Image: Second known Decred Cake spotted in Morocco by @arij
dcrd: A lot of work in Feb was focused on reworking the secp256k1 package to introduce specialized optimizations:
Because some optimizations are harder to review, great care was taken to introduce them in steps and thoroughly document all techniques used. If you love when math and fast bit-level computation come together this should be a delightful read.
In the big picture, the main benefits of the secp256k1 overhaul are improved speed and memory usage which play a large role in the overall software performance since signature verification is the primary dominating operation. Another important benefit is that once this is complete, secp256k1 operations will be constant time, which improves resistance to side-channel attacks. This is an important property for multiparty protocols that perform lots of signing, multisig Schnorr protocols being one example.
Politeia: Backend changes:
cspp: Multiple fixes and improved error handling.
dcrdex: Development highlights:
A total of 25 pull requests merged from 7 contributors adding 12K and deleting 3K lines of code (commit summary here).
dcrandroid: Version 1.0.1 released on Google Play fixes several bugs and includes v1.5 modules to support the new consensus rules.
In development: implemented migration to multi-wallet format.
dcrios: Version 1.0.1 released on App Store fixes a bug and includes v1.5 modules to support the new consensus rules.
Dev activity stats for February: 309 active PRs, 274 master commits, 52K added and 28K deleted lines spread across 20 repositories. Contributions came from 2-6 developers per repository.
Welcome to new first time contributors with code merged to master: @mkingori (dcrdata).
Congratulations to new contributors listed on decred.org: Mike Winslow (@Exitus, Media Production).
In February the Treasury received 13,018 DCR and spent 12,622 DCR. Using February’s daily average DCR/USD rate of $20.48, this is $267K received and $258K spent. At January’s average daily rate of $18.00, the USD figure billed for work completed in that month is $227K. As of Mar 2, Treasury balance is 643,179 DCR ($11.6 million USD at $18).
Our Network issue 6 included a useful chart with Treasury inflows and outflows. As of Jan 30, the Treasury has received a total of 939K DCR and spent 299K DCR.
In February there were 4 new proposals submitted, and 5 started voting.
Hashrate: February’s hashrate opened at ~427 Ph/s and closed ~356 Ph/s, bottoming at 263 Ph/s and peaking at 578 Ph/s throughout the month. Pool hashrate distribution as of Mar 1: Poolin 32%, UUPool 27%, lab.antpool.com 12%, BTC.com 1.7%, F2Pool 1.5%, Luxor 1.3%, BeePool 0.1%, CoinMine 0.02% and others ~24% per dcrstats.com. Pool distribution numbers are approximate and cannot be accurately determined.
Staking: 30-day average ticket price was 132.1 DCR (-6.2) per dcrstats.com as of Mar 5. The price varied between 119.8-157.9 DCR. Locked amount was 5.40-5.65 million DCR, which corresponded to 48.49-51.19% of the circulating supply.
Since late Jan the amount of staked DCR experienced a ~30-day decline from approx. 5.65M to 5.40M, or 51.5% to 48.5% (-3%) of the circulating supply, followed by a recovery to ~50%. The ticket price went down as low as 119.8 DCR but then quickly shot up to higher levels than it has reached for years.
Nodes: Throughout February there was an average of 165 public listening nodes and 341 total nodes per dcr.farm. Average version distribution for Feb: 40.8% use dcrd v1.4, 18.2% use dcrd v1.5, 9.1% use dcrd v1.5 dev and RC builds, 12.3% use dcrd v1.5.1, 4.1% use dcrd v1.6 dev builds, 4.7% use dcrwallet v1.4, 2.6% use dcrwallet v1.5, 2.1% use dcrwallet v1.5.1.
The amount of mixed coins (anonymity set) reached 20% of the circulating DCR supply. Decred CoinJoin transactions mix between 50-100K DCR daily and on Feb 22 a new all-time high of 154K DCR was hit, equivalent of over $3 million. These and other metrics were published by @Checkmate in Our Network issue 10 (tweet). For current numbers, dcrdata alpha has deployed charts of percentage of mixed coins and the DCR amount mixed by day and by block.
Attack Cost Calculator is a new web tool allowing to estimate the cost of attacking the network based on a number of variables, currently available on dcrdata alpha.
There has been a report of a DCR holder getting scammed by a Chrome extension for the Ledger wallet that asked for wallet seed. From the comments it looks like Google has removed it from the store but only after a few people got burned. Pay great attention to which software you entrust your seed to!
OKCoin decided to suspend DCR trading due to low trading volume, despite being enthusiastic about Decred initially and even hosting several joint events.
KuCoin announced on Feb 17 that it was going to begin staking its depositors’ DCR two days later, on Feb 19. KuCoin users who hold DCR on the exchange were informed that they were being opted-in automatically, and instructed to withdraw their funds immediately if they wished to opt out.
KuCoin will adjust the staking proportion of Decred every calendar day and calculate the daily revenue of the users (…) Users have to take note that due to the participation of the Program, there will be a potential risk that a user may not be able to withdraw his/her designated Decred in a timely manner or as he/she so expected although KuCoin will use its best efforts to avoid such inevitably delay.
As the staked DCR will be time-locked, KuCoin’s capacity to provide it to depositors will depend on enough of their tickets voting, to free up the deposited DCR so that they can process withdrawals.
A Separate Project: The Service provided by KuCoin herein will only affect the Decred withdrawal, and will not directly or indirectly affect: (1) the trading of Decred assets on our platform; and (2) the trading or withdrawal of any other digital asset on our platform. As such, in the event that any user is reluctant to follow the withdrawal sequence but are already lined up in the withdrawal queue, the said user may choose to exchange Decred with other tokens, and withdraw the exchanged tokens immediately.
This indicates that, in a scenario where too much of KuCoin’s DCR is staked to be able to meet withdrawal demand, users will still be able to trade that DCR on the market, e.g. in exchange for BTC. Any protracted delay in processing withdrawals is likely to depress the DCR price on KuCoin, if it becomes widely known that they are not able to meet withdrawal requests in a timely fashion.
The announcement does not specify any fee that KuCoin will collect for provision of this service. Whether this means they’re not taking a commission, or the commission percentage is just not stated, remains to be seen.
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.
On February 8th, Decred turned four, and the community celebrated the event with #DecredGlobalMeetup. Events took place in at least a dozen cities all across the world to celebrate the community and technology Decred has built. @Dustorf wrote a blog and a tweet thread summarizing Decred’s progress to date.
@Dustorf published a Marketing Report detailing all project marketing related expenses in 2019. The report includes an examination of what worked and what didn’t, as well as prescriptions for next year. The three high level recommendations include: imagine what can be achieved socially using the Decred technology stack, break the bubble to expand Decred beyond those currently in crypto, and leverage the power of every individual within the community. The report calls for a decentralization of marketing efforts by geography. To that end, Latin America has already passed a proposal. The European proposal was made, but was rejected. It is expected that proposals for Brazil, United States, Canada, and Australia will be made in March. Since Decred’s marketing has always been a subject of debates, anybody who is interested in this domain is welcome to study the report and share their ideas in the corresponding Reddit thread.
The decred.org website revamp was deployed in early March, with a new visual aesthetic, a new explainer video, and new subpages that feature Decred’s history and its three tenets: Secure, Adaptable, and Sustainable. The website reflects agreed upon messaging that positions Decred as a superior store-of-value based upon those three tenets.
Decred in Depth released two episodes in February, Decred, an Economic Breakthrough with @ammarooni and DCR in LATAM with @elian. Additionally, @mr.black worked with @Checkmate and @permabullnino to release a new, trading-focused podcast titled Rough Consensus.
@Checkmate published an extremely interesting piece about the ProgPoW debate in Ethereum describing the shortcomings of Ethereum’s governance system and how Decred’s tools and methodologies can be employed to solve them. It is an excellent example of inserting Decred’s points of differentiation into wider conversations, and was well-received by many in the Ethereum community, including David Hoffman, co-host of the POV Crypto podcast.
@dezryth posted the first update for his Facebook and Events proposal for the month of January.
Monde PR came on board and quickly established project public relations goals, target audiences, key messages, credibility bullet points, documented key topics, performed a competitor analysis, documented all spokespeople, created key stories to pitch, and even began outreach, yielding a number of valuable placements:
Image: #DecredGlobalMeetup in Mexico
Comm systems news:
Selected Reddit posts:
Selected Twitter discussions:
In February DCR was trading between USD 16.71-24.75 / BTC 0.0019-0.0024. The average daily rate was $20.48.
The Ethereum ProgPoW debate was re-ignited in style when it was approved to go into a hard fork on the core devs call, resulting in bafflement among many in the wider Ethereum community, where ProgPoW does not have as much support. This post from Hudson Jameson gives an account of the history of ProgPoW and comes to the conclusion that while the change is probably good, threats to maintain a contentious hard fork must be taken seriously and it is not worth forking the network over. The Ethereum community is using a variety of signalling mechanisms, including Twitter polls and EIP open letters with hashtag campaigns. As Hudson’s post details, there have already been extensive efforts to gauge Ethereum community sentiment about ProgPoW, and both a coin vote and miner vote were strongly in favor of ProgPoW. A variety of other methods have been used to gather signals from the community, including Kialo and likely a number of Reddit posts. @Checkmate has joined the debate with some observations on how this is being handled, informed by his experience with Decred’s approach. The problem with informal governance is that regardless of the amount of signal collection that takes place and whether everyone has a chance to speak, there will inevitably be a few people who have to make a judgment call and push forward to draw a line under it. It’s a messy process and in the end very few people feel satisfied with the outcome.
There are indications of significant strife at Tendermint, the company behind the Cosmos blockchain - with number two Zaki Manian resigning from Tendermint to form his own Cosmos focused company, saying the CEO (Jae Kwon) is making progress difficult by under-resourcing development and focusing on a new project (Virgo) and Twitter persona (@jaesustein). This update from Jae illustrates the unusual degree to which the concept of godliness has come into play in the spat. Cosmos collected $17 million in a 2017 ICO, worth some $1 billion a few months later, in Mar 2019 the project raised another $9 million when the first iteration of the network launched, but the signs now are that progress towards a functioning blockchain hub has been limited since then.
Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer woke up to find that the rules of the EOS network had been changed overnight, with 15 BPs proposing and passing the change to reduce issuance from 5% to 1%. That it happened is not exactly a surprise, because at no point has any significant effort been put into developing the planned “Worker Proposal System” described in the white paper. The unused 4% has been building up in an unused address, and the accumulated EOS has already been burned once. Why the WPF fund was finally shut down on this particular night 18 months later is a mystery that only the 15 EOS BPs involved know the answer to. Nobody even gave Brendan a heads up! He’s fine with it though, rules changing overnight is how decentralized governance works when there are only 15 parties involved.
The Bitcoin ABC developers have released details of their plan to implement a variant of the block reward funding proposed by Jiang Zhuoer of BTC.TOP. This implementation will alter the following details of the plan: amount reduced to 5%, funds can go to any whitelisted project, and the plan will only go into effect if triggered by miners via BIP9. There remains considerable opposition to the idea of any developer funding from the BCH block reward.
Binance has been engaged in a dispute with one of its users who had used the Wasabi wallet to CoinJoin mix their transactions and enhance their privacy. The mixing activity elevated the user’s risk score and their funds were frozen while Binance investigated. Eventually the user agreed to withdraw their funds, which were not welcomed by Binance, who referenced compliance with Singapore law to explain their actions. The user had to promise not to mix their coins any more before Binance would return them! So far there have been no reports of DCR mixers being flagged in this way.
The privacy implications of Ethereum Name Service (.ens) domains were considered by Tim Copeland in an article in Decrypt. Although many users were aware that they could damage their privacy by linking their domain address to their other addresses, the transaction they used to pay for their .ens could also be used to link them to their funds.
Blockstream is getting into banking, being named as a strategic technology partner of Avanti Financial Group, a new US bank dedicated to digital assets - covered by CoinSpice (with spicy illustrations). Terms were not disclosed.
Justin Sun of Tron had a busy month, buying the content website steemit.com which is built on (and the main use of) the Steem blockchain and immediately announcing that steemit.com would be moving to the Tron blockchain. This led the Steem witnesses (block producers) to enact a soft fork which would freeze the “Steemit Inc ninja-mined stake”, an unknown large quantity of STEEM held in a number of accounts by the company. On Mar 1, Justin struck back by recruiting exchanges (Binance and Huobi) to vote for a set of witnesses under his control that would revert the soft fork and free the Steemit STEEM. After backlash from users it appeared that both Binance and Huobi were going to unstake their STEEM and pull out of whatever arrangement they had with Sun.
There has also been some suggestion that Justin Sun used votes from the “Zion” account to interfere with community voting of Tron Apps - which he appeared to confirm, stating that it was temporary until 3 super representatives upgrade their software, to “prevent them from harming the network”.
IOTA’s coordinator was turned off, pausing the network, on Feb 13, to investigate claims of Trinity wallet thefts totalling $1.6 million. IOTA entered a state of elevated calamity when, after several days of down-time with the coordinator switched off, it was revealed that all the private keys of all users of the desktop Trinity client (maintained by the IOTA Foundation) had been compromised. 8.55 Ti of IOTA has been stolen, worth about $2.3 million at the time. Trinity was compromised by malicious code inserted in a 3rd party dependency of the MoonPay service that enabled users to buy IOTA tokens directly within Trinity. The latest is that there is a fixed version of Trinity and a seed migration tool and IOTA holders have 7 days to undergo the transfer procedure before the foundation re-starts the network between Mar 7 and Mar 10. IOTA has lost 30% of its value in USD terms at time of writing (Mar 5), but users who hold their own IOTA have been unable to move them since the network was paused.
Aragon Court launched, aiming to provide a digital jurisdiction for DAOs to operate in. In Aragon Court disputes are resolved by jurors who stake ANJ tokens and try to guess the decision that the majority of jurors will choose. 247 jurors signed up for the launch by collectively staking 1 million ANT (worth ~$1.3 million). To start with jurors are completing a “precedence campaign” (juror training exercise) with mock disputes.
The public beta of Colony opened. Colony is a platform for creating DAOs on Ethereum. Individual colonies are not publicly listed, so it is not clear how many there are so far or what they are being used for. Colony plans to become a self-sustaining public utility, governed through a “Metacolony”, which will have its own CLNY tokens in the future. As a precursor to that, a “Betacolony” was launched this month and funded with 10,000 DAI - contributors can earn DAI and BLNY tokens by completing tasks, ranging from fixing hardware wallet support to blogging or tweeting about Colony. There are no signs of decision-making tools in the Betacolony, instead admins can create tasks which are then completed by members and validated by admins, who process the bounty payments.
DeFi project bZx has been at the center of a number of stories about exploits this month, with its new “flash loan” feature being used in creative ways to set up series of transactions that manipulated price oracles and immediately profited from them. The novel aspect of these exploits is that the transactions are all processed in the same block, either there is a profit for the attacker or the transaction is not valid - making it very low risk for the attacker as they are not required to provide collateral. After the exploit, the master key was used to edit the smart contracts so that they could not be exploited in the same way any longer.
Another group came forward to say they had warned bZx about a different issue a month earlier and were not impressed with their response, including refusing to pay a reasonable bounty based on a technicality.
12 exchanges were hacked in 2019 for a total damage of almost $300 million and 510,000 user logins, according to a January report by Cointelegraph. This serves as a reminder to be cautious when selecting an exchange to send coins or sensitive documents to.
This is issue 23 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):