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Decred Journal — April 2020

Decred | 05.11| 132

Decred Journal — April 2020

Image: Bridge Verticals by @saender

April’s highlights:

  • The optimizations continue for dcrd, which got so much faster it got banned by older versions and the banning criteria have to be updated.
  • @moo31337 published a WIP PR for the work on decentralization of Treasury spending.
  • We welcome 5 new contributors to the Decred GitHub repositories!
  • It’s been a big month for integrations, with the gateways Transak and Metal Pay. Steelbackup (metal DCR seed storage solution) also added a new budget option.
  • In-person events are off, but virtual events are way up, especially in Latam!

Development

Unless otherwise noted, the work reported here has the “merged to master” status. It means that the work is completed, reviewed, and integrated into the source code that advanced users can build and run, but is not yet available in release binaries for regular users.

dcrd:

  • more parts of the codebase migrated from Go’s standard big integers to specialized field types, making significant performance improvements
  • schnorr package: improvements to safety, testing, and performance, as well as a comprehensive README describing the custom Schnorr-based signature scheme used in Decred
A Schnorr signature is a digital signature scheme that is known for its simplicity, provable security, and efficient generation of short signatures. It provides many advantages over ECDSA signatures that make them ideal for use with the only real downside being that they are not well standardized at the time of this writing.

While the consensus supports Schnorr signatures, the rest of the infrastructure needed to fully take advantage of their benefits is not well fleshed out, and therefore they are not in widespread use yet. The goal is to remedy that.

With all the recent work, ECDSA and Schnorr signature verification is around 25% faster compared to v1.5.1.

Lots of optimizations in dcrd made over the past months have led to a “suffering from success” meme: older nodes now think the new version is requesting too much data too quickly and banning it. The “banning rate” parameters will have to be adjusted to reflect the new speeds.

The dcrd repository is no longer configured as a fork of btcd. So many new features have been added and overall improvements made that there is very little code still in common between them. Also, one of the primary reasons for having a fork is to be able to pull in upstream changes easily. That is not the case anymore though because the code is so different that any changes desired for dcrd would effectively have to be ported anyway. And even then, most changes made in btcd simply don’t apply to dcrd anymore. The “unforking” also removes the confusion about the fork count where dcrd page showed the number of all forks of btcd (1,500+). Now it shows 235 forks for dcrd and 1,290 for btcd. Finally, it removes the annoyance and a chance for error where pressing “New pull request” would open a PR against the upstream btcd repository with all the changes on Decred’s master branch.

The dcrctl command-line app that controls dcrd and dcrwallet was split out of dcrd into its own repository to address dependency and maintenance issues.

In progress:

  • Decentralize Treasury Spending development work was published to make it more visible and let more people join the discussion. The work is based on the proposal but adds significant changes to the spec.

dcrwallet:

  • new addtransaction command that will be particularly useful for the upcoming ticket-based VSP design
  • bug fixes and code maintenance
  • dcrwallet is no longer a fork of btcwallet for the same reasons as dcrd and has 137 of its own forks as of writing

In progress:

  • Decentralized Treasury Spending support for the wallet corresponding to the work in dcrd.

Decrediton:

  • first steps to migrate to functional components (a newer approach in the React framework — they are easier to reason about and test)
  • new action to abandon transactions that are not being mined or got “stuck”
  • started reusing the pi-ui library for several components in order to have consistent look & feel across Decred’s different products
  • first steps towards CSPP support

Politeia:

  • new method to query invoice line items that have been billed to the given proposal
  • separated metadata out of Politeia proposals and CMS invoices — this removes a hacky way to store proposal title that was used previously and allows to add arbitrary metadata, including the fields required by the RFP proposals
  • part of the work to allow viewing Politeia without javascript
  • normalized and added caching for paywall data
  • finished the refactoring of the state management system
  • a batch of UI work to support RFP proposals
  • several UI tweaks for the CMS
  • multiple bug fixes in Politeia and CMS

dcrstakepool:

  • dependency updates and bug fixes

dcrpool:

  • added cache, which improved the data flow (the hub now pushes new data into the cache instead of the GUI polling for it)
  • added pagination in several places — this completes work on the proper UI as provided by the designers
  • configurable account for paying rewards from
  • added GUI to request a payment manually and clear any remaining balance (useful when leaving the pool)
  • increased test coverage

dcrlnd: In progress:

  • enable and test SPV mode for remote wallets (see March issue for more background)
  • porting upstream lnd changes between v0.9.0-beta and 0.10.0-beta — 139 upstream PRs (plus a few non-PR’d commits) were considered for inclusion.

dcrdex:

dcrandroid:

  • redesigned landing page
  • switch by tap between DCR and a fiat equivalent on the Send page
  • added French translation
  • other UX tweaks and bug fixes

dcrios:

dcrdata:

Detailed guides on how to query dcrdata and how to run your own instance of the block explorer were published by @mm in both English and Portuguese.

tinydecred:

  • forms and settings necessary to connect to dcrd
  • basic support for GCS filters
  • further increased test coverage in a crusade for an unforgiving test suite
  • all tests have been migrated to pytest
  • boosted the performance of crypto primitives with Cython, reducing test execution time from 21 to 4 seconds (fast tests allow productive development and are a joy of life)

docs:

  • added a page documenting the differences between Decred and BIP-0039 seeds

decred.org:

Other:

  • the release tool for building reproducible executables was moved under the decred GitHub org
  • @Checkmate published calculations for implementing his metrics
  • GitHub has made all core features free for everyone, which includes private repos for unlimited users

Dev activity stats for April: 313 active PRs, 247 master commits, 39K added and 23K deleted lines spread across 16 repositories. Contributions came from 2–7 developers per repository.

People

Welcome to new first time contributors with code merged to master: @jdambron (dcrandroid), @matthawkins90 (dcrd), @leRequinNoir (dcrdata), @kevinstl (dcrdex) and @chillviben (dcrios).

Community stats as of May 1:

  • Twitter followers: 40,570 (-124)
  • Reddit subscribers: 9,761 (+1)
  • Matrix users: 624 (+23)
  • Discord users: 1,184 (+24)
  • Telegram users: 2,557 (-50)
  • YouTube subscribers: 3,990 (+10)
  • Facebook followers: 3,618 (+12), likes: 3,280 (+7)
  • LinkedIn followers: 774 (+30)
  • GitHub dcrd stars: 539 (+3), forks: 235 (-1,272) — past fork counts included all btcd forks which was misleading, now that the fork relationship with btcd is removed the number is dcrd’s own forks

Governance

In April the Treasury received 13,250 DCR and spent 17,228 DCR. Using April’s daily average DCR/USD rate of $12.34, this is $164K received and $213K spent. At March’s average daily rate of $13.40, the USD figure billed for work completed in that month is $231K. As of May 3, Treasury balance is 636,000 DCR (9.17 million USD at $14.42).

Two new proposals were submitted in April, one for a billboard marketing campaign was rejected with 17% approval (31% turnout) and another from CryptoNoticias for a content marketing campaign was also rejected with 31% approval and 30% turnout.

The two proposals from March voted on this month were also rejected. DCR Comic 2 had support from 49.4% of the tickets that voted (participation of 19%), while the Decred Daily proposal had 44% approval from the 17% of eligible tickets that voted. Both did not reach the quorum of 20% votes.

For more detail on these see issue 30 of Politeia Digest.

Network

Hashrate: April’s hashrate opened at ~302 Ph/s and closed ~360 Ph/s, bottoming at 240 Ph/s and peaking at 470 Ph/s throughout the month. Pool hashrate distribution as of May 1: UUPool 46%, Poolin 22%, lab.antpool.com 17%, F2Pool 2%, Luxor 2%, BTC.com 1.6%, BeePool 0.12%, CoinMine 0.05%, Suprnova 0.02% and others ~9%. Pool distribution numbers are approximate and cannot be accurately determined.

Staking: 30-day average ticket price was 137.8 DCR (-4.1). The price varied between 131.7–142.8 DCR. Locked amount was 5.62–5.71 million DCR, which corresponded to 49.2–50.3% of the available supply participating in PoS.

Nodes: Throughout April there was an average of 131 public listening nodes and 206 total nodes per dcr.farm. Average version distribution for Apr: 44% dcrd v1.5.1, 16% dcrd v1.5, 6% dcrd v1.6 dev builds, 5% dcrd v1.5 dev and RC builds, 4% dcrd v1.4, 9% dcrwallet v1.5.1, 2.4% dcrwallet v1.4, 1.4% dcrwallet v1.5.

Updates from @Checkmate:

  • Decred section of the Our Network newsletter (tweet). Multiple metrics based on @Checkmate’s Stock-to-Flow model, PoW miner income, and @permabullnino’s ticket data research, signal that the network is undervalued.
  • Substantial on-chain volume relative to network valuation, NVT and RVT metrics.
  • Increasing transaction volumes due to increased privacy usage.

Integrations

dcr.blue VSP announced that it will shut down in a message sent to all users with verified email on Apr 20. It was removed from the listing and Decrediton but will stay online for the rest of 2020. Since the maximum lifetime of a ticket is roughly 4.7 months, this gives users around 3 months to stop buying tickets assigned to DCR.Blue. Users are advised to backup their redeem scripts if they haven’t already (a copy is available in the VSP account) and start buying tickets to a different VSP. Please avoid joining too large VSPs to maintain a healthy distribution and better security for the network. This is the first VSP to attempt a “graceful shutdown” rather than just disappearing without notice as some other VSPs have done in the past.

decred.raqamiya.net VSP that was delisted in March is now again operational and was added back to the listing. As of writing, it holds about 330 live tickets (0.8%), has 4 servers, and features a custom UI.

Metal Pay added support for DCR on their marketplace. It provides another fiat onramp and works in most US states. They followed the announcement with tweets about Decred.

Transak announced that trading DCR against EUR, GBP and INR is available on their fiat < > crypto payment gateway. USD pairs are coming soon.

An instant exchange SwapSpace added support for Decred.

Steelbackup, a physical seed backup solution added a light version of the product. Currently, there are two types of steel plates: laser engraved and laser marked. The engraved one is the most robust solution as steel is removed which makes the marking grid as permanent as the steel. The laser marked product is marked with a molybdenum disulfide solution which makes it resistant to scratches, acids, and high temperatures (up to 340 degrees C). The products are designed to be simple with no moving parts, users just need a center punch (found at a local hardware store) to indent their seed. Tamper evident bags are included. SteelBackup was launched in Feb 2020 by @zubair and ships worldwide.

Warning: the authors of the Decred Journal have no idea about the trustworthiness of any of the services above. Please do your own research before trusting your personal information or assets to any entity.

Outreach

Decred’s YouTube channel grew by 4 new videos, while Decred in Depth and Rough Consensus podcasts released 3 episodes in total (see Media below).

Decred Brazil channel keeps actively generating content. Decred Semanal (“Decred Weekly”) published 5 new episodes in April which received ~150 views on average, up from ~50 views in previous months (likely a result of improved distribution tactics). The series is also available in podcast format on all major platforms like Apple (59 episodes total), Google, Spotify, SoundCloud and others.

On Medium, Decred Drive keeps delivering nice weekly updates, Decred Spanish is adding new articles and translations, and Phoenix Green has emerged with writings about his crypto/Decred journey.

@jy-p commented on fiat credit issuance and remote work in a project survey by 8btc.com. 8btc is the oldest Bitcoin forum in China.

Monde PR’s achievements for April:

  • created and pitched a story idea targeted at investing, VC and tech publications
  • created and pitched a story idea targeted at crypto and fintech publications
  • created and pitched a story idea targeted at personal finance publications
  • submitted comments from Decred spokespeople to 8 news stories
  • secured a media interview with a mainstream newswire and 3 email Q&As with mainstream and crypto publications

News coverage secured by Monde PR:

Events

Attended:

  • Apr 4 — Paxful Conversations — Internet. @elian was invited by Paxful LATAM to talk about how to spot scams and what to look at when researching cryptocurrency fundamentals. It was not a direct Decred talk but it was mentioned as an example of good practices within the industry. The webinar was “powered by Decred” and was viewed by ~70 people.
  • Apr 9 — Hablemos Decred 03 — Internet. @pablito and @elian explained the PoS system. There were only 3 new viewers this time, although some lessons were learned about promoting the event and picking the optimal time. (report)
  • Apr 16 — Jalisco Talend Land @ Home — Internet. Decred team presented a panel titled “The future of money and remote work” to explore the intersection of money, technology, and remote working through the lens and experience of 4 Decred contractors in LATAM. They shared their experience working from Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, and covered the challenges and opportunities of working for Decred remotely. (report)
  • Apr 16 — Hablemos de Criptomonedas — Internet. The webinar was co-hosted with Ibero University through its innovation hub IDIT. @adcade and @elian talked about cryptocurrency and blockchain to an audience of 22 (out of 34 registrations), mostly students. (report)
  • Apr 23 — Hablemos Decred 04 — Internet. @pablito and @elian focused on exchanges and the DEX that Decred is building. Attendance was up to 15 this time, and the LATAM team is continuing to explore the best ways to host such events. (report)
  • Apr 30 — Decred Virtual Meetup — Internet. @Checkmate presented his BTC and DCR on-chain analytics. The recording was uploaded to YouTube.

Upcoming:

  • May 12 — Decred Foundations at Consensus Distributed (requires signup at brella.io to view and “attend”) — Internet. Consensus Distributed is the remote replacement for the annual Consensus conference, and Decred is one of the projects which was invited to contribute an hour of content, broken into 3 segments. In Construct, @richardred checks in with contributors to some important Decred subprojects to find out what they’re about and what the latest is. Featuring @lukebp on Politeia, @matheusd on dcrlnd, @chappjc, and @buck54321 on dcrdex, dcrdata and TinyDecred. The second segment is Trade Secrets, where @Checkmate will be giving a quick intro to his top 5 Decred on-chain metrics. To finish, @jy-p will present a review of the year’s progress across all of the major aspects of the project in ChangeLog, followed by a 10 minute live Q&A with Lucas Nuzzi. Video will be available on the Coindesk website afterwards, and an extended version of Trade Secrets will be uploaded to Youtube.
  • May 14 — Virtual meetup with BlockchainEx — Internet. Decred will participate in the panel “What is decentralized governance and DAOs?” co-hosted by @adcade and @caibarrad from Decred, Nadia Alvarez from MakerDAO, Gustavo Segovia from Colony and Jhonny Gomez from BlockchainEx. This panel will be live-streamed to the blockchain community in Colombia.
  • May 14 — Decred meetup with BlockConf — Internet. This will be a virtual meetup to showcase the platform and a fireside chat before the main conference. The team will give a brief on Decred’s fundamentals and new developments in the pipeline.
  • May 25 — BlockConf — Internet. Decred is a bronze sponsor. Decred LATAM team will run a virtual booth for Decred to answer questions from the attendees. If anyone wants to help with keeping the booth active in several time zones during the 48-hour event, please contact @elian.
No shortage of Stakey in LATAM

Media

Selected articles:

  • Decred on-chain: Strongest hand market cap + ratio by @PermabullNino (medium)
  • Decred market maker monitoring — Phase 1 wrap-up by @richardred (blockcommons.red)
  • Our Network issue #15 — featuring Decred updates from @Checkmate (substack.com)
  • Decred governance proposal: Protecting the Treasury by Phoenix Green (medium)
  • Finance 2.0 by Phoenix Green (medium)
  • The open-sourced mindset for finance by Phoenix Green (medium) — calls to think collectively and find common grounds, and lists tools to build a community
  • 3 things everyone should know about cryptocurrencies by Phoenix Green (medium)
  • The Bitcoin time machine by Phoenix Green (medium) — compared Bitcoin with Decred
  • What if Bitcoin had a Treasury? by Ryan Watkins (messari.io, paywalled)
  • Project Rundown interview with Decred by The Capital (former Altcoin Magazine, medium)
  • Let’s talk about Decred and remote work by @adcade (in Spanish, medium)
  • Article on the 4th Decred virtual meetup about CEXes and DEXes (in Spanish, es.cointelegraph.com)

Translations:

  • Secrets they missed at DevCon: What it’s really like in a working DAO — in Portuguese by @mm.
  • Decred Journal March 2020 was translated to Arabic (@arij), Chinese (@Dominic), Polish (@kozel), and Spanish (@francov_). @kozel is back in the game with 4 translated issues since December. Shortened Spanish versions are available on Medium. Thank you all for building awareness of the project!

Videos:

  • DCR 101 — Working for the Decred DAO by @Exitus (youtube)
  • Decred bi-weekly news update — April 18th, 2020 by @Exitus (youtube)
  • Decred Australia virtual meetup — BTC & DCR on-chain analytics event with @Checkmate (youtube)
  • Psychic Andre has good feelings about things going up, the video is mostly about the Federal Reserve but on the subject of Decred Andre says “they’re fine” (youtube)
  • The Federal Reserve in its own words. Protect your wealth, buy Decentralized Credits (twitter)
  • DCR 101 — How to stake Decred by @Exitus (youtube)
  • Decred price analysis — 17th April 2020 by Brave New Coin (youtube)

Audio:

  • Rough Consensus Ep. 4 — Gold, Bitcoin, and Decred. @mr.black, @Checkmate, and @PermabullNino discuss the state of macro and crypto markets in the context of collapsing economies and unlimited QE. The conversation considers the nature of sound money and how gold, Bitcoin, and Decred represent different areas of the sound money spectrum. (libsyn)
  • Decred in Depth — Round Up 2 with @mr.black, @Checkmate and @PermabullNino. (libsyn, youtube, soundcloud)
  • Decred in Depth (has given up on numbering) — Chris Burniske of Placeholder VC talks about recent developments, why Decred HAS (Hypersecure Adaptable Sustainable) it, opportunities for dcrdex, and Politeia to expand the Decred ecosystem, and much more! (libsyn, youtube, soundcloud)

Community Discussions

Selected Reddit posts:

  • The Decred Journal’s own Reddit post was the most discussed one on the subreddit this month with 42 comments!
  • The discussion of @bee’s idea to add vote reason information to Politeia votes concluded that implementing it properly requires a privacy solution like a blind voting scheme.
  • Phase 1 market making report discussion speculated about the rate of adoption.
  • Perspectives thread collected 33 comments of which many are long read quality thinking.
  • Decred: Do Different mini-game.
  • The post discussing @Checkmate’s methodology of comparing the attack cost of Decred and other chains.

Selected Twitter discussions:

  • @Checkmate tweeted about the cost to double spend attack DCR being 54x higher than BTC, stimulating much discussion.
  • @Checkmate announced the launch of a new project, with a team of contributors working on a new Decred on-chain metrics site.
  • Messari musing on what if Bitcoin had Decred’s treasury, and graphing out how much that would have been worth if Bitcoin had spent ~23% of its monthly treasury income and saved the rest.
  • @moo31337 tweeted about a WIP PR for work on the decentralized treasury spending proposal, but more than half of the comments were really concerned about his next cooking adventure.

Markets

In April DCR was trading between USD 11.08–15.01 / BTC 0.00151–0.00179. The average daily rate was $12.34.

@richardred wrote a report about the performance of the market makers during the term of their first proposal.

Relevant External

Another DeFi attack occurred, although this time dForce got most of its lost $25 million back from the attacker and users are being reimbursed.

On the more obscure stablecoin network PegNet, rogue miners turned a $11 pJYP balance into a 6.7 million pUSD balance by manipulating price oracles with a form of 51% attack. The attackers were unable to liquidate more than a small proportion of the pUSD, and have subsequently reached out to say they were just trying to pen test the network, and have burned the magically created pUSD.

People are wondering why ProgPoW is back on the Ethereum Core devs agenda, and whether the inability to shake it off means there is something rotten in Ethereum’s governance.

The US Government’s $349 billion loan program for small businesses has so far generated $10 billion in fees for banks, 1–5% for each loan processed, despite the very low risk the loans posed to the banks, considering that they were effectively just passing them on to the Small Business Administration which guaranteed all the loans. (plaintext version)

Maker Foundation is subject to a lawsuit from investors who lost money in Black Thursday.

There have been a whole barrage of class-action lawsuits filed against crypto exchanges and token issuers.

USDT balance held on exchanges has reached a new ATH of $1.8 billion on Apr 23, according to glassnode alerts.

YouTube have updated their policies to disallow anything about COVID-19 that goes against “authoritative sources” like the World Health Organization’s guidelines, as disclosed in an interview with YouTube’s CEO. While YouTube censoring videos on certain topics is not new, having these decisions be determined fluidly with reference to what “authoritative sources” are saying, and deliberately channelling traffic to those sources, is new.

In an update to the story about the sale of .org domain to a private equity firm, ICANN has voted to reject the sale, effectively blocking it.

About This Issue

This is issue 25 of Decred Journal. Index of all issues, mirrors, and translations is available here.

Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of the Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research.

Your feedback and contributions are always welcome.

Credits (alphabetical order):

  • writing and editing: bee, degeri, elian, Exitus, l1ndseymm, pablito, richardred, s_ben, zubair
  • reviews and feedback: chappjc, davecgh, emiliomann, jholdstock, jrick, lukebp
  • title image: saender

Decred Journal — April 2020 was originally published in Decred on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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