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Technical: The Path to Taproot Activation
Taproot! Everybody wants to have it, somebody wants to make it, nobody knows how to get it! (If you are asking why everybody wants it, see: Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?) (Pedants: I mostly elide over lockin times) Briefly, Taproot is that neat new thing that gets us:
Multisignatures (n-of-n, k-of-n) that are just 1 signature (1-of-1) in length!! (MuSig/Schnorr)
Better privacy!! If all contract participants can agree, just use a multisignature. If there is a dispute, show the contract publicly and have the Bitcoin network resolve it (Taproot/MAST).
Activation lets devs work get back to work on the even newer stuff like!!!
Cross-input signature aggregation!! (transaction with multiple inputs can have a single signature for all inputs) --- needs Schnorr, but some more work needed to ensure that the interactions with SCRIPT are okay.
Block validation - Schnorr signatures for all taproot spends in a block can be validated in a single operation instead of for each transaction!! Speed up validation and maybe we can actually afford to increase block sizes (maybe)!!
SIGHASH_ANYPREVOUT - you know, for Decker-Russell-Osuntokun ("eltoo") magic!!!
OP_CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY - vaulty vaults without requiring storing signatures, just transaction details!!
So yes, let's activate taproot!
The SegWit Wars
The biggest problem with activating Taproot is PTSD from the previous softfork, SegWit. Pieter Wuille, one of the authors of the current Taproot proposal, has consistently held the position that he will not discuss activation, and will accept whatever activation process is imposed on Taproot. Other developers have expressed similar opinions. So what happened with SegWit activation that was so traumatic? SegWit used the BIP9 activation method. Let's dive into BIP9!
bit - A field in the block header, the nVersion, has a number of bits. By setting a particular bit, the miner making the block indicates that it has upgraded its software to support a particular soft fork. The bit parameter for a BIP9 activation is which bit in this nVersion is used to indicate that the miner has upgraded software for a particular soft fork.
timeout - a time limit, expressed as an end date. If this timeout is reached without sufficient number of miners signaling that they upgraded, then the activation fails and Bitcoin Core goes back to the drawing board.
Now there are other parameters (name, starttime) but they are not anywhere near as important as the above two. A number that is not a parameter, is 95%. Basically, activation of a BIP9 softfork is considered as actually succeeding if at least 95% of blocks in the last 2 weeks had the specified bit in the nVersion set. If less than 95% had this bit set before the timeout, then the upgrade fails and never goes into the network. This is not a parameter: it is a constant defined by BIP9, and developers using BIP9 activation cannot change this. So, first some simple questions and their answers:
Why not just set a day when everyone starts imposing the new rules of the softfork?
This was done classically (in the days when Satoshi was still among us). But this might argued to put too much power to developers, since there would be no way to reject an upgrade without possible bad consequences. For example, developers might package an upgrade that the users do not want, together with vital security bugfixes. Either you live without vital security bugfixes and hire some other developers to fix it for you (which can be difficult, presumably the best developers are already the ones working on the codebase) or you get the vital security bugfixes and implicitly support the upgrade you might not want.
Sure, you could fork the code yourself (the ultimate threat in the FOSS world) and hire another set of developers who aren't assholes to do the dreary maintenance work of fixing security bugs, but Bitcoin needs strong bug-for-bug compatibility so everyone should really congregate around a single codebase.
Basically: even the devs do not want this power, because they fear being coerced into putting "upgrades" that are detrimental to users. Satoshi got a pass because nobody knew who he was and how to coerce him.
Suppose the threshold were lower, like 51%. If so, after activation, somebody can disrupt the Bitcoin network by creating a transaction that is valid under the pre-softfork rules, but are invalid under the post-softfork rules. Upgraded nodes would reject it, but 49% of miners would accept it and include it in a block (which makes the block invalid) And then the same 49% would accept the invalid block and build on top of that, possibly creating a short chain of doomed invalid blocks that confirm an invalid spend. This can confuse SPV wallets, who might see multiple confirmations of a transaction and accept the funds, but later find that in fact it is invalid under the now-activated softfork rules.
Thus, a very high threshold was imposed. 95% is considered safe. 50% is definitely not safe. Due to variance in the mining process, 80% could also be potentially unsafe (i.e. 80% of blocks signaling might have a good chance of coming from only 60% of miners), so a threshold of 95% was considered "safe enough for Bitcoin work".
Why have a timeout that disables the upgrade?
Before BIP9, what was used was either flag day or BIP34. BIP34 had no flag day of activation or a bit, instead, it was just a 95% threshold to signal an nVersion value greater than a specific value. Actually, it was two thresholds: at 75%, blocks with the new nVersion would have the new softfork rules imposed, but at 95% blocks with the old nVersion would be rejected (and only the new blocks, with the new softfork rules, were accepted). For one, between 75% and 95%, there was a situation where the softfork was only "partially imposed", only blocks signaling the new rules would actually have those rules, but blocks with the old rules were still valid. This was fine for BIP34, which only added rules for miners with negligible use for non-miners.
The reasons miners signalled support was because they felt they were being pressured to signal support. So they signalled support, with plans to actually upgrade later, but because of the widespread signalling, the new BIP66 version locked in before upgrade plans were finished. Thus, the timeout that disables the upgrade was added in BIP9 to allow miners an escape hatch.
The Great Battles of the SegWit Wars
SegWit not only fixed transaction malleability, it also created a practical softforkable blocksize increase that also rebalanced weights so that the cost of spending a UTXO is about the same as the cost of creating UTXOs (and spending UTXOs is "better" since it limits the size of the UTXO set that every fullnode has to maintain). So SegWit was written, the activation was decided to be BIP9, and then.... miner signalling stalled at below 75%. Thus were the Great SegWit Wars started.
BIP9 Feature Hostage
If you are a miner with at least 5% global hashpower, you can hold a BIP9-activated softfork hostage. You might even secretly want the softfork to actually push through. But you might want to extract concession from the users and the developers. Like removing the halvening. Or raising or even removing the block size caps (which helps larger miners more than smaller miners, making it easier to become a bigger fish that eats all the smaller fishes). Or whatever. With BIP9, you can hold the softfork hostage. You just hold out and refuse to signal. You tell everyone you will signal, if and only if certain concessions are given to you. This ability by miners to hold a feature hostage was enabled because of the miner-exit allowed by the timeout on BIP9. Prior to that, miners were considered little more than expendable security guards, paid for the risk they take to secure the network, but not special in the grand scheme of Bitcoin.
ASICBoost was a novel way of optimizing SHA256 mining, by taking advantage of the structure of the 80-byte header that is hashed in order to perform proof-of-work. The details of ASICBoost are out-of-scope here but you can read about it elsewhere Here is a short summary of the two types of ASICBoost, relevant to the activation discussion.
Overt ASICBoost - Manipulates the unused bits in nVersion to reduce power consumption in mining.
Covert ASICBoost - Manipulates the order of transactions in the block to reduce power consumption in mining.
Now, "overt" means "obvious", while "covert" means hidden. Overt ASICBoost is obvious because nVersion bits that are not currently in use for BIP9 activations are usually 0 by default, so setting those bits to 1 makes it obvious that you are doing something weird (namely, Overt ASICBoost). Covert ASICBoost is non-obvious because the order of transactions in a block are up to the miner anyway, so the miner rearranging the transactions in order to get lower power consumption is not going to be detected. Unfortunately, while Overt ASICBoost was compatible with SegWit, Covert ASICBoost was not. This is because, pre-SegWit, only the block header Merkle tree committed to the transaction ordering. However, with SegWit, another Merkle tree exists, which commits to transaction ordering as well. Covert ASICBoost would require more computation to manipulate two Merkle trees, obviating the power benefits of Covert ASICBoost anyway. Now, miners want to use ASICBoost (indeed, about 60->70% of current miners probably use the Overt ASICBoost nowadays; if you have a Bitcoin fullnode running you will see the logs with lots of "60 of last 100 blocks had unexpected versions" which is exactly what you would see with the nVersion manipulation that Overt ASICBoost does). But remember: ASICBoost was, at around the time, a novel improvement. Not all miners had ASICBoost hardware. Those who did, did not want it known that they had ASICBoost hardware, and wanted to do Covert ASICBoost! But Covert ASICBoost is incompatible with SegWit, because SegWit actually has two Merkle trees of transaction data, and Covert ASICBoost works by fudging around with transaction ordering in a block, and recomputing two Merkle Trees is more expensive than recomputing just one (and loses the ASICBoost advantage). Of course, those miners that wanted Covert ASICBoost did not want to openly admit that they had ASICBoost hardware, they wanted to keep their advantage secret because miners are strongly competitive in a very tight market. And doing ASICBoost Covertly was just the ticket, but they could not work post-SegWit. Fortunately, due to the BIP9 activation process, they could hold SegWit hostage while covertly taking advantage of Covert ASICBoost!
UASF: BIP148 and BIP8
When the incompatibility between Covert ASICBoost and SegWit was realized, still, activation of SegWit stalled, and miners were still not openly claiming that ASICBoost was related to non-activation of SegWit. Eventually, a new proposal was created: BIP148. With this rule, 3 months before the end of the SegWit timeout, nodes would reject blocks that did not signal SegWit. Thus, 3 months before SegWit timeout, BIP148 would force activation of SegWit. This proposal was not accepted by Bitcoin Core, due to the shortening of the timeout (it effectively times out 3 months before the initial SegWit timeout). Instead, a fork of Bitcoin Core was created which added the patch to comply with BIP148. This was claimed as a User Activated Soft Fork, UASF, since users could freely download the alternate fork rather than sticking with the developers of Bitcoin Core. Now, BIP148 effectively is just a BIP9 activation, except at its (earlier) timeout, the new rules would be activated anyway (instead of the BIP9-mandated behavior that the upgrade is cancelled at the end of the timeout). BIP148 was actually inspired by the BIP8 proposal (the link here is a historical version; BIP8 has been updated recently, precisely in preparation for Taproot activation). BIP8 is basically BIP9, but at the end of timeout, the softfork is activated anyway rather than cancelled. This removed the ability of miners to hold the softfork hostage. At best, they can delay the activation, but not stop it entirely by holding out as in BIP9. Of course, this implies risk that not all miners have upgraded before activation, leading to possible losses for SPV users, as well as again re-pressuring miners to signal activation, possibly without the miners actually upgrading their software to properly impose the new softfork rules.
BIP91, SegWit2X, and The Aftermath
BIP148 inspired countermeasures, possibly from the Covert ASiCBoost miners, possibly from concerned users who wanted to offer concessions to miners. To this day, the common name for BIP148 - UASF - remains an emotionally-charged rallying cry for parts of the Bitcoin community. One of these was SegWit2X. This was brokered in a deal between some Bitcoin personalities at a conference in New York, and thus part of the so-called "New York Agreement" or NYA, another emotionally-charged acronym. The text of the NYA was basically:
Set up a new activation threshold at 80% signalled at bit 4 (vs bit 1 for SegWit).
When this 80% signalling was reached, miners would require that bit 1 for SegWit be signalled to achive the 95% activation needed for SegWit.
If the bit 4 signalling reached 80%, increase the block weight limit from the SegWit 4000000 to the SegWit2X 8000000, 6 months after bit 1 activation.
The first item above was coded in BIP91. Unfortunately, if you read the BIP91, independently of NYA, you might come to the conclusion that BIP91 was only about lowering the threshold to 80%. In particular, BIP91 never mentions anything about the second point above, it never mentions that bit 4 80% threshold would also signal for a later hardfork increase in weight limit. Because of this, even though there are claims that NYA (SegWit2X) reached 80% dominance, a close reading of BIP91 shows that the 80% dominance was only for SegWit activation, without necessarily a later 2x capacity hardfork (SegWit2X). This ambiguity of bit 4 (NYA says it includes a 2x capacity hardfork, BIP91 says it does not) has continued to be a thorn in blocksize debates later. Economically speaking, Bitcoin futures between SegWit and SegWit2X showed strong economic dominance in favor of SegWit (SegWit2X futures were traded at a fraction in value of SegWit futures: I personally made a tidy but small amount of money betting against SegWit2X in the futures market), so suggesting that NYA achieved 80% dominance even in mining is laughable, but the NYA text that ties bit 4 to SegWit2X still exists. Historically, BIP91 triggered which caused SegWit to activate before the BIP148 shorter timeout. BIP148 proponents continue to hold this day that it was the BIP148 shorter timeout and no-compromises-activate-on-August-1 that made miners flock to BIP91 as a face-saving tactic that actually removed the second clause of NYA. NYA supporters keep pointing to the bit 4 text in the NYA and the historical activation of BIP91 as a failed promise by Bitcoin developers.
We have discussed BIP8: roughly, it has bit and timeout, if 95% of miners signal bit it activates, at the end of timeout it activates. (EDIT: BIP8 has had recent updates: at the end of timeout it can now activate or fail. For the most part, in the below text "BIP8", means BIP8-and-activate-at-timeout, and "BIP9" means BIP8-and-fail-at-timeout) So let's take a look at Modern Softfork Activation!
Modern Softfork Activation
This is a more complex activation method, composed of BIP9 and BIP8 as supcomponents.
First have a 12-month BIP9 (fail at timeout).
If the above fails to activate, have a 6-month discussion period during which users and developers and miners discuss whether to continue to step 3.
Have a 24-month BIP8 (activate at timeout).
The total above is 42 months, if you are counting: 3.5 years worst-case activation. The logic here is that if there are no problems, BIP9 will work just fine anyway. And if there are problems, the 6-month period should weed it out. Finally, miners cannot hold the feature hostage since the 24-month BIP8 period will exist anyway.
PSA: Being Resilient to Upgrades
Software is very birttle. Anyone who has been using software for a long time has experienced something like this:
You hear a new version of your favorite software has a nice new feature.
Excited, you install the new version.
You find that the new version has subtle incompatibilities with your current workflow.
You are sad and downgrade to the older version.
You find out that the new version has changed your files in incompatible ways that the old version cannot work with anymore.
You tearfully reinstall the newer version and figure out how to get your lost productivity now that you have to adapt to a new workflow
If you are a technically-competent user, you might codify your workflow into a bunch of programs. And then you upgrade one of the external pieces of software you are using, and find that it has a subtle incompatibility with your current workflow which is based on a bunch of simple programs you wrote yourself. And if those simple programs are used as the basis of some important production system, you hve just screwed up because you upgraded software on an important production system. And well, one of the issues with new softfork activation is that if not enough people (users and miners) upgrade to the newest Bitcoin software, the security of the new softfork rules are at risk. Upgrading software of any kind is always a risk, and the more software you build on top of the software-being-upgraded, the greater you risk your tower of software collapsing while you change its foundations. So if you have some complex Bitcoin-manipulating system with Bitcoin somewhere at the foundations, consider running two Bitcoin nodes:
One is a "stable-version" Bitcoin node. Once it has synced, set it up to connect=x.x.x.x to the second node below (so that your ISP bandwidth is only spent on the second node). Use this node to run all your software: it's a stable version that you don't change for long periods of time. Enable txiindex, disable pruning, whatever your software needs.
The other is an "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin Node. Keep its stoarge down with pruning (initially sync it off the "stable-version" node). You can't use blocksonly if your "stable-version" node needs to send transactions, but otherwise this "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node can be kept as a low-resource node, so you can run both nodes in the same machine.
When a new Bitcoin version comes up, you just upgrade the "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node. This protects you if a future softfork activates, you will only receive valid Bitcoin blocks and transactions. Since this node has nothing running on top of it, it is just a special peer of the "stable-version" node, any software incompatibilities with your system software do not exist. Your "stable-version" Bitcoin node remains the same version until you are ready to actually upgrade this node and are prepared to rewrite most of the software you have running on top of it due to version compatibility problems. When upgrading the "always-up-to-date", you can bring it down safely and then start it later. Your "stable-version" wil keep running, disconnected from the network, but otherwise still available for whatever queries. You do need some system to stop the "always-up-to-date" node if for any reason the "stable-version" goes down (otherwisee if the "always-up-to-date" advances its pruning window past what your "stable-version" has, the "stable-version" cannot sync afterwards), but if you are technically competent enough that you need to do this, you are technically competent enough to write such a trivial monitor program (EDIT: gmax notes you can adjust the pruning window by RPC commands to help with this as well). This recommendation is from gmaxwell on IRC, by the way.
What is EPIC CASH? Epic Cash is the final point in the journey toward true P2P internet cash, the cornerstone of a private financial system. The Epic currency aims to become the world’s most effective privacy-protecting form of digital money. In order to fulfill that goal, it satisfies the three principal functions of money: 1. Store of Value — can be saved, retrieved, and exchanged at a later time, and of predictable value when retrieved; 2. Medium of Exchange — anything accepted as representing a standard of value and exchangeable for goods or services; 3. Unit of Account — the unit by which the value of a thing is accounted for and compared. Website: http://epic.tech Whitepapers: http://epic.tech/whitepaper Epic Cash Community: https://t.me/EpicCash Miner Chat: https://t.me/EpicMiners Gitlab: gitlab.com/epiccash Twitter: twitter.com/EpicCashTech Social Media: http://epic.tech/social-media Exchanges: https://epic.tech/service-list Oleg✌🏻 Hello community! Our AMA with EPIC begins🚀 We are very happy to have you here, on our joint AMA👌 So, lets start! The very first question for you. Can you introduce yourself? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble I’m Max Freeman, which stands for “Maximum Freedom for Mankind” — we believe that the existing fiat money system enslaves people by unfairly confiscating their wealth through inflation. By using an honest money system such as Epic, we can improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide. Yoga Dude Hello, I am Yoga Dude 🙂 I handle Marketing and PR, in crypto since 2011 started as Bitcoin miner, and in 2014 in Monero, and in 2015 in Ethereum, oh and briefly in DOGE for fun and unexpected profit. Heard about Epic Cash while learning about the Mimblewimble algo and joined the team last year. JLong I am John, Doing the general engineering and managerial work Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble I have been involved in early stage cryptos for the past 3 years, after building a global trading business for the past 20 years. Oleg✌🏻 nice to meet you🙂 Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Epic is a decentralized community project like Bitcoin or Monero, there is no central authority or corporation involved. We had no ICO and no premine, we had a fair launch at 0 supply last September. Yoga Dude Great to meet everyone :) Oleg✌🏻 Here we go the 1st question for you ~ 1. What is Epic Cash about? Yoga Dude Epic Cash is designed to fulfill Satoshi’s original vision of P2P electronic cash, adjusting for what we learned from Bitcoin, a medium of exchange that is fast, free, open to all, while being private and fungible. We launched in September 2019 as a Proof of Work mineable crypto, without an ICO or a premine. Oleg✌🏻 Look like a real Bitcoin🙂 Yoga Dude with privacy and fungibility 😄 Oleg✌🏻 Sounds cool! move on to the next question… 2. What makes Epic Cash better than Monero or other privacy coins? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble First off, we have a lot of respect for Monero and other privacy coins, we learned a lot from what they did right and what they did wrong, Our blockchain is much lighter than Monero or Bitcoin, our transaction engine is faster than Monero or ZCash. We use a three mining algo approach to allow more users the ability to obtain Epic Cash. We are a new, highly undervalued, coin and we look great not only for future use but for today's investment. Our blockchain is 90+% smaller than Monero or Bitcoin. Coins such as Zcash have optional privacy. Epic makes all transactions private, and it is impossible to trace movements of coins by watching wallet addresses. Oleg✌🏻 Young and hot😋 security and privacy level is very important now but… 3. Why copy the same supply economics as Bitcoin? Yoga Dude It is hard to compete with the success of Bitcoin today, part of the elegance and the appeal of Bitcoin is the responsible emission rate, terminating at 21million highly sub dividable coins. Like the Bitcoin supply curve, Epic Cash encourages early adopters, and with subsequent halvenings maintains a gradually diminishing flow of additional currency while preserving the overall value. Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble In 2028, the supply of Epic matches that of Bitcoin and they stay in sync until the final coin is mined in 2140. We have 4 halvenings between now and then, which is demonstrated in Bitcoin to drive the value over market cycles. Epic is a chance for people who were late to Bitcoin to ride the wave and not miss their opportunity this time. Oleg✌🏻 Interesting! 4. Why Choose Epic Cash over Grin and Beam? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble First of all, we have tremendous respect for all Mimblewimble currencies and their talented teams, they all taught us a lot and we are thankful for that. Without sounding too contentious, the choice seems obvious. We offer the same core tech, but with a much more responsible emission curve — Grin is an endless fountain of emission and inflation (60 per second forever), and Beam is even more frontloaded outpacing even Grin’s aggressive emission schedule for the next several years… We respect Grin and Beam, we learned from them, and we believe we are the next evolutionary step. Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, we offer more ways to mine Epic Cash, both with GPU and CPU and ASICs, this gives us more potential users and miners, vs Grin and Beam that are only mineable with GPUs. Yoga Dude Yes, all that ☝️😄 Oleg✌🏻 I hope the miners read it all carefully 👌 Next question 5. Why have a development fund tax and what will it be used for? Yoga Dude Dev fund tax today is at a reasonable 7.77% dropping by 1.11% every year until it hits zero. As Epic Cash grows in value these funds will become increasingly more relevant in additional technical, marketing, and fintech partnerships developments. Oleg✌🏻 Very smart! 6. What is the advantage of 3 mining algorithms? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble By having multiple mining algorithms we are able to attract CPU, GPU, and ASIC miners simultaneously. Currently all other Mimblewimble currencies are mineable with GPU only ignoring a large segment of CPU miners. Monero made a splash migrating to the RandomX CPU mining algo. Epic Cash from the beginning embraces all mining communities. Many miners are successfully using older hardware such as Xeon processors to help secure the network. We use RandomX for CPU, ProgPow for GPU, and Cuckoo for ASIC. Longer term, our flexible architecture means we can have many algorithms, not just 3. Our roadmap includes an allocation for SHA3 Keccak, which will help further decentralize the network and keep it unstoppable. Yoga Dude We love miners 🙂 and Epic Cash can be mined with laptops and gaming rigs 🙂 Oleg✌🏻 A wide selection of mining methods is a great way to create a stable, decentralized and large network👌 Let’s talk about persons… 7. Who are the people developing Epic Cash? Yoga Dude We are blessed with a very talented team of skilled developers with diverse backgrounds, many of them are volunteers who believe in what Epic Cash stands for and contribute with product and usability innovation. Our teams main focus is to make Epic Cash the best, most secure, most user friendly and usable product on the market, without making it unnecessarily techie, with as much mainstream user appeal as possible. This is a serious challenge but we are up for it 😄 Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble It is also important to note that we are a truly open ecosystem that anyone can participate in. Our community has developed wallets, mining pools, educational content, and much else besides. We are not limited by the funding generated during an ICO or VC investment, our users are an essential element of our team. Oleg✌🏻 Sounds very attractive. 8. What do you think is currently lack in today’s crypto? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble We believe there is not enough privacy, anonymity and fungibility, although there is a growing awareness in the community as to why these are necessary. People are waking up to the fact that privacy is a right for everyone but today it is being exploited and violated by corporations, governments and unscrupulous individuals. Privacy does not mean that you have something to hide. We have doors on our houses, curtains on our windows, we wear clothes, and we have security on our bank accounts and businesses, not because we are criminals. Fungibility (the property of not being able to distinguish one unit of currency from another) also has become a hot issue as people have started to get in trouble because of someone else’s misdeeds. Tainted money (coins that are blacklisted or restricted) is a problem for Bitcoin and Ethereum, the top two cryptos today. Mimblewimble eliminates the risk of tainted coins making them indistinguishable from each other. With traceable coins, you always have to worry if the coins you are getting were involved in a hack, or perhaps the darknet. Oleg✌🏻 It’s good to see strong and safe coin in our time Let’s talk about your future… 9. What does the Epic Cash roadmap look like going forward? Yoga Dude First and foremost, we are focused on security and usability. We are working on a new, improved GUI wallet to incorporate the community feedback on ways to improve it. We are in the process of completing final testing phases for the next iteration of Epic Cash which will make it more secure and stable. Once that is done, we will be rolling out Android and iOS support to make Epic Cash usable on leading smartphones and smartwatches. Beyond that without going into too much detail we are focused on continuous evolution of privacy, ease of mining, and overall speed and usability. And of course we are constantly looking to add more exchanges both with and without KYC. Oleg✌🏻 Are you working on Android and IOS wallet ? What will your application be? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Yes, we will release a mobile wallet this year. It will bring us one step closer to people being able to actually use cryptocurrency as money in daily life. Yoga Dude The idea is to be able to access Epic Cash from any platform and device Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Epic is very lightweight, which means that low-end devices such as smartwatches can participate. Oleg✌🏻 Ok, got it. Thanks for clarification! 10. What else can you tell us about Epic Cash? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Well one thing I really want to mention is our great Epic Cash community. We’ve been building a decentralized community organically, without the talk of price pumps, pressure to HODL and other BS crypto-gimmicks. Our community is truly global and consists of developers, volunteers, miners, and other Epic enthusiasts spreading the word about Epic Cash, helping us reach millions of people around the world to improve their quality of life through social media and directly. Everyone is an evangelist, everyone is an influencer, everyone has the power to make the world a better place to live in. As we continue to grow — the future looks Epic 😊 Yoga Dude Definitely the community! We got a talented crowd of very cool and motivated people from all over the world! Oleg✌🏻 Thank you guys, for such informative answers 🙂 Now we proceed to Section 3, where a Community can ask their questions to the EPIC team Now I’ll open chat for the quite some time … Oleg✌🏻 Thank you all, dear community! EPIC team, please choose the 10 best questions you want to answer. AngeI Everyone likes Privacy & Epic Cash provides their Best Privacy to users But, Which Technologies are being used by Epic Cash to make Blockchain very Private and Completely untrackable ? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble From the wallet to the node, Epic uses Dandelion++ to bounce transactions around the world before they go into the mempool for mining. Within the blockchain itself, Cut-Through merges all transactions in a block together, with CoinJoin automatically mixing all coins. Beyond that, there are no addresses, so it’s impossible to watch someone’s wallet. Arnold Even litecoin is implementing mimblewimble, Don’t you think it’s a significant threat for Epic if they implement it, then why would anyone use a less popular and a new cryptocurrency. Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble LTC is implementing mw as an “extension block”, meaning that it is optional and not all transactions will use it. This is very different than the core protocol leveraging mw to make all transactions private and all coins fungible. Aluta Why Epic cash so much focus on fungibility? Does fungibility matters that much? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Fungibility is going to be one of the key issues within the cryptocurrency space in the coming years. Today, if you accept traceable coins from a seller, you are liable if they have ever been used in any illegal activity. This has led to a two tier market where freshly minted coins sell for more than circulated coins. When coins are fungible, like Epic, you don’t have to worry that you will run into a problem when an exchange or merchant blocks your transaction. Joxes It is a pleasure. When I first researched EpicCash, google showed me a youtube video that talked about how to mine with EpicCash. It made me ask: is this mining activity profitable so far? We are in the early stages of development I guess, what adoption strategies are you taking to have sustained growth? is it feasible to reach N ° 500 rank in coinmarketcap in the medium term? Yoga Dude When I got into crypto, it was by mining Bitcoin back in 2011 when you could still solve blocks on a single computer, but Bitcoin at the time was anything but profitable 😄 Today Epic Cash is still new, still young, and still undervalued. I believe it is mining-worthy because of its potential, not because of today’s price. By allowing Epic Cash to be mined with GPU and CPU on gaming rigs, servers, and even laptops we offer maximum public participation in our project. More people involved in the project, the more evangelists there are. We empower people to mine Epic Cash and to promote it. S.P.A.D.E What new features of Epic Cash provide that Grin or Beam does not offer. Why do we need Epic Cash? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble They are great coins, but there are some ways in which Epic improves. Epic has better tokenomics than Grin and a more sustainable model than Beam, that has a company behind it that needs to repay investors via its high dev tax. this article explains in more detail https://medium.com/@frodofreeman/overview-of-mimblewimble-cryptocurrencies-7c70be146f50 Sahil What’s the Minimum Hardware / setup Required for Mining of EPIC Cash coins? Is Mining Profitable and Can we Mine EPIC Cash coins at Home? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble It is possible to mine on an ordinary laptop or desktop from the last 5 years, sometimes older. Epic is open to everyone, and our friendly community is standing by to help you get started at t.me/epicminers Erven James Sato “TOKEN BURN” is BENEFECIAL for any projects, in able to CONTROL THE NUMBER OF TOKEN CIRCULATION and TO PROVIDE GREATER INCENTIVES TO INVESTORS. Does your GREAT PROJECT have plan about TOKEN BURN? Xenolink For deflating projects It is beneficial to drive the demand / scarcity / and price up in a faster pace. Epic Cash is here for the organic long run not the short run. However when it comes to long term economics elastic supplies whether inflating or deflating will not be a solid long term economic model. This has been heavily discussed already with Bitcoins inelastic Fixed 21 million supply in the past. Having a fixed model demonstrates good long term economics without worrying about balancing a deflating/inflating model. Bitcoin is a perfect example of a 21 million inelastic fixed supply model that has been proving itself till today. Which is why we are also using the same fixed 21 million supply model. Epic Cash plans to have a solid organic long term future to bring free private fungible money and make this world a better place. Red Z🔥🤙 No one predicted the COVID-19 pandemic while developing their business model. But the crisis and recession of the global economy is our present with you and it affects all sectors, including blockchain. Will you make or have already made changes to the project roadmap, tokenomics? Do you have a plan in case the situation does not improve in the coming months and will affect the crypto industry even more? Yoga Dude One thing we have seen as the result of the COVID-19 is more governments are talking about moving to digital cash — digital dollar in USA, digital Lira in Turkey, etc… If in the past the idea of digital money was not graspable by some people, today its the governments that are educating the people for us about the value of digital currency… What is ironic, the governments, by printing money to solve the economic consequences of COVID-19 also educating the consumer about the true “value” of fiat… What we offer is a touch free, borderless, private, anonymous, fungible currency that can not be printed beyond the initial defined algo. We are more responsible than the printing presses of the governments 🤔 kunlefighter How does the Dandelion++ Protocol, Confidential Transactions (CT) and CoinJoin assist in protecting the privacy of individuals and their transactions on Epic Cash Blockchain? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Dandelion++ bounces transactions around before committing them to the blockchain, making it impossible to determine where they originated from. Confidential Transactions means that all tx are private, you can’t tell anything about where the coins have been or who they belonged to. CoinJoin in essence melts down and re-mints each coin every time it is used, making it impossible to track their ownership or usage history. Epic provides comprehensive privacy to everyone, without the compromises that other pre-mimblewimble coins have. Dr Mönica Hello sir @maxfreeman4@Johnsstec@Yogadude Thanks for the ama I notice that Epic Cash has 2 type of new algorithm, progPoW version 0.15.0 and randomX version 1.0.3 NOW , CAN you tell me why you choose these 2 algorithm??? Yoga Dude We went with RandomX because it is a solid and very popular CPU centric algo used by several coins — most recently Monero. Most miners today heavily favor ASICs or GPUs, leaving a lot of solid high end users in the dust unable to mine emerging cryptos. As far as ProgPow, again its an established algo for GPU miners, and thanks to many cryptos starting with Bitcoin/Monero/Ethe etc there is no shortage of GPU rigs out there :) plus again the casual user with a video gaming caliber card can get in on the action. Oleg✌🏻Perfect!It was a great AMA, but it is coming to an end, thanks to everyone who was with us. Thanks EPIC team for taking the time👏. I hope our projects will be able to collaborate even more closely in the future and achieve new successes. Cheers!🎉
https://preview.redd.it/nscgafxibck41.png?width=2152&format=png&auto=webp&s=fbceb8e21020811bea5545b82e65bc5eeac5e420 QuarkChain holds a monthly AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Telegram/Wechat groups on Saturday at 7–8 PM PST. This is the summary for February AMA. We welcome any questions, comments, and suggestions. Q1: The Bitcoin halving is taking place this year. How do you expect this to affect the entire blockchain industry? What role will QuarkChain play in the industry? The Bitcoin halving is a major event in 2020 and we believe this event may have significant impacts. Technically speaking, this means every block reward is reduced from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC, and the inflation rate is also halved. As a result, firstly, the inflation rate will be below 2%, which means the rate is close to that of gold. Secondly, the selling power from miners is also halved. While as cryptocurrency and blockchain become more popular, more people may be more likely to own BTC. From the perspective of the market, BTC has become a hedging asset against risks since there are not many global assets that have a good story as well as good liquidity. There are two main factors influencing the price of BTC: namely the manufacturer of mining machines and the Wall Street. As long as selling mining machines is still making a profit while the global economy is still thriving decently, the value of BTC will maintain its level. So I think that the market will view the halving this time around in a more optimistic light. BTC is rather out of sync with other blockchain projects because its financial nature far outstrips its technical nature. We can compare BTC to gold while other projects are more comparable to technology companies who focus on technological applications and innovations. Another question is what halving signifies for our QuarkChain team. Since 2018, QuarkChain has been focused on inventing a faster and more convenient public chain. Since the launch of mainnet, our product has evolved to become a framework like Polkadot and Cosmos that enable launching a chain with one click and provide cross-chain framework consensus. During our Stanford 2020 meeting last week, we further proposed the idea of a “quark family” whereby one can adopt this sharding layer framework on public chains. If this concept is applied to consortium blockchain, then it becomes “quark-union.” Such framework can be applied in other scenarios and interoperate for other use cases and provide a plethora of choices for users, which is our target goal this year. In the middle of the year, we will announce the next product developed specifically for this framework, which functions like Polkadot’s Substrate framework that allows developers to build products as parachains. Please follow us to learn more! In general, I think this is really good news for the whole cryptocurrency world! Q2: The Chinese market pays more attention to the consortium blockchain. Will this affect QuarkChain? Will the team consider joining the consortium blockchain? One of our goals is to broadcast our QuarkChain technologies to more people around the world, and we are happy to see that not only can our technology be applied to the public chain space, but also to the consortium blockchain space!! Secondly, it is also natural to extend the public chain technology to the consortium one, where Ethereum has EEA, and JP Morgan is also working on Quorum, which is the consortium version of geth. With the Chinese government’s support of this domain, I think it is a very good opportunity for QuarkChain to participate in the market and meet the needs in the consortium blockchain space. We will soon announce the new products in the area soon! Q3: The QuarkChain team attended the Stanford Blockchain Conference recently. Are there any differences between the direction of exploration in 2020 and in 2019? Did you find any new or interesting ideas? A lot of interesting things happened during the Stanford Blockchain Conference. I also discussed with several people, including Vitalk and Professor David Tse about their works. We discussed some details about their proposal in the extreme case such as network partition and asked more details in how Lamport’s BFT algorithm’s relationship with his proposal. First of all, I found there is a rapidly rising interest from academia to enter into the blockchain space, including professors from renowned universities such as Stanford, UIUC, and Cornell. Secondly, I found more and more people are taking serious considerations into practical problems such as scalability and security. For example, Vitalik gave a talk about 51% attack and how to avoid that; people are working on both vertical and horizontal scalability. Of course, Facebook Libra also presented their blockchain. We are watching these technologies closely and are looking forward to seeing its development, which will guide our future growth as well! Q4: QKC held a meetup yesterday and you talked about what the future of blockchain looks like and topics related to business. Can you give us a brief summary about the discussion? How can QuarkChain be applied in the real world? Any use cases? We delivered a speech titled “What The Future Blockchain Looks Like to Empower Business.” Looking back, the early days of blockchains were chasing after pure technical breakthroughs with little considerations for practical business needs. This is related to what we talked about also at the year-end review: after TPS, what else can blockchains propose? One of the big trends that we see is that, typical major business applications rely on both consortium blockchain and public chains. Even for Facebook Libra, it starts with consortium blockchain and then will move onto public chains. From a business perspective, the space is looking for a more comprehensive solution that allows seamless communication between consortium blockchain and public chains altogether. The Boson consensus is the paper we published during the world-class 2019 IEEE conference. It is the sharding infrastructure framework that we have been referring to since day 1, which is analogous to the Substrate framework from Polkadot. We have applied this framework to implement QuarkChain, as you are all familiar with it by now. We are now applying the same framework onto consortium blockchain to allow different enterprises to define different chains based on their own business requirements and also create plug-ins to interact with other chains such as IBM Hyperledger, Ant Financial blockchain, WeBank, and so on. With the great efforts of our BD team, we are working on some use cases with our important partners. One direction we believe is to speed up financial processing using blockchain in the enterprise space. For instance, with immunity and transparency, we could facilitate regulated financing and circulation of assets more easily. Imagine DeFi in consortium! As I mentioned before, we are building the consortium version of QuarkChain, and actually, the first version of the product is almost ready and is under testing. Q5: What does your roadmap for 2020 look like? Name some important milestones you hope to achieve. What are the major developments lined up for QuarkChain this quarter? In 2020 H1, we plan to fully support our native token to enable DeFi composability. We would like to make the token more user-friendly as well. Actually, ETH2.0 is targeting native tokens for a while, and we also have a long conversation with ETH. While ETH2.0 is still planning and designing the feature, our goal is to fully support ETH 2.0 in 2020 — probably the first blockchain that enables all these! For the second half of the year, we are still looking into several areas, namely privacy, heterogenous chain, and new consensus mechanism. We also would like to learn from the community to see what the best idea may be. Please check more details here: https://ethresear.ch/t/cross-shard-defi-composability/6268/23 https://ethresear.ch/t/moving-eth-between-shards-the-problem-statement/6597 Q6: In the past years, we all said ZIL was your biggest competitor, but the fact is we did not see too many updates from them. So who is your current strongest competitor? How do you stand out from your competition? Actually, in this growing new area, we learned tremendously from different projects in sharding, multi-chain area: ETH2.0, Polkadot, Cosmos, and ZIL. And for us, our idea is quite simple — to achieve our goal with using all technologies from us and also from others. We also interacted with the blockchain communities actively so that we could jointly contribute to the blockchain space. This philosophy explains why we have an active presence in different projects such as ETH and Libra. Our technology, the Boson consensus, is the key for us to differentiate from others. Even better, the Boson consensus is designed to be flexible, and thus is able to incorporate a lot of novel ideas! To my knowledge, this flexibility can hardly be found for other blockchains. Unless other projects decide to follow us someday, I think we should have plenty of space to stand out! Q7: What are your future plans for the developer community? We just started our bounty program for supporting native token auction — an important part for multi-native token support. This means many dApps on ETH can be rewritten and enjoy the benefits of the multi-native tokens, and we will have demos and programs to educate the public. Q8: QKC technology is at the forefront of the industry. What are its strategies in market expansion? How are you planning to take over more market share in 2020? We need to acknowledge that the speculation is widespread across the entire market, similar to what was observed during the early days of the stock market. As we can see now, the era of speculation and fast money is fading away. What we observed in the US stock market for the last decade is that the out-performers are no mere speculation but outstanding technology companies who keep innovating themselves. To adapt to this shift of culture, we now align the overall marketing strategy to branding. What this signifies is that besides telling people the acronym of QuarkChain, we should let other people know more about the details of QuarkChain and the recent updates of our team. What we will do in the future is to share more quality in-depth contents which vary in format but are easily readable. We would like to intrigue more people by experimenting with different forms of data visualization. We also want to step onto different school campuses for technical sharing sessions and have first-hand engagement for technology enthusiasts and gain their recognition. From there, we will then carry out more public advertisements. Because of the outbreak of virus, we will develop more online activities to enable more people to participate free of physical constraints. Q9: Why do we see less interactions from the team recently? How are the team members faring? Can you work on developing the Chinese community in 2020? Someone messaged me offline wondering why I appeared in the group less often recently. I actually am still with QuarkChain and have been working on various projects in great depth. For example, I was lecturing MBA classes and summarized how blockchain can step out from its current bottlenecks. Some also discovered that they were no longer able to private chat with me. As I have explained before, such a decision was made on the basis of freeing up more of my time from customer services to allow more creative thinking and R&D. I have been paying close attention to the discussion and suggestions within the group chat. I am also in consultation with Yufeng and Daisy for the latest news within the group chat as well. Our team is doing well with more technologies underway. We are landing more business applications and are shifting our marketing focus from operations to branding. We will continue to update our latest developments so stay tuned! About the community, we aim not just to grow only the Chinese one but around the world. You may understand the idea of developing a community in a different sense than I do. As I might have mentioned before, for the past two years, blockchain was highly speculative and some projects only wished to boost the number of followers with little maintenance of the community. Since the days of speculation are gone, developing a community is no longer just counting heads but providing contents of added values and spreading the awareness of these quality contents to more people. This is also why I appeared less in the chat but have published more in-depth articles over the past few months. Q10: What are the latest updates in terms of business developments? Who are some of your latest business partners? Let me first talk about the potential effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Its ramification is of global scale; interestingly, it has an accelerating effect for blockchains since people came to realize that after thrifting on big data and large-scale IT systems, these white elephants did little to present timely, effective, and accurate data. Such inefficiencies have created tremendous challenges for public administration and blockchain is the perfect solution to fill this vacuum. When it comes to commercialization, as an early entrant, we are happy to share some initial progress with our supporters. Firstly, related to government affairs, we have business use cases for large business enterprises and governments regarding data management, public governance, and public services. Secondly, targeting this outbreak, we have proposed a comprehensive 2G solution using blockchain and are in close communications with the government. Lastly, in terms of management of public assets and finance, we have made some significant attempts to manage assets that were previously overlooked and were unable for financing. Our approach may be used to create financial products for circulation. Let me give you a concrete example in factory monitoring. During production, with the automated and trustless production of data, the discharge data from the factory will become more reliable. Environment department can then use discharge data collected from automatic devices with little worry that factories have tampered with the data for the sake of avoiding penalties.
Hard coded UTXO checkpoints are the way to go. They're safe. They're necessary.
Update 3: Pieter convinced me in the comments of his Stack Exchange answer that these checkpoints don't give any material improvement over assumevalid and assumeutxo. He made me realize why my Case IV below would not actually cause a huge disruption for assumevalid users. So I rescind my call for UTXO checkpoints. However, I maintain that UTXO checkpoints done properly (with checkpoints sufficiently in the past) are not a security model change and would not meaningfully alter consensus. It sounded like Pieter agreed with me on that point as well. I think UTXO checkpoints might still be a useful tool I will call for Assume UTXO tho. It plus assumevalid adds pretty much much all the same benefits as my proposal. OP: Luke Jr has been proposing lowering the maximum block size to 300mb in order to limit how long it takes a new node to sync up. He makes the good point that if processor power is growing at only 17%/year, that's how much we can grow the number of transactions a new node needs to verify on initial sync. But limiting the blocksize is not the only way to do it. As I'm sure you can foresee from the title, I believe the best way to do it is a hardcoded checkpoint built into the software (eg bitcoin core). This is safe, this is secure, and it is a scalability improvement that has no downsides. So what is a hardcoded checkpoint? This would consist of a couple pieces of data being hardcoded into the source code of any bitcoin full-node software. The data would be a blockheight, block hash, and UTXO hash. With those three pieces of information, a new client can download the block at that height and the UTXO set built up to that height, and then it can verify that the block and UTXO set are correct because they both have the correct hashes. This way, a new node can start syncing from that height rather than from the first block ever mined. What does this improve?
Less storage - nodes don't need to store the entire historical chain through the eons. Just very recent blocks.
Initial sync time is massively reduced
Initial sync time would scale linearly with the transaction rate (whereas now it scales linear with number of total transactions).
While not strictly necessary, its likely that the UTXO data would come from the same source as the software, since otherwise full nodes would have to store UTXO sets at multiple block heights just in case someone asks for it as part of their checkpoint. Also, full-nodes should store block information going back historically significantly further than their checkpoint, so they have data to pass to clients that have an earlier checkpoint. So perhaps if a client is configured for a checkpoint 6 months ago, it should probably still store block data from up to 2 years ago (tho it wouldn't need to verify all that data - or rather, verifying it would be far simpler because the header chain connecting to their checkpoint block would all that needs to be validated). To be perfectly clear, I'm absolutely not suggesting a live checkpoint beacon that updates the software on-the-fly from a remote source. That is completely unsafe and insecure, because it forces you to trust that one source. At any time, whoever controls the live source could disrupt millions of people by broadcasting an invalid block or a block on a malicious chain. So I'm NOT suggesting having a central source, or even any distributed set of sources, that automatically send checkpoint information to clients that connect to it. That would 100% be unsafe. What I'm suggesting is a checkpoint hardcoded into the software, which can be safely audited. So is a hardcoded checkpoint safe and secure? Yes it is. Bitcoin software already needs to be audited. That's why you should never use bitcoin software that isn't open source. So by including the three pieces of data described above, all you're doing is adding a couple more things that need to be audited. If you're downloading a bitcoin software binary without auditing it yourself, then you already take on the risk of trusting the distributor of that binary, and adding hardcoded checkpoints does not increase that risk at all. However, most people can't even audit the bitcoin software if they wanted to. Most people aren't programmers and can't feasibly understand the code. Not so for the checkpoints. The checkpoints could easily be audited by anyone who runs a full node, or anyone who can check block hashes and UTXO hashes from multiple sources they trust. Auditing the hardcoded checkpoint would be so easy we could sell T shirts that say "I helped audit Bitcoin source code!" The security profile of a piece of bitcoin node software with hardcoded checkpoints or without hardcoded checkpoints is identical. Not similar. Not almost. Actually identical. There is no downside. Imagine this twice-a-year software release process: Month 0: After the last release, development on the next release start (or rather, continues). Month 3: The next candidate version of the software is finalized, including a checkpoint from some non-contentious distance ago, say 1 month ago. Month 6: After 3 months of auditing and bug fixing, the software is released. At this point, the checkpoint would be 4 months old. In this process, downloading the latest version of bitcoin software would mean the maximum months of blocks you have to sync is 10 months (if you download and run the software the day before the next release happens). This process is safe, its secure, its auditable, and it saves tons of processing time and harddrive space. This also means that it would allow bitcoin full nodes to be run by lower-power computers, and would allow more people to run full nodes. I think everyone can agree that outcome would be a good one. So why do we need this change? Because 300kb blocks is the alternative. That's not enough space, even with the lightning network. I'm redacting the previous because I don't have the data to support it and I don't think its necessary to argue that we need this change. So why do we need this change? This change represents a substantial scalability improvement from O(n) to O(Δn). It removes a major bottleneck to increasing on-chain transaction throughput, reducing fees, increasing user security as well as network-wide security (through more full nodes), or a combination of those. What does everyone think? Update: I think its useful to think of 4 different types of users relevant in the hypothetical scenario where Bitcoin adopts this kind of proposal:
Upfront Auditors - Early warnings
After-the-fact Auditors - Late warnings
Non-full-auditors - Late warnings
Non full nodes - No warnings
Upfront auditors look at the source code of the software they use, the keep up to date with changes, and they make sure that what they're running looks good to them. They're almost definitely building directly from source code - no binaries for them. They'll alert people to a problem potentially before buggy or malicious software is even released. In this scenario, their security is obviously unchanged because they're not taking advantage of the check-pointing feature. We want to encourage as many people as possible to do this and to make it as easy as possible to do. After-the-fact Auditors want to start a new node and start using Bitcoin immediately. They want to audit, but are ok with a period of time where they're trusting the code to be connecting the chain they want. They take on a slight amount of personal risk here, but once they back-validate the chain, they can sound the alert if there is a validation problem. Non-full-auditors are simply content to trust that the software is good. They'll run the node without looking at most or any of the code. They take on more risk than After-the-fact Auditors, but their risk is not actually much worse than After-the-fact Auditors. Why? Because as soon as you're sure you're on the right chain (ie you do a few monetary transactions with people who accept your bitcoin), you're golden for as long as you use that node and the part of the chain it validated. The can also still help the network to pretty much the same degree as After-the-fact Auditors, because if there are a problem with their transactions, they can sound the alarm about a problem with that software. Non full nodes obviously have less security and they don't help the network. So why did I bother to talk about these different types of users? Well, we obviously want as many Upfront auditors as possible. However, doing that out of the starting gate is time consuming. It takes time to audit the code and time to sync the blockchain. Its costly. For this reason, for better or worse, most people simply won't do it. Without checkpoints, we don't have type 2 or type 3 users. The only alternative to being an Upfront Auditor is to be an SPV node that doesn't help the network and is less secure. With checkpoints, we could potentially change many of those people who would just use SPV to doing something much more helpful for the network. One of the huge benefits of After-the-fact Auditors and Non-full-auditors is that once they're on the network, they can act like Upfront Auditors in the next release. Maybe they're not auditing the source code, but they can sure audit the checkpoint very easily. That means they can also sound the alarm before malicious or broken software is released, just like Upfront Auditors. Why? Because they now have a chain they believe to be the true one (with an incredibly high degree of confidence). What this means is that Upfront Auditors, After-the-fact Auditors, and Non-full-auditors help the network to a very similar degree. If software that doesn't sync to the right chain, they will find out about it and alert others. Type 2 and 3 take on personal risk, but they don't put the network at greater risk, like SPV nodes do. If we can convert most Non-full nodes into Type 2 or Type 3 users, that would be massive gain for the security of Bitcoin. Luke Jr said it himself, making nodes that support the network as easy as possible to run is critical. This is one good way to do that. Update 2: Comparison to -assumevalid and why using checkpoints upgrades scalability The -assumevalid option allows nodes to skip validation of blocks before the hardcoded golden block hash. This is similar to my proposal, but has a critical difference. A node with -assumevalid on (which I've heard is the default now) will still validate the whole chain in the case that a longer chain is floating around. Because of this, -assumevalid can be an optimization that works as long as there's no other longer chain also claiming to be bitcoin floating around the network. The important points brought up by the people that wrote and discussed adding this feature was that: A. Its not a change in security model, and B. Its not a change in consensus rules. This meant that it was a pure implementation detail that would never and could never change what chain your node follows. The checkpoints I'm describing are different. On point A, some have said that checkpoints are a security model change, and I've addressed that above. I'd like to add that there is no way for bitcoin to be 100% trustless. That is impossible. Bitcoin at the deepest level is a specified protocol many people have agreed to use together. In order to join that group even on the most fundamental level, you need to find the spec people are agreeing to use. You have to trust that the person or people that gave you a copy of that spec gave you the right one. If different people claim that different specs are "bitcoin", you have to choose which people to trust. The same is true of checkpoints. New entrants want to join the network that the people they care about interacting with believe is Bitcoin, and those are the people they will trust to get the spec, or the source code, or the hash of the UTXO set. This is why I say the security profile of Bitcoin with checkpoints is identical to Bitcoin without checkpoints. The amount of trust you have to put in your social network is not materially different. While its not a security model change, as I've supported above, using checkpoints is consensus rules change. Every new checkpoint would change the consensus rules. However, I would argue this isn't a problem as long as those checkpoints are at a non-contentious number of blocks ago. While it would change consensus rules, it should not change consensus at all. There are 4 scenarios to consider: I. There's no contention. II. There's a long-range reorg from before the checkpoint. III. There exists a contentious public chain that branched before the checkpoint would usually be taken. IV. There exists an invalid chain that's longer than the valid chain. In case I, none of it matters, and checkpoints have pretty much exactly the same result as -assumevalid. In case II, Bitcoin has much bigger problems. Its simply unacceptable for Bitcoin to allow for long-range reorgs, so this case must be prevented entirely. The downsides of a long-range reorg for bitcoin without checkpoints is MUCH MUCH larger than the additional downsides with checkpoints. In case III, the obvious solution is to checkpoint from an earlier non-contentious blockheight, so nodes validate both chains. Case IV is where things really differ between checkpoints and -assumevalid. In this case, nodes using a checkpoint will only validate blocks after the checkpoint. However, nodes using -assumevalid will be forced to validate both chains back to their branch-point. I don't believe there are other relevant cases, but as long as checkpoints are chosen from non-contentious heights and have time to be audited, there is no possibility that honestly-run bitcoin software would in any way affect the consensus for what chain is the right chain. This brings me back to why checkpoints upgrades scalability, and -assumevalid does not. Case IV is the case that prevents -assumevalid from being a scalability improvement. You want new nodes to be able to sync to the network relatively quickly, so say the 90th percentile of machines should be able to do it in less than a week (or maybe we want to ensure sync happens within a day - that's up for debate). With checkpoints, invalid chains branched before the checkpoint will not disrupt new entrants to the network. With -assumevalid, those invalid change will disrupt new entrants. Since an invalid chain can have branched arbitrarily far in the past, this disruption could be arbitrarily large. One way to deal with this is to ensure that most machines can handle validating not only the whole valid chain, but the whole invalid chain as well. The other way to deal with this is checkpoints. So back to scalability, with checkpoints all we need to ensure is that the lowest power machines we want to support can sync in a timely manner back to the checkpoint.
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Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
Introducing Tari: A Decentralised Assets Protocol Built on Monero
What is Tari?
Tari is a decentralised assets protocol that is going to be built on top of Monero. Think of it as something like coloured coins or CounterParty, but for Monero and a lot more scalable (ie. not using an embedded consensus mechanism).
How is it built "on top of Monero"?
Tari will have a native token, like Counterparty, but it will operate as a merge-mined sidechain. Miners will be able to earn Tari block reward and fees as they mine Monero. In addition to binding itself to Monero's security model, Tari will also support atomic swaps between itself and Monero.
Who is building it?
Everyone! Tari will be an open-source project very much in the spirit of Monero, to the point of reusing a lot of the patterns we've developed for Monero over the years. However, it will initially be a little bit more centralised than Monero, which is fine as it is a layer 2 project that can afford to experiment a little without impacting on the purity of Monero's robustness and decentralisation. This early form of centralisation comes in the form of the Tari organisation, which will act as a steward of the protocol in much the same way as the Monero Core Team acts as a steward of Monero. However, we have also formed Tari Labs based out of Johannesburg, South Africa, and we are in the process of hiring researchers, developers, and others, who will be among the first contributors to Tari. That said, we do not believe that Tari Labs should be the sole owners of the ever-evolving design and architecture of the protocol, nor should they be the decision makers. They are merely a bunch of clever people working alongside anyone in the community that wishes to contribute to the Tari protocol. If you would like to work at Tari Labs, and live in South Africa or are willing to relocate, then please do look at the available positions on the Tari website. Please note that on principle Tari Labs will not employ existing Monero contributors, so as not to place a drain on the relatively limited developer resources available to the Monero project.
You keep saying "we"...who is "we"?
Tari has been founded by myself (Riccardo Spagni), Naveen Jain, and Dan Teree. You can read more about us, as well as some of the other contributors to this very nascent project, on the About page on the Tari website.
So you're doing an ICO?
I will slay you where you stand.
Well then how will you pay for this?
I've decided to sell my watch and my power glove, obviously:-P Seriously, though, Tari is backed by some of the world's leading top-tier VC firms, such as Redpoint, Trinity Ventures, Canaan Partners, Slow Ventures, Aspect Ventures, as well as some of the leading blockchain VC firms.
How does this benefit Monero?
Our investors believe in what we want to build with Tari, but they also believe in Monero as the world's leading private digital currency, and also as a powerful base layer upon which projects can be built. Because of this, we have capital that we are using to not only build the Tari protocol, but to enhance aspects of the Monero software stack and ecosystem. Consider three examples of areas the Tari Labs team will be focusing on over the next year:
Researchers will work with the Monero Research Lab to identify ways to improve Monero's block and transaction propagation. This will increase on-chain scalability for Monero, as well as speed up initial syncing of nodes. Tari Labs developers will also assist the Monero development community by implementing some or all of these improvements.
Tari Labs developers will work with Tari Labs researchers to create and implement an atomic swap mechanism that will initially allow for atomic swaps between Monero and other cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin, but will also be used later on for atomic swaps between Monero and assets issued on Tari.
Developers at Tari Labs will work on a Lightning Network router implementation that supports both Bitcoin and Monero, allowing Monero to benefit from the added off-chain privacy that LN provides.
In addition, Tari has plans for ways we can more directly support Monero development in the future through the creation of development hubs around the world, where people will be able to apply for grants that will let them work on Monero or Tari for a period of time. This concept, whilst still in its infancy and quite far away from inception, will provide people with the opportunity to contribute to the Monero codebase, research, and ecosystem on a more regular, full-time basis.
Does this mean fluffypony is leaving Monero?!
No, not at all! In order to free up time for me to work on Tari I have taken two major steps in my professional life:
I have stepped down as CEO of MyMonero, and have handed the reins to the very competent Paul Shapiro (aka endogenic). We are in the process of the last few bits being totally handed over, after which I will be non-operational on MyMonero.
I have stepped down as CEO of GloBee, and have appointed a new CEO to replace me, Felix Honigwachs. Felix comes with a wealth of experience, having been a senior manager at Microsoft and at SAP, and more recently having been the founder and now-former CEO of one of the most influential healthcare software startups in South Africa. I have already become largely non-operational on GloBee as Felix has slid nicely into the role, even taking over my office and making me move to our management company's offices next door;)
That said, over the past year I've been reducing my roles within the Monero project itself, in order to ensure I am never a bus factor. Members of the community have stepped up to fill these roles, including Monero Core Team member luigi1111 taking over as lead maintainer on the Monero website and Monero GUI repos. I am determined to further reduce any reliance on me over time by continuing this trend, with an eventual goal of handing off the task of lead maintainer on the Monero CLI repo once we have added full support for deterministic builds. My role in Monero will then solely focus on advocacy for Monero and privacy, technical advice and counsel to the contributors and maintainers where necessary, and I will continue to serve on the Core Team for as long as I am required and able to. In addition, I will also be spending a lot more time on the Monero Enterprise Alliance, which I hope to one day meme into existence.
What technologies will Tari be buit in?
While some of the moving parts will be determined among the development community as it comes together, one thing we have already decided on is to use Rust as our language of choice for the Tari protocol software. The decision to use Rust is partly because we believe that Rust is an incredibly capable language that is purpose-built for lower-level high performance software like this, but largely because we want to make sure that Tari does not drain any of the existing Monero contributor support.
This all sounds exciting...where do I sign up?
As mentioned before, we're reusing a lot of the patterns that have served the Monero community well over the past four years, some of which I'm directly responsible for and was quite surprised they worked at all;) The best places to join in the discussion and get involved with the burgeoning community are at:
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