Syscoin Identities, Encryption Bounty and New Price Peg Server Release!

It has been a little over a month since Blockmarket Desktop 1.0 was released to the public and the traction it has gained since then has been very exciting and motivating. We haven’t yet begun marketing the Blockmarket product in earnest but people are already organically discovering Blockmarket and in turn Syscoin to list and buy items. The release of Blockmarket Web – which will enable the same great Blockmarket experience with zero downloads, from any device on the planet with an internet connection — combined with proper marketing and our Merchant Pilot Program – where merchants will list their SKUs on Blockmarket – should help to catapult Syscoin into the next phase of adoption and a larger, mainstream audience.

As we continue to develop the next major release of Blockmarket Desktop 1.1, planned for the end of October 2017, we wanted to share some exciting new features that will be present in the next release, and what these capabilities mean for the overall Syscoin ecosystem and the Blockchain Foundry product strategy.

Syscoin Identities

Syscoin currently has a special smart-contract service known as Aliases. Aliases are an extremely powerful and much more user-friendly concept than traditional coin addresses. Rather than the 34 character public key of your Alias you can simply send funds directly to the Alias name e.g., “dan”.

Simplifying sending and receiving is great, but Aliases have much more untapped potential and Syscoin Identities are our first step towards unlocking that potential. Syscoin Identities are built on the construct of Aliases by using the Alias public data field as a blockchain-based anchor for off-chain data. This reduces the amount of data stored on the blockchain, while still providing the information needed to ensure any data stored off-chain has not been tampered with. This approach is a step in the direction of our goal of distributed database support in the next iteration of Syscoin Core. By starting to leverage this type of construct ahead of the actual next gen Syscoin Core implementation, we are able to appreciate possible pitfalls or gaps in the implementation from data security to user experience.

In its initial implementation in Blockmarket 1.1 Syscoin Identities’ off-chain data will be stored in a database run by the team on our Azure cloud infrastructure. The delivery in 1.1 is already rather forward-looking. It allows for the storage of data in multiple warehouses for redundancy and reduced latency when fetching data. This data will later be stored on masternodes, with the option to mirror it on non-decentralized warehouses like our Azure infrastructure. A post in the coming weeks will have more details on masternodes and their launch date..

This is where things get interesting. By storing identity data off-chain with a blockchain-anchor, we can increase the amount of data users are able to store within their Syscoin Identity without bloating the blockchain. By storing these entities off-chain we’re also able to evolve the specification for Syscoin Identities without having to fork the network, another costly piece of overhead, if we were to store the actual data on chain. This is an important aspect of the implementation as we do plan on evolving Syscoin Identities in parallel with specifications created by the Decentralized Identity Foundation, of which Blockchain Foundry is a founding member. As DIF releases new specifications for decentralized identity that can be used by regulators for things like KYC and AML we’ll continue to adapt Syscoin Identities to meet those specifications.

Because no specification has yet been officially released, we’re starting with what most modern-day platforms attach to an identity simply for the purposes of enhancing the current Blockmarket experience and making marketplace interaction even easier. Some of the items you can store in your Syscoin Identity are things like an avatar image URL, first name, last name, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, PGP public key, bio, and more. Syscoin Identities also feature a private data field which is secured against public access using ECIES encryption. Properties like shipping address and PGP private key can be stored in this section of the identity with confidence of data safety because it is stored encrypted and can only be decrypted with the owner’s alias and password.

Here is the full list of properties supported in the 1.1 release of Syscoin Identities (subject to change):

Overall Identity:

export interface SyscoinIdentity {
publicIdentity: SyscoinPublicIdentity;
privateIdentity?: SyscoinPrivateIdentity;
encryptedPrivateIdentity?: string;
}

Public Identity

export interface SyscoinOnChainIdentity {
avatarUrls: string[]; //support multiple avatar locations for fallbacks
firstName: string;
lastName: string;
}

export interface SyscoinPublicIdentity extends SyscoinOnChainIdentity { //the full offchain identity object
location?: string;
pgpKey?: string;
bio?: string;
facebookUrl?: string;
twitterUrl?: string;
instagramUrl?: string;
bitcointalkUser?: string;
trustedArbiterNames?: string[]; //list of arbiters this alias implicitly trusts for escrow operations
requireTrustedArbiter?: boolean; //applies to all offers from this alias, whether or not aliases buying from this alias can use an arbiter that isn't on the trustedArbiterNames list
}

Private Identity (encrypted)

export interface SyscoinPrivateIdentity {
shippingAddress?: string;
pgpPrivKey?: string;
}

Blockmarket Desktop 1.1 Development

Development on Blockmarket 1.1 is going very well and we’re currently on track to deliver this release before the end of October. The scope of this release increased with the addition of Syscoin Identities but they are a valuable feature that address direct requests from merchants and buyers alike, so we felt it made sense to include it in the release.

Also included in this release are a number of bug fixes. All critical bugs in Blockmarket 1.0.1 have been fixed, including fixes around the wallet balance display and passwords with special characters. Another addition in version 1.1 is the ability for Blockmarket to connect to the Syscoin network using TOR, providing greater privacy for Blockmarket users.

Syscoin Encryption Challenge (Bounty!)

Many people have been asking when they can try out Syscoin Identities – even if it is just on testnet. While we’re eager to get this feature out into the hands of the public and appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm, we’re also taking the appropriate steps to ensure that once this feature is released to the public, the data being stored is secure. To help confirm the security of off-chain, private identity data we’re launching what we call the “Syscoin Encryption Challenge”!

Are you a technically-minded person? Do you have an interest in cryptography? Here’s your chance to earn a cool 1BTC ($5500USD at time of writing) for successfully cracking the Syscoin private identity encryption! Participation is simple: just download Blockmarket 1.0.1 (recommended) or Syscoin-Qt 2.1.5 (devs only) and lookup the ‘bitcoinbounty’ alias on mainnet. In the public data field of this alias there is an encrypted string containing the information needed to claim your bounty. It is critical you read and follow the instructions to collect your 1BTC prize! The first to crack the encryption and follow the instructions claims the prize!

This contest has no expiration date as we really want people to try to break our encryption. If no one cracks the encryption within a week of this post we’ll look to release Blockmarket 1.1 on mainnet sometime next week. In the off-chance we have a winner we’ll need to see exactly what their process was before being able to determine if we can release Syscoin Identities with private data. In the case this is not possible we would still look to release Blockmarket 1.1 next week, but omit private data temporarily.

Price Peg Server

With the increase in marketplace usage we have also received some reports of issues with the team-maintained price peg running at peg.syscoin.org. Looking more closely into the complaints, we found ways to improve the pegging mechanism and in the process we made improvements to the user interface for the price peg as well. Now you can page through history, view SYS/USD historical charts based on the peg data, and the peg now uses material design concepts to better align with the Blockmarket aesthetic. In addition to these UX improvements there are also core improvements that increase the accuracy of pegged rates, reduce redundant updates, updates the internal library being used for RPC connections to the latest one recommended by Bitcoin core devs (https://github.com/ruimarinho/bitcoin-core) and generally cuts back on how much data the peg server is writing to the blockchain. Syscoin Price Peg Server 1.4 will be released later today via GitHub and will also be live at peg.syscoin.org once released on GitHub – we’ll post a tweet once it’s all released and available!


The team is still in the midst of funding discussions in parallel with all the above development. Things are progressing very positively and we’re hoping to have more information to share on that front before the end of the year. We are also working closely with several large merchants through our Merchant Pilot program, which will help to seed the marketplace with a critical mass of items, further catalyzing its adoption. Jag and Sebastian from the team are also in Vegas this week to attend the Money 20/20 conference which we’ll have more details on in a future post.

With everything we have in the pipeline between seeking funding, various development initiatives (Price Peg Server, Blockmarket Desktop 1.1, Syscoin Identities, Syscoin 2.2, Syscoin Auctions, Syscoin API Server, Blockmarket Web, Masternodes) and our ongoing talks with various organizations looking to leverage Syscoin for their internal needs, Syscoin and Blockchain Foundry have a very bright future ahead.


Visit Syscoin.org or join us on our Slack Channel or our Telegram Channel for more information. Get an invitation to our Slack Channel here: join.syscoin.org