As another year has come to a close it is an appropriate time to take a moment to look back and reflect on the good and bad our project and community experienced over the last twelve months. Unfortunately the year kicked off with what was likely the most distressing of events, the first crypto exchange hack of 2019 just over two weeks into January.
In an event felt widely around the altcoin markets Cryptopia, New Zealand’s long time altcoin exchange, suffered an attack which drained it’s Ether. The loss was so great it eventually forced them into liquidation under Grant Thornton by mid-May. The closure of Ryo’s largest trading market was a painful reminder for many in the community of the risk of not having control of ones own wallet private keys. We continue to await the lengthy legal process for news on if coin holders of the unimpacted crypto assets, Ryo included, will recover any of their holdings from the time of the hack.
In response to the loss of a major Ryo trading market the team started the search for a new exchange listing as a commitment to the trading community to maintain multiple options. After an extensive research phase and discussions with countless exchanges the team, with contributions of several staunch supporters in the Ryo Business Room, secured Ryo’s listing on Crex24 in BTC as well as currency pairs of USD, EUR, and RUB trading pairs.
The continued lackluster altcoin market conditions presented headwinds that lead the team to take some prudent budgetary belt tightening measures on development funding outlays over the course of 2019. Yet, even in the face of a challenging environment there were still a number of substantial deliverables made by the core dev members over the course of the year as well as much preparation work for things to come.
The first of which was the delivery of a surprise feature addition from the Ryo team to the Lorentz Transform 0.4.0.0 release, a new custom built ASIC/FPGA resistant proof of work algorithm in Cryptonight-GPU. This new PoW was a change in approach away from memory hardness as a resistance mechanism as was used in our prior CN-Heavy algo. CN-GPU shifted gears in a major way to a focus on raw floating point 32bit (fp32) math operations, you know that thing that commodity consumer GPUs are specifically designed to excel at. 😉
Early in 2019 the Lorentz Transform release was live on the Ryo network delivering all of the following goodies:
- CN-GPU — network enhancement
- Bulletproofs — scaling enhancement
- Uniform Payment ID (UPID) system — privacy enhancement
- Min ring size increase from 13 to 25 — privacy enhancement
- Quadratic Weighted Moving Average (QWMA) diff algorithm — network enhancement
Not long after the hard fork to 0.4.0.0 the project got some well deserved prominence in the crypto press after a critical wallet bug the Ryo team had fixed 7 months prior became widely know to the Monero community. The wallet vulnerability was so serious it allowed for fake deposit amounts to be registered at exchanges.
The result was multiple mentions in Cointelegraph articles where the bug was discussed.  Additionally Ryo devs also fixed another Monero bug that could have had a negative support impact on exchanges via denial of service of their wallet addresses. Both of these instances simply go to display the talent within the Ryo project team and the dedication to thorough testing.
Keeping consistent with Ryo’s humble origins in honesty and openness with the community time was spent during the year to writeup a four part “Tracing Cryptonote” series of posts to clarify the current privacy weak points.
- Hiding your IP while using Ryo or other Cryptonotes
- Tracing Cryptonote ring signatures using external metadata
- How buying pot with Monero will get you busted — Knacc attack on Cryptonote coins
- On-chain tracking of Monero and other Cryptonotes
More Ryo trail blazing occurred in cryptonote development with the merging of 64bit elliptic curve math enhancements to the Ryo dev branch for facilitating faster processing, though currently used only to optimize wallet scanning. Further wallet scanning optimizations came in the form of new multi-threading code to continue to improve the end user experience by diligent engineering on the backend.
There were also substantial deliverables on the front end of the project as well. Beginning with Ryo Wallet Quasar coming online, the much anticipated ultra-fast web wallet port of the Ryo GUI Atom wallet.
On the topic of Atom there was also a huge new enhancement with the addition of a built-in solo pool that works with all major mining software supporting CN-GPU. This wonderful feature helps with privacy by allowing miners to easily point their rigs at Atom and mine without giving any pool operators record of their mined rewards, not to mention being fee free, while also delivering simple to use software that enables the mining community to assist in network decentralization.
Included was a nifty option to let miners privately tag the blocks they find with just one extra non-identifying byte. This byte is then scanned for and powers the solo-pool subdomain on Ryoblocks.com
Another subject was tackled by the community in 2019, the every so important topic of coin emission. The emission curve for Ryo was one of the final aspects of the code the project inherited which had not yet been re-written. Many community members in 2018 had been pushing for the curve to be modified. When the team looked into it, the code was found to in no way resembled the emission advertised by the project we assumed it from. This lead to a rigorous open community debate about how to best address the gap between expectations and reality. Participation was wide ranging and even included input from Monero Research Lab contributor Mitchell P. Krawiec-Thayer, PhD. The eventual resolution was to slightly pull in and lower the peak emission while extending the peak block reward period into a plateau. Overall the block rewards continued as originally expected until about April 2020, only diverging at block 394470. You can read more details and find links to the community discussions in the prior “Fixing a broken emission curve” post. Keep an eye out for a fork in Q1 of 2020 that will bring the fixed curve live to the network, as it’s currently resides on the dev branch.
During the final quarter of the year the long awaited Monero fork to RandomX, a CPU centric proof of work algorithm, presented a valuable marketing opportunity. There is huge long term potential to put Ryo, and by extension the teams developer talent, on the radar of privacy focused crypto fans. To accomplish this the team leaned upon their extensive experience in developing mining and easy to use frontend software to create the incredibly simple to use RagerX system.
This is an all-in-one mining system which will redefine what is consider a user-friendly mining process. It bundles an optimized mining OS, intelligent auto-tuning miner backend, ultra stable PPLNS pool, a feature-rich pool frontend, affiliate and community bonus programs, as well as a custom built GUI USB flasher tool to make start-up process silky smooth for crypto newbies.
Out of the gate only CPU mining is supported and the FAQ section directs those interested in GPU mining to Ryo and our friendly CN-GPU algorithm. The intent is to extend RagerX by adding a Ryo pool so that it’s a breeze for new miners to start contributing to both networks with ease.
We’ll close out our review by acknowledging that 2019 was a difficult year for many in the crypto space but that we appreciate those who continue to stick with Ryo. We are confident that 2020 will bring with it some rich milestone deliveries and we want to say a very big thank you to everyone in the community for their continued contributions and feedback. Congratulations on putting another year in the record books and don’t forget what’s happening in the Ryo development trenches. 😉