrade Goals were announced, outlining the next few versions of the zcashd software leading up to the “Blossom” network upgrade in October of this year.
We outlined the process for deciding what features will be implemented and supported in the zcashd software, facilitated by the Network Upgrade Pipeline.
The wallet team published the next update in the ongoing series, this time focused on the Zcash Reference Wallet Light Client Protocol.
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