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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

A 14-year-old's experience with Bitcoin

First-time poster here, don’t bully me, apologies for the potentially atrocious formatting :) TL;DR at the end
So in the wake of Bitcoin’s explosive rise in value and media attention, I’ve been encouraged by others to share my experience over the past few years as a miner. Here's my story (it's kinda long, you've been warned)

Humble Beginnings

It all started almost three years ago in the beginning of 2015 when Bitcoin flew under my radar. Looking into it, I admittedly wasn’t drawn in because of the decentralisation or the anonymous payments, I was hooked on the idea that anyone could get their hands on some just by running a program and leaving it to do its own thing. I know, how shallow of me. But the idea of making even a bit of money without ‘any work’ was convincing enough for 11-year-old me to do more digging into the matter.
To my disappointment, I soon found out that the era of mining Bitcoins with a PC’s CPU or GPU was long obsolete and instead it was all ASICs at that point.
So that summer, for my twelfth birthday, I got a little ASIC machine for €60, an Antminer U3. This little thing took up less space than a graphics card but could mine at 60 GH/s. Because, at the time, I didn’t have a controller device that could be kept up and running all day long so it could run the program that mined Bitcoin using the U3, I went ahead and got a Raspberry Pi. After setting up the Pi and installing all the necessary stuff (took an awfully long time), I connected it to AntPool and plugged the U3 in. Two days past and the mining pool sent the first Bitcoin I ever received to my wallet (I was using Blockchain.info). It was just 30 cents worth of BTC but I felt a bit of a rush because I was earning a bit of money through this completely new thing and the idea of that was thrilling.
Let’s back up for a second. I just used the term ‘earning’ as if I was profiting, and naive me 2 years ago was no different. In reality, I was at first oblivious to the fact that I was most likely LOSING money overall because of how much energy that little sucker was taking in. But, I was comforted thinking that using that machine was just a practical way of learning about this modern currency and that the loss of several cents’ worth of energy was acceptable in the name of education and learning.
Fast forward ten months to the wonderful summer of 2016. I had recently turned 13 and the Antminer U3 had been running on and off throughout. Various pauses and breaks in mining would be observed, as I had to manually get everything up and running after frequent breaks in the Internet connection. You’d expect my newly-turned-teenage brain to lose interest in Bitcoin as it does with many other gimmicks, but – even surprising myself – I miraculously didn’t. Good thing I maintained interest thinking about it now, not so good at the time for my parents. Why do I say this? I felt like it was time to get a little upgrade in my hardware.

Getting an upgrade

Days passed with me comparing every ASIC miner I could at that price point. It was then I set my eyes upon the Antminer S7 (same folks who did my U3, nice). I had put it up against a plethora of other miners and I figured the S7 was my best bet; the thing costs only about 10 times that of my U3 but could run at 4.73 TH/s, almost 80 times as powerful. The only problem being its power consumption was at 1300 watts, which would put a massive dent in the electricity bill and eliminate any profit I would make. Fortunately, I had a secret weapon up my sleeve – or rather my mum did. She had rented out an office outside our apartment where she would keep files and paperwork. The office’s electricity bill was a flat rate as far as I’m aware and it ended up being my saving grace because it virtually got rid of the “oh no I’m actually going to be losing money because of how much electricity I’m eating up” factor, making this whole hardware upgrade viable.
After convincing my parents, they finally agreed to shell out the requested amount, with the initial investment being paid back with time. I went to a local Bitcoin vendor and purchased 1 BTC for about $665 in cash (sigh yes, I know. $665 dollars). Shortly after, I used about 0.9 BTC to purchase the Antminer S7 and a 1600W power supply for a grand total of $600. The products would be made and shipped from China so I was definitely in for a wait.
A month passes and the package arrives at last. I connected all the wires from the power supply into the S7 and – with great anticipation – I plugged it into the wall to start its first ever run. And what do you know? An extremely loud and high-pitched whirring sound blasted out from the fans on both the power supply as well as the S7. After killing the thing, I questioned my choices. I couldn’t dare put that thing anywhere near my mum’s office in the event it drive everyone in the building absolutely nuts. I was at a loss. However, I soon recovered from my temporarily debilitated state and got working on a solution.
The first idea that came to my mind: change the fans. The stocks fans were by Evercool and spun at around 3000 RPM. The power supply used a small, robust fan that looked like a cube that must’ve spun at extremely high speeds judging by how high the sound it produced was. I got my parents to give me some more funding so I could acquire the replacement fans and I did. Bust. After installation and testing, none of the fans would work. I managed to configure the S7 to connect to my Antpool account and the machine would manage mining for several minutes running at peak performance but ultimately be automatically cut off because of how hot the machine was getting (I’m talking about 80 degrees Celsius kinda hot in that thing). The fans got refunded and I was back to the drawing board.
After combing through some forum posts and videos, I came across this video and a forum post in which people have their mining rigs placed inside a ventilated, muffled cabinet. Undertaking a project like this would be time-consuming and risky but I had no better ideas so I decided to go through with the idea anyway.
Firstly, I sought out a cabinet with suitable dimensions. I managed to get just what I needed at a second-hand IKEA shop. Great. Secondly, I went ahead and acquired some sound-absorbing acoustic foam from a local provider. Fantastic. Finally I had to get a ventilation system going within the cabinet, otherwise, all the hot air would roast the machine alive in there in a bloody mess. With the help of my dad, we found a pair cabinet fans on the Internet that were close to silent but could circulate the air well enough.
Eventually, all the materials came and, with the help of my parents, put everything together. The process took quite long time and we had a couple hiccups along the way, but we got it done and it came out pretty nice.
The moment of truth came and, to my relief, it ran so much quieter than without the cabinet. It was nowhere near silent but it reduced the noise a great deal. Soon after, I got the thing into the office and set everything up from there. Unfortunately, I was forced to underclock it because you could still hear the machine’s whining from outside the thin office door. Gunning the hashrate down about 25% to 3.7TH/s, I could lower the fan speed without risking the machine burning up. Sure, I wasn’t getting the full potential of the machine but I didn’t complain because electricity was not an issue there and it was still a whole lot better than my U3. With it up and running, I could leave it there, periodically checking to see if it was mining on Antpool.

The aftermath

In the months that followed, I was getting a solid $2.5 worth of BTC on daily basis. Half a year later, May of 2017, I had accumulated a satisfactory $600. I thought, “At this rate, I’d be able to pay my parents’ investment back in a few months” (the total investment came close to $900). Bitcoin had risen to over $1500 so I was already over the moon at that point because of how well everything was going. Little did I know…
I hit 0.5 BTC midway through September this year. The price of BTC had dropped after a sudden rise to $5000, but I couldn’t have asked for more. Although I possessed only half the amount of BTC I paid for the machine, its value was over twice that of the initial investment. I thought BTC would level off at around $4000 but nope.
In the month of October, the price skyrocketed. Since September, I had only mined 0.017 BTC but the value was already over $3000. It was just a matter of selling it, but I decided to hodl. Good thing I did.
As of November 5, I have approximately 0.52 BTC mined in total from my S7, valued at $4000. If I were to sell it right now, I’d have a profit of over $3100. And as for my miner, it’s churning out 0.0006 BTC daily, sounds like nothing but it’s still the equivalent of $5 today and I couldn’t be happier, at least with the miner and Bitcoin.
You remember that $665 for 1 BTC that I mentioned earlier? In hindsight, it would’ve been such a better idea to just keep that one Bitcoin and not do anything with it until today (in the interest of making much more money), as I’d theoretically have upwards of $7000. The idea of that still haunts me sometimes if I dwell on it too long but knowing that I’m in possession of an already hefty amount, the pain of it had numbed slightly. It’s not all doom and gloom for me from the exponential increase in Bitcoin’s value, however. Those first $0.3 payments from my humble little U3 all those years ago now are now the equivalent of over $6 today!
Bitcoin and everything it encompasses has been and still is a journey of discovery and an adventure. Looking back, starting with a modest €60 Antminer U3 to having a sum of Bitcoin equivalent to two extremely high-end gaming rigs (first thing I could think of as a comparison, sorry) has been something I can’t really describe. Through the course of the past few years, I’ve learned more about technology, I’ve unexpectedly gotten insight into economics and business and – of course – I’ve made a lot of money (if I decide to stop hodling that is).
Also, props to my parents for keeping an open mind throughout, I know some parents would be horrified at their kids being involved in something that has been used in some less-than-savoury ways and it's great knowing mine have been supportive all the way.
TL;DR got into Bitcoin mining 3 years ago at age 11 with an Antminer U3 that ran at 60 GH/s, got an Antminer S7 (4.73TH/s) and built a sound-muffling, ventilated cabinet for it. Am sat here today with $3000 profit if I decide to sell right now.
submitted by xx_riptide_xx to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Decred Journal – September 2018

Note: you can read this on GitHub (link), Medium (link) or old Reddit (link).

Development

Final version 1.3.0 of the core software was released bringing all the enhancements reported last month to the rest of the community. The groundwork for SPV (simplified payment verification) is complete, another reduction of fees is being deployed, and performance stepped up once again with a 50% reduction in startup time, 20% increased sync speed and more than 3x faster peer delivery of block headers (a key update for SPV). Decrediton's integrations of SPV and Politeia are open for testing by experienced users. Read the full release notes and get the downloads on GitHub. As always, don't forget to verify signatures.
dcrd: completed several steps towards multipeer downloads, improved introduction to the software in the main README, continued porting cleanups and refactoring from upstream btcd.
Currently in review are initial release of smart fee estimator and a change to UTXO set semantics. The latter is a large and important change that provides simpler handling, and resolves various issues with the previous approach. A lot of testing and careful review is needed so help is welcome.
Educational series for new Decred developers by @matheusd added two episodes: 02 Simnet Setup shows how to automate simnet management with tmux and 03 Miner Reward Invalidation explains block validity rules.
Finally, a pull request template with a list of checks was added to help guide the contributors to dcrd.
dcrwallet: bugfixes and RPC improvements to support desktop and mobile wallets.
Developers are welcome to comment on this idea to derive stakepool keys from the HD wallet seed. This would eliminate the need to backup and restore redeem scripts, thus greatly improving wallet UX. (missed in July issue)
Decrediton: bugfixes, refactoring to make the sync process more robust, new loading animations, design polishing.
Politeia: multiple improvements to the CLI client (security conscious users with more funds at risk might prefer CLI) and security hardening. A feature to deprecate or timeout proposals was identified as necessary for initial release and the work started. A privacy enhancement to not leak metadata of ticket holders was merged.
Android: update from @collins: "Second test release for dcrandroid is out. Major bugs have been fixed since last test. Latest code from SPV sync has been integrated. Once again, bug reports are welcome and issues can be opened on GitHub". Ask in #dev room for the APK to join testing.
A new security page was added that allows one to validate addresses and to sign/verify messages, similar to Decrediton's Security Center. Work on translations is beginning.
Overall the app is quite stable and accepting more testers. Next milestone is getting the test app on the app store.
iOS: the app started accepting testers last week. @macsleven: "the test version of Decred Wallet for iOS is available, we have a link for installing the app but the builds currently require your UDID. Contact either @macsleven or @raedah with your UDID if you would like to help test.".
Nearest goal is to make the app crash free.
Both mobile apps received new design themes.
dcrdata: v3.0 was released for mainnet! Highlights: charts, "merged debits" view, agendas page, Insight API support, side chain tracking, Go 1.11 support with module builds, numerous backend improvements. Full release notes here. This release featured 9 contributors and development lead @chappjc noted: "This collaboration with @raedahgroup on our own block explorer and web API for @decredproject has been super productive.".
Up next is supporting dynamic page widths site wide and deploying new visual blocks home page.
Trezor: proof of concept implementation for Trezor Model T firmware is in the works (previous work was for Model One).
Ticket splitting: updated to use Go modules and added simnet support, several fixes.
docs: beginner's guide overhaul, multiple fixes and cleanups.
decred.org: added 3rd party wallets, removed inactive PoW pools and removed web wallet.
@Richard-Red is building a curated list of Decred-related GitHub repositories.
Welcome to new people contributing for the first time: @klebe, @s_ben, @victorguedes, and PrimeDominus!
Dev activity stats for September: 219 active PRs, 197 commits, 28.7k added and 18.8k deleted lines spread across 6 repositories. Contributions came from 4-10 developers per repository. (chart)

Network

Hashrate: started and ended the month around 75 PH/s, hitting a low of 60.5 and a new high of 110 PH/s. BeePool is again the leader with their share varying between 23-54%, followed by F2Pool 13-30%, Coinmine 4-6% and Luxor 3-5%. As in previous months, there were multiple spikes of unidentified hashrate.
Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 98 DCR (+2.4). The price varied between 95.7 and 101.9 DCR. Locked DCR amount was 3.86-3.96 million DCR, or 45.7-46.5% of the supply.
Nodes: there are 201 public listening nodes and 325 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 5% are v1.4.0(pre) dev builds (+3%), 30% on v1.3.0 (+25%), 42% on v1.2.0 (-20%), 15% on v1.1.2 (-7%), 6% on v1.1.0. More than 76% of nodes run v1.2.0 and higher and therefore support client filters. Data as of Oct 1.

ASICs

Obelisk posted two updates on their mailing list. 70% of Batch 1 units are shipped, an extensive user guide is available, Obelisk Scanner application was released that allows one to automatically update firmware. First firmware update was released and bumped SC1 hashrate by 10-20%, added new pools and fixed multiple bugs. Next update will focus on DCR1. It is worth a special mention that the firmware source code is now open! Let us hope more manufacturers will follow this example.
A few details about Whatsminer surfaced this month. The manufacturer is MicroBT, also known as Bitwei and commonly misspelled as Bitewei. Pangolinminer is a reseller, and the model name is Whatsminer D1.
Bitmain has finally entered Decred ASIC space with their Antminer DR3. Hash rate is 7.8 TH/s while pulling 1410 W, at the price of $673. These specs mean it has the best GH/W and GH/USD of currently sold miners until the Whatsminer or others come out, although its GH/USD of 11.6 already competes with Whatsminer's 10.5. Discussed on Reddit and bitcointalk, unboxing video here.

Integrations

Meet our 17th voting service provider: decredvoting.com. It is operated by @david, has 2% fee and supports ticket splitting. Reddit thread is here.
For a historical note, the first VSP to support ticket splitting was decredbrasil.com:
@matheusd started tests on testnet several months ago. I contacted him so we could integrate with the pool in June this year. We set up the machine in July and bought the first split ticket on mainnet, using the decredbrasil pool, on July 19. It was voted on July 30. After this first vote on mainnet, we opened the tests to selected users (with more technical background) on the pool. In August we opened the tests to everyone, and would call people who want to join to the #ticket_splitting channel, or to our own Slack (in Portuguese, so mostly Brazilian users). We have 28 split tickets already voted, and 16 are live. So little more than 40 split tickets total were bought on decredbrasil pool. (@girino in #pos-voting)
KuCoin exchange listed DCBTC and DCETH pairs. To celebrate their anniversary they had a 99% trading fees discount on DCR pairs for 2 weeks.
Three more wallets integrated Decred in September:
ChangeNow announced Decred addition to their Android app that allows accountless swaps between 150+ assets.
Coinbase launched informational asset pages for top 50 coins by market cap, including Decred. First the pages started showing in the Coinbase app for a small group of testers, and later the web price dashboard went live.

Adoption

The birth of a Brazilian girl was registered on the Decred blockchain using OriginalMy, a blockchain proof of authenticity services provider. Read the full story in Portuguese and in English.

Marketing

Advertising report for September is ready. Next month the graphics for all the ads will be changing.
Marketing might seem quiet right now, but a ton is actually going on behind the scenes to put the right foundation in place for the future. Discovery data are being analyzed to generate a positioning strategy, as well as a messaging hierarchy that can guide how to talk about Decred. This will all be agreed upon via consensus of the community in the work channels, and materials will be distributed.
Next, work is being done to identify the right PR partner to help with media relations, media training, and coordination at events. While all of this is coming up to speed, we believe the website needs a refresher reflecting the soon to be agreed upon messaging, plus a more intuitive architecture to make it easier to navigate. (@Dustorf)

Events

Attended:
Upcoming:
We'll begin shortly reviewing conferences and events planned for the first half of 2019. Highlights are sure to include The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami (Jan 16-18) and Consensus in NYC (May 14-16). If you have suggestions of events or conferences Decred should attend, please share them in #event_planning. In 2019, we would like to expand our presence in Europe, Asia, and South America, and we're looking for community members to help identify and staff those events. (@Dustorf)

Media

August issue of Decred Journal was translated to Russian. Many thanks to @DZ!
Rency cryptocurrency ratings published a report on Decred and incorporated a lot of feedback from the community on Reddit.
September issue of Chinese CCID ratings was published (snapshot), Decred is still at the bottom.
Videos:
Featured articles:
Articles:

Community Discussions

Community stats:
Comm systems news: Several work channels were migrated to Matrix, #writers_room is finally bridged.
Highlights:
Twitter: why decentralized governance and funding are necessary for network survival and the power of controlling the narrative; learning about governance more broadly by watching its evolution in cryptocurrency space, importance of community consensus and communications infrastructure.
Reddit: yet another strong pitch by @solar; question about buyer protections; dcrtime internals; a proposal to sponsor hoodies in the University of Cape Town; Lightning Network support for altcoins.
Chats: skills to operate a stakepool; voting details: 2 of 3 votes can approve a block, what votes really approve are regular tx, etc; scriptless script atomic swaps using Schnorr adaptor signatures; dev dashboard, choosing work, people do best when working on what interests them most; opportunities for governments and enterprise for anchoring legal data to blockchain; terminology: DAO vs DAE; human-friendly payments, sharing xpub vs payment protocols; funding btcsuite development; Politeia vote types: approval vote, sentiment vote and a defund vote, also linking proposals and financial statements; algo trading and programming languages (yes, on #trading!); alternative implementation, C/C++/Go/Rust; HFTs, algo trading, fake volume and slippage; offline wallets, usb/write-only media/optical scanners vs auditing traffic between dcrd and dcrwallet; Proof of Activity did not inspire Decred but spurred Decred to get moving, Wikipedia page hurdles; how stakeholders could veto blocks; how many votes are needed to approve a proposal; why Decrediton uses Electron; CVE-2018-17144 and over-dependence on single Bitcoin implementation, btcsuite, fuzz testing; tracking proposal progress after voting and funding; why the wallet does not store the seed at all; power connectors, electricity, wiring and fire safety; reasonable spendings from project fund; ways to measure sync progress better than block height; using Politeia without email address; concurrency in Go, locks vs channels.
#support is not often mentioned, but it must be noted that every day on this channel people get high quality support. (@bee: To my surprise, even those poor souls running Windows 10. My greatest respect to the support team!)

Markets

In September DCR was trading in the range of USD 34-45 / BTC 0.0054-0.0063. On Sep 6, DCR revisited the bottom of USD 34 / BTC 0.0054 when BTC quickly dropped from USD 7,300 to 6,400. On Sep 14, a small price rise coincided with both the start of KuCoin trading and hashrate spike to 104 PH/s. Looking at coinmarketcap charts, the trading volume is a bit lower than in July and August.
As of Oct 4, Decred is #18 by the number of daily transactions with 3,200 tx, and #9 by the USD value of daily issuance with $230k. (source: onchainfx)
Interesting observation by @ImacallyouJawdy: while we sit at 2018 price lows the amount locked in tickets is testing 2018 high.

Relevant External

ASIC for Lyra2REv2 was spotted on the web. Vertcoin team is preparing a new PoW algorithm. This would be the 3rd fork after two previous forks to change the algorithm in 2014 and 2015.
A report titled The Positive Externalities of Bitcoin Mining discusses the benefits of PoW mining that are often overlooked by the critics of its energy use.
A Brief Study of Cryptonetwork Forks by Alex Evans of Placeholder studies the behavior of users, developers and miners after the fork, and makes the cases that it is hard for child chains to attract users and developers from their parent chains.
New research on private atomic swaps: the paper "Anonymous Atomic Swaps Using Homomorphic Hashing" attempts to break the public link between two transactions. (bitcointalk, decred)
On Sep 18 Poloniex announced delisting of 8 more assets. That day they took a 12-80% dive showing their dependence on this one exchange.
Circle introduced USDC markets on Poloniex: "USDC is a fully collateralized US dollar stablecoin using the ERC-20 standard that provides detailed financial and operational transparency, operates within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, and is reinforced by established banking partners and auditors.".
Coinbase announced new asset listing process and is accepting submissions on their listing portal. (decred)
The New York State Office of the Attorney General posted a study of 13 exchanges that contains many insights.
A critical vulnerability was discovered and fixed in Bitcoin Core. Few days later a full disclosure was posted revealing the severity of the bug. In a bitcointalk thread btcd was called 'amateur' despite not being vulnerable, and some Core developers voiced their concerns about multiple implementations. The Bitcoin Unlimited developer who found the bug shared his perspective in a blog post. Decred's vision so far is that more full node implementations is a strength, just like for any Internet protocol.

About This Issue

This is the 6th issue of Decred Journal. It is mirrored on GitHub, Medium and Reddit. Past issues are available here.
Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research.
Feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room on Matrix or Slack.
Contributions are also welcome: some areas are adding content, pre-release review or translations to other languages.
Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Dustorf, jz, Haon, oregonisaac, raedah and Richard-Red.
submitted by jet_user to decred [link] [comments]

IRC Log from Ravencoin Open Developer Meeting - Aug 24, 2018

[14:05] <@wolfsokta> Hello Everybody, sorry we're a bit late getting started
[14:05] == block_338778 [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.72.214.222.226] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:06] <@wolfsokta> Here are the topics we would like to cover today • 2.0.4 Need to upgrade - What we have done to communicate to the community • Unique Assets • iOS Wallet • General Q&A
[14:06] == Chatturga changed the topic of #ravencoin-dev to: 2.0.4 Need to upgrade - What we have done to communicate to the community • Unique Assets • iOS Wallet • General Q&A
[14:06] <@wolfsokta> Daben, could you mention what we have done to communicate the need for the 2.0.4 upgrade?
[14:07] == hwhwhsushwban [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.172.58.37.35] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:07] <@wolfsokta> Others here are free to chime in where they saw the message first.
[14:07] == hwhwhsushwban [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.172.58.37.35] has quit [Client Quit]
[14:08] Whats up bois
[14:08] hi everyone
[14:08] hi hi
[14:08] <@wolfsokta> Discussing the 2.0.4 update and the need to upgrade.
[14:08] <@Chatturga> Sure. As most of you are aware, the community has been expressing concerns with the difficulty oscillations, and were asking that something be done to the difficulty retargeting. Many people submitted suggestions, and the devs decided to implement DGW.
[14:09] <@Tron> I wrote up a short description of why we're moving to a new difficulty adjustment. https://medium.com/@tronblack/ravencoin-dark-gravity-wave-1da0a71657f7
[14:09] <@Chatturga> I have made posts on discord, telegram, bitcointalk, reddit, and ravencointalk.org from testnet stages through current.
[14:10] <@Chatturga> If there are any other channels that can reach a large number of community members, I would love to have more.
[14:10] <@wolfsokta> Thanks Tron, that hasn't been shared to the community at large yet, but folks feel free to share it.
[14:10] When was this decision made and by whom and how?
[14:10] <@Chatturga> I have also communicated with the pool operators and exchanges about the update. Of all of the current pools, only 2 have not yet updated versions.
[14:11] <@wolfsokta> The decision was made by the developers through ongoing requests for weeks made by the community.
[14:12] <@wolfsokta> Evidence was provided by the community of the damages that could be caused to projects when the wild swings continue.
[14:12] So was there a meeting or vote? How can people get invited
[14:12] <@Tron> It was also informed by my conversations with some miners that recommended that we make the change before the coin died. They witnessed similar oscillations from which other coins never recovered.
[14:13] only two pools left to upgrade is good, what about the exchanges? Any word on how many of those have/have not upgraded?
[14:13] <@wolfsokta> We talked about here in our last meeting Bruce_. All attendees were asked if they had any questions or concerns.
[14:13] == blondfrogs [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.185.245.87.219] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:13] == roshii [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.41.251.25.100] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:13] sup roshii long time no see
[14:14] <@Chatturga> Bittrex, Cryptopia, and IDCM have all either updated or have announced their intent to update.
[14:14] == wjcgiwgu283ik3cj [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.172.58.37.35] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:15] sup russki
[14:15] what's the status here?
[14:15] I don’t think that was at all clear from the last dev meeting
[14:15] I can’t be the only person who didn’t understand it
[14:15] <@wolfsokta> Are there any suggestions on how to communicate the need to upgrade even further? I am concerned that others might also not understand.
[14:17] I’m not sold on the benefit and don’t understand the need for a hard fork — I think it’s a bad precedent to simply go rally exchanges to support a hard fork with little to no discussion
[14:17] so just to note, the exchanges not listed as being upgraded or have announced their intention to upgrade include: qbtc, upbit, and cryptobridge (all with over $40k usd volume past 24 hours according to coinmarketcap)
[14:18] <@wolfsokta> I don't agree that there was little or no discussion at all.
[14:19] <@wolfsokta> Looking back at our meeting notes from two weeks ago "fork" was specifically asked about by BrianMCT.
[14:19] If individual devs have the power to simple decide to do something as drastic as a hard fork and can get exchanges and miners to do it that’s got a lot of issues with centralization
[14:19] <@wolfsokta> It had been implemented on testnet by then and discussed in the community for several weeks before that.
[14:19] == under [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.72.200.168.56] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:19] howdy
[14:19] Everything I’ve seen has been related to the asset layer
[14:19] I have to agree with Bruce_, though I wasn't able to join the last meeting here. That said I support the fork
[14:20] Which devs made this decision to do a fork and how was it communicated?
[14:20] well mostly the community made the decision
[14:20] Consensus on a change is the heart of bitcoin development and I believe the devs have done a great job building that consensus
[14:20] a lot of miners were in uproar about the situation
[14:20] <@wolfsokta> All of the devs were supporting the changes. It wasn't done in isolation at all.
[14:21] This topic has been a huge discussion point within the RVN mining community for quite some time
[14:21] the community and miners have been having issues with the way diff is adjusted for quite some time now
[14:21] Sure I’m well aware of that -
[14:21] Not sold on the benefits of having difficulty crippled by rented hashpower?
[14:21] The community saw a problem. The devs got together and talked about a solution and implemented a solution
[14:21] I’m active in the community
[14:22] So well aware of the discussions on DGW etc
[14:22] Hard fork as a solution to a problem community had with rented hashpower (nicehash!!) sounds like the perfect decentralized scenario!
[14:23] hard forks are very dangerous
[14:23] mining parties in difficulty drops are too
[14:23] <@wolfsokta> Agreed, we want to keep them to an absolute minimum.
[14:23] But miners motivation it’s the main vote
[14:24] What would it take to convince you that constantly going from 4 Th/s to 500 Gh/s every week is worse for the long term health of the coin than the risk of a hard fork to fix it?
[14:24] == Tron [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.173.241.144.77] has quit [Ping timeout: 252 seconds]
[14:24] This hardfork does include the asset layer right? if so why is it being delayed in implementation?
[14:24] <@wolfsokta> Come back Tron!
[14:24] coudl it have been implement through bip9 voting?
[14:24] also hard fork is activated by the community! that's a vote thing!
[14:24] @mrsushi to give people time to upgrade their wallet
[14:25] @under, it would be much hard to keep consensus with a bip9 change
[14:25] <@wolfsokta> We investigated that closely Under.
[14:25] == Tron [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.173.241.144.77] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:25] <@wolfsokta> See Tron's post for more details about that.
[14:25] <@spyder_> Hi Tron
[14:25] <@wolfsokta> https://medium.com/@tronblack/ravencoin-dark-gravity-wave-1da0a71657f7
[14:25] Sorry about that. Computer went to sleep.
[14:26] I'm wrong
[14:26] 2 cents. the release deadline of october 31st puts a bit of strain on getting code shipped. (duh). but fixing daa was important to the current health of the coin, and was widely suppported by current mining majority commuity. could it have been implemented in a different manner? yes . if we didnt have deadlines
[14:27] == wjcgiwgu283ik3cj [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.172.58.37.35] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[14:27] sushi this fork does not include assets. it's not being delayed though, we're making great progress for an Oct 31 target
[14:28] I don’t see the urgency but my vote doesn’t matter since my hash power is still CPUs
[14:28] <@wolfsokta> We're seeing the community get behind the change as well based on the amount of people jumping back in to mine through this last high difficulty phase.
[14:28] So that will be another hardfork?
[14:28] the fork does include the asset code though set to activate on oct 30th
[14:28] yes
[14:29] <@wolfsokta> Yes, it will based on the upgrade voting through the BIP9 process.
[14:29] I wanted to ask about burn rates from this group: and make a proposal.
[14:29] we're also trying hard to make it the last for awhile
[14:29] Can you clear up the above — there will be this one and another hard fork?
[14:29] <@wolfsokta> Okay, we could discuss that under towards the end of the meeting.
[14:30] If this one has the asset layer is there something different set for October
[14:30] <@wolfsokta> Yes, there will be another hard fork on October 31st once the voting process is successful.
[14:31] <@wolfsokta> The code is in 2.0.4 now and assets are active on testnet
[14:31] Bruce, the assets layer is still being worked on. Assets is active on mainnet. So in Oct 31 voting will start. and if it passes, the chain will fork.
[14:31] this one does NOT include assets for mainnet Bruce -- assets are targeted for Oct 31
[14:31] not***
[14:31] not active****
[14:31] correct me if I'm wrong here, but if everyone upgrades to 2.0.4 for this fork this week, the vote will automatically pass on oct 31st correct? nothing else needs to be done
[14:31] Will if need another download or does this software download cover both forks?
[14:31] <@wolfsokta> Correct Urgo
[14:32] thats how the testnet got activated and this one shows "asset activation status: waiting until 10/30/2018 20:00 (ET)"
[14:32] Will require another upgrade before Oct 31
[14:32] thank you for the clarification wolfsokta
[14:32] <@wolfsokta> It covers both forks, but we might have additional bug fixes in later releases.
[14:32] So users DL one version now and another one around October 30 which activates after that basically?
[14:33] I understand that, but I just wanted to make it clear that if people upgrade to this version for this fork and then don't do anything, they are also voting for the fork on oct 31st
[14:33] Oh okay — one DL?
[14:33] Bruce, Yes.
[14:33] Ty
[14:33] well there is the issue that there maybe some further consensus bugs dealing with the pruneability of asset transactions that needs to be corrected between 2.0.4 and mainnet. so i would imagine that there will be further revisions required to upgrade before now and october 31
[14:33] @under that is correct.
[14:34] I would highly recommend bumping the semver up to 3.0.0 for the final pre 31st release so that the public know to definitely upgrade
[14:34] @under +1
[14:35] out of curiosity, have there been many bugs found with the assets from the version released in july for testnet (2.0.3) until this version? or is it solely a change to DGW?
[14:35] <@wolfsokta> That's not a bad idea under.
[14:35] <@spyder_> @under good idea
[14:35] @urgo. Bugs are being found and fixed daily.
[14:35] Any time the protocol needs to change, there would need to be a hard fork (aka upgrade). It is our hope that we can activate feature forks through the BIP process (as we are doing for assets). Mining pools and exchanges will need to be on the newest software at the point of asset activation - should the mining hash power vote for assets.
[14:35] blondfrogs: gotcha
[14:35] There have been bugs found (and fixed). Testing continues. We appreciate all the bug reports you can give us.
[14:36] <@wolfsokta> Yes! Thank you all for your help in the community.
[14:37] (pull requests with fixes and test coverage would be even better!)
[14:37] asset creation collision is another major issue. current unfair advantage or nodes that fore connect to mining pools will have network topologies that guarantee acceptance. I had discussed the possibility of fee based asset creation selection and i feel that would be a more equal playing ground for all users
[14:38] *of nodes that force
[14:38] <@wolfsokta> What cfox said, we will always welcome development help.
[14:38] So just to make sure everyone know. When assets is ready to go live on oct 31st. Everyone that wants to be on the assets chain without any problems will have to download the new binary.
[14:39] <@wolfsokta> The latest binary.
[14:39] under: already in the works
[14:39] excellent to hear
[14:39] == UserJonPizza [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.24.218.60.237] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:39] <@wolfsokta> Okay, we've spent a bunch of time on that topic and I think it was needed. Does anybody have any other suggestions on how to get the word out even more?
[14:40] maybe preface all 2.0.X releases as pre-releases... minimize the number of releases between now and 3.0 etc
[14:41] <@wolfsokta> Bruce_ let's discuss further offline.
[14:41] wolfsokta: which are the remaining two pools that need to be upgraded? I've identified qbtc, upbit, and cryptobridge as high volume exchanges that haven't said they were going to do it yet
[14:41] so people can help reach out to them
[14:41] f2pool is notoriously hard to contact
[14:41] are they on board?
[14:42] <@wolfsokta> We could use help reaching out to QBTC and Graviex
[14:42] I can try to contact CB if you want?
[14:42] <@Chatturga> The remaining pools are Ravenminer and PickAxePro.
[14:42] <@Chatturga> I have spoken with their operators, the update just hasnt been applied yet.
[14:42] ravenminer is one of the largest ones too. If they don't upgrade that will be a problem
[14:42] okay good news
[14:42] (PickAxePro sounds like a Ruby book)
[14:43] I strongly feel like getting the word out on ravencoin.org would be beneficial
[14:44] that site is sorely in need of active contribution
[14:44] Anyone can volunteer to contribute
[14:44] <@wolfsokta> Okay, cfox can you talk about the status of unique assets?
[14:44] sure
[14:45] <@wolfsokta> I'll add website to the end of our topics.
[14:45] code is in review and will be on the development branch shortly
[14:45] would it make sense to have a page on the wiki (or somewhere else) that lists the wallet versions run by pools & exchanges?
[14:45] will be in next release
[14:45] furthermore, many sites have friendly link to the standard installers for each platform, if the site linked to the primary installers for each platform to reduce github newb confusion that would be good as well
[14:46] likely to a testnetv5 although that isn't settled
[14:46] <@wolfsokta> Thanks cfox.
[14:46] <@wolfsokta> Are there any questions about unique assets, and how they work?
[14:47] after the # are there any charachters you cant use?
[14:47] will unique assets be constrained by the asset alphanumeric set?
[14:47] ^
[14:47] <@Chatturga> @Urgo there is a page that tracks and shows if they have updated, but it currently doesnt show the actual version that they are on.
[14:47] a-z A-Z 0-9
[14:47] <@Chatturga> https://raven.wiki/wiki/Exchange_notifications#Pools
[14:47] There are a few. Mostly ones that mess with command-line
[14:47] you'll be able to use rpc to do "issueunique MATRIX ['Neo','Tank','Tank Brother']" and it will create three assets for you (MATRIX#Neo, etc.)
[14:47] @cfox - No space
[14:48] @under the unique tags have an expanded set of characters allowed
[14:48] Chatturga: thank you
[14:48] @UJP yes there are some you can't use -- I'll try to post gimmie a sec..
[14:49] Ok. Thank you much!
[14:49] 36^36 assets possible and 62^62 uniques available per asset?
[14:49] <@spyder_> std::regex UNIQUE_TAG_CHARACTERS("^[[email protected]$%&*()[\\]{}<>_.;?\\\\:]+$");
[14:50] regex UNIQUE_TAG_CHARACTERS("^[[email protected]$%&*()[\\]{}<>_.;?\\\\:]+$")
[14:50] oh thanks Mark
[14:51] <@wolfsokta> Okay, next up. I want to thank everybody for helping test the iOS wallet release.
[14:51] <@wolfsokta> We are working with Apple to get the final approval to post it to the App Store
[14:51] @under max asset length is 30, including unique tag
[14:51] Does the RVN wallet have any other cryptos or just RVN?
[14:52] == BruceFenton [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.67.189.233.170] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[14:52] will the android and ios source be migrated to the ravenproject github?
[14:52] I've been adding beta test users. I've added about 80 new users in the last few days.
[14:52] <@wolfsokta> Just RVN, and we want to focus on adding the asset support to the wallet.
[14:53] == Bruce_ [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.67.189.233.170] has quit [Ping timeout: 252 seconds]
[14:53] <@wolfsokta> Yes, the code will also be freely available on GitHub for both iOS and Android. Thank you Roshii!
[14:53] Would you consider the iOS wallet to be a more secure place for one's holdings than say, a Mac connected to the internet?
[14:53] will there be a chance of a more user freindly wallet with better graphics like the iOS on PC?
[14:53] the android wallet is getting updated for DGW, correct?
[14:53] <@wolfsokta> That has come up in our discussion Pizza.
[14:54] QT framework is pretty well baked in and is cross platform. if we get some qt gurus possibly
[14:54] Phones are pretty good because the wallet we forked uses the TPM from modern phones.
[14:54] Most important is to write down and safely store your 12 word seed.
[14:54] TPM?
[14:54] <@wolfsokta> A user friendly wallet is one of our main goals.
[14:55] TPM == Trusted Platform Module
[14:55] Ahhh thanks
[14:55] just please no electron apps. they are full of security holes
[14:55] <@spyder_> It is whats makes your stuffs secure
[14:55] not fit for crypto
[14:55] under: depends on who makes it
[14:55] The interface screenshots I've seen look like Bread/Loaf wallet ... I assume that's what was forked from
[14:55] ;)
[14:56] <@wolfsokta> @roshii did you see the question about the Android wallet and DGW?
[14:56] Yes, it was a fork of breadwallet. We like their security.
[14:56] chromium 58 is the last bundled electron engine and has every vuln documented online by google. so unless you patch every vuln.... methinks not
[14:56] Agreed, great choice
[14:57] <@wolfsokta> @Under, what was your proposal?
[14:58] All asset creation Transactions have a mandatory OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY of 1 year(or some agreed upon time interval), and the 500 RVN goes to a multisig devfund, run by a custodial group. We get: 1) an artificial temporary burn, 2) sustainable community and core development funding for the long term, after OSTK/Medici 3) and the reintroduction of RVN supply at a fixed schedule, enabling the removal of the 42k max cap of total As
[14:58] *im wrong on the 42k figure
[14:58] <@wolfsokta> Interesting...
[14:59] <@wolfsokta> Love to hear others thoughts.
[14:59] Update: I posted a message on the CryptoBridge discord and one of their support members @stepollo#6276 said he believes the coin team is already aware of the fork but he would forward the message about the fork over to them right now anyway
[14:59] Ifs 42 million assets
[14:59] yep.
[15:00] I have a different Idea. If the 500 RVN goes to a dev fund its more centralized. The 500 RVN should go back into the unmined coins so miners can stay for longer.
[15:01] *without a hardfork
[15:01] <@wolfsokta> lol
[15:01] that breaks halving schedule, since utxos cant return to an unmined state.
[15:01] @UJP back into coinbase is interesting. would have to think about how that effects distribution schedule, etc.
[15:01] only way to do that would be to dynamicaly grow max supply
[15:02] and i am concerned already about the max safe integer on various platforms at 21 billion
[15:02] js chokes on ravencoin already
[15:02] <@wolfsokta> Other thoughts on Under's proposal? JS isn't a real language. ;)
[15:02] Well Bitcoin has more than 21 bn Sats
[15:02] Is there somebody who wants to volunteer to fix js.
[15:02] hahaha
[15:03] I honestly would hate for the coins to go to a dev fund. It doesn't seem like Ravencoin to me.
[15:03] Yep, but we're 21 billion x 100,000,000 -- Fits fine in a 64-bit integer, but problematic for some languages.
[15:03] <@wolfsokta> Thanks UJP
[15:04] <@wolfsokta> We're past time but I would like to continue if you folks are up for it.
[15:04] Yeah no coins can go anywhere centrality contorted like a dev fund cause that would mean someone has to run it and the code can’t decide that so it’s destined to break
[15:05] currently and long term with out the financial backing of development then improvements and features will be difficult. we are certainly thankful for our current development model. but if a skunkworks project hits a particular baseline of profitability any reasonable company would terminate it
[15:05] Yes let’s contibue for sure
[15:05] the alternative to a dev fund in my mind would be timelocking those funds back to the issuers change address
[15:06] But we can’t have dev built in to the code — it has to be open source like Bitcoin and monero and Litecoin - it’s got drawbacks but way more advantages- it’s the best model
[15:06] Dev funding
[15:06] i highly reccommend not reducing the utility of raven by removing permanently the supply
[15:07] == BW_ [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.138.68.243.202] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[15:07] timelocking those funds accompllishes the same sacrifice
[15:07] @under timelocking is interesting too
[15:07] How exactly does timelocking work?
[15:07] <@wolfsokta> ^
[15:07] I mean you could change the price of assets with the Block reward halfing.
[15:07] == Roshiix [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.105.67.2.212] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[15:08] funds cant be spent from an address until a certain time passes
[15:08] but in a what magical fairy land do people continue to work for free forever. funding development is a real issue... as much as some might philosphically disagree. its a reality
[15:08] You’d still need a centralized party to decide how to distribute the funds
[15:08] even unofficially blockstream supports bitcoin devs
[15:08] on chain is more transparent imho
[15:09] == Tron_ [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.173.241.144.77] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[15:09] @UJP yes there are unlimited strategies. one factor that I think is v important is giving application developers a way to easily budget for projects which leads to flat fees
[15:09] If the project is a success like many of believe it will be, I believe plenty of people will gladly done to a dev fund. I don't think the 500 should be burned.
[15:09] *donate
[15:09] centralized conservatorship, directed by community voting process
[15:10] == Tron [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.173.241.144.77] has quit [Ping timeout: 252 seconds]
[15:10] <@wolfsokta> Thanks Under, that's an interesting idea that we should continue to discuss in the community. You also mentioned the existing website.
[15:10] It would need to be something where everyone with a QT has a vote
[15:10] think his computer went to sleep again :-/
[15:10] I agree UJP
[15:10] with the website
[15:10] No that’s ico jargon — any development fund tied to code would have to be centralized and would therefor fail
[15:11] ^
[15:11] ^
[15:11] ^
[15:11] dashes model for funding seems to be pretty decentralized
[15:11] community voting etc
[15:11] Once you have a dev fund tied to code then who gets to run it? Who mediates disputes?
[15:11] oh well another discussion
[15:11] Dash has a CEO
[15:12] <@wolfsokta> Yeah, let's keep discussing in the community spaces.
[15:12] Dash does have a good model. It's in my top ten.
[15:12] having the burn go to a dev fund is absolute garbage
[15:12] These dev chats should be more target than broad general discussions — changing the entire nature of the coin and it’s economics is best discussed in the RIPs or other means
[15:13] <@wolfsokta> Yup, let's move on.
[15:13] just becuase existing implementation are garbage doesnt mean that all possible future governance options are garbage
[15:13] <@wolfsokta> To discussing the website scenario mentioned by under.
[15:13] the website needs work. would be best if it could be migrated to github as well.
[15:13] What about this: Anyone can issue a vote once the voting feature has been added, for a cost. The vote would be what the coins could be used for.
[15:14] features for the site that need work are more user friendly links to binaries
[15:14] <@wolfsokta> We investigated how bitcoin has their website in Github to make it easy for contributors to jump in.
[15:14] that means active maintenance of the site instead of its current static nature
[15:15] <@wolfsokta> I really like how it's static html, which makes it super simple to host/make changes.
[15:15] the static nature isn’t due to interface it’s due to no contributors
[15:15] no contribution mechanism has been offered
[15:15] github hosted would allow that
[15:16] We used to run the Bitcoin website from the foundation & the GitHub integration seemed to cause some issues
[15:16] its doesnt necessarily have to be hosted by github but the page source should be on github and contributions could easily be managed and tracked
[15:17] for example when a new release is dropped, the ability for the downlaods section to have platform specific easy links to the general installers is far better for general adoption than pointing users to github releases
[15:18] <@wolfsokta> How do people currently contribute to the existing website?
[15:18] they dont?
[15:18] We did that and it was a complete pain to host and keep working — if someone wants to volunteer to do that work hey can surely make the website better and continually updated — but they could do that in Wordpress also
[15:19] I’d say keep an eye out for volunteers and maybe we can get a group together who can improve the site
[15:19] == digitalvap0r-xmr [[email protected]/web/cgi-irc/kiwiirc.com/ip.67.255.25.134] has joined #ravencoin-dev
[15:19] And they can decide best method
[15:20] I host the source for the explorer on github and anyone can spin it up instantly on a basic aws node. changes can be made to interface etc, and allow for multilingual translations which have been offered by some community members
[15:20] there are models that work. just saying it should be looked at
[15:20] i gotta run thank you all for your contributions
[15:20] <@wolfsokta> I feel we should explore the source for the website being hosted in GitHub and discuss in our next dev meeting.
[15:21] <@Chatturga> Thanks Under!
[15:21] == under [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.72.200.168.56] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[15:21] <@wolfsokta> Thanks, we also need to drop soon.
[15:21] There is no official site so why care. Someone will do better than the next if RVN is worth it anyway. That's already the case.
[15:21] <@wolfsokta> Let's do 10 mins of open Q&A
[15:22] <@wolfsokta> Go...
[15:23] <@Chatturga> Beuller?
[15:24] No questions ... just a comment that the devs and community are great and I'm happy to be a part of it
[15:24] I think everyone moved to discord. I'll throw this out there. How confident is the dev team that things will be ready for oct 31st?
[15:24] <@wolfsokta> Alright! Thanks everybody for joining us today. Let's plan to get back together as a dev group in a couple of weeks.
[15:25] thanks block!
[15:25] <@wolfsokta> Urgo, very confident
[15:25] Please exclude trolls from discord who havent read the whitepaper
[15:25] great :)
[15:25] "things" will be ready..
[15:25] Next time on discord right?
[15:25] woah why discord?
[15:25] some of the suggestions here are horrid
[15:25] this is better less point
[15:25] == blondfrogs [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.185.245.87.219] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[15:25] Assets are working well on testnet. Plan is to get as much as we can safely test by Sept 30 -- this includes dev contributions. Oct will be heavy testing and making sure it is safe.
[15:26] people
[15:26] <@wolfsokta> Planning on same time, same IRC channel.
[15:26] == BW_ [[email protected]/web/freenode/ip.138.68.243.202] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[15:26] @xmr any in particular?
[15:27] (or is "here" discord?)
[15:27] Cheers - Tron
[15:27] "Cheers - Tron" - Tron
submitted by Chatturga to Ravencoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Mining & The Beauty Of Capitalism

Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times,
While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish.
The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it?
Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback.
Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again.
As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap.
This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.

Time to Catch Up

What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure.
Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people.
The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers.
A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market.
And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress.
And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.

The Case For Mining

Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist.
For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year.
All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate.
So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified.
Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides?
This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human.

_Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply.
So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations.
If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too.
However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.

Different Money, Different Costs

How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks?
What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here.
Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions.
The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound.
In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money.
Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules.
Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble.
The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin.
And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation.

_The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network.
According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate.
According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year.
“Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing.
“I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times.
Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market.
The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential.
There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals.
In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time.
In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.

The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining

But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity.
In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity
Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution.
Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy.
This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground.
All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them.
“The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.

Centralized Mining

But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory.
Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour.
This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity.
This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018.

Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“
They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative.
So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort.
This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017.
But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.

Northern Bitcoin Case Study

Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China.
But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered.
The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one.
Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow.
And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower.

A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas.
As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany.
The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.

Excess Power

In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity.
Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north.
“The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play.

A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground.
Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine.
Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine.
“We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.

Efficiency, Efficiency

Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient.
Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is.
Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice.
This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert.
But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes.
The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes.
The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord.
The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment.
To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.

_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics

Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed.
At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent.
Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc.
Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day.
But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this.
As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices.

Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers.
Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step.
The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway.
Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited.
The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.

Norway Powerhouse?

Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power.
But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out.
“Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.

A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade.
To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit.
The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space.
However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption.
Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively.
The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.”
Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions.
But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally.
However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM.
“It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.
Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world.
Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.”
Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.

Cheap Producer Advantage

At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall.
But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network.
Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk.
As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first.
As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example.
When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer.
However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them.
“The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December.
This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last.
And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system.
The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system. It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
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