2018 Ryo-Currency Retrospective
The New Year is closing in fast which is an opportune time for a long overdue project update blog post. The goal being to provide the community with a comprehensive look back at where the project started and what progress has been made over the short 7 months since Ryo came into being. The core ethos of Ryo is to deliver to the world the oxymoron of a truly “untraceable public ledger” whereby delivering the means to provide financial privacy for everyone through a decentralized, censorship resistant, completely fungible cryptocurrency.
Ryo dominates UASF forcing Sumo to flee the network for ASICs
It would be remiss to ignore ones roots but it is also wise not to dwell on past dramas lest you allow another’s tarnish to rub off on you, to that end this section will be brief.
Ryo-Currency burst onto the CryptoNote (CN) scene June 4th 2018 after the community successfully demonstrated their support for Ryo during the user activated soft fork (UASF) signaling window in response to the Sumokoin scam being exposed. The overwhelming community support for Ryo during the UASF period ended with Sumo hastily abandoning the network as they rashly hard forked away to an ASIC dominated PoW.
Those interested in further details on the misrepresentations, premine disclosures failures, and defrauding of the investing/mining community through deceit that sparked the split can be found in the FAQ page of the Ryo-Currency website. 
Ryo-Currency propagates through the Cryptosphere & Social Media
Ryo hit the ground running and quickly found it’s way onto all the marquee cryptocurrency information tracking websites & mobile applications as well as the premiere mining profitability websites. The outstanding speed with which the project found it’s way onto top crypto sites was entirely thanks to a dedicated and excited community that made its presence known.
- Coin Info: BinanceInfo, CoinMarketCap, CoinGecko, CryptoCompare, ect.
- Mobile Apps : Delta, Blockfolio, Cheddur, ect.
- Mining Sites : WhatToMine, CryptUnit, ect.
All the information in the world on crypto sites like those noted above is of little value if the currency doesn’t have any marketplaces with active trading available. To ensure the community had a trading outlet from the onset Ryo was swiftly listed with a BTC base trading pair on the popular anonymous crypto exchange TradeOgre, a favorite of privacy conscious crypto day traders & long-term investors alike.
Given just three days notice on a shortened holiday week the hard fork yielding the network to Ryo was so abrupt that it put both exchanges and holders in a difficult position, none more so than Cryptopia Exchange who was forced to pause their market and place a hold on all associated deposits and withdrawals.  Again, overwhelmingly positive messages of support from the Ryo community and communication between Cryptopia’s technical support team and Ryo core developers eventually resulted in the optimal outcome for all. As accounts holding Sumo at the hard fork height were credited with equal amounts of Ryo and trading base pair markets went live for BTC, LTC, and DOGE on July 10th 2018.
The final prominent listing of the year came with the addition of Ryo trading to it’s first decentralized exchange (DEX) with fiat access on the Bisq Network. All made possible thanks to the generous community contribution from Technohackr who crafted and submitted the requisite Github pull request July 9th. There were some active deliberations taking place within the Bisq community with regard to how to handle new listing requests at the time of the PR. Additionally, it was rolled into the biggest release in Bisq’s history which included a complete redesign of their client from the ground up as well as their initial DAO Testnet release which delayed Ryo’s availability on the platform until early December when Bisq v0.9.0 was released.
In addition to all the extensive wallet development work @mosu_forge put forth this year he’s also done great things with RyoBlocks.com to expand the Ryo-Currency ecosystem. As the content of the site blossomed over the months it has come to house a variety of tools for the benefit of the Ryo community. It hosts the comprehensive go-to mining pool list, which any new pool operators can quickly be added to with a simple pull request. The site also provides a consolidated listing of all known public remote nodes, thanks to community member @BoredAlchemist for providing a public Tor node. Another key supporting tool available on RyoBlocks.com is a secondary Ryo block explorer backing up the official explorer on Ryo-Currency.com which demonstrated its value extensively in the early days when DDoS protections were occasionally overwhelmed by frequent attackers. Encouragingly, as the Ryo infrastructure matured and hardened successful DDoS attacks have faded into the annals of history.
On top of all these excellent technical resources RyoBlocks is also home to the Official Ryo Store which serves as a solid reference for aspiring entrepreneurs on how readily available Ryo is for eCommerce merchant adoption. This was no trivial task and was accomplished by developing an entirely refactored WooCommerce plugin to empower Ryo-Currency as an easy to integrate and manage web payment processing solution. In the true FOSS spirit the extensive coding behind the refactored plugin went on to be voluntarily provided back to a much larger and more established CN coin, details are in the code section below. It also initially served as the exclusive payment option for Ryo merchandise and apparel from the Ryoblocks store. A Paypal payment option was eventually added due to popular demand from dedicated Ryo holders.
Beyond the Official Ryo Store there were also several other ways to spend or use Ryo made available this year:
- Custom GPU Mining Bios shop
- Steam Games merchant
- Online exchanger Okpay (RUB/UAH/USD)
- Russian online exchanger (RUB)
With the word beginning to spread about Ryo on social media our addition as an option on Okpay.com seemed to catch the eye of a large Crypto Twitter ‘influencer’ in the affable @cryptomocho who’s positive tweets put micro-cap crypto traders on notice to not miss the Ryo train!
Another key contribution towards building awareness of Ryo, this time amongst the mining community, was through standing on the shoulders of all of the hard work Fireice_uk & Psychocrypt put in over the past couple years creating XMR-Stak, a trusted and highly respected open source mining software for Cryptonight coins. Ahead of the October 2018 Monero hardfork to a new PoW, Stak was updated with the addition of Ryo-Currency ASCII splash art displaying in the console at startup. This promotional move couldn’t have been timed any better as noted by the @RYO_Community tweet below. It’s important to realize the impact shouldn’t be understated as Stak is an all-in-one miner supporting CPU/AMD/Nvidia miners and usage isn’t limited to a single coin as it supports a plethora of cryptonight PoW variants. This has been extremely effective in spreading awareness of Ryo-Currency throughout the mining community.
Lets close out this section with some quick insight into the metrics behind the Ryo-Currency social media accounts and forums growth over the projects brief seven months history before moving into the really juicy stuff, the code updates and enhancements. All credit for the RU Telegram group & Discord server go to @_RyoRU as well as all the eye catching renders you see here today.
- Telegram : 1,006 (EN) & 164 (RU) members
- Discord : 728 (EN) & 174 (RU) members
- Twitter : 755 followers
- Reddit : 429 subscribers
Time for the goodies, oh the sweet sweet development!
The launch of Ryo-Currency on 3 days notice in response to the defeat conceding Sumo hard fork required some frenetic development releases and sleepless nights during the early weeks from the wholly dedicated Ryo Core Devs. Which is understandable given the short lead time and seeing as the code base Ryo was forking from had stagnated to an extensive degree. It also was instantly apparent that the legacy GUI/Lite wallet designs were much too brittle, relying heavily on a problem riddled application development technique called screen scraping. There was no question major changes were needed and fast!
Within the first month Ryo had been updated to a modern Monero code base (Lithium Luna) bringing with it exciting features like fluffy blocks, wallet RPC authentication, and multi-signature wallets. Despite the scant development time there was also some notable original features delivered such as:
- Poisson check to detect and mitigate timestamp manipulation attacks
- Short ‘Kurz’ addresses
- 14-word seeds secured by a proper crc-12 checksum
- Increased privacy with move to fixed fees to plug timing leak
New ground was broken by being the first CryptoNote coin to leverage the probability theory and statistics math of a Poisson Distribution to mitigate the effectiveness of timestamp manipulation attacks against the Ryo network.  The subsequent three months saw five more core releases which tackled critical issues like the wallet coin burn exploit & epee library flaw, numerous bugs, and original wallet RPC features to power a new Ryo wallet.
In tandem with the Ryo core development legacy GUI/Lite wallet code ported from Sumo was also being shown plenty of tender love and care in the early months, all with the knowledge that these assets would be deprecated. The development effort was well worth it to provide a better transition experience for Ryo users in the sometimes stressful period surrounding the hard fork. Some of the most community endearing features seemed to be the dark theme, resizeable windows, customizable blockchain storage location, and accurate logic for determining when funds became transferable. The substantial contributions of Kesior, Technohackr, Marco, and SoapyFresh in assisting the core devs and the rest of the community members during this trying phase must be acknowledged and applauded.
This wouldn’t be a true retrospective without highlighting some of the blunders and growing pains which presented hurdles for Team Ryo to overcome during this hectic stage of the project. In light of this the following “learning experiences” must be called out:
- Early DDoS attacks which took down the official mining pool & block explorer at times.
- Going live on the official mining pool and hitting a bug missed in testing causing the pool to fork from the network.
- Being the victim of a timestamp attack to the tune of 900 blocks or ~2.5 days emission. The silver lining being that this event became an spark for enhancing the core code with an innovative Poisson check mitigation technique.
In the midst of the all the development frenzy the Ryo community also managed to hold two very serious and monumental debates in a completely open and transparent manner on Reddit. The topics being debated were on how to structure the initial license  and how to fund development  to best position Ryo for sustained success. It should be noted that the Sumo premine was burned from the onset on the Ryo chain and all core devs worked pro bono up and through these community debates. Outcomes were as follows:
A. Ryo source code will be ‘source available’ for 6 months before release to the public domain 
B. Development fund of 8.0 mil / 25,641 ryo emitted weekly as a special block reward (2,564 weekly dev salary) 
Keeping with the commitment to open and honest communication with the community the team built a Development Fund Explorer tool for transparent disclosure of how funding is being allocated. 
As the reverberations and aftershocks from the contentious hard fork abated and major community decision milestones for licensing and funding were settled upon the core devs were able to begin focusing on implementing the first changes towards making Ryo the most private, secure, and fast cryptonote coin out there. Within 8 weeks, by early September, the team delivered their first funded release and boy was it a doozy with the start of large-scale refactoring within the daemon to improve its speed and the introduction of a highly anticipated new wallet. Ryo Wallet ‘Atom’ was architected from scratch and developed with a modern code base (NodeJS+Electron). It is the first wallet of any Monero fork which is completely powered by wallet RPC commands and has received high community praise for combined full/lite wallet functionality as well as it’s speed and extremely responsive feel.
As development progressed throughout the remaining few months of the year the team delivered three more Atom & three more Core releases which in total contained countless bug fixes and several new wallet RPC calls to empower Atom. Wallet RPC calls were created to close the wallet, restore from viewkey, and key image export is now in binary format also the change wallet password call was ported from Monero. Atom also saw the addition of functionality supporting view-only wallets as well as batches of UI/UX improvements based on community feedback and input.
The team also built out a high powered super fast remote node infrastructure with dynamic load balancing across multiple daemon instances to support Atom’s lite wallet capabilities so that even with numerous users syncing at once their experience remains flawless.
In addition to all this outstanding progress being made to Ryo code core devs Fireice_uk and Mosu_forge managed to look past the vitriol being leveled at the project and it’s developers by angry sects within the Monero community to find time to each create a pull request to generously backport some Ryo enhancements to Monero. This is keeping with the FOSS spirit and as symbolic thanks for the solid starting foundation the Monero projects work provided for Ryo-Currency. Fireice_uk’s PR consisted of a fix for Proper Unicode support on Windows which resolved a long standing issue Win users had with being unable to restore wallets from non-English seeds. 
Mosu_forge’s PR was the aforementioned WooCommerce plugin refactorization and it was met with surprising hostility. Serhack derided it as “low quality”.
Granted, once additional eyes with cooler heads had a chance to look at the functionality and further discussion took place as to the nature of the refactor then suddenly it was accepted and eventually merged as the new base for the Monero Woo plugin. You might think that would be the end of the shenanigans, and sadly you’d be wrong, as the code proceeded to be merged with the Ryo-Currency project credits removed. Once pointed out this was resolved quickly by XMR contributor and Masari Dev @cryptochange34.
There was plenty more substantial core development done before the end of the year rolled into an upcoming v0.4.0.0 release but it is currently undergoing verification on the testnet and is yet to go live. If you’ve managed to make it this far stick with it for those details will be covered in the final section coming up next. Lets wrap up the 2018 portion with a mention of the Ryo Business Room which is a channel where we can build a community of people with a large interest in Ryo-currency. It exists to foster ecosystem development and incentives holding while enabling business people to network together. Access to the group is managed with a custom telegram bot which is able to process a key image to verify eligibility. We hope to see some additional growth in this niche of the Ryo community as the project continues to accumulate a track record demonstrating itself as the true leader in the privacy sector of the crypto market.🚀
Onward and upward what to be excited about for 2019
Early in 2019 the team will be releasing a core update codenamed ‘Lorentz transform’, as the name suggest the desire is to pick up speed and start doing major changes to how the Ryo daemon works. But first things first, version 0.4.0.0 will bring with it a slew of gifts to keep the happy times of the holiday season and new year cheer flowing on into 2019. Here’s a peek at four big changes coming with ‘Lorentz transform’:
- Bulletproofs — scaling enhancement
- Uniform Payment ID (UPID) system — privacy enhancement
- Ring size increase from 13 to 25 — privacy enhancement
- Quadratic Weighted Moving Avg diff algorithm — network enhancement
As you’re likely well aware bulletproofs bring incredible scaling improvements in reducing the growth of the blockchain through shrinking transactions sizes by drastic margins. A smidgen of this spectacular space savings was re-purposed with the increase in Ryo’s default minimum ring size by 92% from 13 to 25 while still easily keeping average transactions in single kB sizes. This boost in ring size is just the first of several incremental increases planned for the future, the currently estimated next target will be ring size of 100 with an ultimate goal of 250 where you really start to enter into true anonymity.
With a brand new UPID system which ensures ALL transactions include an encrypted UPID field while maintaining compatibility with the old PID styles, meaning no API changes for exchanges to accommodate, Ryo delivers another first for any CN coin with payment ids by completely plugging the privacy leak they introduced to the CN protocol. Talk about blazing new trails in a never ending commitment to producing the most private crypto currency available.
The team continues to search for additional developer talent to expand the team for accelerated development speed and breadth. It’s important to keep in mind that with the development fund in place and accumulating it gives the project the luxury to have patience and be highly selective in the screening process. Countless candidates have submitted their interest in joining Ryo-Currency of them a select few have made it to the stage of actually interviewing.
The team is happy to report that in early November a young and talented C++ developer has been brought in on a provisional basis and will remain anonymous at his discretion. He is tackling a wide scale refactoring of the logging system within the Ryo code base. The effort will entail replacing three different systems in the current code with a singular custom global uniform logging and printing system (GULPS) Fireice_uk coded for Ryo.
I start to like ****** more and more, he is the only one crazy enough to also work at 1am on a Friday 😄 — Fireice_uk
Also slated for 2019 are an abundance of wallet deliverables in no particular order the team has on the list a load of new feature adds to Atom, a Web wallet, an iOS mobile wallet, and an Android mobile wallet. Targeted new features list consists of the following kinds of enhancements:
- Optional live price charts, showing your current balance in USD, EUR, GBP, etc and the value of transactions at the time you made them.
- Exportable list of transactions including price at the time of transfer
- Recent news section and update notifications
- Auto locking wallet when inactive for a certain amount of time
- Cold-signing transactions
If all of this doesn’t make you eager for what lays ahead for Ryo-Currency, not sure what would, but thanks for soldiering through and making it to the conclusion. Hope to hear your thoughts and feedback to this update on Reddit, Twitter, Discord, or Telegram. Have a happy and safe New Year!