Proof of Work #45

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:

  1. 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!)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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.

Privacy coins

Izaak from Coda

  • No Updates.

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

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’ve released an eslint package for Jessie, a Turing complete minimal subset of JavaScript designed for smart contract programming. Jessie is designed to yield small programs that are easy to review both formally and informally, enabling programmers to write non-trivial, non-exploitable smart contracts.

  • We are making steady progress on integrating with Parity Substrate.

Financial Infrastructure

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

  • Hosted #DeFi Summit -- Prague on Monday, and had over 200 attendees. You can watch the video recordings here (1234)

  • 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

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.

  • Announced a community vote to select a stablecoin market, and released a voting interface; open to Compound protocol users through 11/6.

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 performance of the Namebase Handshake Extension (ChromeFirefox) by limiting the extension request resolution (versus normal request resolution) to only Handshake urls. 

  • Improved test coverage of our Handshake exchange

Paul from Veil

  • Added markets and data feeds that correspond with r/MemeEconomy posts (would recommend this white paper as background). Trade on the success of the first memes here and here.

  • Added 24 hour BTC/USD scalar markets as well as 7 day REP/USD and ZRX/USD scalar markets.

  • 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

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.

  • Improving our developer UX/UI for the SDK. We modified the API endpoints to be REST compliant. Please continue to send us your feedback at our dedicated developer Telegram group.

  • 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

Application infrastructure

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

  • No Updates.

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).

  • Download 1.3.7 from our site here. And check out our fork support guide, it contains practically everything you’ll need to know.

  • 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.

  • Chris worked on code to help Sia communicate only with peers that have already updated to 1.3.7.

  • Matt fixed some NDFs in the test suite.

  • For the full list of code updates, head over to GitLab.

Other

Martin from Tezos

Ari from Decentraland

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