Bitcoin Will See First Mining Difficulty Decrease in Three ...
Bitcoin Will See First Mining Difficulty Decrease in Three ...
Bitcoin mining difficulty continued to stride up over the ...
Bitcoin Network Difficulty Reaches New High in More than ...
Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Sets New Record High 2 Months ...
Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Set for Highest Jump in Nine Months
NightOwl Halloween Drop: Descriptions, Info, FAQ and Tips
This will be the last I'll post in-regards to NightOwl drops.From now on drop info will be posted in the NightOwlseeds subreddit We can only pin 2 posts at a time, and it can get confusing for new and existing users. I will be updating this thread throughout the day, check last edited.- NightOwl subreddit linked,
"My pack has a blank label, how do I know what I have?"
Those are the "Secret Owl Society" packs, they come labeled with UV ink. Daz almost always provides a small blacklight keychain, use it to reveal the pack name.
"Can I make multiple orders and get the tester pack?"
As long as the combined total is $250, and hasn't been shipped yet, then you get 1 tester pack ($500 for 2 tester packs). A new bit of info, you get another tester pack per $250 spent, dealer's choice.
No, you don't need TSB Premium to make a purchase. This was an option for paying members to get a chance to access the drop early. Nothing was exclusive to premium, everyone has access to all the strains.
"I got a confirmation email, it still says "processing", should I be worried?"
As long as you have a confirmation email (maybe a paid email), then there's nothing to worry about your order has been received.
When purchasing NightOwl seeds from The Seed Bazaar on 10/10 at 12 AM, WHATEVER IS IN YOUR CART, ISN'T RESERVED. NEW TIPS ITEMS ARE ADDED/UPDATED ONE BY ONE. THERE ARE TWO PAGES OF SEEDS. IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH YOUR ORDER EMAIL [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) PREMIUM ISN'T NECESSARY. It's best to purchase what you want FAST, everything is and always has been limited in quantity. Don't leave the item(s) in your cart and go check your plants and start some LST or a res change, don't go start cleaning your tent, CHECK YOUR ITEMS OUT FAST. Orders usually are combined to help with shipping, this should help with ordering fast, and comments have been enabled at checkout too 👍. Last tip, make an account ahead of time, and login. Should help speed up the checkout process. Price per pack is $50 USD. Website and packaging say 3 seeds but typically get 5 no option for other pack sizes, plus free international shipping. This is the LAST SCHEDULED DROP from NightOwl till Valentine's day, which is expected to have the new F4 photo to auto cultivars. This is if there aren't any delays or setbacks in the timeline. The new NightOwl Sweater doesn't have a set date yet, could be some time in November. Chocolates are for the US only, food and customs don't go together. I THINK Daz said put it in the comments if you'd like the chocolate and he'd get back to you to figure out how to ship it (might have to pay for packaging and postage). Only If there are chocolates or ashtrays left, Daz will offer them up as an item on the seed bazaar for the cost of shipping which is usually around $15. Seedopoly boards are being sent out, pieces won't go out till the New Year, and the prizes are US only.
Spend $250 get an UNRELEASED TESTER PACK
Spend $500 get 2 UNRELEASED TESTER PACKS
Tester packs are labeled, but unknown till you receive it.
Scratch Card Game
Match the Mummies, scratch card game *WHILE SUPPLIES LAST, 1st COME 1st SERVED\*
Zamaldelica Express x Cosmic Queen 75/25 Sativa/Indica 75-80 days from sprout A long time coming, the Galaxy Brain is finally here! These large, branchy plants are covered with frost from the stems up! Piercingly sweet fruit scents and mouth coating flavors accompany a soaring euphoric head high, along with a relaxing body effect that doesn’t hamper your daily activities. I’m expecting this one to become a staple in the autoflower connoisseur’s garden. The reversal used was selected from over 40 Cosmic Queens and was extremely sativa dominant. I used this same expression for an unreleased seed run a few years back and she produced some of the most exquisitely beautiful and flavorful flowers. The female used was extremely pungent, with sappy and bulbous resin heads that stink up the whole room when burst. She also had extremely fat calyxes, providing massive amounts of surface area for the resin heads to call home.
Fugue State x Cosmic Queen True F1 Hybrid Limited Edition 75/25 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounces average 3 Feminized Seeds Large, easy growing sativa dominant plants with heavy branching and intense crystal production. Super sweet, peppery, and buttery flavors accompany an intensely uplifting head high and an electrically charged body feel. The Spotless Mind name gives a tip of the cap to the Amnesia Haze in her heritage, which carries through to this cross. Overindulge and you will find yourself becoming forgetful and may experience recollection difficulties, but in a fun way. She has also been known to encourage bedroom activities, making for a nice nightstand stash. If you are looking for an anytime sativa that won’t make your mind race aimlessly, look no further. The same reversal that was used for Galaxy Brain and Cosmic Apprentice was also used for this Limited Edition.
Blue Microverse F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium to large plants with creamy blue raspberry lemonade golf ball buds running along the side branches, leading up to chunky top colas all wrapped in gooey, long-stemmed trichomes. Another beautiful true F1 hybrid with a 50/50 blend for a balanced, comforting mind and body experience. Great for relaxing after work when you’re ready to start winding down. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. **Be sure to keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **
Strawberry Nuggets F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 40/60 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with very sturdy branches that reach up and fill the canopy alongside the main cola. Rock hard nugs of pinks, purples, emerald, and blue hues will create all the bag appeal you could ask for, with a sweet cheesy strawberry funk that will have you smelling the bag again and again. Another true F1 and the heaviest indica hybrid of the lot, ranging from therapeutic to narcotic depending on your intake. Perfect for a dessert smoke or nightcap to relax your body before sailing off into the dream world. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. ***Be sure to keep an eye on these during early as the Strawberry Nuggets line can throw a ball or two during sexing, right where the side branches meet the main stem. It is rare, but can be brought about by stress or too strong an application of nutes during the sexing stage and seems to be most common when using humic acid. If you do see a ball pop up it can be removed and the plant will continue on fully female to finish her life. Also, keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **\*
(Chem City Blues x Chemdogging) X Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 60/40 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with satellite branches that reach up to the shoulders of the canopy, but be sure to stake her before she goes too far into flower or she will buckle under the weight of her blooms. The piercing old school perfumes she puts off range from skunky blueberries to creamy chems, and her soda can cola structure is sure to impress! This F1 polyhybrid is recommended for heavier smokers and those looking for help with pain management, and can be a bit too much too fast for the uninitiated. Carbon filters are always a must indoors, and best to make sure they’re in proper working order before running these. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Mango Smile x Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 70/30 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with sturdy branching and individual bud sites running their length, met with a small cola cluster at their end. This true F1 hybrid has beautiful tropical citrus flavors that will send you off on an island vacation, while the effects will leave you physically and mentally heightened and ready for anything the day throws your way! Extremely pleasant all day/everyday smoke, sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Forum Stomper x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 60/40 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with stout branches that reach up and form a canopy surrounding the main cola. Incredibly resinous chunky white nugs and dark forest green foliage fade to the deepest purples and blacks under cooler temperatures. She will have true F1 hybrid vigor and produce a delicious mix of forum cookies and cosmic cream flavors along with an abundance of “fall off the stalk” gland heads that will put everything else around your trimbin to shame. Effects are stoney, both physically and mentally, without the couchlock. She could easily fill the role of all day/everyday smoke if you have a decent tolerance already. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down.
Super Orange Haze F4 X Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 70/30 Sativa/Indica 70-80 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized, easy growing plants with shorter side branches that reach about half the height of the main cola. Floral and sour citrus flavors with an uplifting effect that is great for early morning and afternoon indulgences. Bag appeal is also of no concern, as this true F1 hybrid has it in spades! The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Toof Decay x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with stout branches that almost reach the height of the main cola. Extremely dense buds covered in sweet bakery and candy-flavored resin that will leave you wanting more. Cooler temperatures can bring out some beautiful fall colors that only add to her visual appeal. Stoney without the narcotic effect, great for an afternoon delight or as a post-meal treat. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency to this true F1, while keeping the stretch down. ***Be sure to keep an eye on these during early as the Toof Decay line can throw a ball or two during sexing, right where the side branches meet the main stem. It is rare, but can be brought about by stress or too strong an application of nutes during the sexing stage and seems to be most common when using humic acid. If you do see a ball pop up it can be removed and the plant will continue on fully female to finish her life. Also, keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **\*
Creme de la Soul F1 x Cosmic Queen F4 Quick Finish 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium plants with stout satellite branches reaching up to the shoulders of the main colas. Dense nugs covered in oily resin ranging in smells from red berries and sneakers to creamy grapes, this F1 polyhybrid has a lot to offer! Cooler temperatures can bring on fades of reds and purples, making her an absolute beauty in her final days. She has a balanced physical and mental high, leaning towards the stoney end of the spectrum, and will make for a great evening smoke. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. Be sure to keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot.
Supernatural OG x Cosmic Queen F4 Super Sativa 70/30 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with sturdy branching and individual bud sites running their length, met with a medium cola cluster at their ends, with a large main cola. This F1 poly hybrid is chock full of hazey goodness! Flavors range from effervescent lemon-lime, to heavy juniper laced gin and tonic. The juniper flavors are my personal favorite and tend to kick my ass and get me super stoney, while the citrusy ones are more motivational. There’s a variety of outstanding expressions to be found in these, all on the sativa end of the spectrum. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out! Blessed by Hoodoo Moses I
Cosmic Apprentice (No Video)
Wizard’s Apprentice F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 Sativa 75 days from sprout "Ready to get heady? Crossing a big-bodied sativa dominant Wizard’s Apprentice to the rush inducing Cosmic Queen resulted in a whole new variety that will keep your head in the clouds! Large plants with denser buds than Cosmic Queen, an overload of frost, and nostril piercing neon sweet and hazey scents finishing right around 75 days. If you’re into uplifting sativa effects with chunkier buds then she is definitely worth checking out."
Wizard’s Apprentice F4 x Tyrone Stomper F6 Indica 70 days from sprout A long time coming, the Cheech Biggums is sure to impress! Using a heavy Cheech Wizard dominant Wizard’s Apprentice mated to the ever-impressive Tyrone Stomper will produce medium to large, extra vigorous true F1 hybrids with fruity OG gas flavors and an occasional piney/floral expression in a quick 70ish days from sprout. Picture of Post
February Drop Info
Copied from Daz's IG post.
Thank you all for your patience with me these past few weeks. I've been handling a lot of business behind the scenes in preparation for big things next year. 2020 was the year of staying off the radar with most of my big projects and not drawing any unnecessary attention. 2021 is the year of getting licensed and really showing you what it's all about! Thank you for your trust and faith in me during my overly cautious past few months/years. I won't let you down.🙏🌱🦉🌱🙏New photo to autos scheduled for the first half of 2021: Pre '98 Bubba Kush x Auto Skywalker F4 Dosidos x Forum Stomper F4 Purple Punch x Forum Stomper F4 Sunset Sherbet x Forum Stomper F4
https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Research/releases/tag/188.8.131.52 Finally! After over ten months of development and testing, "Fern" has arrived! This is a whopper. 240 pull requests merged. Essentially a complete rewrite that was started with the scraper (the "neural net" rewrite) in "Denise" has now been completed. Practically the ENTIRE Gridcoin specific codebase resting on top of the vanilla Bitcoin/Peercoin/Blackcoin vanilla PoS code has been rewritten. This removes the team requirement at last (see below), although there are many other important improvements besides that. Fern was a monumental undertaking. We had to encode all of the old rules active for the v10 block protocol in new code and ensure that the new code was 100% compatible. This had to be done in such a way as to clear out all of the old spaghetti and ring-fence it with tightly controlled class implementations. We then wrote an entirely new, simplified ruleset for research rewards and reengineered contracts (which includes beacon management, polls, and voting) using properly classed code. The fundamentals of Gridcoin with this release are now on a very sound and maintainable footing, and the developers believe the codebase as updated here will serve as the fundamental basis for Gridcoin's future roadmap. We have been testing this for MONTHS on testnet in various stages. The v10 (legacy) compatibility code has been running on testnet continuously as it was developed to ensure compatibility with existing nodes. During the last few months, we have done two private testnet forks and then the full public testnet testing for v11 code (the new protocol which is what Fern implements). The developers have also been running non-staking "sentinel" nodes on mainnet with this code to verify that the consensus rules are problem-free for the legacy compatibility code on the broader mainnet. We believe this amount of testing is going to result in a smooth rollout. Given the amount of changes in Fern, I am presenting TWO changelogs below. One is high level, which summarizes the most significant changes in the protocol. The second changelog is the detailed one in the usual format, and gives you an inkling of the size of this release.
Note that the protocol changes will not become active until we cross the hard-fork transition height to v11, which has been set at 2053000. Given current average block spacing, this should happen around October 4, about one month from now. Note that to get all of the beacons in the network on the new protocol, we are requiring ALL beacons to be validated. A two week (14 day) grace period is provided by the code, starting at the time of the transition height, for people currently holding a beacon to validate the beacon and prevent it from expiring. That means that EVERY CRUNCHER must advertise and validate their beacon AFTER the v11 transition (around Oct 4th) and BEFORE October 18th (or more precisely, 14 days from the actual date of the v11 transition). If you do not advertise and validate your beacon by this time, your beacon will expire and you will stop earning research rewards until you advertise and validate a new beacon. This process has been made much easier by a brand new beacon "wizard" that helps manage beacon advertisements and renewals. Once a beacon has been validated and is a v11 protocol beacon, the normal 180 day expiration rules apply. Note, however, that the 180 day expiration on research rewards has been removed with the Fern update. This means that while your beacon might expire after 180 days, your earned research rewards will be retained and can be claimed by advertising a beacon with the same CPID and going through the validation process again. In other words, you do not lose any earned research rewards if you do not stake a block within 180 days and keep your beacon up-to-date. The transition height is also when the team requirement will be relaxed for the network.
Besides the beacon wizard, there are a number of improvements to the GUI, including new UI transaction types (and icons) for staking the superblock, sidestake sends, beacon advertisement, voting, poll creation, and transactions with a message. The main screen has been revamped with a better summary section, and better status icons. Several changes under the hood have improved GUI performance. And finally, the diagnostics have been revamped.
The wallet sync speed has been DRASTICALLY improved. A decent machine with a good network connection should be able to sync the entire mainnet blockchain in less than 4 hours. A fast machine with a really fast network connection and a good SSD can do it in about 2.5 hours. One of our goals was to reduce or eliminate the reliance on snapshots for mainnet, and I think we have accomplished that goal with the new sync speed. We have also streamlined the in-memory structures for the blockchain which shaves some memory use. There are so many goodies here it is hard to summarize them all. I would like to thank all of the contributors to this release, but especially thank @cyrossignol, whose incredible contributions formed the backbone of this release. I would also like to pay special thanks to @barton2526, @caraka, and @Quezacoatl1, who tirelessly helped during the testing and polishing phase on testnet with testing and repeated builds for all architectures. The developers are proud to present this release to the community and we believe this represents the starting point for a true renaissance for Gridcoin!
Most significantly, nodes calculate research rewards directly from the magnitudes in EACH superblock between stakes instead of using a two- or three- point average based on a CPID's current magnitude and the magnitude for the CPID when it last staked. For those long-timers in the community, this has been referred to as "Superblock Windows," and was first done in proof-of-concept form by @denravonska.
Network magnitude unit pinned to a static value of 0.25
Max research reward allowed per block raised to 16384 GRC (from 12750 GRC)
New CPIDs begin accruing research rewards from the first superblock that contains the CPID instead of from the time of the beacon advertisement
500 GRC research reward limit for a CPID's first stake
6-month expiration for unclaimed rewards
10-block spacing requirement between research reward claims
Rolling 5-day payment-per-day limit
Legacy tolerances for floating-point error and time drift
The need to include a valid copy of a CPID's magnitude in a claim
10-block emission adjustment interval for the magnitude unit
One-time beacon activation requires that participants temporarily change their usernames to a verification code at one whitelisted BOINC project
Verification codes of pending beacons expire after 3 days
Self-service beacon removal
Burn fee for beacon advertisement increased from 0.00001 GRC to 0.5 GRC
Rain addresses derived from beacon keys instead of a default wallet address
Beacon expiration determined as of the current block instead of the previous block
The ability for developers to remove beacons
The ability to sign research reward claims with non-current but unexpired beacons
As a reminder:
Beacons expire after 6 months pass (180 days)
Beacons can be renewed after 5 months pass (150 days)
Renewed beacons must be signed with the same key as the original beacon
Magnitudes less than 1 include two fractional places
Magnitudes greater than or equal to 1 but less than 10 include one fractional place
A valid superblock must match a scraper convergence
Superblock popularity election mechanics
Yes/no/abstain and single-choice response types (no user-facing support yet)
To create a poll, a maximum of 250 UTXOs for a single address must add up to 100000 GRC. These are selected from the largest downwards.
Burn fee for creating polls scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
50 GRC for a poll contract
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Burn fee for casting votes scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
0.01 GRC for a vote contract
0.01 GRC to claim magnitude
0.01 GRC per claimed address
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Maximum length of a poll title: 80 characters
Maximum length of a poll question: 100 characters
Maximum length of a poll discussion website URL: 100 characters
Maximum number of poll choices: 20
Maximum length of a poll choice label: 100 characters
Magnitude, CPID count, and participant count poll weight types
The ability for developers to remove polls and votes
[184.108.40.206] 2020-09-03, mandatory, "Fern"
Backport newer uint256 types from Bitcoin #1570 (@cyrossignol)
Implement project level rain for rainbymagnitude #1580 (@jamescowens)
Upgrade utilities (Update checker and snapshot downloadeapplication) #1576 (@iFoggz)
Provide fees collected in the block by the miner #1601 (@iFoggz)
Add support for generating legacy superblocks from scraper stats #1603 (@cyrossignol)
Port of the Bitcoin Logger to Gridcoin #1600 (@jamescowens)
Implement zapwallettxes #1605 (@jamescowens)
Implements a global event filter to suppress help question mark #1609 (@jamescowens)
Add next target difficulty to RPC output #1615 (@cyrossignol)
Add caching for block hashes to CBlock #1624 (@cyrossignol)
Make toolbars and tray icon red for testnet #1637 (@jamescowens)
Add an rpc call convergencereport #1643 (@jamescowens)
Implement newline filter on config file read in #1645 (@jamescowens)
Implement beacon status icon/button #1646 (@jamescowens)
Add gridcointestnet.png #1649 (@caraka)
Add precision to support magnitudes less than 1 #1651 (@cyrossignol)
Replace research accrual calculations with superblock snapshots #1657 (@cyrossignol)
Publish example gridcoinresearch.conf as a md document to the doc directory #1662 (@jamescowens)
Add options checkbox to disable transaction notifications #1666 (@jamescowens)
Add support for self-service beacon deletion #1695 (@cyrossignol)
Add support for type-specific contract fee amounts #1698 (@cyrossignol)
Add verifiedbeaconreport and pendingbeaconreport #1696 (@jamescowens)
Add preliminary testing option for block v11 height on testnet #1706 (@cyrossignol)
Add verified beacons manifest part to superblock validator #1711 (@cyrossignol)
Implement beacon, vote, and superblock display categories/icons in UI transaction model #1717 (@jamescowens)
Hi Monero community! Two months ago I posted a CCS for continuing my research on Monero Atomic Swaps. That research is now complete and I'm happy to present my results. This post will be a summary of my research, but you can also find the whitepaper that describes the full protocol and all the details here.
Shiny BTC/XMR Atomic Swap Protocol!
We found it! With the help of the MRL, my colleagues, and the community, we created the first (to our knowledge) protocol to atomically swap bitcoin and monero. And this resulting protocol is implementable today - no more obscure crypto!
Why now? What changed?
When I started studying Monero for a Bitcoin/Monero atomic swap three and a half years ago, most of the swap protocols where based on 'Hash Time Locked Contract' (HTLC), something that we all know as non-existent on Monero. So the goal at the beginning of the project was to create an atomic swap where all the logic (timeouts, possible sequences of operation, secret disclosures, etc) is managed on the other chain: the Bitcoin chain. The second difficulty with Monero and Bitcoin is their respective underlying cryptographic parameters: they don't share the same elliptic curve, they don't share the same signing algorithm; they have nothing in common! This makes the pair a bad candidate for other types of atomic swap that don't (solely) rely on HTLC. In November 2018 we came up with a draft protocol that respects the above constraints. Thus, the protocol requires a specific type of zero-knowledge proof to be trustless: a hash pre-image zero-knowledge proof. This type of zkp is not wildly used in practice, if at all. Thus the protocol works in theory, but with some obscure crypto, making the protocol a bad candidate for an implementation. In early 2020, after presenting the draft protocol at 36C3 in December 2019, I discovered, by reference from Sarang Noether (MRL), Andrew Poelstra's idea of doing a discrete logarithm equality across group zero-knowledge proof of knowledge (MRL-0010), meaning that we can prove some relations between elements in two different groups (two curves to simplify) and the paper by LLoyd Fournier on One-Time Verifiably Encrypted Signatures allowing secret disclosure with ECDSA. With these two new (to me) cryptographic primitives, we were able to replace the previous zero-knowledge proof with a combination of the latter, making the protocol complete and practically feasible.
How it works
As a broad overview (and simplified) the protocol work as follow:
The monero are locked in an address generated by both participants
At the beginning, neither of the participants have the full control over the address; they both have half of the private key only
With the cross group discrete logarithm equality zkp, both participants prove to each other that the address on the Bitcoin chain is related to the address on the Monero chain
By means of Bitcoin scripts and ECDSA one-time verifiably encrypted signatures, one participant reveals to the other her partial private key by taking the bitcoin, allowing the other to take control over the monero
If the swap succeeds, A reveals to B, and if the swap is cancelled, B reveals to A. (We have a third scenario explained in the paper to force reaction and avoid deadlock.)
The obvious next step would be to have a working implementation on mainnet, but a ready-to-use implementation that is also robust and safe-to-use requires a lot of engineering work. Furthermore, even though the cryptography is not too obscure, most of it still also lacks an implementation. I'll post soon, if the community wants it, a CCS proposal to get my team and I to work on implementing this protocol, step by step, with the end goal of creating a working client/daemon for swapping Bitcoin and Monero. It would be very exciting to build that!
Thanks to the MRL and its researchers for their help, the CCS team, and the community for its support! I hope I fulfilled the community's expectations for my my first CCS - all feedback is appreciated.
I know it's on Sundays when we can present our skeptical arguments about the project, but in the recent months I've been consumed by "negative" thoughts about the cryptocurrency scene and I wanted to try to start a discussion about the real usefulness, in scale, of cryptocurrencies like Monero (or even Bitcoin). This thread is not intrinsically about the Monero protocol, but about the objective of the project which in the end is also the objective of other projects on the scene. The scene sells the idea that with cryptocurrencies, you can be your own bank. The question is
Who really wants to be their own bank?
Look around you. Do you believe that people today, compared to one or two previous generations, have more or less financial responsibility? Do you believe that people save more or less money? I have the impression that fewer and fewer people are looking for responsibility, both personally and financially. Most people in the West acclaim larger governments, with more tentacles, regardless of the ideological inclination of left or right. Generations of young adults and teenagers are growing up with the idea that their money in the bank is "guaranteed" by the government. There is no notion of risk. Socially, current adults are like big children, crying fault at every opportunity, requiring big entities both private and public to take action for them or protect them from literally anything, including protection from "bad feelings" and other ridiculous things. With that in mind, how can the scene sell the idea of being your own bank? How can we convince ordinary citizens, who are often irresponsible with their finances, with basically no technological knowledge other than accessing Instagram and Facebook, to use cryptocurrencies? What's even the use case for them? The moment someone mismanages their keys and lose their money, the person will hate cryptocurrencies and won't look back. And this is no fault of any project, because as Uncle Ben told us before, with great power [to control your finances] comes great responsibility [to keep it safe], but in the mind of the average user, we're comparing a system where money is "protected" from malicious people (and from the user himself), against a system that doesn't hold the user's hands when something goes wrong. What system do you reasonably think the average user will choose?
The use case
I have great difficulty in seeing a version of the near future (~5-10 years) where cryptocurrencies have any kind of relevant use. The only real case where this new money is really useful is in international peer-to-peer transfers. I, who am an immigrant and have above-average technological knowledge, enjoy the potential that cryptocurrencies offer to transfer money to my family in my home country without having to pay the horrible fees that other traditional financial services offer. Of course, this is only possible because I have been able to structure a process and a plan for these transfers to take place successfully, because at the end of the day my family is not technologically literate and they can't buy virtually anything with cryptocurrencies (which in this case is converted immediately to fiat), and fiat money is still and will remain king for a long time to come.
What the future holds?
My fear is that projects like Monero will never cease to be a small niche project, where a few thousand people use it to protect their financial privacy, increase their freedom, and maybe even buy some drugs. And all right, this is not necessarily the end of the world, but it is an unfortunate attestation of how contemporary society assigns value and importance to superficial things, it is a testament to how contemporary society is more than willing to abandon most of its freedoms (and therefore responsibilities) in exchange for stupid convenience, which preys in the innocence of citizens who in turn live with an abundance of narcotics and endless entertainment. That's it. I know my ideas about the project and the scene may be clouded by negative thoughts. I also know that no one is able to predict the future, but having access to the information I currently have, that is the best prediction I can make, and it doesn't look very good.
A criticism of the article "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation"
(be gentle, it's my first RI attempt, :P; I hope I can make justice to the subject, this is my layman understanding of many macro subjects which may be flawed...I hope you can illuminate me if I have fallen short of a good RI) Introduction So, today a heterodox leaning Argentinian newspaper, Ambito Financiero, published an article criticizing monetarism called "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation". I find it doesn't properly address monetarism, confuses it with other "economic schools" for whatever the term is worth today and it may be misleading, so I was inspired to write a refutation and share it with all of you. In some ways criticizing monetarism is more of a historical discussion given the mainstream has changed since then. Stuff like New Keynesian models are the bleeding edge, not Milton Friedman style monetarism. It's more of a symptom that Argentinian political culture is kind of stuck in the 70s on economics that this things keep being discussed. Before getting to the meat of the argument, it's good to have in mind some common definitions about money supply measures (specifically, MB, M1 and M2). These definitions apply to US but one can find analogous stuff for other countries. Argentina, for the lack of access to credit given its economic mismanagement and a government income decrease because of the recession, is monetizing deficits way more than before (like half of the budget, apparently, it's money financed) yet we have seen some disinflation (worth mentioning there are widespread price freezes since a few months ago). The author reasons that monetary phenomena cannot explain inflation properly and that other explanations are needed and condemns monetarism. Here are the six points he makes: 1.Is it a mechanical rule?
This way, we can ask by symmetry: if a certainty exists that when emission increases, inflation increases, the reverse should happen when emission becomes negative, obtaining negative inflation. Nonetheless, we know this happens: prices have an easier time increasing and a lot of rigidity decreasing. So the identity between emission and inflation is not like that, deflation almost never exists and the price movement rhythm cannot be controlled remotely only with money quantity. There is no mechanical relationship between one thing and the other.
First, the low hanging fruit: deflation is not that uncommon, for those of you that live in US and Europe it should be obvious given the difficulties central banks had to achieve their targets, but even Argentina has seen deflation during its depression 20 years ago. Second, we have to be careful with what we mean by emission. A statement of quantity theory of money (extracted from "Money Growth and Inflation: How Long is the Long-Run?") would say:
Inflation occurs when the average level of prices increases. Individual price increases in and of themselves do not equal inflation, but an overall pattern of price increases does. The price level observed in the economy is that which leads the quantity of money supplied to equal the quantity of money demanded. The quantity of money supplied is largely controlled by the [central bank]. When the supply of money increases or decreases, the price level must adjust to equate the quantity of money demanded throughout the economy with the quantity of money supplied. The quantity of money demanded depends not only on the price level but also on the level of real income, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), and a variety of other factors including the level of interest rates and technological advances such as the invention of automated teller machines. Money demand is widely thought to increase roughly proportionally with the price level and with real income. That is, if prices go up by 10 percent, or if real income increases by 10 percent, empirical evidence suggests people want to hold 10 percent more money. When the money supply grows faster than the money demand associated with rising real incomes and other factors, the price level must rise to equate supply and demand. That is, inflation occurs. This situation is often referred to as too many dollars chasing too few goods. Note that this theory does not predict that any money-supply growth will lead to inflation—only that part of money supply growth that exceeds the increase in money demand associated with rising real GDP (holding the other factors constant).
So it's not mere emission, but money supply growing faster than money demand which we should consider. So negative emission is not necessary condition for deflation in this theory. It's worth mentioning that the relationship with prices is observed for a broad measure of money (M2) and after a lag. From the same source of this excerpt one can observe in Fig. 3a the correlation between inflation and money growth for US becomes stronger the longer data is averaged. Price rigidities don't have to change this long term relationship per se. But what about causality and Argentina? This neat paper shows regressions in two historical periods: 1976-1989 and 1991-2001. The same relationship between M2 and inflation is observed, stronger in the first, highly inflationary period and weaker in the second, more stable, period. The regressions a 1-1 relationship in the high inflation period but deviates a bit in the low inflation period (yet the relationship is still there). Granger causality, as interpreted in the paper, shows prices caused money growth in the high inflation period (arguably because spending was monetized) while the reverse was true for the more stable period. So one can argue that there is a mechanical relationship, albeit one that is more complicated than simple QTOM theory. The relationship is complicated too for low inflation economies, it gets more relevant the higher inflation is. Another point the author makes is that liquidity trap is often ignored. I'll ignore the fact that you need specific conditions for the liquidity trap to be relevant to Argentina and address the point. Worth noting that while market monetarists (not exactly old fashioned monetarists) prefer alternative explanations for monetary policy with very low interest rates, this phenomena has a good monetary basis, as explained by Krugman in his famous japanese liquidity trap paper and his NYT blog (See this and this for some relevant articles). The simplified version is that while inflation may follow M2 growth with all the qualifiers needed, central banks may find difficulties targeting inflation when interest rates are low and agents are used to credible inflation targets. Central banks can change MB, not M2 and in normal times is good enough, but at those times M2 is out of control and "credibly irresponsible" policies are needed to return to normal (a more detailed explanation can be found in that paper I just linked, go for it if you are still curious). It's not like monetary policy is not good, it's that central banks have to do very unconventional stuff to achieve in a low interest rate environment. It's still an open problem but given symmetric inflation targeting policies are becoming more popular I'm optimistic. 2 - Has inflation one or many causes?
In Argentina we know that the main determinant of inflation is dollar price increases. On that, economic concentration of key markets, utility price adjustments, fuel prices, distributive struggles, external commodity values, expectatives, productive disequilibrium, world interest rates, the economic cycle, stationality and external sector restrictions act on it too. Let's see a simple example: during Macri's government since mid 2017 to 2019 emission was practically null, but when in 2018 the dollar value doubled, inflation doubled too (it went from 24% to 48% in 2018) and it went up again a year later. We see here that the empirical validity of monetarist theory was absent.
For the first paragraph, one could try to run econometric tests for all those variables, at least from my layman perspective. But given that it doesn't pass the smell test (has any country used that in its favor ignoring monetary policy? Also, I have shown there is at least some evidence for the money-price relationship before), I'll try to address what happened in Macri's government and if monetarism (or at least some reasonable extension of it) cannot account for it. For a complete description of macroeconomic policy on that period, Sturzenegger account is a good one (even if a bit unreliable given he was the central banker for that government and he is considered to have been a failure). The short version is that central banks uses bonds to manage monetary policy and absorb money; given the history of defaults for the country, the Argentinian Central Bank (BCRA) uses its own peso denominated bonds instead of using treasury bonds. At that time period, the BCRA still financed the treasury but the amount got reduced. Also, it emitted pesos to buy dollar reserves, then sterilized them, maybe risking credibility further. Near the end of 2017 it was evident the government had limited appetite for budget cuts, it had kind of abandoned its inflation target regime and the classic problem of fiscal dominance emerged, as it's shown in the classic "Unpleasant monetarist arithmetic" paper by Wallace and Sargent. Monetary policy gets less effective when the real value of bonds falls, and raising interest rates may be counterproductive in that environment. Rational expectations are needed to complement QTOM. So, given that Argentina promised to go nowhere with reform, it was expected that money financing would increase at some point in the future and BCRA bonds were dumped in 2018 and 2019 as their value was perceived to have decreased, and so peso demand decreased. It's not that the dollar value increased and inflation followed, but instead that peso demand fell suddenly! The IMF deal asked for MB growth to be null or almost null but that doesn't say a lot about M2 (which it's the relevant variable here). Without credible policies, the peso demand keeps falling because bonds are dumped even more (see 2019 for a hilariously brutal example of that). It's not emission per se, but rather that it doesn't adjust properly to peso demand (which is falling). That doesn't mean increasing interest rates is enough to achieve it, following Wallace and Sargent model. This is less a strict proof that a monetary phenomenon is involved and more stating that the author hasn't shown any problem with that, there are reasonable models for this situation. It doesn't look like an clear empirical failure to me yet. 3 - Of what we are talking about when we talk about emission? The author mentions many money measures (M0, M1, M2) but it doesn't address it meaningfully as I tried to do above. It feels more like a rhetorical device because there is no point here except "this stuff exists". Also, it's worth pointing that there are actual criticisms to make to Friedman on those grounds. He failed to forecast US inflation at some points when he switched to M1 instead of using M2, although he later reverted that. Monetarism kind of "failed" there (it also "failed" in the sense that modern central banks don't use money, but instead interest rates as their main tool; "failed" because despite being outdated, it was influential to modern central banking). This is often brought to this kind of discussions like if economics hasn't moved beyond that. For an account of Friedman thoughts on monetary policies and his failures, see this. 4 - Why do many countries print and inflation doesn't increase there? There is a mention about the japanese situation in the 90s (the liquidity trap) which I have addressed. The author mentions that many countries "printed" like crazy during the pandemic, and he says:
Monetarism apologists answer, when confronted with those grave empirical problems that happen in "serious countries", that the population "trusts" their monetary authorities, even increasing the money demand in those place despite the emission. Curious, though, it's an appeal to "trust" implying that the relationship between emission and inflation is not objective, but subjective and cultural: an appreciation that abandons mechanicism and the basic certainty of monetarism, because evaluations and diagnostics, many times ideologic, contextual or historical intervene..
That's just a restatement of applying rational expectations to central bank operations. I don't see a problem with that. Rational expectations is not magic, it's an assessment of future earnings by economic actors. Humans may not 100% rational but central banking somehow works on many countries. You cannot just say that people are ideologues and let it at that. What's your model? Worth noting the author shills for bitcoin a bit in this section, for more cringe. 5 - Are we talking of a physical science or a social science? Again, a vague mention of rational expectations ("populists and pro market politicians could do the same policies with different results because of how agents respond ideologically and expectatives") without handling the subject meaningfully. It criticizes universal macroeconomic rules that apply everywhere (this is often used to dismiss evidence from other countries uncritically more than as a meaningful point). 6 - How limits work?
The last question to monetarism allows to recognize it something: effectively we can think on a type of vinculation between emission and inflation in extreme conditions. That means, with no monetary rule, no government has the need of taxes but instead can emit and spend all it needs without consequence. We know it's not like that: no government can print infinitely without undesirable effects.
Ok, good disclaimer, but given what he wrote before, what's the mechanism which causes money printing to be inflationary at some point? It was rejected before but now it seems that it exists. What was even the point of the article?
Now, the problem is thinking monetarism on its extremes: without emission we have inflation sometimes, on others we have no inflation with emission, we know that if we have negative emission that doesn't guarantees us negative inflation, but that if emission is radically uncontrolled there will economic effects.
As I wrote above, that's not what monetarism (even on it's simpler form) says, nor a consequence of it. You can see some deviations in low inflation environment but it's not really Argentina's current situation.
Let's add other problems: the elastic question between money and prices is not evident. Neither is time lags in which can work or be neutral. So the question is the limit cases for monetarism which has some reason but some difficulty in explaining them: by which and it what moments rules work and in which it doesn't.
I find the time lag thing to be a red herring. You can observe empirically and not having a proper short/middle run model doesn't invalidate QTOM in the long run. While it may be that increasing interest rates or freezing MB is not effective, that's less a problem of the theory and more a problem of policy implementation. Conclusion: I find that the article doesn't truly get monetarism to begin with (see the points it makes about emission and money demand), neither how it's implemented in practice, nor seems to be aware of more modern theories that, while put money on the background, don't necessarily invalidate it (rational expectation ideas, and eventually New Keynesian stuff which addresses stuff like liquidity traps properly). There are proper criticisms to be made to Friedman old ideas but he still was a relevant man in his time and the economic community has moved on to new, better theories that have some debt to it. I feel most economic discussion about monetarism in Argentina is a strawman of mainstream economics or an attack on Austrians more than genuine points ("monetarism" is used as a shorthand for those who think inflation is a monetary phenomenon more than referring to Friedman and his disciples per se).
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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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
The world of DeFi is exploding but is it all it’s made out to be?
DeFi (decentralised finance) is most certainly the buzz in the crypto world this minute. It’s bringing similar feelings which was the 2017/18 ICO phase, where a mammoth of new projects begun to explode onto the scene, each with their own promise of new innovation and use case. Hindsight has shown us that most of those projects have ultimately failed, or worse, were outright scams that took advantage of not so wise investors looking to make a buck. Obviously, not all projects fit that description, with many teams still around today working on and delivering their individual visions. Crypto is, after all, still a big experiment of new technology.
Enter DeFi: Serum
DeFi has exploded into the limelight over the last few months, with some tokens appreciating hundreds of percent in price. It appears to be the catalyst that has driven a huge market shift in the crypto world, and for those who’ve been around a number of years, this is a welcome change. In this piece, I’m going to examine a particular project called Serum.
Serum is the world’s first completely decentralized derivatives exchange with trustless cross-chain trading brought to you by Project Serum.
The Serum Project is aiming to create both a decentralised exchange and a cross-chain swapping mechanism. In this article, I’m going to focus solely on the cross-chain swapping aspect of Serum. Although the Serum whitepaper is quite short and lacking in detail, it is useful to derive some understanding of how the cross-chain swapping protocol should work. Throughout this review, I will use it to describe how the imagined protocol works.
Let's assume Alice wants to trade some BTC for ETH and Bob wants to trade some ETH for BTC using Serum. These two users are matched and agree on a price using an on-chain order book on the Solana blockchain (whitepaper provides no practical details on how to do this). Once these users are matched, Bob must send the ETH he wants to trade to an Ethereum smart contract, plus some amount of ETH ~200 USD worth (see section 4 below) to the smart contract as collateral. Alice will also need to send some collateral to the smart contract. Once this initial setup process is complete Alice then has to send her BTC to Bob’s BTC address and if Bob receives the BTC from Alice he can then release his ETH from the smart contract sending it to Alice’s ETH address. Upon completion of this both Alice and Bob are refunded their ETH collateral. So what happens if something goes wrong? For example, say Alice never sends BTC to Bob, after some period of time Bob can initiate a dispute. When the dispute begins both Alice and Bob present a portion of the Bitcoin blockchain information to the smart contract (see section 3). The smart contract then decides whether or not Alice did send BTC to Bob. If she hasn’t then the smart contract returns Bob's ETH and collateral to Bob and also takes Alice’s ETH collateral and gives that to Bob. The same occurs in reverse if Alice sends BTC but Bob never approves the transfer of ETH from the smart contract. This scheme seems pretty simple, there’s no oracles and no centralised parties, however, it has a number of disadvantages.
1. User-Provided Collateral Is Bad for User Experience
Each time a user conducts a swap they must reserve some percentage or fixed amount to cover the collateral for the swap. This collateral amount needs to be present to prevent griefing attacks where users initiate swaps with no intention of ever following through and sending funds to the alternate participant. However, this creates a poor user experience as both Alice and Bob need to have at least the value of the dispute fee committed to the contract in collateral before they conduct a swap. This is totally foreign from the normal exchange experience in which you only require a single coin and a single transaction to begin trading. For example, if using Serum to trade Bitcoin you would need to hold Bitcoin and ~200$ of Ethereum and also interact with the Ethereum chain before any swap occurs. This adds unnecessary complexity and confusion, especially for newcomers to the crypto space.
2. ETH Must Always Be on One Side of the Swap
Although the Serum method of cross-chain swapping could occur on any blockchain with smart contracts, the Serum whitepaper makes it clear the Serum arbitration contract is going to be deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. This means one party must always be locking the full value of the trade in ETH using an Ethereum smart contract. This makes it impossible, for example, to do a single step trade between Bitcoin and Monero since the swap would need to be from Bitcoin to ETH first and then from ETH to Monero. This is comparable to other proposed cross-chain swap systems like Thorchain and Blockswap, however since those networks use AMM’s (automated market makers)and decentralized vaults to take custody of funds, the user needs not to interact with the intermediary chain at all. Instead in Serum, the user wanting to swap Bitcoin to Monero will need to do the following steps:
Send Ethereum collateral to the Serum arbitration contract
Send Bitcoin to the user they are swapping with.
Send Ethereum back to Serum arbitration contract
Send Ethereum out of Serum arbitration contract
Receive back Ethereum collateral
It might be possible to remove or simplify step 4, depending on how the smart contract is built, however, this means a swap from BTC to Monero would require 2 Ethereum and 1 Bitcoin transaction in the best-case scenario. Compared with the experience of other cross-chain swapping mechanisms, which only require the user to send a single transaction to swap between two assets, this is very poor user experience.
3. Proving Transactions on Arbitrary Chains to a Smart Contract Is Not Trivial
Perhaps the most central part of the Serum cross-chain swapping mechanism is left completely unexplored in the Serum whitepaper with only a brief explanation given.
“[The] Smart Contract is programmed to parse whether a proposed BTC blockchain is valid; it can then check which of Alice and Bob send the longer valid blockchain, and settle in their favor”
This is not a trivial problem, and it is unclear how this actually works from the explanation given in the Serum whitepaper. What actually needs to be presented to the smart contract to prove a Bitcoin transaction? Typically when talking about SPV the smart contract would need the block headers of all previous blocks and a merkle inclusion proof. This is far too heavy to submit in a dispute. Instead, Serum could use NIPoPoW, however, these proofs only work on chains with fixed difficulty and are still probably prohibitively too large (~100KB) to be submitted as a proof to a contract. Other solutions like Flyclient are more versatile, but proof sizes are much larger and have failed to see much real-world adoption. Without explaining how they actually plan to do this validation of Bitcoin transactions, users are left in the dark about how secure their solution actually is.
4. High Dispute Fees Force Large Collateral on Small Trades
Although disputes should almost never happen because of the incentives and punishments designed into the Serum protocol, the way they are designed has negative impacts on the use of the network. Although the Serum whitepaper does not say how the dispute mechanism works, they do say that it will cost about ~100 USD in GAS to dispute a swap. Note: keep in mind that the Serum paper was published in July 2020 when the gas price was about 50 Gwei, as Ethereum use has picked up over the past month we have seen average GAS prices as high as 250 Gwei, with the average price right now about 120 Gwei. This means that at the height of GAS prices it could have cost a user ~500 USD to dispute a swap. This means for the network to ensure losing cross-chain swaps aren’t made each user must deploy at least $200 in collateral on each side. It may be possible to lower this to collateral if we assume the attacker is not financially motivated, however, there is a lower bound in which ransom attacks become possible on low-value trades. Further and perhaps more damagingly, this means in a trade of any size the user needs to have at least 300 USD in ETH laying around. 100 USD in ETH for the required collateral and 200 USD if they need to challenge the transaction. This further adds to the poor user experience when using Serum for cross-chain swapping.
5. Swaps Are Not Set and Forget
Instead of being able to send a transaction and receive funds on the blockchain you are swapping to, the process is highly interactive. In the case where I am swapping ETH for Bitcoin, the following occurs:
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract with my collateral.
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract with the funds to be traded.
Wait until the Bitcoin transaction sent to my address has an acceptable amount of confirmations (up to 60 mins, depending on network congestion).
If the Bitcoin transaction is never received then I need to wait for a timeout to occur before I can participate in the dispute process.
Send a transaction to the Serum arbitration contract unlocking my funds and sending them to the participant.
And on the Bitcoin side (assuming the seller is ready), the following must take place:
Send my Ethereum collateral to the smart contract.
Send the Bitcoin.
Wait until the Seller has accepted that Bitcoin.
If the Seller never accepts the Bitcoin I sent to him then I need to wait on line for the dispute process.
Wait to receive my ETH + Collateral back.
This presents a strange user experience where the seller or seller’s wallet must be left online during this whole process and be ready to sign a new transaction if they need to dispute transactions or unlock funds from a smart contract. This is different from the typical exchange or swapping scenario in which, once your funds are sent you can be assured you will receive the amount you expected in your swap back to you, without any of your wallets needing to remain online.
6. The Serum Token Seems to Lack a Use Case
The cross-chain swapping protocol Serum describes in its whitepaper could easily be forked and launched on the Ethereum blockchain without having any need for the Serum token. It seems that the Serum token will be used in some capacity when placing orders on the Solana based blockchain, however, the order book could just as easily be placed off with traditional rate-limiting schemes. There is some brief mention of future governance abilities for token holders, however, as a common theme in their whitepaper, details are scarce:
Serum is anticipated to include a limited governance model based on the SRM token. While most of the Serum ecosystem will be immutable, some parameters without large security risks (e.g. future fees) may be modified via a governance vote of SRM tokens.
Until satisfactory answers are given to these questions I would be looking at other projects who are attempting to build platforms for cross-chain swaps. As previously mentioned, Thorchain & Blockswap show some promise in design, whilst there are some others competing in this space too, such as Incognito and RenVM. However, this area is still extremely immature so plenty of testing and time is required before we can call any of these projects a success. If you’ve got any feedback or thoughts about Serum, cross-chain swapping or DeFi in general, please don’t be shy in leaving a comment.
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Is Paxful against responsible disclosure of vulnerabilities or is this all just a mistake? $10-$200 free BTC if we can resolve this
TLDR; I discovered and responsibly disclosed multiple bugs/vulnerabilities with significant impact on Paxful's marketplace, weeks later Paxful froze my account thinking I was maliciously making use of part of the very vulnerability I reported. I was testing whether had been fully patched as it posed risks to my operations as a vendor as well as Paxful's marketplace as a whole if it were publicly disclosed and abused by malicious actors. I would be happy to consider signing the NDA related to this vulnerability if we can resolve this in a timely manner. Things ended in my vendor account being bannéd nearly 2 weeks ago as the support and security team assumed API testing activity was spam despite my prior in-depth communications with them. They cited multiple warnings August 6-18 which, as cited below are not legitimate in nature and likely due to a break down in communications and/or failure to investigate the nature of my activity. I suspect some of this may be related to a language barrier as I and other vendors frequently receive messages in broken english containing incorrect or irrelevant information. Please consider posting a comment regarding your experience with Paxful's bug bounty program or support team. I am offering $10 in BTC to each Paxful ID verified user who comments on this post with a relevant comment if my Paxful account's ban is lifted. Moderators are excluded from this to avoid conflicts of interest. Additional restrictions:
Thread needs to receive comments from atleast 20 unique, Paxful ID verified users, otherwise no one will receive $10.
$10 payout is limited to the first 25 users.
In order to qualify these users must be >7 days old on Reddit from the date of this post, have atleast 3 posts on Reddit and be ID verified on Paxful.
In order to claim your $10 of BTC you need to be registered and ID verified on Paxful.
Your post must be relevant to this thread and add to the discussion.
Alternatively, if this post does not receive atleast 20 comments from ID verified users, I am offering $200 in BTC to anyone who can put me in touch with someone at Paxful who can actually resolve this. Payout will be made only if my vendor account ban is lifted. 5/17/20 — I reported vulnerability #1 to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) 07/06/20 — I reported vulnerability #2 to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) "Trade transcripts can be made unretrievable, when abused by users moderators might be unable to review disputes" to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) . Some of the testing involved posting arbitrary strings such as “aa.co”, “bbco”, etc. repeatedly to old cancelled trades. This is not spam, however it’s been wrongly assumed to be spam. 08/05/20 — Despite my clearly positive intentions, I was advised by a Paxful dev ops engineer to not attempt to mitigate the risk of coin lockers, scammers and extortion through the use of automated scripted messaging in trade chats as it could cause problems for Paxful staff. I was asked to strictly rely on moderators for resolving such issues (despite the historical lack of recourse against scams). I immediately ceased such activity and made it clear I was prepared to comply with this request and was previously unaware that this might cause problems for staff. 08/06/20 — No further use of scripted messaging to get rid of coin lockers, I opted to strictly rely on moderators for such issues. I performed tests via Paxful’s API related to the bug bounty report on 07/06/20 using specific API endpoints on trades where it would not hinder any transaction or where staff might need to be involved. Criteria used for selected trades to use for vulnerability testing:
Cancelled by buyer or expired
Buyer was not online recently
Ideally I would have used a test account or testnet like most exchanges offer but I was specifically told not to and prior to 08/05/20 there were no concerns about my usage of Paxful's API. 08/08-10/20 — (Request # 221122 ) My vendor account was frózen, I tweeted at raypaxful and it was unfrózen. I was told by support (request # 221122) that my API testing was flagged by Paxful’s system as spam. Support issued an apology and placed a note on my account that I may be performing such tests going forward and they valued my bug bounty reports. 08/12/20 — I was wrongly accused again of spamming the trade chat despite my continued compliance with the request from [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) on 08/05/20. Two trades were cited:GYokxnZdbmx — blatantly obvious API testing involving posting repeated strings such as “aa.co” 6Jm586J6Mox — trade from 04/21/20, why are you warning me about a trade from 4 months ago when it wasn’t indicated that Paxful had an issue with scripted message being use to deal with malicious actors when moderators are nowhere in sight? After all these months, why didn’t you take any action against the malicious user here? This doesn’t require contacting any gift card company, you can clearly see this user provided a cropped picture of a gift card making it unredeemable yet they locked my coins for days. The reason you’re aware of activity like this being a risk to the marketplace is a direct result of the bug bounty report I filed on on 07/06/20 for which I was never paid despite being promised a "reward". Who in their right mind is going to file a bug bounty report and then proceed to abuse that bug? A little more investigation and logical reasoning is needed here. 08/18/20 (Request # 170377) I was accused yet again of spamming the trade chat despite my continued compliance with the request from [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) on 08/05/20. I responded to this reminding support that I had continued to comply with this request and that “warning” me of something I’ve been in compliance with ever since I was aware of the issue is extremely disingenuous. 08/19/20 (Request # 170377), BitcoinBell’s response:*“Spamming and account notation: Like I said, I've communicated with [Paxful dev ops engineer name redacted] multiple times regarding excessive scripted messaging being used to ward off scammers, the behavior won't continue.”*Scripted messaging posted via API to deal with scammers had not taken place ever since the concern was first brought to my attention on 08/05/20. Paxful support appears to have been under the impression that this was not the case and proceeded to “warn me” again as if I was refusing to comply with their prior request. It would appear that they did not realize my activity was bug bounty related testing using old cancelled trades as my only authorized means of carrying out such tests without being disruptive to transactions. “Had I known this caused problems for Paxful's team I wouldn't have done it but there was no mention in Paxful's API documentation that such activity could cause problems for Paxful's team. Most websites have proper rate limiting in place to deal with excessive posting of the same message so they don't have to waste their time policing what messages are being posted. Again, I'm not arguing for continuing this behavior as it's now been made clear it causes problems for Paxful's team but I hope you can see nothing in Paxful's API documentation clearly prohibits such use and that it was being used in good faith to ward off bad actors. In a marketplace filled with malicious actors, I don't appreciate being "warned" as if I did something malicious here when there was no indication of it being a problem, until recently.” (and have been in compliance with the request since first alerted on 08/05/20)” 08/21/20I was offered a bug bounty payout for the vulnerabilities/bugs reported on 07/06/20 and 05/17/20. The amount was around 5-12% of the national average for bug bounty payouts. I was asked to sign a lengthy NDA which I had to forward to my attorney for review. 08/26/20 I made a counteroffer to the proposed bug bounty payments around and below the national average for bug bounty payouts. 08/26/20 I reported a new bug to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) that could lead to users visiting malicious sites from Paxful's trade chat without warning. 08/27/20 8:01 AM UTC I reported a new bug to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) that significantly impacted vendors in countless payment methods which since been patched:"Regex intended to block external contact info also blocks all gift card numbers that contain 6 sequential digits, huge potential burden on vendors, confusion for buyers" 08/27/20 8:30 AM UTC I received an e-mail that my vendor account had been bannéd. Despite having several active trades, the 0.1 BTC bond and all funds were made available for my immediate withdrawal. What's the point of a 0.1 BTC bond if Paxful makes it immediately available to bannéd users with active trades? Is Paxful against responsible disclosure or is this all just a coincidence? The vulnerability I reported on 07/06/20 specifically alerted Paxful’s security team to risks of spam and difficulties it might create for users and moderators if moderators did not have special tools that would make this a non-issue. No concerns related to this vulnerability were made apparent until 08/05/20. For the sake of brevity I'm leaving out a number of other material ongoing and prior issues encountered with Paxful support that impeded my ability to provide seamless service on Paxful's platform. I have gone to great lengths to articulate these issues to support with little/no resolution despite their often simplistic nature. paxful.com/usebitcoinbell
Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Makes Biggest Jump in 29 Months Jun 16, 2020 at 17:02 UTC Updated Jun 16, 2020 at 19:19 UTC Bitcoin mining facility (Greenidge Generation) Bitcoin mining difficulty, a measure of how hard it is to compete for block rewards on the network, just set a new record high of 17.35 trillion around 12:00 UTC on Monday. This marks a 9.89% jump ... The Bitcoin difficulty adjusts after every 2016 mined blocks. The calculation used is based on the difficulty of the previous block set. Bitcoin transactions average around ten minutes per block. A jump in difficulty indicates that hashing power has remained robust, and the previous difficulty was too low. Advertisement. Continue reading below. Major Jump. The estimated increase of over 18% is ... Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Set for Highest Jump in Nine Months. By Sead Fadilpašić. June 12, 2020. Source: Adobe/Myst. If everything goes as estimated, miners are about to experience the rise in Bitcoin (BTC) mining difficulty ... Bitcoin (BTC) network difficulty has reached a new high in more than three months after increasing 5.11% since March 10, 2019. The network has rate has currently reached 45 million TH/s. Could the
Blockchain/Bitcoin for beginners 9: Bitcoin difficulty, target, BITS - all you need to know
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