Curated reads, listens, views by Wilson Withiam and Ria Bhutoria.

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Weekly Spotlight: Double Feature! 🔦🔦

In his latest piece, Nic Carter evaluates what he finds to be most interesting about Bitcoin (and perhaps blockchain networks in general): it’s capacity to transfer value digitally while granting “recipients confidence that an inbound transaction will not be reversed” (i.e. settlement assurances). Many competing proof-of-work blockchains attempt to replicate Bitcoin, but none have reached the level of Bitcoin’s security threshold (or cost of attack). Further, network design changes made by these alternate blockchains, such as accelerating the block generation time, can be misleading, as settlement guarantees across block confirmations are not equal. …


Curated reads, listens, views by Wilson Withiam and Ria Bhutoria.

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Weekly Spotlight 🔦

Imran Khan delivers a high level overview on how encrypted connections between users and website servers are beholden to trusted intermediaries and how decentralized alternatives could be a viable solution. Certificate Authorities (CA) play a significant role in maintaining Domain Name System (DNS) and act as the central gatekeeper to the issuance and storage of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. The SSL protocol is a layer that works with HTTP to offer an encrypted connection between a user (browser) and server (host computer). …


Curated reads, listens, views by Wilson Withiam and Ria Bhutoria.

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Weekly Spotlight 🔦

Dan Zuller of Vision Hill unleashed an epic, three-part tweet thread and accompanying blog post exploring the state of distributed consensus in crypto networks. His synopsis covers the ingenuity of reaching consensus in distributed systems, PoW vs. PoS value propositions, as well as attack vectors and possible design solutions present in PoS networks. The commentary provides context around the question: Could proof-of-stake systems be considered “secure enough” to capture billions of dollars in value?

While the question remains open to interpretation and dependent on future developments, Dan is able to distill complex engineering concepts into understandable nuggets of knowledge. As a result, the case study delivers first-rate learning material for both technical and non-technical crowds. …


Curated reads, listens, views by Wilson Withiam and Ria Bhutoria.

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Quick note: We apologize for the delay in publishing our usual Crypto Weekend Review, but we have hard at work on some new research material that should be hitting your inboxes soon! This segment will be back to its regularly scheduled release next week.

Weekly Spotlight 🔦

Crypto asset valuation is considered a deeply important field as related research is helping investors separate useful market signals from the cluttered mass of on-chain data and Twitter opinions. …


Curated reads, listens, views by Wilson Withiam and Ria Bhutoria.

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Weekly Spotlight 🔦

Bitcoin’s decentralized nature is often heralded (and appropriately so) for enabling censorship resistant value transfer. However, Nic Carter states the ability to broadcast information without restriction is only one of the guarantees Bitcoin can provide to users. In his latest piece, Carter defines the various guarantees, or “assurances,” offered by Bitcoin — open access, seizure resistance, censorship resistance, counterfeit resistance, and free exit — and assesses the strength of each offering in relation to the potential threats to current processes.

Censorship resistance does not aptly describe the security behind storing Bitcoin, nor the accessibility of verifying payments and inflation schedules as legitimate. Therefore, Carter introduces seizure resistance — the ability for users to retain access to their Bitcoin even in times of duress — and counterfeit resistance — cheap access to tools that can validate on-chain data. The cryptographic primitives used to secure non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets are exceptionally difficult to crack. Further, wealth can be stored in a multi-word passphrase transportable via memory. Both features make Bitcoin highly resistant to seizure, unless quantum computing becomes pervasive or the user shares his or her private key. …


Curated reads, listens, views by Ria Bhutoria and Wilson Withiam.

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Weekly Spotlight 🔦

Kyle Samani’s latest piece discusses the impact of Ethereum losing developer and project mindshare to alternative dapp platforms on the wealth stored in its native cryptocurrency ETH. Ethereum has earned this monetary premium by bundling a wide variety of apps onto a single platform, giving ETH value beyond its utility for gas payments. But due to inherent throughput, latency, and cost constraints, developers are selecting competing chains or migrating existing Ethereum projects to other platforms at an increasing pace. Samani states common blockchain applications — gambling, in-game assets, security tokens — may not need Ethereum’s level of trust-minimization or, in the case of security tokens, a blockchain solution at all. …


Read the full weekly crypto recap here.

Blockstream has been a prominent company in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Co-founders Adam Back (the creator of Bitcoin predecessor Hashcash), Gregory Maxwell, and Adam Hill, among other developers, thought the importance placed on Bitcoin security, while vital, would stifle the pace of protocol development. Therefore, Blockstream was created in 2014 to not only help support the development of the Bitcoin protocol, but also to accelerate blockchain innovation without needing an alternative cryptocurrency.

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As of now, Blockstream is one of the institutions that provides funding to Bitcoin Core, the most popular Bitcoin client, and employs a handful of engineers to develop the Bitcoin and Lightning networks. Moreover, the company has placed significant focus on the creation of sidechains to address the limitations observed with Bitcoin innovation. Sidechains are independent blockchains that can be linked to a base layer protocol via a two-way peg, which enables developers to experiment with network features beyond Bitcoin’s capabilities without altering the underlying protocol or cryptocurrency. For instance, Liquid, a recently launched sidechain built by Blockstream, provides superior privacy and scalability to Bitcoin, though it is less decentralized. …

About

Wilson Withiam

Research Intern at Circle Research | Chapter Head @DappDevsCT

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