Tezos: Announcing Tokenized Bitcoin tzBTC, The TezEdge P2P Explorer and Chain Reaction Podcast with Kathleen Breitman
Biweekly update 29th March — 10th April
Hello, and welcome to our fresh biweekly report on Tezos! First, The Bitcoin Association Switzerland (BSA) announced a group of crypto firms has collectively launched a tokenized version of Bitcoin, tzBTC, on the Tezos blockchain. Similar to Wrapped BTC (WBTC) on Ethereum, each tzBTC is backed by an equivalent amount of Bitcoin. But unlike the process of creating WBTC, which relies solely on crypto custodian BitGo, four different companies (called Keyholders) have the ability to mint and burn tzBTC to maintain the 1:1 peg. The BSA serves as a third-party mediator to uphold the integrity of these four Keyholders, creating a more robust, albeit still trusted, checks-and-balances system. Secondly, Tezos has developed the TezEdge P2P Explorer, a tool for everyone who wants to record and view the contents of the messages that are sent through the Tezos P2P network. Bugs arising from bootstrapping and synchronization can be easily tracked down and examined, saving time for developers who want to fix such issues. Next, there are interviews with representatives of the Tezos: Chain Reaction podcast with Kathleen Brightman, Caleb Kow (President of the Tezos India foundation) and AMA with Tezos Asia team. Finally, Tezos has announced two courses: Digital Global Certified Blockchain Developer Course and free SmartPy Developer Course by Blockmatics.
Bake your Tezzies with us — tezocracy.com
For detailed GitLab developer activity click here.
When faced with a bug, performance or security issue in the peer to peer (P2P) network, it is useful to look under the hood and examine the messages that are being sent between individual nodes.
For this purpose, they have developed the TezEdge P2P Explorer, a tool for everyone who wants to record and view the contents of the messages that are sent through the Tezos P2P network. Bugs arising from bootstrapping and synchronization can be easily tracked down and examined, saving time for developers who want to fix such issues.
A blockchain is a decentralized ledger that uses a P2P network to distribute data between its nodes. In the Tezos blockchain, a node communicates with other nodes through a P2P network, establishing encrypted communication and distributing information about the blockchain state. For a deeper understanding of the message flow within the Tezos P2P network, please see ther past article that describes how nodes interact with each other.
The P2P network features various types of messages that perform a range of actions. The P2P Explorer reveals the contents of these messages. These messages range from those that initiate communication with other peers to information about the state of the blockchain. An overview of these messages is provided below:
- Bootstrap — Message sent by a local peer after establishing connection. Nothing noteworthy is contained in it.
- Advertise — Usually a response (from remote peers) to the Bootstrap message, containing a list of other known peers.
- Swap Request, Swap Ack — Messages for swapping mechanism, remote peer asks local node to swap its place with some other node, if local node is OK with that it will send Ack and propose new peer to swap with.
- Disconnect — End of connection.
- Generic Message — These messages are defined in other parts than the P2P layer (like distributed storage or protocol itself). Shell messages for P2P gossip:
5.1 (Get) Current Branch — Request/Response to get information about the current running branch.
5.2 Deactivate — Deactivation of a specific branch or chain.
5.3 (Get) Current head — Request/Response to get information about current head block.
5.4 Get Block headers, Block header — Request block headers for specific blocks, get responses containing block header information.
5.5 Get Operations, Operation — Request operations with specific hashes, receive them one by one.
5.6 (Get) Protocol — Similar to 5.1 but requests protocol information
5.7 Get Operation Hashes For Blocks, Operation Hashes For Block — Request operation hashes for specific blocks, and get them one by one.
5.8 Get Operations For Blocks, Operations For Block — Request all operations for specific blocks, get all operations for a block at a time.
How It works
When a message arrives on the P2P layer, it is decrypted, deserialized and saved. Each time the node is restarted, the messages are deleted in order to save storage space. At the moment they are showcasing an working alpha version of the P2P Explorer. They plan on expanding functionalities and improving the user interface (UI) in the future.
The P2P Explorer can display all incoming and outgoing messages between peers, message types and their contents.
- Message details
In this screen, there is a list of messages. We can click on a particular message and a preview of its contents will be displayed.
2. Peer filter
In order to filter out the messages for a particular peer, you may either click on an address from a list of all peers, or click on a peer from a list of all network messages.
3. Peer search bar
You can also filter out messages by typing the peer address into the search bar.
How to run the P2P Explorer
- Download and install Docker and Docker Compose. Open shell and type this code into the command line and then press Enter:
2. Open the TezEdge Explorer in your browser
You can view the status of the node in your browser by entering this address into your browser’s URL bar: http://localhost:8080
There is TezEdge documentation, where you can read primarily about the TezEdge project, as well as information on blockchain and Tezos.
- Teztracker Update #7 — the everstake team has been working on adding more data and extending the existing pages to:
- Block page & Block list. They’ve added more information to the block page which now displays baker priority, block time & fitness, volume and fees and the cycle information. Besides, you can now switch to next/previous block the arrows. The blocks table have also been extended with additional information, that shows details related to Bakers, transactions, cycles and other. On top of that, now the block page shows the information on the included endorsements. Also, the tab ‘Other’ shows all the operations besides transactions and endorsements included into a block.
- Baker page. First of all, they’ve added a separate tab ‘Endorsements’ that shows all blocks validated by the baker in the past. Besides that you can sort bakers by capacity, fee, staking balance and the number of blocks and endorsements. This allows to present information in a more digestible way.
- Account page & Account list. Now all the accounts pages contain a balances chart that shows statistics related to changes of the amount of stored cryptocurrency over time. This page also displays other data related to the account activity.
- Operations pages. Failed operations are now highlighted in red, so that users could see critical events. Now all operations contain public baker aliases, so users can recognize all bakers now by their real name and not only by their address. Such minor changes as operations status, UI/UX fixes, unified column names, baker capacity were implemented as well.
- Tezos Sapling Integration | Tezos Berlin Virtual Meetup, March 28th 2020 — Presentation by Marco Stronati (Nomadic Labs) — “Integrating Sapling in Tezos for Privacy and Compliance”
- Tezos Protocol 007 Fireside Chat | Tezos Berlin Virtual Meetup, March 28th 2020 — Tezos development meetup.
- TezTalks #1 — Baking Bad. This year Tezos is extending TezTalks to the digital space with TezTalks Live, which will be their live stream meetups and TezTalks Radio, a conversational-style video podcast that features discussion and guests from the Tezos ecosystem. Their first TezTalks Live was on April 7th with Michael from Baking Bad presenting on ‘Better Call Dev’.
- Baking Bad started adding Tezos blockchain entities exploration on tzkt.io. At this stage you can explore the complete list of all accounts in Tezos as well as specific account types such as delegates and smart contracts. Filters are coming…
- Announcing tzBTC — Tokenized Bitcoin
Bitcoin is two things: A decentralized blockchain and a censorship-resistant, digital currency. For Bitcoin to work, both are needed but it is possible to not only use Bitcoin (the currency) on the Bitcoin blockchain but also to use it with the Lightning network or the Liquid and RSK sidechains.
Today, the Bitcoin Association Switzerland (BAS), together with the involved companies, announces yet another way to use Bitcoin: tzBTC, a token on the Tezos blockchain backed 1–1 by Bitcoin. With Bitcoin being the de facto reserve-currency of cryptocurrencies, tzBTC is one of the first examples of tokenization on Tezos. It enables the use of the Tezos blockchain features with Bitcoin.
The Tezos community’s values are to a certain degree similar to most Bitcoiner’s values. Nic Carter’s (a respected researcher and investor in the Bitcoin community) assessment of the Tezos community is that it has strong shared values, arguably as strong as Bitcoin’s.. The fact that the Tezos Foundation continues to be one of the largest holders of Bitcoin reinforces this. All this makes Tezos a natural choice as the first public blockchain for a Bitcoin-backed token from BAS.
The multi-signature (“multi-sig”) key management system of tzBTC enables a strongly trust-reduced setup with no central issuer as a single point of failure, while being fully transparent. The Bitcoin Association Switzerland acts as an overseer and coordinates with the keyholders. Protected by Swiss law and cryptography, they’ve found a practical balance between decentralization and usability. You can learn more about the tzBTC project at bitcoinassociation.ch/tzbtc and tzbtc.io.
tzBTC gives people more choice of how they can use Bitcoin, and by that increase the utility and strengthen the position of Bitcoin as the world’s leading digital currency. This belief in choice is why they are exploring to bring Bitcoin to more open networks. tzBTC is now available in Atomex wallet. Also tzkt.io fully supports tzBTC, so you can easily track total supply, token holders, balances, transfers, mint, burn, etc.
- Tezos announce their first Digital Global Certified Blockchain Developer Course with the collaboration of Stove Labs. This course teaches everything you need to know in order to build, test, and deploy Tezos smart contracts.
- Tezos announce free SmartPy Developer Course by Blockmatics.
Awareness and social encounters
- Cryptonomic giving a Tezos 101 workshop to participants of TezIndia v. Harappa, Online Tezos Hackathon.
- Chain Reaction Podcast. Discussion of Tezos, coa.se, emergents.gg by Tom Shaughnessy.
Read more about the Nature of the Coase firm.
The demand for talent in the blockchain ecosystem has been on the constant rise in India, upto a point where they now find a lack of it. What they need in these times are enablers of blockchain talent and those looking to incentivise it’s adoption among developers in India In this episode of Hard fork Genesis Devcon they spoke with Caleb Kow — President of the Tezos India foundation (SE Asia)
In their conversation they discussed:
— Journey of Tezos
— Interesting blockchain use-cases for Tezos in India
— Incentivising the Indian blockchain developer community
RightBTC hosted an AMA with Tezos Asia team on April 1, Wednesday at 8AM (UTC). Here’s the recap of the AMA.
Q2. What are some of the major accomplishments of Tezos since its ICO and what are some of its use cases?
A2: Since its ICO, Tezos has undergone 3 protocol upgrades — Athens, Babylon and Carthage. On 30 May 2019, the Athens amendment to the Tezos protocol was approved and activated — becoming the first blockchain to upgrade itself automatically without forking. Athens demonstrated a democratic implementation of an amendment on a live blockchain protocol, giving businesses and stakeholders confidence that a decentralized governance model works. Subsequently, Tezos underwent two further upgrades — Babylon on 18 Oct 2019 and more recently, Carthage on 5 Mar 2020.
Applications of Tezos have been particularly focused on financial applications, hence many of its use cases revolve around the use of smart-contracts in financial institutions
For example, the cybercrime division of the Gendarmerie in France has been validating judicial expenses incurred during investigations and recording them on Tezos since Sept 2019. Smart-contract was designed to allow the justification of an expense without the risk of disclosing operational activities and jeopardizing ongoing investigations (https://bitcoinist.com/french-military-police-finds-use-case-for-tezos-blockchain/).
Since September 2019, the French Gendarmerie’s cybercrime division has been validating and recording judicial expenses on the Tezos blockchain.
Tezos has also been gaining significant traction in digital assets, notably asset tokenization and Security Token Offerings (STOs). A STO is a representative of ownership rights recorded on the blockchain and is programmed into a smart-contract. This opens up the investment market for illiquid assets such as real estate, art and commodities and even private equities to a wider base of investors.
We also saw BTG Pactual, Latin America’s largest investment bank and Dalma Capital, a prominent Dubai asset manager making an announcement to utilize Tezos blockchain for STOs of ReitBz mid last year. The institutions plan to pipeline in excess of USD 1 billion for existing and prospective token issuances with a wide variety of traditional and alternative investments (https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2019-07-03/btg-pactual-and-dalma-capital-to-utilize-tezos-blockchain-for-security-token-offerings-stos).
More recently, just this year, Tezos is also venturing into the gaming and digital collectibles industry. Coase, launched by Tezos Co-Founder Kathleen Breitman, is building a digital collectible card game — Emergents on top of Tezos and aims to easily let people acquire and swap cards that they actually want (https://www.coindesk.com/tezos-co-founder-turns-to-gaming-with-hearthstone-competitor).
Coase, a startup launched by Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman, is pushing a new way to make digital card games more fun. This sector is constantly expanding, and we can definitely see how Tezos is one of the projects that is leading the way.
Q4: News says Tezos offered more than $37.6 million in grant funding for the Tezos (XTZ) ecosystem since August 2019. What kind of organizations can get the funding and what are the criteria?
A4: Yes. Tezos Foundation is the body that deploys resources to entities and initiatives that will help to ensure the long term success of Tezos. The foundation is focused on three grant categories — research, education and core development grants, tools and application grants and community grants.
For more info on grant processes, you can visit https://tezos.foundation/news/tezos-foundation-releases-second-biannual-update
The Tezos Foundation is excited to share its second Biannual Update. This report provides an overview of the Foundation’s activities from August 2019.
The evaluation process for new grant applications normally takes between 6–8 weeks.
Visit Tezos Foundation Events page to learn more.
According to the recent Tezos Community Update, Tezos Commons is canceling community events except for third-party and remote sponsorship for March because of COVID-19. TQ Tezos has announced that TQuorum Paris will be rescheduled, follow TQ Tezos on Twitter for future updates.
- 25th April — Tezos Baking Tour: Thailand
- 4–6th May — Ready Layer One. The intersection between a hackathon, a conference, a masterclass seminar and a vaguely anarchist festival for developers and builders of a decentralized web.
Partnerships and team members
Since launching its staking service for XTZ in 2019, the exchange has come to operate the largest validator in the Tezos network.
Regulatory needs of Tezos ETP provider sparks Coinbase bakery migration
The Irish migration of Coinbase Custody’s Tezos Bakery was necessitated by the regulatory needs of Swiss digital asset product provider Amun.
In 2019, Amun launched the first Tezos-based exchange-traded product on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Coinbase provides both custody and baking services to Amun. Changes to Amun’s regulatory framework reportedly required that their staking activities occur within the European Union.
Balancing security against downtime
Coinbase states that it initially identified two strategies for migrating staking to Ireland.
The first was to stop its validator in the US before deploying the Irish validator — which, despite requiring approximately one hour in downtime, would keep security risks minimal.
The second option considered would have seen Coinbase begin its Irish validator before ceasing the process in the US — opening the exercise to significant security risks should both validators operate simultaneously.
Coinbase decouples the validator’s endorser
In the end, however, the exchange determined that the best course of action was to decouple the validator’s endorser from its node to “perform an almost downtime-free migration.” The firm explained:
“A Tezos validator has two main components: the baker, which produces new blocks that include transactions in the digital ledger, and the endorser, which votes on blocks that other validators produce […] Large Tezos validators typically only produce or bake new blocks every few minutes or hours, but they need to vote or endorse almost every minute.”
After successfully decoupling and migrating the endorser during a single minute of downtown, Coinbase found that it was voting or endorsing blocks from Ireland while producing new blocks in the US.
Coinbase later found a two-hour window suited to migrating the baker — completing the migration.
Social media metrics
Tezos community continues to grow. There is a constant increase in the number of subscribers of Tezos social media channels.
The graph above shows the dynamics of changes in the number of Tezos Facebook likes, Reddit subscribers and Twitter followers. The information is taken from Coingecko.com.
The Tezos Foundation is committed to supporting organizations which contribute to the growth of the Tezos community and ecosystem. They are especially interested in supporting regional organizations and university-based groups focused on Tezos and the larger blockchain ecosystem.
Check out some of the community organizations that compose the Tezos ecosystem:
- Tezos Commons Foundation: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Korea: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Montreal: Website, Twitter
- Tezos OCaml Michelson Institute: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Detroit: Twitter
- MyTezosBaker: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Luxembourg: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Turkey: Twitter, Telegram
- Tezos Geneva: Twitter, Meetup
- Tezos Rio: Website, Twitter
Learn about key operational entities
- Nomadic Labs: Website, Twitter
- Tocqueville Group (“TQ”): Website, Twitter, Wiki
- Tezos Japan Foundation: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Korea Foundation: Website, Twitter
- Tezos Southeast Asia Association: Website, Twitter
Recent Paradigm Fund updates on Tezos:
- Biweekly update 15th March — 29th March: The Second Biannual Update, Vertalo to Tokenize 22 Securities Worth $200M on Tezos Blockchain, Update On Civil Litigation Involving The Tezos Foundation
- Biweekly update 27th February — 15th March: Welcome To The Carthage, The Foundation Governance Structure And Future Nominees, Equisafe Launched STO Platform And Tokenized The First Asset On Tezos, Introducing FA2, March Community Update
- 15th February — 27th February: A New TzStats API Upgrade, TAPS — Automatic Payment System, Ryan Lackey On The Tokyo FinTech Podcast, LIGO, SCaml & SmartPy Progress, The Baking Sheet By Tezos Commons