Hi from a plane en-route back to the US from Tokyo! I’m finally done with an epic fundraising trip throughout Asia and can get back to doing what I really enjoy: reading and writing about the most interesting stuff happening in the decentralized infrastructure and money world.
In my absence, a lot of interesting stuff has been developed. Grin is inching closer to release, and there’s beginning to be a real interest in China for mining it. The mining industry itself in China is in the process of undergoing a consolidation driven by the dip in prices, and many smaller miners have been completely forced out of business. Those that survive have the best margins, both in the form of cheap electricity, capital, and mining equipment. These hardcore survivors are currently hanging on for dear life, but are also accumulating a huge advantage in terms of hashpower that will end up being very profitable when the price picks up again. New competitors are also emerging in the chip design sector of the mining field, most notably Whatsminer (神马矿机) a new entrant that has surprised everyone with incredibly efficient and powerful miners, posing a real threat to the incumbency of Bitmain.
During a fundraising meeting, I was asked by the founder of one of the top pharma companies in the world (i.e. someone who has a deep understanding of a capital-intensive industry but is basically new to crypto) what the most basic point of cryptocurrencies is. I explained that I feel (along with a lot of other people excited about this tech) that we’re currently living in an anomalous period where a bunch of centralized gatekeepers and middlemen have monopolized control over the money systems of the world, and use that control both to extract massive profits in the form of inflation and transaction fees, and also to decide who gets to send money to whom. As it turns out, keeping the benefits of digitized money but shaking off those centralized middlemen is difficult technical problem, the solutions to which seem to have a bunch of interesting side applications for designing systems to allocate scarce resources (names, storage, bandwidth etc.) Cryptocurrency, i.e. money based on a mathematically secured ledger, is not a philosophically new thing, but rather a return to the status quo we’ve had for millenia, where individuals and organizations deal directly with each-other, and no one has panoptic insight into the commerce of the world economy. During market downturns such as this one, I think it’s helpful to keep this very basic and almost boring fact in mind.
Finally, a quiet announcement of something that might not be quite ready, but should be fun to play around with: we’ve created a forum for PoW readers to discuss the most interesting things in cryptocurrency. You won’t find vapid “partnership announcements” or talk about which dinosaur-like incumbent has filed for what futile blockchain patent, but instead can read every day about new interesting technical developments in the blockchain space. The forum will start as invite-only (some of our earliest readers and friends have already gotten invites) and will slowly expand as we make sure our moderation team can handle the volume. If you haven’t gotten an invite and you’d like one, feel free to request one here!
Bitcoin & Friends
Daniel from Grin
Grin is a privacy-focused coin based on the Mimblewimble protocol being built by a pseudonymous team of developers
25 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 7 unique contributors.
The notes from the last governance meeting. We're conducting two security audits, one tba on the libsecp fork, and another by Quarkslab on the key Grin crates.
Grin v0.4.2 was released.
PR#2052: Keybase is now supported as a wallet plugin to do transaction building with.
wallet713 community project announced, standalone wallet with integrated transaction relay.
3rd Grin London Meetup announced, Jan 8.
More Grin info here.
Jimmy on Bitcoin
Dandelion tradeoffs [very interesting, must-read]
Aviv from Spacemesh
Spacemesh is a fair programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.
Initial version POET GO prover and verifier merged
First version of the Tortoise protocol merged
A first commit of the new Hare protocol message structure
First version of the gossip protocol merged
Preliminary design of Spacemesh global state and transaction processor
Sync protocol implementation PR
JZ from Decred
Decred is a coin based on Bitcoin, but with a proof of stake addition, and a raft of additional features focusing on governance of the protocol by users with stake.
The latest issue of the Decred Journal is out covering everything that transpired during November in terms of development and community, as always discussion about it is taking place on the Decred subreddit.
Politeia Digest issue 7was released this week as well, Richard has also started including stats about the treasury.
"Treasury balance: 588,681 DCR (approx +16,718 DCR/month) — $11.8 million (+$335k/month) based on $20 DCR price". While the so-called "crypto winter" seems to be taking its toll on other projects, Decred is unaffected due to our sustainable funding model. And we are still looking for talented devs to join us.
Snapshot ofpublic Decred dev activity for November: 266 active PRs, 268 commits, 45K additions & 25K deletions across 3-11 devs per repo.
James from Summa
Summa is building tools for trust-minimized transactions across different blockchains.
While at ETHSingapore, James hacked together a Bitcoin light client. Look for it to be open sourced later this week 🎈
We have our regularly scheduled ETH auction on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing you there 👋
Johnny from Stellar
Stellar is a protocol that uses a quorum-based consensus (totally different from Proof of Work or Stake) to enable cheap transactions in the native coin, and allow for the issuance of assets.
Our contact at Stellar is on vacation, updates to resume next week
Paige & Zooko from Zcash
Zcash is a coin based on Bitcoin but focused on privacy for users based on zk-SNARK transactions to hide senders and recipients
The engineering team released zcashd 2.0.2, read more in the release announcement, and for the full update, see this week's forum post: https://forum.zcashcommunity.com/t/december-7th-2018-weekly-update-fun-week-edition/32167
There will be a technical AMA with Zcash Company engineers Friday, December 14th
Smart contracting platforms
Myles from EOS
EOS is a smart-contracting protocol utilizing distributed proof of stake and a smaller number of nodes to enable the higher throughput necessary for dAPP type applications
EOSIO v1.5.0 Release Notes Published
EOS Jungle Testnet Hits Record 9,179 TPS
EOS block explorer Bloks.io launches a RAM explorer
Zaki from Cosmos
Cosmos is a proof-of-stake based system enabling interchain connectivity through hubs, and allowing for zone-based dapps to have inherently stable and economically viable ecosystems.
I wrote up a very technical breakdown of Cosmos vs Polkadot
Blocklayer released ChainKit a new tool for developers building Comsos zones that makes building testnets easy.
Tendermint is working with Kava to bring the Interledger Protocol to Cosmos and providing liquidity as an API to cosmos zones.
Kate and Dean from Agoric
Antonio from dYdX