Proof of Work #17

Good morning from Boston! I’m still completely on Beijing time—if someone can invent a rapid cure for jetlag, I’ll invest even if the token model is stupid.

One thing readers of Proof of Work have probably noticed is that projects often miss their deadlines for shipping code. At first I was put off by this, but a conversation I had with David Vorick from Sia changed my mind completely. His position is that deadlines for blockchain code are a bad idea, and that teams should wait as long as it takes to get it right—because once you ship code, it might take a hard fork to fix a big problem. This attitude has been echoed by all the other teams I’ve talked to—blockchain code is a lot more similar to hardware builds than it is to say, a web app. I think this difference in attitude towards security and code quality is underappreciated by outsiders who assume that really strong engineers should be able to pick up blockchain coding within a few months—as far as I can tell, the most successful projects are being built with people who have deep experience shipping distributed systems, many of whom who cut their teeth writing Bitcoin code.

The massive influx of institutional money into the blockchain space continues unabated. One of the valley’s most famous VC’s is on the verge of announcing a multi-hundred million dollar blockchain fund, Coinbase announced their own venture fund, and EOS just announced another ecosystem fund being run by friends of the newsletter Winnie Liu and Michael Cao.

Earn.com was acquired by Coinbase this week in a fairly controversial transaction—I went back and forth on this, but I now think most people are underestimating the strategic value of Earn for CB—having a way for people to get crypto that doesn’t involve them first entering a credit card is pretty valuable. Crypto is fairly addictive, and I imagine the conversion rate to paying coinbase customer for someone who’s earned some Bitcoin on Earn is high.

I’ll be adding a new extremely exciting project to the newsletter next week—as usual, if you have a project you’d like to see featured please get in touch, and if there’s any way I can make this newsletter more useful or less annoying for you, I’d love to hear about that as well.

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

  • We intended to get the 1.1.0 release 3 out at the beginning of this week but got stalled a few days and are working diligently to get the release announcement blog and the new version onto the Zcash release repository. 

  • The upcoming weeks will involve making sure third party services are ready for the upgrade. 

  • We’re participating in the Blockchain career fair at Berkeley next week to take resumes and more generally see the types of gigs folks are interested in doing in this industry.

Michael & Tom from Dfinity

  • This week the DFINITY team flew in from all over the world for an all hands meeting. Work has begun on a developer portal to be launched in conjunction with the DFINITY testnet. 

  • The team is finalizing specifications and APIs for the Primea integration. 

Evan on Ethereum

Doug from Livepeer

  • Released Livepeer node v0.1.16 with support for viewing which transcoding nodes on the network get assigned broadcast jobs amongst other video related fixes. Work is underway to let nodes track state better across sessions for more reliability during the upcoming Mainnet Alpha.

  • Livestreamed events on Livepeer's Rinkeby testnet with MakerDAO, VR Artist Miguelangelo, and Solidity Sessions last week, with upcoming streams scheduled for Userfeeds and Way Network this week. If you're a decentralized tech project that would like help getting started with live streaming, please reach out to us!

James from Vertcoin

  • Electrum-VTC v3.1.2-rc1 released for testing. Re-based from upstream Electrum it includes bech32 segwit address support. 

  • CryptoPlankton joins the development team. Thus far Plankton has been responsible for the design and implementation of our new website as well as designing our upcoming Litbox wallet suite. 

Jimmy on Bitcoin

Robbie from Truebit

  • Lead discussion on what Blockchain's need from WebAssembly at the annual WASM Community Group in-person meetup in SF.  Represented Dfinity, Parity, Ethereum and Truebit.  Notes from the 3 day meetup will be posted on the WASM github next week.

  • Truebit is hiring a VM Expert -- send Robbie an email to apply

  • Truebit Development:Serious effort towards integrating incentive-layer + dispute-resolution-layer into one common command line application. Exploring new method for resubmitting challenged tasks. Submitted new tests in the WASM-Solidity Repo

  • Ocean Protocol spent some time reviewing the Truebit codebase and put together initial thoughts here

  • Gave a talk with Dfinity on the our WASM VM's.  We will be hosting another WASM event on the 25th in SF.  If you have experience with VM's / Compiler's / WASM / OCaml / Rust / C and are interested in learning more, please reach out to Robbie to apply for the event  

JZ from Decred

  • Our Politeia proposal system is making quick progress. Backend voting works on testnet via CLI and active efforts are underway to integrate the latest features on the GUI side.

  • Decred’s Luke Powell has released the second episode in his Lightning Network series, exploring topics such as payment channels, onion routing, and some of the challenges that still lie ahead. It’s a great overview of the rationale behind Decred’s pursuit of Lightning support.

  • We were very excited to hear news of Decred being added to two new exchanges in Brazil this week. Both Profitfy and Braziliex have not only added DCR, but also support Brazilian Real trading pairs in addition to their crypto pairs.

Larry & Ryan from Blockstack

  • Updated, client-side version of the browser: We shipped the latest version of the Blockstack browser, which enables feature-parity across Macs, Windows and Linux, and does not require a Blockstack core node.

  • Mobile SDK libraries for iOS and Android: The software libraries will let developers build on Blockstack for both Android and iPhone/iPad apps. On the iOS side of things, we  implemented auth and submitted a very early build to cocoapods (Package manager for iOS apps). We are currently in the process of testing.

  • Improving the Blockstack ID creation process: We are redesigning the Blockstack ID account creation process so it is: 1) simple and intuitive for the end-user, 2) works on mobile and all other platforms, and 3) likely postpones the 12 word seed recording step. The front-end is working now, and we will do another round of live user testing next week 

  • Blockstack investor roadshow: The NYC investor day is scheduled for April 24. Muneeb/Ryan will educate investors on decentralization and dapps. Investor days in SF, Seattle, and Boston will follow. More events here.

Ryan from FOAM

Zaki from Cosmos

  • We have had a stable distributed testnet since April 10. Explorer is here. Learn how to join. This testnet is entirely operated by the community and likely validators on the HUB.

  • This testnet focuses on testing new versions of tendermint and cosmos sdk.
    It was used to test a sucessfull IBC transaction with the Bianjie testnet. 

Katherine from Messari

  • We dropped our first three cryptoasset profiles at https://messari.io/research.html. To date, we have completed profiles for Aragon, Storj, and Bluzelle. More to come next week. 

  • We are architecting the data intake and output systems for the open-source cryptoasset library. 

  • Messari is expanding its engineering team. We just hired a senior engineer from Palantir, and are looking for three more talented developers to join our team. Check our positions on AngelList, more coming soon.

  •  Texas made some pretty big moves this week as the Texas State Securities Board released a report on its month-long investigation of 32 different crypto-related investment offerings. To date, Texas has opened up no less that 60 crypto investigations. What’s important to keep in mind is that in the U.S., there are both federal and individual state laws to comply with. 

  • Incredible coverage from Bloomberg this week on Ripple’s attempt to pay for an XRP exchange listing-- notably, offering $1 million to Gemini and $100 Million to Coinbase for a listing. Both exchanges refused, citing the uncertainty of Ripple as potentially a security under U.S. law. Note: though listing fees are not illegal; listing a security on exchanges like Coinbase that are not registered with the SEC as broker dealer or ATS could result in hefty legal penalties. 

  • Speaking of exchanges, Coinbase has been meeting with the SEC to discuss registering as a licensed brokerage firm and electronic-trading venue. Doing so will allow Coinbase to expand its asset coverage, but will also open the company up to SEC examinations (all trading records, internal policies, systems, etc). Note: If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an "exchange," as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration. Otherwise, the platforms may be deemed as illegal operations. 

Ari from Decentraland

  • Released versions 0.3.5 and 0.3.6 of the Marketplace, which include a new parcel transaction history, the ability to transfer MANA between accounts, and updated styling for both desktop and mobile platforms.

  • Completed assembling the first couple sample scenes that developers will be able to use as starting points when building interactive content for Decentraland.

  • Finally, we've been focused on writing and improving developer documentation for our SDK. We'll have more updates on this front next week!

Diego and Riccardo for Monero

  • Things are still kinda chill around here. People taking a bit of a breather after the release. We've even pushed off our twice a month development meeting for a few weeks because we were meeting every week before the release.

  • For the most part, the happenings have been in the community. We're seeing more and more languages being merged into the getmonero.org website (all volunteer) and Monero is planning our presence at Defcon, where we will be having a shared village, and plan to have several presentations and workshops.

Brendan and Nadav from Dharma

  • Merged Debt Token API and methods for returning and seizing collateral into `dharma.js`

  • Added 50 most popular tokens (by trading volume) to the Dharma Token Registry

  • Building V1 of collateralized loans in Dharma Plex

  • Onboarded our new software engineer, Chris Min, and created a prioritized feature roadmap for Dharma Plex with him

Antonio from dYdX

  • Finished implementation of our V1 Smart Contracts! Audits start this week

  • Started working part-time with a senior product manager, George

  • Stay tuned for coming announcements about our protocol launch!

Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io

Will from 0x

  • The 0x Starter Projects now run on Windows!

  • PRs are up for most changes in v2 of the 0x smart contracts

David from Sia

  • 2 Nebulous repo was updated this week.  3 issues were created, 3 were closed.  5 PRs were merged.

  • Chris merged in his io.ReadSeeker interface which enables video streaming with long load times.  This is a big feature that many users are very excited about, congratulations Chris and everyone who worked to make it a reality.

  • GitHub users ChrisSchinnerl, lukechampine, davidvorick, and mtlynch had code contributions into Sia this week.

  • From the community: The Sia team did a Reddit AMA this week, read the questions and responses here

Demi from Zeppelin

  • 5,000+ weekly downloads of the OpenZeppelin framework, a new record

  • While building the initial implementation of the ZeppelinOS Kernel, we came up with a new smart contract upgradeability approach that solves current upgradeability problems related to storage handling

  • We are working on a set of upcoming blog posts to better explain how ZeppelinOS works and why it is needed. 

Hsin-Ju & Jed from Stellar