dcrd: Bug fixes, improved test coverage and test infrastructure.
Work started to port several rearrangements from upstream btcd in order to reduce coupling and split blockmanager and rpcserver into their own packages.
A major pending change to mining code that deserves a special mention is an overhaul of the background template generator (the function that miners call to receive templates to create blocks from). Currently, miners not familiar with the intricacies of Decred voting will occasionally produce valid blocks with the minimum 3 PoS votes, out of a possible 5. This is bad for PoW miners, who get a reduced subsidy for including fewer votes. This is also undesirable for PoS voters, who may not receive the PoS reward, despite having voted, simply due to propagation delay. To address this, the background template generator has been updated to add support for intelligent vote propagation, as well as a number of other features, such as better handling of chain reorganization to alternative blocks, a subscription that provides miners a stream of template updates, and consideration of the synchronization state as part of determining if the chain is current. It should be noted that this work only implements the infrastructure and does not yet expose this functionality in production.
dcrwallet: Bug fixes, improved error handling, and simplified concurrent code and increased concurrent use of an unlocked wallet. Work started on CleanOutAccount feature, which is similar to SweepAccount but allows multiple transactions.
Politeia: Front end changes include an improved proposal list view, continuous loading of proposals while scrolling, and no more redirect when session expires - now a login modal window will pop up. The backend saw performance improvements and bug fixes, changes to the user database (user data at rest is now encrypted), and an updated API endpoint that allows non-admins to look up userID/username by public key. These lookups will allow for data about user comments and votes to be organized by user account rather than public key.
Contractor management system (CMS) continues to receive a steady churn of improvements and fixes.
Work has begun to reduce coupling with dcrwallet and to port Docker-related lnd files to dcrlnd to enable easier tinkering and development by the community. A quickstart guide has been started for knowledgeable individuals that want to get going faster. Work has also begun to port a lot of upstream changes made to lnd since dcrlnd branched off to begin the initial port.
dcrandroid: Minor bug fixes and UI optimizations, as well as a newly added send & estimation function. Code has been updated to be compatible with latest dcrlibwallet - a shared component reused by dcrandroid, dcrios, and godcr.
dcrios: Release Candidate 1 of the iOS Wallet is ready for broader public testing. Development efforts ramped up in preparation for official launch. Bugs reported by users of the test app have been fixed, UI improvements have been made, and a large refactoring was performed to clean up the repository and improve test coverage. Apple Store release is imminent!
dcrdata: A markets dashboard has been added to the alpha site with most relevant market information, such as: USD and BTC price and volume from top Decred markets, indexes of BTC/USD price, charts of order book depth, volume and market history.
docs: Added new Security page that captures a lot of wisdom about secure computing, including system setup and OPSEC. The Transaction Details page was updated to include more information on Decred-specific transaction types, as well as a detailed example transaction. The Consensus Vote Archive page now has better flow and more data.
Dev activity stats for May: 88 active PRs, 272 master commits, 52K added and 57K deleted lines spread across 15 repositories. Contributions came from 2-7 developers per repository.
In May the Treasury received 15,616 DCR and spent 8,456 DCR. Using May’s daily average DCR/USD rate of $27.71, this is $433K received and $234K spent. As these payments were for work completed in April, it is also informative to consider them in the context of the April average daily rate of $24.22 - in which case the USD received/spent figures are $378K/$205K. As of Jun 1, Treasury balance is 613,840 DCR (17.3 million USD at $28.19).
Below is the proposal status as of Jun 1.
6 new proposals were submitted:
Block Header Commitments Consensus Change by @davecgh, a proposal to move forward with a DCP and on chain consensus rules change. This change would allow to bring the security of SPV clients almost to the level of fully validating nodes. The proposal projects a cost of $20,000 to prepare the software and the DCP, to be paid from the core development budget.
Ditto Communications Proposal for Decred: Phase 2 by @lizbagot, a proposal to continue retaining the services of Ditto at $25K/month in DCR for a further 6 months. The proposal includes a recap of the last 6 months and details a 5 pronged approach for the next 6 months.
Decred Open Source Research proposal: Phase 2 by @richard-red, a proposal to continue funding the research program with $20,000, estimated to keep it going for 6 months. The proposal includes a report on the first 6 months activities, and a description of how the approach going forward will differ. The proposal also invites ideas about research projects in comments.
Decentralized Exchange Specification Document by @jy-p, a proposal to move forward with the DEX by producing a “full RFC-style specification” of the processes involved. The specification would be completed by Company 0 working with @chappjc, @buck54321 and @jholdstock, at a cost of up to $20,000.
Incentivizing BD Evangelists within the Decred Ecosystem by @betterfuture, a proposal to establish a “Decred Evangelists” business development team that would arrange co-development deals with partner organizations, and be rewarded with a percentage of any DCR contributed by those partners to the Treasury. The proposal was edited by @betterfuture on May 31 to say that it will be abandoned and re-submitted as two separate proposals, based on community feedback.
A Journey to the Future of Work- Telling the DCR story through Politeia by @jer979, a proposal to write an article about Politeia and the author’s proposal submission journey. This proposal initially appeared to have good support, but after comments about @jer979’s past relationship with IOTA lost some of that support and was ultimately rejected with 48.6% approval (and voter participation of 44%, the second highest participation rate in Politeia’s history).
While the proposal was rejected, @jer979 still published his journey on his website. In the article, he argued that “Contributor Experience” (CX) is important and compared proposal submission experience of DAOstack and Decred, outlining some friction points. Following an exchange on Twitter, @lukebp captured the feedback in a GitHub issue.
1 additional proposal finished voting and was approved:
The first constitution amendment has been applied on docs.decred.org.
@degeri published a Bounty program status update on May 15, reporting that 49 submissions had been processed so far with 7 eligible for a payout.
@pi_crumbs continues tweeting when new proposals are published, edited or start voting.
Hashrate: May’s hashrate opened at ~524 Ph/s and closed ~574 Ph/s, bottoming at 364 Ph/s and peaking at 626 Ph/s throughout the month. Pool hashrate distribution as of Jun 1: Poolin 20%, lab.antpool.com 18%, BTC.com 8.7%, F2Pool 7.7%, UUPool 7.7%, Luxor 2%, BeePool 0.86%, CoinMine 0.28%, suprnova 0.02% and others 35.4% per dcrstats.com. Pool distribution numbers are approximate and cannot be accurately determined.
Staking: 30-day average ticket price was 116 DCR (-1.2) per dcrstats.com. The price varied between 109.7-124.7 DCR. Locked amount was 4.68-4.83 million DCR, which corresponded to 47.60-49.17% of the available supply per dcr.farm.
Nodes: as of Jun 2 there were 270 public nodes. In that snapshot, 168 nodes were IPv4 with the following continent distribution: Europe 53%, North America 39%, Asia 7%. Top countries: USA 31.6%, Germany 14%, France 10%, Canada 7.8%, UK 5.4%, Netherlands 5.4%. Thanks to @chappjc for the snapshot.
Another useful source of node stats is dcr.farm. Throughout May it shows a large variation in the count of v1.4.0 nodes (103-237), but it has a nice chart of node version history that gives a general idea that the network is mostly on v1.4.0+ now.
The source we were using for node stats previously (dcred.eu) was shut down. We are thankful for all of the information it served to be recorded in the Journal, and sorry to see it go. A feature request to add similar stats to dcrdata is discussed here.
Soon after the activation of the new consensus rules, there was a transaction that made use of the new rules. The nodes that did not recognize this transaction as valid got forked off the network and stuck on block 342,913. We had a steady stream of people dropping by on the support channels throughout the month as many of their wallets stopped syncing. There was no major network level outage observed.
Mining pool ViaBTC announced that they now support Decred mining.
HitBTC exchange added DCR/BTC, DCR/ETH and DCR/USDT pairs.
Nomiddleman Crypto added Decred support to their WooCommerce plugin that allows to accept crypto payments to merchant’s own wallet addresses without involving third parties. Source code is available on GitHub.
Ownbit (formerly BitBill) added DCR support in their cold wallet.
Warning: the authors of Decred Journal have no idea about the trustworthiness of any of the services above. Please do your own research before trusting your personal information or assets to any entity.
ADHOC, a company that focuses on ethical and privacy-respecting hardware and software announced that they accept DCR as a payment method. As of writing, ADHOC sells refurbished Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3 with software for private communications and Replicant OS (fully free Android distribution that once featured on fsf.org for finding a backdoor in a Samsung phone), Librebooted ThinkPad X220 with Tails, and a ebook reader. The products are mirrored on OpenBazaar store.
Decred was busy in May laying the groundwork for a more decentralized operational rollout. Much of the work in May was focused in and around NYC Blockchain Week, where approximately fifteen community members got together with an extended group of exchanges, miners, institutional partners, and more. Decred Africa Telegram group was launched and coordinated a presentation at Blockchain Nigeria is Lagos on May 24. In NYC, various community members attended the Magical Crypto Conference on May 10-11, then Consensus the following three days. At Consensus, @jy-p presented a 30 minute update on Decred’s funding and roadmap as part of their Changelogs track. Additionally, @jy-p spoke later that day at Ditto PR & The Block’s first ever conference, Atomic Swap. @jy-p was on a panel with Beam, Dash and Orbs representatives, and the discussion focused on decentralization and governance. Decred coordinated a dinner with members of its Asian community and formulated a strategy to penetrate the Asian market, prioritizing China in the immediate term. @Dominic and @changhugo are planning an event to host and promote a meetup in Beijing in the near future, and Decred is working on a plan to host an event in Signapore, potentially in September.
@anshawblack traveled to New York for NYC Blockchain week and recorded podcasts with @jz, @MustStopMurad, Joel Monegro, @lukebp, @jholdstock, and Permabull Nino. The first podcast with @jz was released, with others to follow every two weeks.
@Dustorf released the first part of the Decred Assembly, a segment titled Decred Distributed that looks at places around the world and talks with local community organizers to understand what Decred is doing in those areas. The first edition featured @elian, who is leading efforts in Mexico and doing a lot of great work in Latin America. In early June, additional segments will be released, including an in-depth discussion with @jy-p about the DEX proposal.
Ditto’s May achievements:
Events repository was re-published under decredcommunity GitHub organization with 10 past reports polished and extended with links to photos and videos. Event attendees are encouraged to submit event reports to share experience with other Decred representatives and the wider community about cryptocurrency situation in various locations.
@jy-p participated in an AMA on the /r/cryptocurrency subreddit, answering 18 questions.
Community stats as of Jun 1:
Comm systems news:
Selected Reddit posts:
Selected Twitter discussions:
In May DCR was trading between USD 23.6-35.0 / BTC 0.0032-0.0045. The average daily rate was $27.71.
Bitcoin rose steadily from USD ~5,500 and even crossed USD 9,000 for a brief amount of time.
EOS Block Producers burned 34 million EOS (~$272 million) from the eosio.saving account. These funds had accumulated from the 4% inflation which was to be used to fund project development through a Worker Proposal System. This idea fell out of favor with the EOS BPs and community, and 15 BPs supported the proposal to burn accumulated savings on May 8. New tokens are still accumulating in the savings account, but this seems likely to be removed as there is an open referendum to remove the 4% inflation for development entirely, which has almost unanimous support from around 2.7% of EOS tokens that have voted.
Zooko commented on a long-running discussion about the future of Zcash development to express support for a new dev fund. Zcash currently allocates 20% of the block rewards to a founders reward but this is due to end in 2020. Zooko and many other advocates think the new dev fund needs to be more decentralized than the founder’s reward’s reliance on the Electronic Coin Company, and are encouraging community members to present and develop plans for decentralized governance of this fund.
Tezos Athens upgrade activated on May 30, marking the end of a process that began in February to select a proposal, endorse it, test it and activate it. One of the lesser discussed aspects of the protocol upgrade was the generation of 100 new XTZ to be claimed by the upgrade’s developers for a round of drinks. This has been described as a method of funding development through inflation in future, with the developers who make a protocol change proposal incorporating the generation of new XTZ which they can claim as a reward for their work.
Dash Ventures investment foundation is nearing completion, and Dash will be holding an election to select a set of supervisors to oversee its operation. The Dash Investment Foundation will be able to take ownership of equity or other assets in consideration for network funding. The election to fill the remaining 4 of 6 supervisor seats started on May 30, and will be followed by budgetary proposals to fund the foundation’s administrative costs and allocate some capital for it to invest.
The Open Money Initiative was announced, a research nonprofit which will study how money is used in closed economies with collapsing monetary systems. The initiative’s first project is an ethnographic study in Venezuela. The initiative is supported by funding from Zcash, Stellar, Tezos and the Cosmos supported Interchain Foundation - among others.
A Bitcoin Cash hard fork on May 15 was beset by several issues and in the ensuing chaos, 3,391 BCH (~$1.35 million) were double spent. A bug with Bitcoin ABC led to invalid transactions filling up the mempool and a series of empty blocks being mined. Some miners began mining blocks on the pre-hardfork chain, causing a chain split. Immediately after the bug was resolved, a 2 block reorg occurred in which funds that the hardfork made spendable by any miners were double spent. It seems likely the dominant BCH miners reorged the chain to remove transactions in which these coins were claimed by another miner - replacing with transactions where they take custody of these “free to claim” coins.
Poloniex has been busy in May, delisting Peercoin and a number of other cryptocurrencies, “geofencing” DCR and 8 other cryptocurrencies so that US-based customers cannot trade it, and announcing support for Cosmos staking. The decision to geofence DCR on the basis of regulatory uncertainty is perplexing, given the many reasons why DCR should not be considered a security, and Poloniex’s concurrent support for ICO projects that seem to better fit the definition of a security. In a follow up post, Circle CEO explained that the move is triggered by the recent guidance from the SEC. Notably, the linked page says “This framework represents Staff views and is not a rule, regulation, or statement of the Commission. The Commission has neither approved nor disapproved its content. This framework, like other Staff guidance, is not binding on the Divisions or the Commission.”. Another post from Circle further elaborated on their position and complained about the difficulties caused by uncertainty from US regulators.
As part of Bitfinex’s engagement with the New York District Attorney, it has emerged that Tether was only 74% backed by USD on Apr 30, according to their legal representative.
Binance suffered a security breach which resulted in the loss of 7,000 BTC. The breach was a result of hackers obtaining a large number of user API keys and 2FA codes. On twitter, @JeremyRubin suggested that if Binance released their private keys for the hacked coins (or a subset) they could coordinate a reorg to undo the theft. CZ was participating in an AMA soon after the breach was announced and mentioned that he was considering this proposition. This sparked uproar on crypto Twitter, with much discussion of whether this was a viable or advisable approach. The subject also received some in depth treatment. Ultimately CZ decided not to pursue an attempted reorg because it would damage BTC’s credibility and potentially split the chain/community. The losses would instead be covered by the Binance SAFU fund.
One of the articles that quoted Decred on Facebook’s coin had an interesting historic reference. Since 2014 MIT ran an experiment on students where Bitcoin was used to test the spreading of new technologies among the masses. A 2017 article outlining the study and conclusions noted that the insights could be used by “tech firms” who “could fulfill the early adopter’s need to feel exclusive and capitalize on their potential to encourage wider adoption”. A professor from another university commented “This paper helps us understand some of the challenges of launching such a currency, even without a technology-savvy population.”. In May this year, CoinDesk reported that one of the authors of the experiment is helping Facebook to build a cryptocurrency.
Another sad story surfaced of a person’s poor security practices leading to a loss of >$100K in crypto. Hint: SMS 2FA is insecure and of course, don’t keep that much on an exchange.
Firefox users went through a frustrating experience of software that worked yesterday suddenly stopped working. Most Firefox addons were disabled around May 3 due to an (unexpected?) expiration of code signing certificate, a bug dubbed ‘armagadd-on-2.0’. This included addons that protect user privacy and security by blocking tons of unwanted ad and spyware content on the web. Mozilla published a notice that as a part of the solution, a “fix will be automatically applied in the background” delivered via the Studies system while a more general fix was in the works.
This is issue 14 of Decred Journal. Index of all issues, mirrors, and translations is available here.
Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research.
Credits (alphabetical order):