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Weekly Shortcuts: Beam, Grin, Horizen, Komodo, Monero, Verge, Zcash

Privacy Coins Edition, 9th May

Hello! This is the 7th edition of our weekly overview of various cryptonetworks, contributing to the future of modern technologies. Today, the central theme of the update are Privacy Coins. Privacy coins are unique cryptocurrencies that allow a user to gain total anonymity when making blockchain transactions. The identity of users and the origins of their transactions are completely protected. These coins empower senders and receivers to remain anonymous with different levels of privacy, like hidden wallet addresses and transaction balances. With privacy coins, payments remain private. Some of the projects we’ve already covered in our biweekly series; nevertheless, let’s get acquainted with the cryptocurrencies in the spotlight:

Beam is a cryptocurrency that demonstrates an emphasis on privacy and anonymity with Mimblewimble implementation. Without address information stored on the blockchain and keeping transactions private by default, Beam is meant to give control over privacy to users, and scalability in its compact design. Having no premine or ICO, Beam is backed by a Treasury and designated a non-profit foundation to govern the protocol.

Grin is another cryptocurrency focused on privacy without censorship in its implementation of Mimblewimble. According to their website, the developers want Grin to be usable by everyone regardless of borders, culture, skills, or access. Without address information or amounts stored on the blockchain, the chain is meant to be lean and scalable. Grin was launched without a premine, ICO, or founders rewards and relies on donations to support the long-term development of the project.

Horizen describes itself as an inclusive ecosystem where everyone is empowered and rewarded for their contributions. Horizen’s scalable platform enables businesses and developers to quickly and affordably create public or private blockchains. Horizen’s Sidechain SDK provides the necessary components for the quick and easy deployment of a customizable blockchain.

Komodo is an open, composable multi-chain platform that focuses on providing business-friendly blockchain solutions that are secure, scalable, interoperable, and adaptable. Its current technology suite, the Antara framework, offers tools for end-to-end blockchain development, including a customizable, application-specific Smart Chain complete with a library of built-in modules and an open API for building blockchain-based applications.

Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency that focuses on fungibility, privacy, and decentralization. Along with anonymity, the mining process for Monero is based on an egalitarian concept — the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal opportunities. When launching Monero, its developers did not keep any stake for themselves and banked on contributions and community support to further develop the virtual currency.

Verge is an open-source privacy coin that uses the anonymity tool Tor and an anonymous network layer I2P to hide specific transactions’ IP addresses and locations. Verge Currency is a 100% open source project and The Verge Community has full input and inclusion in any and all decisions made in regard to new feature implementations.

Zcash — Based on the Zerocoin protocol, Zcash is a decentralized and open-source privacy-focused cryptocurrency that enables selective transparency of transactions. Zcash transactions can either be transparent or shielded through a zero-knowledge proof called zk-SNARKs. This allows the network to maintain a secure ledger of balances without disclosing the parties or amounts involved. Instead of publishing spend-authority and transaction values, the transaction metadata is encrypted, and zk-SNARKs are used to prove that nobody is being dishonest.

Market Data

Source: Privacy Cryptocurrencies Data on Cryptoslate

Beam

To learn more about $BEAM, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  • Our biweekly update on Beam / 24th April — 8th May — Wallet Notifications Unpacked, Pre-Hardfork Reflections, Tutorial On Setting Up A Beam Node On A VPS, Beam Is Coming To Cruxpool

These weeks were represented by a pretty vivid development and an extremely active community life. The latest Beam wallet comes with push notifications and price indicators, without any privacy leaks. Now you can receive information on BTC or USD prices, transaction and address status, and wallet releases. With the messages being pushed out via SBBS it avoids privacy leaks that are often found when wallets pull the price and other data from a source like an exchange. They were designed in this way to protect against such leaks, as privacy is of the utmost importance to Beam, as you all know. Besides, one of the most critical parts of the Beam ecosystem is connectivity. Without the ability to get your wallet connected to the Beam network, there would be no network! In recognition of this essential link, Raskul continues to set up a series of dedicated nodes around the globe. These are always online peers to allow for both remote connectivity to a node and to help them get up to sync with their own nodes. Development progress and testing for the upcoming fork are well underway, and the current focus for R&D. Some substantial consensus upgrades are coming with the hardfork, such as newborn BeamHash III, activating support for confidential assets, Lelantus Mimblewimble, and support for one-sided payments. All in all, there were 120 commits on GitHub during the past two weeks.

Beam community efforts are currently limited by online format; however, the team continues to support and educate all the community members. Raskul shared a “how-to” video guide on setting up and conducting Bitcoin to Beam atomic swaps without the need for a third party, preserving the anonymity and ensuring financial freedom. Another video guide by Raskul touched upon the details on setting a node on a VPS. Furthermore, there were numerous social media highlights, including Beam shout out in This Week in Blockfolio Signal, LunarCrush nomination of “the token of the day”, and multiple international news coverages. Moreover, on the community front, some significant initiatives appeared taking shape from Beam Africa, driving users to the Beam mobile wallet, educating them on how it works, and bringing in ever valuable feedback. The community tends to grow in social networks and chats, empowering the incredible Beam ecosystem.

“Beam can fix this and their developer’s plans to include opt-in audit-ability into the mix (as well as further privacy-enhancing measures — see Lelantus Mimblewimble) goes much of the way to the development of what Bitcoin was supposed to be — a sovereign, fungible, confidential currency which gives the user ability to disclose as much, or as little of their transacting as they so desire. Ultimately, pushing out the covetous financial organizations and giving financial power back to the individual.

Grin

To learn more about $GRIN, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko

{News}

  1. The Grinnode.live Node Challenge has finished! Details for how winners can claim their prizes, by @mcm-mike

{Dev}

  1. There are 103 open issues in /grin, and 31 open issues in /grin-wallet.
  2. Merged PRs: 3 in /grin | 7 in /grin-wallet | 3 unique contributors
  3. Grin v4.0.0 Network Upgrade (HF3), expected ~ July 15, 2020: General information; Planning issue; Development milestones: Node // Wallet
  4. @tromp posted to mailing list outlining the planned use of NRD kernels for payment channels asking for feedback.
  5. New RFC: Parallel IBD, by @jaspervdm.
  6. New RFC: Armored slates, by @j01tz.
  7. @antiochp weekly update.
  8. @yeastplume weekly update.
  9. A new binary slate format was introduced by @yeastplume leading to further space savings. Here’s a comparison of the armor output for JSON and binary variants.

{Governance}

  1. The last governance meeting discussed a new structure of keybase teams, and reviewed the open RFCs.

{RFCs}

Draft

  1. Relative kernels [node-dev]
  2. Multiple named wallets [wallet-dev]
  3. Create a Moderation team [core]
  4. Slate Serialization [wallet-dev]
  5. e2e encrypted slates over http(s) [wallet-dev]
  6. NEW! — Parallel IBD [node-dev]

Open

  1. QA Team [core]
  2. No Recent Duplicate (NRD) Kernels [node-dev]
  3. Compact Slates [wallet-dev]
  4. New! — Armored slates [wallet-dev]

{Dev}

  1. There are 102 open issues in /grin, and 32 open issues in /grin-wallet.
  2. Merged PRs: 3 in /grin | 7 in /grin-wallet | 3 unique contributors
  3. Grin v4.0.0 Network Upgrade (HF3), expected ~ July 15, 2020: General information, Planning issue
  4. Development milestones: Node // Wallet
  5. @tromp announced details of Cuckarooz, the last ASIC-resistant PoW tweak.
  6. @yeastplume weekly update.
  7. @jaspervdm weekly update.
  8. Last week’s development meeting reviewed the status of v4.0.0 items, discussed http(s) deprecation, and priority for future PayJoin work.
  9. The ongoing discussions of deprecating http(s) triggered a new RFC and the intention is to reach a conclusion for next dev meeting.
  10. The next bi-weekly developer meeting is scheduled for Tue May 12 @ 15:00 UTC in grincoin#dev on Keybase. You can add topics to the agenda.

{Research}

  1. On the security of EC pairings / BLC sigs, by @DrazenV
  2. Review of the GandalfThePink BLS paper, by @DrazenV
  3. Research related to Halo-style recursive proof compositions

{RFCs}

Draft

  1. Relative kernels [node-dev]
  2. Multiple named wallets [wallet-dev]
  3. Create a Moderation team [core]
  4. Slate Serialization [wallet-dev]
  5. e2e encrypted slates over http(s) [wallet-dev]
  6. Parallel IBD [node-dev]

Open

  1. QA Team [core]
  2. No Recent Duplicate (NRD) Kernels [node-dev]
  3. Compact Slates [wallet-dev]
  4. Armored slates [wallet-dev]
  5. NEW! — Deprecate HTTP(S) Transactions [wallet-dev]

Horizen

To learn more about $ZEN, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  1. Sidechain SDK: Final review of latus forger changes ongoing, zendoo cryptolib integration and snark proofs in backward transfer certificates is ongoing
  2. Mainchain: code almost ready for next code review
  3. Sphere By Horizen: Version 1.2.6-beta released. Version integrating sidechain commands is now ready for intermediate code review.
  4. Block Explorer: First code review performed, changes requested and addressed. Extending and refining parsing mechanism of sidechain data.
  5. ZEND: All partners and exchanges informed about upcoming deprecation cycle, contents being finalized
  • The Horizen China team forged several new avenues to share the project with the world.
  1. New core software (zend) release for May 18th;
  2. Current core software — zend 2.0.20 deprecation for June 2nd;
  3. New Sphere by Horizen release by the end of May;
  4. New Swing Wallet release by the end of May
  1. Notarize app for MacOS Catalina
  2. Fixes MacOS Catalina install issue
  3. Fix 16×16 Mac icns icon
  4. Fixes Sphere by Horizen logo on MacOS
  5. Change appId to ‘io.horizen.spherebyhorizen’

Komodo

To learn more about $KMD, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  1. Komodo’s Fourth Annual Notary Node Election came to a close
  2. Pirate Chain April Update by Kaks — The community is testing subatomic swaps that allow trading with private transactions. Subatomic swaps are based on different technology than what AtomicDEX uses.
  3. I2P Integration — DreamTim created a post about a fundraising effort started by Draeth and Lootz. The goal is to integrate I2P to Komodo, which will make it available in all the ecosystem projects as well.
  4. AtomicDEX Orderbooks — Mylo has been developing a website to browse the AtomicDEX order books. It is becoming a full market-making product targeted for web communities. Visit the website and check out the demo here.

..and a lot more!

  • Interview with Komodo Ambassador John Robinson — Komodo Marketing Manager Audo Kowitz had the pleasure to meet Komodo Ambassador John Robinson in Tokyo! Both decided to seize the opportunity and film a short interview.
  • Monthly Report — April 2020 — Over the last 30 days, the Notary Node Election began, AtomicDEX PRO entered a public alpha testing stage, the Komodo team started working on adding Python support to Antara Framework, and the community started making z-to-z subatomic swaps. Above you can find an all-encompassing update on everything that happened in April.
  • Komodo CTO Kadan Stadelmann sat down for a superb interview with Charlie Shrem from Untold Stories. They discuss the threats to those core beliefs coming from government and other sources. Furthermore, Kadan talks about his past and his background and how it was growing up in cyberspace, and describes Komodo’s vision while explaining the differences between Smart Chains, Multi-Chains, and Single Chains. Listen to the podcast here.

Monero

To learn more about $XMR, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  1. A new article was released on the getmonero.org website regarding Dandelion++.
  2. Sarang Noether released his monthly report for April.
Source: Revuo Monero
Source: Revuo Monero

Verge

To learn more about $XVG, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  • Verge was listed by the Royal Exchange.
  • Verge: “15k transactions were made on PornHub in XVG. In a recent interview, the founder of Verge said that his blockchain has seen 15k transactions made by PornHub to pay for their models using the XVG cryptocurrency. In April 2018, Verge had in fact entered into a joint venture with MindGeek, owner of PornHub and other adult websites such as Brazzers and TrafficJunky, in order to use this crypto to pay their professional and non-professional actors. Moreover, when it had emerged that PornHub could no longer use PayPal but one of the alternatives was Verge, the price of XVG had skyrocketed, with increases of 25%.
  • Verge is available on SwapSpace.
  • Verge is now integrated at PlayRoyal and available to trade on their integrated exchange as well as play on in-house casino games! Read more here.

Zcash

To learn more about $ZEC, visit an official page.

Source: Coingecko
  • Electric Coin Co. has released zcashd 2.1.2–3, a hotfix that addresses issues identified in the Heartwood activation on testnet. This release fixes a crash on testnet that v2.1.2 nodes are likely to experience on startup. This release also allows nodes that did not follow the testnet activation of Heartwood to properly roll back and follow the Heartwood activation on testnet. In addition, they have ensured that this release’s end-of-service halt is in the middle of July, just prior to their anticipated activation of Heartwood on mainnet.
  • Bringing Privacy to Cosmos with Zcash — This work will proceed in two phases, with the design of the first phase enabling the features of the second phase. In the first phase, the pegzone will provide tokens backed by ZEC in the existing Zcash shielded pool, and secured by a novel shielded-compatible staking mechanism. These tokens can be sent throughout the Cosmos ecosystem, allowing Cosmos users to trade and use ZEC. In the second phase, they plan to add a shielded pool to the pegzone itself, providing shielded staking, shielded IBC assets, and shielded cross-chain transfers.
  • A new paper from Bünz, Chiesa, Mishra, and Spooner generalizing, formalizing, and analyzing the “amortized succinctness” idea from Zcash Halo. They call the generalization an “accumulation scheme”.
  • Zcash is for economic freedom, and that’s worth protecting — In an effort to address their questions, Electric Coin Co. commissioned not-for-profit research institute RAND — comprising both RAND Europe and the US-based RAND Corporation — to conduct deep quantitative and qualitative research into whether Zcash was being used to abuse freedom. Their research revealed that while Zcash is highly-used and well-supported around the world, bad actors do not use Zcash. One of the reasons RAND interviewees conjectured that Zcash isn’t being used to abuse freedom is that Zcash wasn’t built for that purpose. But the conjecturers really don’t know why. What they do know is that Zcash is being used for all kinds of things for which it is intended. Zcash is being used to buy movie tickets and ice cream, for sharing personal notes between friends, and for donations to dozens of charities around the world. They know that Zcash is being used to protect people’s savings from theft, and it is used for protecting people’s voices from censorship in oppressed countries.
  • NU4 feature selection — As part of the Zcash Improvement Proposal and Network Upgrade Pipeline, Electric Coin Co. (ECC) is publishing a commitment of company resources to proposals for the Network Upgrade 4 (NU4), due to activating in November 2020. They reviewed these proposed features with the Zcash Foundation and reached agreement on the inclusion of the ZIPs outlined here, subject to the outcome of security audits.
  • Cypherpunk Zooko Wilcox Aims To Bring Anonymous Zcash To Law-Abiding Masses by Forbes.
  • The state of Zcash adoption — An extensive report highlighting that Zcash enables a range of use cases for public blockchains that would not be possible on a fully transparent ledger. The need for privacy exists in commerce, personal finance, philanthropy, communication and more. Zcash is solving real-world problems that require digital privacy. As new infrastructure is developed, the tipping point to crypto mass adoption gets closer. Privacy will be necessary to meet the evolving needs of both consumers and commercial businesses.

That’s all for today!

Feel free to share your feedback about the format!

This is not financial advice.

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