Welcome to PoW #45, belated courtesy of the high-purity jetlag one can only score by taking an Asia to US flight that leaves in the morning. William Gibson’s idea that the soul can’t move any faster than horseback, and that in the aftermath of a flight one must wait for the soul to be reeled in and reunited with one’s mortal body, something which seems pretty reasonable to me at the moment.
The downside of much-celebrated geographic decentralization of crypto markets is of course that to stay on top of things one can no longer be content traversing the 30 miles between Sand Hill Rd. and San Francisco and instead must subject the soul to jet-induced lag every couple of weeks. But it would be disgusting to complain about this because really it’s a privilege to watch the seeds of cryptocurrency sprout around the world, and my last week in Japan was especially interesting. A few observations:
Japan was a natural place for crypto trading to take off bigtime—the Japanese retail investor (nicknamed Mrs. Watanabe; in Japan women often manage household finances including investments) was as likely to be trading 10-50x margin FX products as equities. This preference for high-stakes margin trading carried over to crypto, and the FX market experience made Bitcoin seem not that odd (just another currency!)
Japan was (and is) not a very natural place for cryptocurrency projects to flourish, unless of course you believe Satoshi Nakamoto was in fact from the archipelago, something which a surprising number of people I met there do indeed believe. Really good crypto projects seem to mostly be built by hackers from the “chaotic” column on the D&D alignment matrix and for a bunch of reasons, Japan has been chronically short of those.
Japanese institutions (unlike retail) have been a bit slower to wake up to the potential of crypto, but are now doing so. The challenges are different (custody less of an issue, buy-in from extraordinarily conservative stakeholders and regulators more of one) but I expect big things in the next two or three years.
The Japanese regulatory environment for crypto is frankly weird. For example, exchanges must get regulatory approval for every cryptoasset they list, but this is not a whitelist, but is rather done on an ad-hoc basis exchange by exchange, since exchanges are operating under several disparate regulatory frameworks and thus have different justifications for listing a given asset.
I had a small dinner with people running crypto funds, exchanges, and projects on my last day in Tokyo, and the level of excitement seems to still be very high. The coincheck hack set the entire space back quite a bit, and the regulated exchanges are still reeling from that, but the future for crypto in Japan seems bright.
This weeks updates are especially good as well. A few highlights: definitely have a look at the Grin team’s “privacy primer” which explains the privacy model’s strengths and shortcomings. Dan Held’s “Planting Bitcoin” is a great history of Bitcoin and is worth a read either online or in book format. Maker made creating CDPs a ton easier. Zeppelin released their token in a private beta. The space continues to chug along towards better usability and security! More next week.
Bitcoin & Friends
Daniel from Grin
26 Pull Requests were merged in the past week, by 10 unique contributors.
A Grin Privacy Primer, clarifying the degree of privacy the system currently offers.
Community effort to draft our mission statement.
Started looking at user stories for our MVP web wallet.
Notes from the latest dev meeting. Mainly focused on mainnet planning, hard fork on testnet4 targeted for end of November.
Grincon0 is coming up this Friday in Berlin. Sponsorship packages are now available, funds will go to our security audit.
Community designed special Grin Halloween swag for all trick or treaters.
More Grin info here.
Jimmy on Bitcoin
Aviv from Spacemesh
Less PR merges and more devcon4 learnings and community engagement for the core dev team this week.
Devnet: Implemented the bootstrap scenario. Improved infra and refactoring some of its interfaces. Merged #46 .
Poet (VDF) black-box reference go prover: Added support for pluggable hash functions and for scrypt-based hashing. Pref optimization based on profiling and benchmarking. Open source go prover: #9 code review in progress. Come build VDFs with us.
JZ from Decred
A beta of the Decred Android app with mainnet support has been released. We'd love to get some feedback and issues filed on our GitHub. The app uses the secure SPV functionality that was added to dcrwallet, meaning the user does not need to trust that a third-party server is providing them accurate data. For the less adventurous there's also a version for testnet.
Richard put out the second issue of the Politeia Digest which covers the first batch of proposals which are set to end their voting stage this week. It also gives an overview of how to dig into the back-end proposal version and comment/voting data for those who would like to see how the sausage is made.
If you're attending Web Summit this week in Lisbon, Portugal be sure to stop by the Decred booth and say hi to the team. Marco will also be there participating on a panel entitled "Is Crypto Here to Stay".
Johnny from Stellar
Resolved issue that was causing slow validators (like what we use for testing) to fail to join the public network. #DRA
A step closer to merging the new data layer changes: we replayed full history on that branch. Preliminary result shows that core is about 30% faster with those changes with the code a lot easier to maintain. See here and here.
Horizon 0.15.0 Release Candidate works well in testnet, and testing continues on pubnet, pending several small changes.
Izaak from Coda
Paige & Zooko from Zcash
The Zcash Sapling network upgrade activated at block height 419,200.
Happy Birthday Zcash! Sapling activation coincided with two-year birthday.
The Zcash Foundation and Parity Technologies announced a technical partnership to build a consensus-compatible Zcash node.
The implementation of shielded HD wallets.
Introducing the Zcash Reference Wallet.
Diego and Riccardo from Monero
0.13.0.4 is out now and everyone is encouraged to upgrade. This solved many bugs that were present in both the CLI and the GUI.
Smart contracting platforms
Evan from Ethereum
What’s new in Eth 2.0, pre-Devcon edition.
Explaining validators in Eth 2.0.
Create your decentralized organization live on the mainnet with Aragon v0.6. You can also apply as a team for substantial funding to work fulltime on Aragon alongside the original team and the Giveth DAC
Uniswap launches on mainnet. Written in Vyper, incredibly low gas costs, it’s a decentralized Shapeshift/Bancor
Myles from EOS
Zaki from Cosmos
Kate and Dean from Agoric
Our Chief Scientist, Mark Miller, is the co-author on a new paper, “Abstract and Concrete Data Types vs Object Capabilities.” The paper explores how abstract data types can be implemented in an object-capability language. A number of the examples in the paper involve the exchange of digital assets. Download here.
We are making steady progress on integrating with Parity Substrate.
Antonio from dYdX
Launched Leveraged ETH (LETH) on expo.
Hired Gillian Nguyen as a Technical Recruiter & Community Manager. Welcome Gillian!
Work trialed a software engineering candidate.
Hiring for engineering and design roles fulltime in SF
Brendan and Nadav from Dharma
Conducted UX Research and iterated on Dharma Lever front-end.
We’re hiring for a product manager, a product designer, and more. Check out our open positions here.
Coulter from MakerDAO
Good news! We have completely overhauled the Collateralized Debt Position (CDP) Portal on our website. The team has built a new, intuitive design that makes opening a CDP much more approachable. Previously, it took 11 clicks to do so, and now it's down to 2-3. We're encourage by the feedback and will continue to monitor it moving forward. Try for yourself and let us know what you think on our Twitter, reddit, or telegram.
Maker is now integrated into Blockfolio Signal. If you use the Blockfolio app, and MKR is in your portfolio, you will get Maker updates pushed directly to your phone.
Lazar from MARKET Protocol
In less than a week, we will launch MPX, our simulated derivatives exchange dApp! Subscribe to our Product Hunt page to learn more.
Wyre hosted us for their latest Wyre Talks, check out the podcast to hear our CEO Seth Rubin discuss how we are solving the problem of volatility in crypto.
Our CTO Phil and PM Robert had a productive week in Prague at the #DeFi Summit and Devcon. It was great to connect with many of you there!
Robert from Compound
Housecleaning of backend systems error reporting/handling. Investigation of handling block re-orgs in upcoming backend systems.
Layer two and interoperability
Tieshun from Namebase
Extended offer to our first full-time engineer. He accepted! [ed: happens to be a high school classmate of mine and one of my fav people. this team is stacked..]
Improved test coverage of our Handshake exchange
Paul from Veil
Launched a system for handling fees, starting with a 1% fee on the trade amount in ETH. Fees will change over time as we issue rebates to makers.
Deployed a trade bot to programmatically market make on binary markets.
Rahul from 0x
0x.js 2.0.0 published and released (now supports EIP712 - more data shown when signing).
Updates on governance from DevCon.
Relayer Report #13 - interview with 0x advisor Joey Krug, new relayers Lake Trade and BlockSwap.
Janine from Liquidity.Network
The design of Achievement Network is being updated. Improvements are being made to the user experience in order to make the tutorial more streamline.
We modified the API endpoints to be REST compliant.
Dong Mo from Celer
For testnet statistics, until EoW last week, we had 933 installs of our cWallet application, 15,917 off-chain payments were sent, and 17,311 off-chain games were played, 370,000 off-chain transactions were done over Celer. If we were to play those transactions on Ethereum, it would create non-stopping back-to-back transaction of 57 days (as most of the txes are not parallelizable).
Most importantly, we see product market fit. Even with fake testnet ETH, we are maintaining a steady ~150 DAU now and the peak DAU was 442. Our one-week retention is around 15%. This statistics is super important as it shows the off-chain scaling is the gateway to mass adoption.
For mobile: iOS cGomoku stand-alone testnet cApp is close to be done. We hope to release it to public in the next week or two; we did a user study of 47 users with beginner, medium and advanced blockchain background and changed our onboarding flow to a more intuitive one.
For backend: Async blockchain actions are implemented, so that user do not need to wait channel to open and can just get back when it's ready.
Alexandra from Parity Technologies
We're teaming up with the ZCash Foundation to build a new ZCash client.
Gavin Wood went on Epicenter to discuss the early days of Ethereum, how Parity came about, the new blockchain framework Substrate, and the case for on-chain governance.
Robert Habermeier presented how Parity is using Substrate to build Shasper at Devcon.
Also at Devcon, Björn Wagner presented on using the Parity Bridge to bridge DApps.
The recording from Web3 Summit's panel on WebAssembly for blockchain development is out.
We now have a newsletter to announce important developments.
Doug from Livepeer
Implemented support for Metamask's Privacy Mode to avoid leaking any Ethereum account information from users visiting the Livepeer explorer with Metamask running.
Work continues on the Orchestrator/Transcoder split, allowing one node to orchestrate video encoding across a pool of CPU/GPUs.
Continued to be featured as the live working example of "Active Participation", "Mining 2.0", and "Generalized Mining" in the Ethereum ecosystem - in which actors must actively participate in networks to protect their ownership stake. This was a key topic at Devcon 4, in which we participated in multiple event panels on the subject.
Ryan from FOAM
David from Sia
Two Nebulous repos were updated. 6 issues were created, 16 were closed, and 13 new MRs were merged into the codebase.
Contributors included Chris, Luke, and Matt from the core team, and nielscastien and starius from the community.
The Sia codebase was hardforked on November 1. In order to continue on with the main developer-supported chain, update to 1.3.7 if you haven’t already.
This is especially important for those who want to send or receive Siacoin, rent or host storage, or trade on exchanges (read: everyone).
From our community contributors, nielscastien set the NegotioationHeight field to get set just before a contract is submitted, and starius updated gofmt to be compatible with Go 1.11.
For the full list of code updates, head over to GitLab.
Martin from Tezos
Ari from Decentraland
Last week, we announced our second LAND auction on Agora, now our dApps team is building the tools needed to support the auction.
Bowen from Hydro/DDEX.io
Launched products page for quick DDEX product introduction and downloads.
Improved token balance performance and synced ETH, DAI and USDT's token price with Coinmarketcap's latest price.
Prepare to launch Wallet Connect.
Prepare to launch new wallet list UI to improve user onboarding experience.
Sam from OpenBazaar
Multiwallet work is nearing completion and is primarily focused on bug fixing at this point. We aim to have a release candidate for testing within the next week or two. Infrastructure work continues to support all the new cryptocurrencies in the upcoming 2.3.0 release.
Our proof of concept for relaying chat messages from web to the OpenBazaar network is working. Now we will begin expanding it to test sending messages other than chat as well.
Our participation in Hackobterfest brought in 18 new contributors who contributed 27 merged pull requests in October, along with a substantial increase in translation activity.
Martín from Zeppelin
Announcing the ZEP Token Private Beta, we're opening the registration until November 16th 🚀
Released ZeppelinOS 2.0, with support for EVM Packages!
Getting started with OpenZeppelin-eth: the new stable and upgradeable EVM package, a step-by-step guide to use OpenZeppelin's onchain version by Martín Triay.
Santiago Palladino & Martín Triay presented Upgradeability with ZeppelinOS: How Fix Bugs on Deployed smart contracts at the Web3Summit.
And finally we presented at Devcon4: Security Breakout: Solidity Compiler: Audit Post-mortem by Manuel Araoz; Managing upgradeability and EVM packages by Facundo Spagnuolo; EVM Packages: using OpenZeppelin from ZeppelinOS by Santiago Palladino; Released EthHunt, a coordinated treasure hunt!