“There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade of productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

Two weeks ago Bitcoin Core fixed a critical bug by issuing a quick software update. In the past decade Bitcoin as an ecosystem has experienced a tremendous amount of growth, and every day there are new endorsements from institutions and high-net-worths. The media attention might create the impression that Bitcoin is a mature and highly developed product. …

The decentralized cloud storage project Sia announced a plan to hard fork. The intention of the fork, as explained by project lead David Vorick, is to brick the dominant batch of ASIC miners from Bitmain and Innosilicon, in order to make the ASIC landscape more competitive.

(Source: Sia Discord Channel)

Read Part 1, the timeline of this development here:
Slaying a dragon, one fork at a time

Sia proof-of-work reset
(Sia Blog, by David Vorick)

“For this reason, one of the things that we like to see is low margins for miners and manufacturers. When there are high margins, at least one player (the…

The highly anticipated and controversial Bitmain IPO has finally presented its filing documents in Hong Kong, giving the world a glimpse into the mining giant’s business for the first time. Just a few days before the filing, Bitmain announced two new products: the 7nm ASIC miner for Bitcoin, as well as the Antminer DR3 for Decred. Regardless of one’s position on Bitmain’s business ethics, the IPO is a milestone event for the growing cryptocurrency industry.

Crypto meets Wall Street as Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain files for IPO
(WSJ, by Steven Russolillo)

“Meanwhile, Hong Kong has been one of the world’s…

The competition between crypto exchanges has always been cut-throat. Despite having been red-flagged by NY AG just a couple days ago, Coinbase shows no sign of slowing down. Today, the company announced that they will streamline the token listing process, making it easier for new projects to access Coinbase’s broad customer base. Coinbase has been one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley, but its growth has been utterly eclipsed by the aggressive expansion of Binance. The Malta-based exchange has no fixed office, and lists projects for a handsome fee. With over 300 trading pairs, Binance has been an…

The primary function of cryptocurrency systems is to reach and sustain consensus in a network of distributed computers. The study of consensus protocols is almost as old as distributed systems themselves. Bitcoin’s implementation leverages Proof-of-Work as a Sybil-resistance mechanism in its consensus protocol, meaning that miners follow the branch with highest difficulty. Over the years, many researchers have explored alternative methods to implement consensus mechanisms, most notably Proof-of-Stake. Unlike Proof-of-Work, Proof-of-Stake does not relies on external resources such as energy expenditure as a source of pseudorandomness, which (in PoW) is the crux of the mechanism’s security. In the paper below…

Cryptocurrency systems are highly intricate. Despite being in existence for a decade, Bitcoin still experiences technical turbulance from time to time. This week, a rather severe bug was discovered that has the potential to crash over 30 percent of the nodes, if it were to be discovered and exploited. The vulnerability was first introduced in the version released in March 2017, but was not discovered until early this week. Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and DASH were also effected. The Core developers quickly reacted to the threat and released a patch, and urges node operators to upgrade.

The disclosure below describes…

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency exchanges are raking in billions. However, they are also in a rather undefined regulatory territory, at least those operating in the US. An inquiry by New York’s attorney general launched in April. This week, New York’s new AG showed she would carry the banner of his predecessor, publishing an extensive report on a handful of cryptocurrency exchanges.

NY AG report in Twitter thread

The report sparked a wide array of discussions among the community, and triggered some interesting responses from the exchange operators mentioned in the NY AG report.

Correcting the record: Coinbase…

Editor’s note

By introducing financial incentives into open allocation software governance, Satoshi Nakamoto managed to solve the impossibility of distributed consensus in the context of a currency system. The key component is the design is Proof-of-Work mining. Recently some old criticisms on Proof-of-Work are resurfacing in the community, mostly regarding energy consumption and hashpower concentration. Both topics are frequently covered topics in the scope of this newsletter. In a series of articles below, we discuss why Proof-of-Work is still the most practical.

The Yin and Yang of Bitcoin

“Once again, the metrics suggests that the system has become more efficient over…

This tweet makes an interesting proposal for on-chain voting. On-chain governance is one of the oldest debates in cryptocurrency space. One of the main criticisms is low voter participation. See the paragraph from Vitalik’s article below:

This is a valid concern for projects implementing on-chain governance. Even voting in real life is often plagued with low voter participation, where the stakes are arguable higher. Does negating consensus fully solve the apathy issue? What if a highly destructive proposal manages to slip through before enough voters show up to negate it?

While there may not be a perfect solution, these…

There’s nothing new under the sun, not even in the back-alley world of ICO advisory. Convinced that everything is better when digitized, young fund managers hung their “venture capital” careers on the “blockchain not Bitcoin” narrative. This narrative was crafted by enterprise technology marketers at companies like IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, and Silicon Valley VCs. The pitch might work for those incumbents, but not for upstarts or their gullible investors.

U.S. Judge says initial coin offering covered by Securities Law
(Bloomberg, by Patricia Hurtado, Benjamin Bain, and Camila Russo)

“The New York case, which prosecutors said was the first criminal prosecution…

Leo Zhang

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