How To Short Sell Bitcoin? - Beginner's Guide In 2020

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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Syscoin Platform’s Great Reddit Scaling Bake-off Proposal

Syscoin Platform’s Great Reddit Scaling Bake-off Proposal

https://preview.redd.it/rqt2dldyg8e51.jpg?width=1044&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=777ae9d4fbbb54c3540682b72700fc4ba3de0a44
We are excited to participate and present Syscoin Platform's ideal characteristics and capabilities towards a well-rounded Reddit Community Points solution!
Our scaling solution for Reddit Community Points involves 2-way peg interoperability with Ethereum. This will provide a scalable token layer built specifically for speed and high volumes of simple value transfers at a very low cost, while providing sovereign ownership and onchain finality.
Token transfers scale by taking advantage of a globally sorting mempool that provides for probabilistically secure assumptions of “as good as settled”. The opportunity here for token receivers is to have an app-layer interactivity on the speed/security tradeoff (99.9999% assurance within 10 seconds). We call this Z-DAG, and it achieves high-throughput across a mesh network topology presently composed of about 2,000 geographically dispersed full-nodes. Similar to Bitcoin, however, these nodes are incentivized to run full-nodes for the benefit of network security, through a bonded validator scheme. These nodes do not participate in the consensus of transactions or block validation any differently than other nodes and therefore do not degrade the security model of Bitcoin’s validate first then trust, across every node. Each token transfer settles on-chain. The protocol follows Bitcoin core policies so it has adequate code coverage and protocol hardening to be qualified as production quality software. It shares a significant portion of Bitcoin’s own hashpower through merged-mining.
This platform as a whole can serve token microtransactions, larger settlements, and store-of-value in an ideal fashion, providing probabilistic scalability whilst remaining decentralized according to Bitcoin design. It is accessible to ERC-20 via a permissionless and trust-minimized bridge that works in both directions. The bridge and token platform are currently available on the Syscoin mainnet. This has been gaining recent attention for use by loyalty point programs and stablecoins such as Binance USD.

Solutions

Syscoin Foundation identified a few paths for Reddit to leverage this infrastructure, each with trade-offs. The first provides the most cost-savings and scaling benefits at some sacrifice of token autonomy. The second offers more preservation of autonomy with a more narrow scope of cost savings than the first option, but savings even so. The third introduces more complexity than the previous two yet provides the most overall benefits. We consider the third as most viable as it enables Reddit to benefit even while retaining existing smart contract functionality. We will focus on the third option, and include the first two for good measure.
  1. Distribution, burns and user-to-user transfers of Reddit Points are entirely carried out on the Syscoin network. This full-on approach to utilizing the Syscoin network provides the most scalability and transaction cost benefits of these scenarios. The tradeoff here is distribution and subscription handling likely migrating away from smart contracts into the application layer.
  2. The Reddit Community Points ecosystem can continue to use existing smart contracts as they are used today on the Ethereum mainchain. Users migrate a portion of their tokens to Syscoin, the scaling network, to gain much lower fees, scalability, and a proven base layer, without sacrificing sovereign ownership. They would use Syscoin for user-to-user transfers. Tips redeemable in ten seconds or less, a high-throughput relay network, and onchain settlement at a block target of 60 seconds.
  3. Integration between Matic Network and Syscoin Platform - similar to Syscoin’s current integration with Ethereum - will provide Reddit Community Points with EVM scalability (including the Memberships ERC777 operator) on the Matic side, and performant simple value transfers, robust decentralized security, and sovereign store-of-value on the Syscoin side. It’s “the best of both worlds”. The trade-off is more complex interoperability.

Syscoin + Matic Integration

Matic and Blockchain Foundry Inc, the public company formed by the founders of Syscoin, recently entered a partnership for joint research and business development initiatives. This is ideal for all parties as Matic Network and Syscoin Platform provide complementary utility. Syscoin offers characteristics for sovereign ownership and security based on Bitcoin’s time-tested model, and shares a significant portion of Bitcoin’s own hashpower. Syscoin’s focus is on secure and scalable simple value transfers, trust-minimized interoperability, and opt-in regulatory compliance for tokenized assets rather than scalability for smart contract execution. On the other hand, Matic Network can provide scalable EVM for smart contract execution. Reddit Community Points can benefit from both.
Syscoin + Matic integration is actively being explored by both teams, as it is helpful to Reddit, Ethereum, and the industry as a whole.

Proving Performance & Cost Savings

Our POC focuses on 100,000 on-chain settlements of token transfers on the Syscoin Core blockchain. Transfers and burns perform equally with Syscoin. For POCs related to smart contracts (subscriptions, etc), refer to the Matic Network proposal.
On-chain settlement of 100k transactions was accomplished within roughly twelve minutes, well-exceeding Reddit’s expectation of five days. This was performed using six full-nodes operating on compute-optimized AWS c4.2xlarge instances which were geographically distributed (Virginia, London, Sao Paulo Brazil, Oregon, Singapore, Germany). A higher quantity of settlements could be reached within the same time-frame with more broadcasting nodes involved, or using hosts with more resources for faster execution of the process.
Addresses used: 100,014
The demonstration was executed using this tool. The results can be seen in the following blocks:
612722: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/6d47796d043bb4c508d29123e6ae81b051f5e0aaef849f253c8f3a6942a022ce
612723: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/8e2077f743461b90f80b4bef502f564933a8e04de97972901f3d65cfadcf1faf
612724: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/205436d25b1b499fce44c29567c5c807beaca915b83cc9f3c35b0d76dbb11f6e
612725: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/776d1b1a0f90f655a6bbdf559ff5072459cbdc5682d7615ff4b78c00babdc237
612726: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/de4df0994253742a1ac8ac9eec8d2a8c8b0a6d72c53d6f3caa29bb6c171b0a6b
612727: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/e5e167c52a9decb313fbaadf49a5e34cb490f8084f642a850385476d4ef10d70
612728: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/ab64d989edc71890e7b5b8491c20e9a27520dc45a5f7c776d3dae79057f59fe7
612729: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/5e8b7ecd0e36f99d07e4ea6e135fc952bf7ec30164ab6f4d1e98b0f2d405df6d
612730: https://sys1.bcfn.ca/block/d395df3d31dde60bbb0bece6bd5b358297da878f0beb96be389e5f0e043580a3
It is important to note that this POC is not focused on Z-DAG. The performance of Z-DAG has been benchmarked within realistic network conditions: Whiteblock’s audit is publicly available. Network latency tests showed an average TPS around 15k with burst capacity up to 61k. Zero-latency control group exhibited ~150k TPS. Mainnet testing of the Z-DAG network is achievable and will require further coordination and additional resources.
Even further optimizations are expected in the upcoming Syscoin Core release which will implement a UTXO model for our token layer bringing further efficiency as well as open the door to additional scaling technology currently under research by our team and academic partners. At present our token layer is account-based, similar to Ethereum. Opt-in compliance structures will also be introduced soon which will offer some positive performance characteristics as well. It makes the most sense to implement these optimizations before performing another benchmark for Z-DAG, especially on the mainnet considering the resources required to stress-test this network.

Cost Savings

Total cost for these 100k transactions: $0.63 USD
See the live fee comparison for savings estimation between transactions on Ethereum and Syscoin. Below is a snapshot at time of writing:
ETH price: $318.55 ETH gas price: 55.00 Gwei ($0.37)
Syscoin price: $0.11
Snapshot of live fee comparison chart
Z-DAG provides a more efficient fee-market. A typical Z-DAG transaction costs 0.0000582 SYS. Tokens can be safely redeemed/re-spent within seconds or allowed to settle on-chain beforehand. The costs should remain about this low for microtransactions.
Syscoin will achieve further reduction of fees and even greater scalability with offchain payment channels for assets, with Z-DAG as a resilience fallback. New payment channel technology is one of the topics under research by the Syscoin development team with our academic partners at TU Delft. In line with the calculation in the Lightning Networks white paper, payment channels using assets with Syscoin Core will bring theoretical capacity for each person on Earth (7.8 billion) to have five on-chain transactions per year, per person, without requiring anyone to enter a fee market (aka “wait for a block”). This exceeds the minimum LN expectation of two transactions per person, per year; one to exist on-chain and one to settle aggregated value.

Tools, Infrastructure & Documentation

Syscoin Bridge

Mainnet Demonstration of Syscoin Bridge with the Basic Attention Token ERC-20
A two-way blockchain interoperability system that uses Simple Payment Verification to enable:
  • Any Standard ERC-20 token to be moved from Ethereum to the Syscoin blockchain as a Syscoin Platform Token (SPT), and back to Ethereum
  • Any SPT to be moved from Syscoin to the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token, and back to Syscoin

Benefits

  • Permissionless
  • No counterparties involved
  • No trading mechanisms involved
  • No third-party liquidity providers required
  • Cross-chain Fractional Supply - 2-way peg - Token supply maintained globally
  • ERC-20s gain vastly improved transactionality with the Syscoin Token Platform, along with the security of bitcoin-core-compliant PoW.
  • SPTs gain access to all the tooling, applications and capabilities of Ethereum for ERC-20, including smart contracts.
https://preview.redd.it/l8t2m8ldh8e51.png?width=1180&format=png&auto=webp&s=b0a955a0181746dc79aff718bd0bf607d3c3aa23
https://preview.redd.it/26htnxzfh8e51.png?width=1180&format=png&auto=webp&s=d0383d3c2ee836c9f60b57eca35542e9545f741d

Source code

https://github.com/syscoin/?q=sysethereum
Main Subprojects

API

Tools to simplify using Syscoin Bridge as a service with dapps and wallets will be released some time after implementation of Syscoin Core 4.2. These will be based upon the same processes which are automated in the current live Sysethereum Dapp that is functioning with the Syscoin mainnet.

Documentation

Syscoin Bridge & How it Works (description and process flow)
Superblock Validation Battles
HOWTO: Provision the Bridge for your ERC-20
HOWTO: Setup an Agent
Developer & User Diligence

Trade-off

The Syscoin Ethereum Bridge is secured by Agent nodes participating in a decentralized and incentivized model that involves roles of Superblock challengers and submitters. This model is open to participation. The benefits here are trust-minimization, permissionless-ness, and potentially less legal/regulatory red-tape than interop mechanisms that involve liquidity providers and/or trading mechanisms.
The trade-off is that due to the decentralized nature there are cross-chain settlement times of one hour to cross from Ethereum to Syscoin, and three hours to cross from Syscoin to Ethereum. We are exploring ways to reduce this time while maintaining decentralization via zkp. Even so, an “instant bridge” experience could be provided by means of a third-party liquidity mechanism. That option exists but is not required for bridge functionality today. Typically bridges are used with batch value, not with high frequencies of smaller values, and generally it is advantageous to keep some value on both chains for maximum availability of utility. Even so, the cross-chain settlement time is good to mention here.

Cost

Ethereum -> Syscoin: Matic or Ethereum transaction fee for bridge contract interaction, negligible Syscoin transaction fee for minting tokens
Syscoin -> Ethereum: Negligible Syscoin transaction fee for burning tokens, 0.01% transaction fee paid to Bridge Agent in the form of the ERC-20, Matic or Ethereum transaction fee for contract interaction.

Z-DAG

Zero-Confirmation Directed Acyclic Graph is an instant settlement protocol that is used as a complementary system to proof-of-work (PoW) in the confirmation of Syscoin service transactions. In essence, a Z-DAG is simply a directed acyclic graph (DAG) where validating nodes verify the sequential ordering of transactions that are received in their memory pools. Z-DAG is used by the validating nodes across the network to ensure that there is absolute consensus on the ordering of transactions and no balances are overflowed (no double-spends).

Benefits

  • Unique fee-market that is more efficient for microtransaction redemption and settlement
  • Uses decentralized means to enable tokens with value transfer scalability that is comparable or exceeds that of credit card networks
  • Provides high throughput and secure fulfillment even if blocks are full
  • Probabilistic and interactive
  • 99.9999% security assurance within 10 seconds
  • Can serve payment channels as a resilience fallback that is faster and lower-cost than falling-back directly to a blockchain
  • Each Z-DAG transaction also settles onchain through Syscoin Core at 60-second block target using SHA-256 Proof of Work consensus
https://preview.redd.it/pgbx84jih8e51.png?width=1614&format=png&auto=webp&s=5f631d42a33dc698365eb8dd184b6d442def6640

Source code

https://github.com/syscoin/syscoin

API

Syscoin-js provides tooling for all Syscoin Core RPCs including interactivity with Z-DAG.

Documentation

Z-DAG White Paper
Useful read: An in-depth Z-DAG discussion between Syscoin Core developer Jag Sidhu and Brave Software Research Engineer Gonçalo Pestana

Trade-off

Z-DAG enables the ideal speed/security tradeoff to be determined per use-case in the application layer. It minimizes the sacrifice required to accept and redeem fast transfers/payments while providing more-than-ample security for microtransactions. This is supported on the premise that a Reddit user receiving points does need security yet generally doesn’t want nor need to wait for the same level of security as a nation-state settling an international trade debt. In any case, each Z-DAG transaction settles onchain at a block target of 60 seconds.

Syscoin Specs

Syscoin 3.0 White Paper
(4.0 white paper is pending. For improved scalability and less blockchain bloat, some features of v3 no longer exist in current v4: Specifically Marketplace Offers, Aliases, Escrow, Certificates, Pruning, Encrypted Messaging)
  • 16MB block bandwidth per minute assuming segwit witness carrying transactions, and transactions ~200 bytes on average
  • SHA256 merge mined with Bitcoin
  • UTXO asset layer, with base Syscoin layer sharing identical security policies as Bitcoin Core
  • Z-DAG on asset layer, bridge to Ethereum on asset layer
  • On-chain scaling with prospect of enabling enterprise grade reliable trustless payment processing with on/offchain hybrid solution
  • Focus only on Simple Value Transfers. MVP of blockchain consensus footprint is balances and ownership of them. Everything else can reduce data availability in exchange for scale (Ethereum 2.0 model). We leave that to other designs, we focus on transfers.
  • Future integrations of MAST/Taproot to get more complex value transfers without trading off trustlessness or decentralization.
  • Zero-knowledge Proofs are a cryptographic new frontier. We are dabbling here to generalize the concept of bridging and also verify the state of a chain efficiently. We also apply it in our Digital Identity projects at Blockchain Foundry (a publicly traded company which develops Syscoin softwares for clients). We are also looking to integrate privacy preserving payment channels for off-chain payments through zkSNARK hub & spoke design which does not suffer from the HTLC attack vectors evident on LN. Much of the issues plaguing Lightning Network can be resolved using a zkSNARK design whilst also providing the ability to do a multi-asset payment channel system. Currently we found a showstopper attack (American Call Option) on LN if we were to use multiple-assets. This would not exist in a system such as this.

Wallets

Web3 and mobile wallets are under active development by Blockchain Foundry Inc as WebAssembly applications and expected for release not long after mainnet deployment of Syscoin Core 4.2. Both of these will be multi-coin wallets that support Syscoin, SPTs, Ethereum, and ERC-20 tokens. The Web3 wallet will provide functionality similar to Metamask.
Syscoin Platform and tokens are already integrated with Blockbook. Custom hardware wallet support currently exists via ElectrumSys. First-class HW wallet integration through apps such as Ledger Live will exist after 4.2.
Current supported wallets
Syscoin Spark Desktop
Syscoin-Qt

Explorers

Mainnet: https://sys1.bcfn.ca (Blockbook)
Testnet: https://explorer-testnet.blockchainfoundry.co

Thank you for close consideration of our proposal. We look forward to feedback, and to working with the Reddit community to implement an ideal solution using Syscoin Platform!

submitted by sidhujag to ethereum [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
For someone first starting out as a cryptocurrency investor, finding a trustworthy manual for screening a cryptocurrency’s merits is nonexistent as we are still in the early, Wild West days of the cryptocurrency market. One would need to become deeply familiar with the inner workings of blockchain to be able to perform the bare minimum due diligence.
One might believe, over time, that finding the perfect cryptocurrency may be nothing short of futile. If a cryptocurrency purports infinite scalability, then it is probably either lightweight with limited features or it is highly centralized among a limited number of nodes that perform consensus services especially Proof of Stake or Delegated Proof of Stake. Similarly, a cryptocurrency that purports comprehensive privacy may have technical obstacles to overcome if it aims to expand its applications such as in smart contracts. The bottom line is that it is extremely difficult for a cryptocurrency to have all important features jam-packed into itself.
The cryptocurrency space is stuck in the era of the “dial-up internet” in a manner of speaking. Currently blockchain can’t scale – not without certain tradeoffs – and it hasn’t fully resolved certain intractable issues such as user-unfriendly long addresses and how the blockchain size is forever increasing to name two.
In other words, we haven’t found the ultimate cryptocurrency. That is, we haven’t found the mystical unicorn cryptocurrency that ushers the era of decentralization while eschewing all the limitations of traditional blockchain systems.
“But wait – what about Ethereum once it implements sharding?”
“Wouldn’t IOTA be able to scale infinitely with smart contracts through its Qubic offering?”
“Isn’t Dash capable of having privacy, smart contracts, and instantaneous transactions?”
Those thoughts and comments may come from cryptocurrency investors who have done their research. It is natural for the informed investors to invest in projects that are believed to bring cutting edge technological transformation to blockchain. Sooner or later, the sinking realization will hit that any variation of the current blockchain technology will always likely have certain limitations.
Let us pretend that there indeed exists a unicorn cryptocurrency somewhere that may or may not be here yet. What would it look like, exactly? Let us set the 5 criteria of the unicorn cryptocurrency:
Unicorn Criteria
(1) Perfectly solves the blockchain trilemma:
o Infinite scalability
o Full security
o Full decentralization
(2) Zero or minimal transaction fee
(3) Full privacy
(4) Full smart contract capabilities
(5) Fair distribution and fair governance
For each of the above 5 criteria, there would not be any middle ground. For example, a cryptocurrency with just an in-protocol mixer would not be considered as having full privacy. As another example, an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) may possibly violate criterion (5) since with an ICO the distribution and governance are often heavily favored towards an oligarchy – this in turn would defy the spirit of decentralization that Bitcoin was found on.
There is no cryptocurrency currently that fits the above profile of the unicorn cryptocurrency. Let us examine an arbitrary list of highly hyped cryptocurrencies that meet the above list at least partially. The following list is by no means comprehensive but may be a sufficient sampling of various blockchain implementations:
Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is the very first and the best known cryptocurrency that started it all. While Bitcoin is generally considered extremely secure, it suffers from mining centralization to a degree. Bitcoin is not anonymous, lacks smart contracts, and most worrisomely, can only do about 7 transactions per seconds (TPS). Bitcoin is not the unicorn notwithstanding all the Bitcoin maximalists.
Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is widely considered the gold standard of smart contracts aside from its scalability problem. Sharding as part of Casper’s release is generally considered to be the solution to Ethereum’s scalability problem.
The goal of sharding is to split up validating responsibilities among various groups or shards. Ethereum’s sharding comes down to duplicating the existing blockchain architecture and sharing a token. This does not solve the core issue and simply kicks the can further down the road. After all, full nodes still need to exist one way or another.
Ethereum’s blockchain size problem is also an issue as will be explained more later in this article.
As a result, Ethereum is not the unicorn due to its incomplete approach to scalability and, to a degree, security.
Dash
Dash’s masternodes are widely considered to be centralized due to their high funding requirements, and there are accounts of a pre-mine in the beginning. Dash is not the unicorn due to its questionable decentralization.
Nano
Nano boasts rightfully for its instant, free transactions. But it lacks smart contracts and privacy, and it may be exposed to well orchestrated DDOS attacks. Therefore, it goes without saying that Nano is not the unicorn.
EOS
While EOS claims to execute millions of transactions per seconds, a quick glance reveals centralized parameters with 21 nodes and a questionable governance system. Therefore, EOS fails to achieve the unicorn status.
Monero (XMR)
One of the best known and respected privacy coins, Monero lacks smart contracts and may fall short of infinite scalability due to CryptoNote’s design. The unicorn rank is out of Monero’s reach.
IOTA
IOTA’s scalability is based on the number of transactions the network processes, and so its supposedly infinite scalability would fluctuate and is subject to the whims of the underlying transactions. While IOTA’s scalability approach is innovative and may work in the long term, it should be reminded that the unicorn cryptocurrency has no middle ground. The unicorn cryptocurrency would be expected to scale infinitely on a consistent basis from the beginning.
In addition, IOTA’s Masked Authenticated Messaging (MAM) feature does not bring privacy to the masses in a highly convenient manner. Consequently, the unicorn is not found with IOTA.

PascalCoin as a Candidate for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
Please allow me to present a candidate for the cryptocurrency unicorn: PascalCoin.
According to the website, PascalCoin claims the following:
“PascalCoin is an instant, zero-fee, infinitely scalable, and decentralized cryptocurrency with advanced privacy and smart contract capabilities. Enabled by the SafeBox technology to become the world’s first blockchain independent of historical operations, PascalCoin possesses unlimited potential.”
The above summary is a mouthful to be sure, but let’s take a deep dive on how PascalCoin innovates with the SafeBox and more. Before we do this, I encourage you to first become acquainted with PascalCoin by watching the following video introduction:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=F25UU-0W9Dk
The rest of this section will be split into 10 parts in order to illustrate most of the notable features of PascalCoin. Naturally, let’s start off with the SafeBox.
Part #1: The SafeBox
Unlike traditional UTXO-based cryptocurrencies in which the blockchain records the specifics of each transaction (address, sender address, amount of funds transferred, etc.), the blockchain in PascalCoin is only used to mutate the SafeBox. The SafeBox is a separate but equivalent cryptographic data structure that snapshots account balances. PascalCoin’s blockchain is comparable to a machine that feeds the most important data – namely, the state of an account – into the SafeBox. Any node can still independently compute and verify the cumulative Proof-of-Work required to construct the SafeBox.
The PascalCoin whitepaper elegantly highlights the unique historical independence that the SafeBox possesses:
“While there are approaches that cryptocurrencies could use such as pruning, warp-sync, "finality checkpoints", UTXO-snapshotting, etc, there is a fundamental difference with PascalCoin. Their new nodes can only prove they are on most-work-chain using the infinite history whereas in PascalCoin, new nodes can prove they are on the most-work chain without the infinite history.”
Some cryptocurrency old-timers might instinctively balk at the idea of full nodes eschewing the entire history for security, but such a reaction would showcase a lack of understanding on what the SafeBox really does.
A concrete example would go a long way to best illustrate what the SafeBox does. Let’s say I input the following operations in my calculator:
5 * 5 – 10 / 2 + 5
It does not take a genius to calculate the answer, 25. Now, the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* would be forever imbued on a traditional blockchain’s history. But the SafeBox begs to differ. It says that the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* should instead be simply “25” so as preserve simplicity, time, and space. In other words, the SafeBox simply preserves the account balance.
But some might still be unsatisfied and claim that if one cannot trace the series of operations (transactions) that lead to the final number (balance) of 25, the blockchain is inherently insecure.
Here are four important security aspects of the SafeBox that some people fail to realize:
(1) SafeBox Follows the Longest Chain of Proof-of-Work
The SafeBox mutates itself per 100 blocks. Each new SafeBox mutation must reference both to the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks in order to be valid, and the resultant hash of the new mutated SafeBox must then be referenced by each of the new subsequent blocks, and the process repeats itself forever.
The fact that each new SafeBox mutation must reference to the previous SafeBox mutation is comparable to relying on the entire history. This is because the previous SafeBox mutation encapsulates the result of cumulative entire history except for the 100 blocks which is why each new SafeBox mutation requires both the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks.
So in a sense, there is a single interconnected chain of inflows and outflows, supported by Byzantine Proof-of-Work consensus, instead of the entire history of transactions.
More concretely, the SafeBox follows the path of the longest chain of Proof-of-Work simply by design, and is thus cryptographically equivalent to the entire history even without tracing specific operations in the past. If the chain is rolled back with a 51% attack, only the attacker’s own account(s) in the SafeBox can be manipulated as is explained in the next part.
(2) A 51% Attack on PascalCoin Functions the Same as Others
A 51% attack on PascalCoin would work in a similar way as with other Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. An attacker cannot modify a transaction in the past without affecting the current SafeBox hash which is accepted by all honest nodes.
Someone might claim that if you roll back all the current blocks plus the 100 blocks prior to the SafeBox’s mutation, one could create a forged SafeBox with different balances for all accounts. This would be incorrect as one would be able to manipulate only his or her own account(s) in the SafeBox with a 51% attack – just as is the case with other UTXO cryptocurrencies. The SafeBox stores the balances of all accounts which are in turn irreversibly linked only to their respective owners’ private keys.
(3) One Could Preserve the Entire History of the PascalCoin Blockchain
No blockchain data in PascalCoin is ever deleted even in the presence of the SafeBox. Since the SafeBox is cryptographically equivalent to a full node with the entire history as explained above, PascalCoin full nodes are not expected to contain infinite history. But for whatever reason(s) one may have, one could still keep all the PascalCoin blockchain history as well along with the SafeBox as an option even though it would be redundant.
Without storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain, you can still trace the specific operations of the 100 blocks prior to when the SafeBox absorbs and reflects the net result (a single balance for each account) from those 100 blocks. But if you’re interested in tracing operations over a longer period in the past – as redundant as that may be – you’d have the option to do so by storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain.
(4) The SafeBox is Equivalent to the Entire Blockchain History
Some skeptics may ask this question: “What if the SafeBox is forever lost? How would you be able to verify your accounts?” Asking this question is tantamount to asking to what would happen to Bitcoin if all of its entire history was erased. The result would be chaos, of course, but the SafeBox is still in line with the general security model of a traditional blockchain with respect to black swans.
Now that we know the security of the SafeBox is not compromised, what are the implications of this new blockchain paradigm? A colorful illustration as follows still wouldn’t do justice to the subtle revolution that the SafeBox ushers. The automobiles we see on the street are the cookie-and-butter representation of traditional blockchain systems. The SafeBox, on the other hand, supercharges those traditional cars to become the Transformers from Michael Bay’s films.
The SafeBox is an entirely different blockchain architecture that is impressive in its simplicity and ingenuity. The SafeBox’s design is only the opening act for PascalCoin’s vast nuclear arsenal. If the above was all that PascalCoin offers, it still wouldn’t come close to achieving the unicorn status but luckily, we have just scratched the surface. Please keep on reading on if you want to learn how PascalCoin is going to shatter the cryptocurrency industry into pieces. Buckle down as this is going to be a long read as we explore further about the SafeBox’s implications.
Part #2: 0-Confirmation Transactions
To begin, 0-confirmation transactions are secure in PascalCoin thanks to the SafeBox.
The following paraphrases an explanation of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmations from the whitepaper:
“Since PascalCoin is not a UTXO-based currency but rather a State-based currency thanks to the SafeBox, the security guarantee of 0-confirmation transactions are much stronger than in UTXO-based currencies. For example, in Bitcoin if a merchant accepts a 0-confirmation transaction for a coffee, the buyer can simply roll that transaction back after receiving the coffee but before the transaction is confirmed in a block. The way the buyer does this is by re-spending those UTXOs to himself in a new transaction (with a higher fee) thus invalidating them for the merchant. In PascalCoin, this is virtually impossible since the buyer's transaction to the merchant is simply a delta-operation to debit/credit a quantity from/to accounts respectively. The buyer is unable to erase or pre-empt this two-sided, debit/credit-based transaction from the network’s pending pool until it either enters a block for confirmation or is discarded with respect to both sender and receiver ends. If the buyer tries to double-spend the coffee funds after receiving the coffee but before they clear, the double-spend transaction will not propagate the network since nodes cannot propagate a double-spending transaction thanks to the debit/credit nature of the transaction. A UTXO-based transaction is initially one-sided before confirmation and therefore is more exposed to one-sided malicious schemes of double spending.”
Phew, that explanation was technical but it had to be done. In summary, PascalCoin possesses the only secure 0-confirmation transactions in the cryptocurrency industry, and it goes without saying that this means PascalCoin is extremely fast. In fact, PascalCoin is capable of 72,000 TPS even prior to any additional extensive optimizations down the road. In other words, PascalCoin is as instant as it gets and gives Nano a run for its money.
Part #3: Zero Fee
Let’s circle back to our discussion of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation capability. Here’s a little fun magical twist to PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation magic: 0-confirmation transactions are zero-fee. As in you don’t pay a single cent in fee for each 0-confirmation! There is just a tiny downside: if you create a second transaction in a 5-minute block window then you’d need to pay a minimal fee. Imagine using Nano but with a significantly stronger anti-DDOS protection for spam! But there shouldn’t be any complaint as this fee would amount to 0.0001 Pascal or $0.00002 based on the current price of a Pascal at the time of this writing.
So, how come the fee for blazingly fast transactions is nonexistent? This is where the magic of the SafeBox arises in three ways:
(1) PascalCoin possesses the secure 0-confirmation feature as discussed above that enables this speed.
(2) There is no fee bidding competition of transaction priority typical in UTXO cryptocurrencies since, once again, PascalCoin operates on secure 0-confirmations.
(3) There is no fee incentive needed to run full nodes on behalf of the network’s security beyond the consensus rewards.
Part #4: Blockchain Size
Let’s expand more on the third point above, using Ethereum as an example. Since Ethereum’s launch in 2015, its full blockchain size is currently around 2 TB, give or take, but let’s just say its blockchain size is 100 GB for now to avoid offending the Ethereum elitists who insist there are different types of full nodes that are lighter. Whoever runs Ethereum’s full nodes would expect storage fees on top of the typical consensus fees as it takes significant resources to shoulder Ethereum’s full blockchain size and in turn secure the network. What if I told you that PascalCoin’s full blockchain size will never exceed few GBs after thousands of years? That is just what the SafeBox enables PascalCoin to do so. It is estimated that by 2072, PascalCoin’s full nodes will only be 6 GB which is low enough not to warrant any fee incentives for hosting full nodes. Remember, the SafeBox is an ultra-light cryptographic data structure that is cryptographically equivalent to a blockchain with the entire transaction history. In other words, the SafeBox is a compact spreadsheet of all account balances that functions as PascalCoin’s full node!
Not only does the SafeBox’s infinitesimal memory size helps to reduce transaction fees by phasing out any storage fees, but it also paves the way for true decentralization. It would be trivial for every PascalCoin user to opt a full node in the form of a wallet. This is extreme decentralization at its finest since the majority of users of other cryptocurrencies ditch full nodes due to their burdensome sizes. It is naïve to believe that storage costs would reduce enough to the point where hosting full nodes are trivial. Take a look at the following chart outlining the trend of storage cost.

* https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-cost-per-gigabyte/
As we can see, storage costs continue to decrease but the descent is slowing down as is the norm with technological improvements. In the meantime, blockchain sizes of other cryptocurrencies are increasing linearly or, in the case of smart contract engines like Ethereum, parabolically. Imagine a cryptocurrency smart contract engine like Ethereum garnering worldwide adoption; how do you think Ethereum’s size would look like in the far future based on the following chart?


https://i.redd.it/k57nimdjmo621.png

Ethereum’s future blockchain size is not looking pretty in terms of sustainable security. Sharding is not a fix for this issue since there still needs to be full nodes but that is a different topic for another time.
It is astonishing that the cryptocurrency community as a whole has passively accepted this forever-expanding-blockchain-size problem as an inescapable fate.
PascalCoin is the only cryptocurrency that has fully escaped the death vortex of forever expanding blockchain size. Its blockchain size wouldn’t exceed 10 GB even after many hundreds of years of worldwide adoption. Ethereum’s blockchain size after hundreds of years of worldwide adoption would make fine comedy.
Part #5: Simple, Short, and Ordinal Addresses
Remember how the SafeBox works by snapshotting all account balances? As it turns out, the account address system is almost as cool as the SafeBox itself.
Imagine yourself in this situation: on a very hot and sunny day, you’re wandering down the street across from your house and ran into a lemonade stand – the old-fashioned kind without any QR code or credit card terminal. The kid across you is selling a lemonade cup for 1 Pascal with a poster outlining the payment address as 5471-55. You flip out your phone and click “Send” with 1 Pascal to the address 5471-55; viola, exactly one second later you’re drinking your lemonade without paying a cent for the transaction fee!
The last thing one wants to do is to figure out how to copy/paste to, say, the following address 1BoatSLRHtKNngkdXEeobR76b53LETtpyT on the spot wouldn’t it? Gone are the obnoxiously long addresses that plague all cryptocurrencies. The days of those unreadable addresses will be long gone – it has to be if blockchain is to innovate itself for the general public. EOS has a similar feature for readable addresses but in a very limited manner in comparison, and nicknames attached to addresses in GUIs don’t count since blockchain-wide compatibility wouldn’t hold.
Not only does PascalCoin has the neat feature of having addresses (called PASAs) that amount to up to 6 or 7 digits, but PascalCoin can also incorporate in-protocol address naming as opposed to GUI address nicknames. Suppose I want to order something from Amazon using Pascal; I simply search the word “Amazon” then the corresponding account number shows up. Pretty neat, right?
The astute reader may gather that PascalCoin’s address system makes it necessary to commoditize addresses, and he/she would be correct. Some view this as a weakness; part #10 later in this segment addresses this incorrect perception.
Part #6: Privacy
As if the above wasn’t enough, here’s another secret that PascalCoin has: it is a full-blown privacy coin. It uses two separate foundations to achieve comprehensive anonymity: in-protocol mixer for transfer amounts and zn-SNARKs for private balances. The former has been implemented and the latter is on the roadmap. Both the 0-confirmation transaction and the negligible transaction fee would make PascalCoin the most scalable privacy coin of any other cryptocurrencies pending the zk-SNARKs implementation.
Part #7: Smart Contracts
Next, PascalCoin will take smart contracts to the next level with a layer-2 overlay consensus system that pioneers sidechains and other smart contract implementations.
In formal terms, this layer-2 architecture will facilitate the transfer of data between PASAs which in turn allows clean enveloping of layer-2 protocols inside layer-1 much in the same way that HTTP lives inside TCP.
To summarize:
· The layer-2 consensus method is separate from the layer-1 Proof-of-Work. This layer-2 consensus method is independent and flexible. A sidechain – based on a single encompassing PASA – could apply Proof-of-Stake (POS), Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPOS), or Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) as the consensus system of its choice.
· Such a layer-2 smart contract platform can be written in any languages.
· Layer-2 sidechains will also provide very strong anonymity since funds are all pooled and keys are not used to unlock them.
· This layer-2 architecture is ingenious in which the computation is separate from layer-2 consensus, in effect removing any bottleneck.
· Horizontal scaling exists in this paradigm as there is no interdependence between smart contracts and states are not managed by slow sidechains.
· Speed and scalability are fully independent of PascalCoin.
One would be able to run the entire global financial system on PascalCoin’s infinitely scalable smart contract platform and it would still scale infinitely. In fact, this layer-2 architecture would be exponentially faster than Ethereum even after its sharding is implemented.
All this is the main focus of PascalCoin’s upcoming version 5 in 2019. A whitepaper add-on for this major upgrade will be released in early 2019.
Part #8: RandomHash Algorithm
Surely there must be some tradeoffs to PascalCoin’s impressive capabilities, you might be asking yourself. One might bring up the fact that PascalCoin’s layer-1 is based on Proof-of-Work and is thus susceptible to mining centralization. This would be a fallacy as PascalCoin has pioneered the very first true ASIC, GPU, and dual-mining resistant algorithm known as RandomHash that obliterates anything that is not CPU based and gives all the power back to solo miners.
Here is the official description of RandomHash:
“RandomHash is a high-level cryptographic hash algorithm that combines other well-known hash primitives in a highly serial manner. The distinguishing feature is that calculations for a nonce are dependent on partial calculations of other nonces, selected at random. This allows a serial hasher (CPU) to re-use these partial calculations in subsequent mining saving 50% or more of the work-load. Parallel hashers (GPU) cannot benefit from this optimization since the optimal nonce-set cannot be pre-calculated as it is determined on-the-fly. As a result, parallel hashers (GPU) are required to perform the full workload for every nonce. Also, the algorithm results in 10x memory bloat for a parallel implementation. In addition to its serial nature, it is branch-heavy and recursive making in optimal for CPU-only mining.”
One might be understandably skeptical of any Proof-of-Work algorithm that solves ASIC and GPU centralization once for all because there have been countless proposals being thrown around for various algorithms since the dawn of Bitcoin. Is RandomHash truly the ASIC & GPU killer that it claims to be?
Herman Schoenfeld, the inventor behind RandomHash, described his algorithm in the following:
“RandomHash offers endless ASIC-design breaking surface due to its use of recursion, hash algo selection, memory hardness and random number generation.
For example, changing how round hash selection is made and/or random number generator algo and/or checksum algo and/or their sequencing will totally break an ASIC design. Conceptually if you can significantly change the structure of the output assembly whilst keeping the high-level algorithm as invariant as possible, the ASIC design will necessarily require proportional restructuring. This results from the fact that ASIC designs mirror the ASM of the algorithm rather than the algorithm itself.”
Polyminer1 (pseudonym), one of the members of the PascalCoin core team who developed RHMiner (official software for mining RandomHash), claimed as follows:
“The design of RandomHash is, to my experience, a genuine innovation. I’ve been 30 years in the field. I’ve rarely been surprised by anything. RandomHash was one of my rare surprises. It’s elegant, simple, and achieves resistance in all fronts.”
PascalCoin may have been the first party to achieve the race of what could possibly be described as the “God algorithm” for Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. Look no further than one of Monero’s core developers since 2015, Howard Chu. In September 2018, Howard declared that he has found a solution, called RandomJS, to permanently keep ASICs off the network without repetitive algorithm changes. This solution actually closely mirrors RandomHash’s algorithm. Discussing about his algorithm, Howard asserted that “RandomJS is coming at the problem from a direction that nobody else is.”
Link to Howard Chu’s article on RandomJS:
https://www.coindesk.com/one-musicians-creative-solution-to-drive-asics-off-monero
Yet when Herman was asked about Howard’s approach, he responded:
“Yes, looks like it may work although using Javascript was a bit much. They should’ve just used an assembly subset and generated random ASM programs. In a way, RandomHash does this with its repeated use of random mem-transforms during expansion phase.”
In the end, PascalCoin may have successfully implemented the most revolutionary Proof-of-Work algorithm, one that eclipses Howard’s burgeoning vision, to date that almost nobody knows about. To learn more about RandomHash, refer to the following resources:
RandomHash whitepaper:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/storage/whitepapers/RandomHash_Whitepaper.pdf
Technical proposal for RandomHash:
https://github.com/PascalCoin/PascalCoin/blob/mastePIP/PIP-0009.md
Someone might claim that PascalCoin still suffers from mining centralization after RandomHash, and this is somewhat misleading as will be explained in part #10.
Part #9: Fair Distribution and Governance
Not only does PascalCoin rest on superior technology, but it also has its roots in the correct philosophy of decentralized distribution and governance. There was no ICO or pre-mine, and the developer fund exists as a percentage of mining rewards as voted by the community. This developer fund is 100% governed by a decentralized autonomous organization – currently facilitated by the PascalCoin Foundation – that will eventually be transformed into an autonomous smart contract platform. Not only is the developer fund voted upon by the community, but PascalCoin’s development roadmap is also voted upon the community via the Protocol Improvement Proposals (PIPs).
This decentralized governance also serves an important benefit as a powerful deterrent to unseemly fork wars that befall many cryptocurrencies.
Part #10: Common Misconceptions of PascalCoin
“The branding is terrible”
PascalCoin is currently working very hard on its image and is preparing for several branding and marketing initiatives in the short term. For example, two of the core developers of the PascalCoin recently interviewed with the Fox Business Network. A YouTube replay of this interview will be heavily promoted.
Some people object to the name PascalCoin. First, it’s worth noting that PascalCoin is the name of the project while Pascal is the name of the underlying currency. Secondly, Google and YouTube received excessive criticisms back then in the beginning with their name choices. Look at where those companies are nowadays – surely a somewhat similar situation faces PascalCoin until the name’s familiarity percolates into the public.
“The wallet GUI is terrible”
As the team is run by a small yet extremely dedicated developers, multiple priorities can be challenging to juggle. The lack of funding through an ICO or a pre-mine also makes it challenging to accelerate development. The top priority of the core developers is to continue developing full-time on the groundbreaking technology that PascalCoin offers. In the meantime, an updated and user-friendly wallet GUI has been worked upon for some time and will be released in due time. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
“One would need to purchase a PASA in the first place”
This is a complicated topic since PASAs need to be commoditized by the SafeBox’s design, meaning that PASAs cannot be obtained at no charge to prevent systematic abuse. This raises two seemingly valid concerns:
· As a chicken and egg problem, how would one purchase a PASA using Pascal in the first place if one cannot obtain Pascal without a PASA?
· How would the price of PASAs stay low and affordable in the face of significant demand?
With regards to the chicken and egg problem, there are many ways – some finished and some unfinished – to obtain your first PASA as explained on the “Get Started” page on the PascalCoin website:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/get_started
More importantly, however, is the fact that there are few methods that can get your first PASA for free. The team will also release another method soon in which you could obtain your first PASA for free via a single SMS message. This would probably become by far the simplest and the easiest way to obtain your first PASA for free. There will be more new ways to easily obtain your first PASA for free down the road.
What about ensuring the PASA market at large remains inexpensive and affordable following your first (and probably free) PASA acquisition? This would be achieved in two ways:
· Decentralized governance of the PASA economics per the explanation in the FAQ section on the bottom of the PascalCoin website (https://www.pascalcoin.org/)
· Unlimited and free pseudo-PASAs based on layer-2 in the next version release.
“PascalCoin is still centralized after the release of RandomHash”
Did the implementation of RandomHash from version 4 live up to its promise?
The official goals of RandomHash were as follow:
(1) Implement a GPU & ASIC resistant hash algorithm
(2) Eliminate dual mining
The two goals above were achieved by every possible measure.
Yet a mining pool, Nanopool, was able to regain its hash majority after a significant but a temporary dip.
The official conclusion is that, from a probabilistic viewpoint, solo miners are more profitable than pool miners. However, pool mining is enticing for solo miners who 1) have limited hardware as it ensures a steady income instead of highly profitable but probabilistic income via solo mining, and 2) who prefer convenient software and/or GUI.
What is the next step, then? While the barrier of entry for solo miners has successfully been put down, additional work needs to be done. The PascalCoin team and the community are earnestly investigating additional steps to improve mining decentralization with respect to pool mining specifically to add on top of RandomHash’s successful elimination of GPU, ASIC, and dual-mining dominance.
It is likely that the PascalCoin community will promote the following two initiatives in the near future:
(1) Establish a community-driven, nonprofit mining pool with attractive incentives.
(2) Optimize RHMiner, PascalCoin’s official solo mining software, for performance upgrades.
A single pool dominance is likely short lived once more options emerge for individual CPU miners who want to avoid solo mining for whatever reason(s).
Let us use Bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin mining is dominated by ASICs and mining pools but no single pool is – at the time of this writing – even close on obtaining the hash majority. With CPU solo mining being a feasible option in conjunction with ASIC and GPU mining eradication with RandomHash, the future hash rate distribution of PascalCoin would be far more promising than Bitcoin’s hash rate distribution.
PascalCoin is the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
If you’ve read this far, let’s cut straight to the point: PascalCoin IS the unicorn cryptocurrency.
It is worth noting that PascalCoin is still a young cryptocurrency as it was launched at the end of 2016. This means that many features are still work in progress such as zn-SNARKs, smart contracts, and pool decentralization to name few. However, it appears that all of the unicorn criteria are within PascalCoin’s reach once PascalCoin’s technical roadmap is mostly completed.
Based on this expository on PascalCoin’s technology, there is every reason to believe that PascalCoin is the unicorn cryptocurrency. PascalCoin also solves two fundamental blockchain problems beyond the unicorn criteria that were previously considered unsolvable: blockchain size and simple address system. The SafeBox pushes PascalCoin to the forefront of cryptocurrency zeitgeist since it is a superior solution compared to UTXO, Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), Block Lattice, Tangle, and any other blockchain innovations.


THE UNICORN

Author: Tyler Swob
submitted by Kosass to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Transcript of discussion between an ASIC designer and several proof-of-work designers from #monero-pow channel on Freenode this morning

[08:07:01] lukminer contains precompiled cn/r math sequences for some blocks: https://lukminer.org/2019/03/09/oh-kay-v4r-here-we-come/
[08:07:11] try that with RandomX :P
[08:09:00] tevador: are you ready for some RandomX feedback? it looks like the CNv4 is slowly stabilizing, hashrate comes down...
[08:09:07] how does it even make sense to precompile it?
[08:09:14] mine 1% faster for 2 minutes?
[08:09:35] naturally we think the entire asic-resistance strategy is doomed to fail :) but that's a high-level thing, who knows. people may think it's great.
[08:09:49] about RandomX: looks like the cache size was chosen to make it GPU-hard
[08:09:56] looking forward to more docs
[08:11:38] after initial skimming, I would think it's possible to make a 10x asic for RandomX. But at least for us, we will only make an ASIC if there is not a total ASIC hostility there in the first place. That's better for the secret miners then.
[08:13:12] What I propose is this: we are working on an Ethash ASIC right now, and once we have that working, we would invite tevador or whoever wants to come to HK/Shenzhen and we walk you guys through how we would make a RandomX ASIC. You can then process this input in any way you like. Something like that.
[08:13:49] unless asics (or other accelerators) re-emerge on XMR faster than expected, it looks like there is a little bit of time before RandomX rollout
[08:14:22] 10x in what measure? $/hash or watt/hash?
[08:14:46] watt/hash
[08:15:19] so you can make 10 times more efficient double precisio FPU?
[08:16:02] like I said let's try to be productive. You are having me here, let's work together!
[08:16:15] continue with RandomX, publish more docs. that's always helpful.
[08:16:37] I'm trying to understand how it's possible at all. Why AMD/Intel are so inefficient at running FP calculations?
[08:18:05] midipoet ([email protected]/web/irccloud.com/x-vszshqqxwybvtsjm) has joined #monero-pow
[08:18:17] hardware development works the other way round. We start with 1) math then 2) optimization priority 3) hw/sw boundary 4) IP selection 5) physical implementation
[08:22:32] This still doesn't explain at which point you get 10x
[08:23:07] Weren't you the ones claiming "We can accelerate ProgPoW by a factor of 3x to 8x." ? I find it hard to believe too.
[08:30:20] sure
[08:30:26] so my idea: first we finish our current chip
[08:30:35] from simulation to silicon :)
[08:30:40] we love this stuff... we do it anyway
[08:30:59] now we have a communication channel, and we don't call each other names immediately anymore: big progress!
[08:31:06] you know, we russians have a saying "it was smooth on paper, but they forgot about ravines"
[08:31:12] So I need a bit more details
[08:31:16] ha ha. good!
[08:31:31] that's why I want to avoid to just make claims
[08:31:34] let's work
[08:31:40] RandomX comes in Sep/Oct, right?
[08:31:45] Maybe
[08:32:20] We need to audit it first
[08:32:31] ok
[08:32:59] we don't make chips to prove sw devs that their assumptions about hardware are wrong. especially not if these guys then promptly hardfork and move to the next wrong assumption :)
[08:33:10] from the outside, this only means that hw & sw are devaluing each other
[08:33:24] neither of us should do this
[08:33:47] we are making chips that can hopefully accelerate more crypto ops in the future
[08:33:52] signing, verifying, proving, etc.
[08:34:02] PoW is just a feature like others
[08:34:18] sech1: is it easy for you to come to Hong Kong? (visa-wise)
[08:34:20] or difficult?
[08:34:33] or are you there sometimes?
[08:34:41] It's kind of far away
[08:35:13] we are looking forward to more RandomX docs. that's the first step.
[08:35:31] I want to avoid that we have some meme "Linzhi says they can accelerate XYZ by factor x" .... "ha ha ha"
[08:35:37] right? we don't want that :)
[08:35:39] doc is almost finished
[08:35:40] What docs do you need? It's described pretty good
[08:35:41] so I better say nothing now
[08:35:50] we focus on our Ethash chip
[08:36:05] then based on that, we are happy to walk interested people through the design and what else it can do
[08:36:22] that's a better approach from my view than making claims that are laughed away (rightfully so, because no silicon...)
[08:36:37] ethash ASIC is basically a glorified memory controller
[08:36:39] sech1: tevador said something more is coming (he just did it again)
[08:37:03] yes, some parts of RandomX are not described well
[08:37:10] like dataset access logic
[08:37:37] RandomX looks like progpow for CPU
[08:37:54] yes
[08:38:03] it is designed to reflect CPU
[08:38:34] so any ASIC for it = CPU in essence
[08:39:04] of course there are still some things in regular CPU that can be thrown away for RandomX
[08:40:20] uncore parts are not used, but those will use very little power
[08:40:37] except for memory controller
[08:41:09] I'm just surprised sometimes, ok? let me ask: have you designed or taped out an asic before? isn't it risky to make assumptions about things that are largely unknown?
[08:41:23] I would worry
[08:41:31] that I get something wrong...
[08:41:44] but I also worry like crazy that CNv4 will blow up, where you guys seem to be relaxed
[08:42:06] I didn't want to bring up anything RandomX because CNv4 is such a nailbiter... :)
[08:42:15] how do you guys know you don't have asics in a week or two?
[08:42:38] we don't have experience with ASIC design, but RandomX is simply designed to exactly fit CPU capabilities, which is the best you can do anyways
[08:43:09] similar as ProgPoW did with GPUs
[08:43:14] some people say they want to do asic-resistance only until the vast majority of coins has been issued
[08:43:21] that's at least reasonable
[08:43:43] yeah but progpow totally will not work as advertised :)
[08:44:08] yeah, I've seen that comment about progpow a few times already
[08:44:11] which is no surprise if you know it's just a random sales story to sell a few more GPUs
[08:44:13] RandomX is not permanent, we are expecting to switch to ASIC friendly in a few years if possible
[08:44:18] yes
[08:44:21] that makes sense
[08:44:40] linzhi-sonia: how so? will it break or will it be asic-able with decent performance gains?
[08:44:41] are you happy with CNv4 so far?
[08:45:10] ah, long story. progpow is a masterpiece of deception, let's not get into it here.
[08:45:21] if you know chip marketing it makes more sense
[08:45:24] linzhi-sonia: So far? lol! a bit early to tell, don't you think?
[08:45:35] the diff is coming down
[08:45:41] first few hours looked scary
[08:45:43] I remain skeptical: I only see ASICs being reasonable if they are already as ubiquitous as smartphones
[08:45:46] yes, so far so good
[08:46:01] we kbew the diff would not come down ubtil affter block 75
[08:46:10] yes
[08:46:22] but first few hours it looks like only 5% hashrate left
[08:46:27] looked
[08:46:29] now it's better
[08:46:51] the next worry is: when will "unexplainable" hashrate come back?
[08:47:00] you hope 2-3 months? more?
[08:47:05] so give it another couple of days. will probably overshoot to the downside, and then rise a bit as miners get updated and return
[08:47:22] 3 months minimum turnaround, yes
[08:47:28] nah
[08:47:36] don't underestimate asicmakers :)
[08:47:54] you guys don't get #1 priority on chip fabs
[08:47:56] 3 months = 90 days. do you know what is happening in those 90 days exactly? I'm pretty sure you don't. same thing as before.
[08:48:13] we don't do any secret chips btw
[08:48:21] 3 months assumes they had a complete design ready to go, and added the last minute change in 1 day
[08:48:24] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked?
[08:48:27] innosilicon?
[08:48:34] hyc: no no, and no. :)
[08:48:44] hyc: have you designed or taped out a chip before?
[08:48:51] yes, many years ago
[08:49:10] then you should know that 90 days is not a fixed number
[08:49:35] sure, but like I said, other makers have greater demand
[08:49:35] especially not if you can prepare, if you just have to modify something, or you have more programmability in the chip than some people assume
[08:50:07] we are chipmakers, we would never dare to do what you guys are doing with CNv4 :) but maybe that just means you are cooler!
[08:50:07] and yes, programmability makes some aspect of turnaround easier
[08:50:10] all fine
[08:50:10] I hope it works!
[08:50:28] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked?
[08:50:29] inno?
[08:50:41] we suspect so, but have no evidence
[08:50:44] maybe we can try to find them, but we cannot spend too much time on this
[08:50:53] it's probably not so much of a secret
[08:51:01] why should it be, right?
[08:51:10] devs want this cat-and-mouse game? devs get it...
[08:51:35] there was one leak saying it's innosilicon
[08:51:36] so you think 3 months, ok
[08:51:43] inno is cool
[08:51:46] good team
[08:51:49] IP design house
[08:51:54] in Wuhan
[08:52:06] they send their people to conferences with fake biz cards :)
[08:52:19] pretending to be other companies?
[08:52:26] sure
[08:52:28] ha ha
[08:52:39] so when we see them, we look at whatever card they carry and laugh :)
[08:52:52] they are perfectly suited for secret mining games
[08:52:59] they made at most $6 million in 2 months of mining, so I wonder if it was worth it
[08:53:10] yeah. no way to know
[08:53:15] but it's good that you calculate!
[08:53:24] this is all about cost/benefit
[08:53:25] then you also understand - imagine the value of XMR goes up 5x, 10x
[08:53:34] that whole "asic resistance" thing will come down like a house of cards
[08:53:41] I would imagine they sell immediately
[08:53:53] the investor may fully understand the risk
[08:53:57] the buyer
[08:54:13] it's not healthy, but that's another discussion
[08:54:23] so mid-June
[08:54:27] let's see
[08:54:49] I would be susprised if CNv4 ASICs show up at all
[08:54:56] surprised*
[08:54:56] why?
[08:55:05] is only an economic question
[08:55:12] yeah should be interesting. FPGAs will be near their limits as well
[08:55:16] unless XMR goes up a lot
[08:55:19] no, not *only*. it's also a technology question
[08:55:44] you believe CNv4 is "asic resistant"? which feature?
[08:55:53] it's not
[08:55:59] cnv4 = Rabdomx ?
[08:56:03] no
[08:56:07] cnv4=cryptinight/r
[08:56:11] ah
[08:56:18] CNv4 is the one we have now, I think
[08:56:21] since yesterday
[08:56:30] it's plenty enough resistant for current XMR price
[08:56:45] that may be, yes!
[08:56:55] I look at daily payouts. XMR = ca. 100k USD / day
[08:57:03] it can hold until October, but it's not asic resistant
[08:57:23] well, last 24h only 22,442 USD :)
[08:57:32] I think 80 h/s per watt ASICs are possible for CNv4
[08:57:38] linzhi-sonia where do you produce your chips? TSMC?
[08:57:44] I'm cruious how you would expect to build a randomX ASIC that outperforms ARM cores for efficiency, or Intel cores for raw speed
[08:57:48] curious
[08:58:01] yes, tsmc
[08:58:21] Our team did the world's first bitcoin asic, Avalon
[08:58:25] and upcoming 2nd gen Ryzens (64-core EPYC) will be a blast at RandomX
[08:58:28] designed and manufactured
[08:58:53] still being marketed?
[08:59:03] linzhi-sonia: do you understand what xmr wants to achieve, community-wise?
[08:59:14] Avalon? as part of Canaan Creative, yes I think so.
[08:59:25] there's not much interesting oing on in SHA256
[08:59:29] Inge-: I would think so, but please speak
[08:59:32] hyc: yes
[09:00:28] linzhi-sonia: i am curious to hear your thoughts. I am fairly new to this space myself...
[09:00:51] oh
[09:00:56] we are grandpas, and grandmas
[09:01:36] yet I have no problem understanding why ASICS are currently reviled.
[09:01:48] xmr's main differentiators to, let's say btc, are anonymity and fungibility
[09:01:58] I find the client terribly slow btw
[09:02:21] and I think the asic-forking since last may is wrong, doesn't create value and doesn't help with the project objectives
[09:02:25] which "the client" ?
[09:02:52] Monero GUI client maybe
[09:03:12] MacOS, yes
[09:03:28] What exactly is slow?
[09:03:30] linzhi-sonia: I run my own node, and use the CLI and Monerujo. Have not had issues.
[09:03:49] staying in sync
[09:03:49] linzhi-sonia: decentralization is also a key principle
[09:03:56] one that Bitcoin has failed to maintain
[09:04:39] hmm
[09:05:00] looks fairly decentralized to me. decentralization is the result of 3 goals imo: resilient, trustless, permissionless
[09:05:28] don't ask a hardware maker about physical decentralization. that's too ideological. we focus on logical decentralization.
[09:06:11] physical decentralization is important. with bulk of bitnoin mining centered on Chinese hydroelectric dams
[09:06:19] have you thought about including block data in the PoW?
[09:06:41] yes, of course.
[09:07:39] is that already in an algo?
[09:08:10] hyc: about "centered on chinese hydro" - what is your source? the best paper I know is this: https://coinshares.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Mining-Whitepaper-Final.pdf
[09:09:01] linzhi-sonia: do you mine on your ASICs before you sell them?
[09:09:13] besides testing of course
[09:09:45] that paper puts Chinese btc miners at 60% max
[09:10:05] tevador: I think everybody learned that that is not healthy long-term!
[09:10:16] because it gives the chipmaker a cost advantage over its own customers
[09:10:33] and cost advantage leads to centralization (physical and logical)
[09:10:51] you guys should know who finances progpow and why :)
[09:11:05] but let's not get into this, ha ha. want to keep the channel civilized. right OhGodAGirl ? :)
[09:11:34] tevador: so the answer is no! 100% and definitely no
[09:11:54] that "self-mining" disease was one of the problems we have now with asics, and their bad reputation (rightfully so)
[09:13:08] I plan to write a nice short 2-page paper or so on our chip design process. maybe it's interesting to some people here.
[09:13:15] basically the 5 steps I mentioned before, from math to physical
[09:13:32] linzhi-sonia: the paper you linked puts 48% of bitcoin mining in Sichuan. the total in China is much more than 60%
[09:13:38] need to run it by a few people to fix bugs, will post it here when published
[09:14:06] hyc: ok! I am just sharing the "best" document I know today. it definitely may be wrong and there may be a better one now.
[09:14:18] hyc: if you see some reports, please share
[09:14:51] hey I am really curious about this: where is a PoW algo that puts block data into the PoW?
[09:15:02] the previous paper I read is from here http://hackingdistributed.com/2018/01/15/decentralization-bitcoin-ethereum/
[09:15:38] hyc: you said that already exists? (block data in PoW)
[09:15:45] it would make verification harder
[09:15:49] linzhi-sonia: https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/campdivision.com/PDF/Computers%20General/Privacy/bitcoin/meh/hashimoto.pdf
[09:15:51] but for chips it would be interesting
[09:15:52] we discussed the possibility about a year ago https://www.reddit.com/Monero/comments/8bshrx/what_we_need_to_know_about_proof_of_work_pow/
[09:16:05] oh good links! thanks! need to read...
[09:16:06] I think that paper by dryja was original
[09:17:53] since we have a nice flow - second question I'm very curious about: has anyone thought about in-protocol rewards for other functions?
[09:18:55] we've discussed micropayments for wallets to use remote nodes
[09:18:55] you know there is a lot of work in other coins about STARK provers, zero-knowledge, etc. many of those things very compute intense, or need to be outsourced to a service (zether). For chipmakers, in-protocol rewards create an economic incentive to accelerate those things.
[09:19:50] whenever there is an in-protocol reward, you may get the power of ASICs doing something you actually want to happen
[09:19:52] it would be nice if there was some economic reward for running a fullnode, but no one has come up with much more than that afaik
[09:19:54] instead of fighting them off
[09:20:29] you need to use asics, not fight them. that's an obvious thing to say for an asicmaker...
[09:20:41] in-protocol rewards can be very powerful
[09:20:50] like I said before - unless the ASICs are so useful they're embedded in every smartphone, I dont see them being a positive for decentralization
[09:21:17] if they're a separate product, the average consumer is not going to buy them
[09:21:20] now I was talking about speedup of verifying, signing, proving, etc.
[09:21:23] they won't even know what they are
[09:22:07] if anybody wants to talk about or design in-protocol rewards, please come talk to us
[09:22:08] the average consumer also doesn't use general purpose hardware to secure blockchains either
[09:22:14] not just for PoW, in fact *NOT* for PoW
[09:22:32] it requires sw/hw co-design
[09:23:10] we are in long-term discussions/collaboration over this with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash. just talk right now.
[09:23:16] this was recently published though suggesting more uptake though I guess https://btcmanager.com/college-students-are-the-second-biggest-miners-of-cryptocurrency/
[09:23:29] I find it pretty hard to believe their numbers
[09:24:03] well
[09:24:09] sorry, original article: https://www.pcmag.com/news/366952/college-kids-are-using-campus-electricity-to-mine-crypto
[09:24:11] just talk, no? rumors
[09:24:18] college students are already more educated than the average consumer
[09:24:29] we are not seeing many such customers anymore
[09:24:30] it's data from cisco monitoring network traffic
[09:24:33] and they're always looking for free money
[09:24:48] of course anyone with "free" electricity is inclined to do it
[09:24:57] but look at the rates, cannot make much money
[09:26:06] Ethereum is a bloated collection of bugs wrapped in a UI. I suppose they need all the help they can get
[09:26:29] Bitcoin Cash ... just another get rich quick scheme
[09:26:38] hmm :)
[09:26:51] I'll give it back to you, ok? ha ha. arrogance comes before the fall...
[09:27:17] maye we should have a little fun with CNv4 mining :)
[09:27:25] ;)
[09:27:38] come on. anyone who has watched their track record... $75M lost in ETH at DAO hack
[09:27:50] every smart contract that comes along is just waiting for another hack
[09:27:58] I just wanted to throw out the "in-protocol reward" thing, maybe someone sees the idea and wants to cowork. maybe not. maybe it's a stupid idea.
[09:29:18] linzhi-sonia: any thoughts on CN-GPU?
[09:29:55] CN-GPU has one positive aspect - it wastes chip area to implement all 18 hash algorithms
[09:30:19] you will always hear roughly the same feedback from me:
[09:30:52] "This algorithm very different, it heavy use floating point operations to hurt FPGAs and general purpose CPUs"
[09:30:56] the problem is, if it's profitable for people to buy ASIC miners and mine, it's always more profitable for the manufacturer to not sell and mine themselves
[09:31:02] "hurt"
[09:31:07] what is the point of this?
[09:31:15] it totally doesn't work
[09:31:24] you are hurting noone, just demonstrating lack of ability to think
[09:31:41] what is better: algo designed for chip, or chip designed for algo?
[09:31:43] fireice does it on daily basis, CN-GPU is a joke
[09:31:53] tevador: that's not really true, especially in a market with such large price fluctuations as cryptocurrency
[09:32:12] it's far less risky to sell miners than mine with them and pray that price doesn't crash for next six months
[09:32:14] I think it's great that crypto has a nice group of asicmakers now, hw & sw will cowork well
[09:32:36] jwinterm yes, that's why they premine them and sell after
[09:32:41] PoW is about being thermodynamically and cryptographically provable
[09:32:45] premining with them is taking on that risk
[09:32:49] not "fork when we think there are asics"
[09:32:51] business is about risk minimization
[09:32:54] that's just fear-driven
[09:33:05] Inge-: that's roughly the feedback
[09:33:24] I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but I think it's not so simple as saying "it always happens"
[09:34:00] jwinterm: it has certainly happened on BTC. and also on XMR.
[09:34:19] ironically, please think about it: these kinds of algos indeed prove the limits of the chips they were designed for. but they don't prove that you cannot implement the same algo differently! cannot!
[09:34:26] Risk minimization is not starting a business at all.
[09:34:34] proof-of-gpu-limit. proof-of-cpu-limit.
[09:34:37] imagine you have a money printing machine, would you sell it?
[09:34:39] proves nothing for an ASIC :)
[09:35:05] linzhi-sonia: thanks. I dont think anyone believes you can't make a more efficient cn-gpu asic than a gpu - but that it would not be orders of magnitude faster...
[09:35:24] ok
[09:35:44] like I say. these algos are, that's really ironic, designed to prove the limitatios of a particular chip in mind of the designer
[09:35:50] exactly the wrong way round :)
[09:36:16] like the cache size in RandomX :)
[09:36:18] beautiful
[09:36:29] someone looked at GPU designs
[09:37:31] linzhi-sonia can you elaborate? Cache size in RandomX was selected to fit CPU cache
[09:37:52] yes
[09:38:03] too large for GPU
[09:38:11] as I said, we are designing the algorithm to exactly fit CPU capabilities, I do not claim an ASIC cannot be more efficient
[09:38:16] ok!
[09:38:29] when will you do the audit?
[09:38:35] will the results be published in a document or so?
[09:38:37] I claim that single-chip ASIC is not viable, though
[09:39:06] you guys are brave, noone disputes that. 3 anti-asic hardforks now!
[09:39:18] 4th one coming
[09:39:31] 3 forks were done not only for this
[09:39:38] they had scheduled updates in the first place
[09:48:10] Monero is the #1 anti-asic fighter
[09:48:25] Monero is #1 for a lot of reasons ;)
[09:48:40] It's the coin with the most hycs.
[09:48:55] mooooo
[09:59:06] sneaky integer overflow, bug squished
[10:38:00] p0nziph0ne ([email protected]/vpn/privateinternetaccess/p0nziph0ne) has joined #monero-pow
[11:10:53] The convo here is wild
[11:12:29] it's like geo-politics at the intersection of software and hardware manufacturing for thermoeconomic value.
[11:13:05] ..and on a Sunday.
[11:15:43] midipoet: hw and sw should work together and stop silly games to devalue each other. to outsiders this is totally not attractive.
[11:16:07] I appreciate the positive energy here to try to listen, learn, understand.
[11:16:10] that's a start
[11:16:48] <-- p0nziph0ne ([email protected]/vpn/privateinternetaccess/p0nziph0ne) has quit (Quit: Leaving)
[11:16:54] we won't do silly mining against xmr "community" wishes, but not because we couldn'd do it, but because it's the wrong direction in the long run, for both sides
[11:18:57] linzhi-sonia: I agree to some extent. Though, in reality, there will always be divergence between social worlds. Not every body has the same vision of the future. Reaching societal consensus on reality tomorrow is not always easy
[11:20:25] absolutely. especially at a time when there is so much profit to be made from divisiveness.
[11:20:37] someone will want to make that profit, for sure
[11:24:32] Yes. Money distorts.
[11:24:47] Or wealth...one of the two
[11:26:35] Too much physical money will distort rays of light passing close to it indeed.
submitted by jwinterm to Monero [link] [comments]

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