Vertcoin Development Update — January 2019

Vertcoin
Vertcoin
Feb 8 · 5 min read

Translations: Português

Last Friday, Feb 1st, we successfully hard forked to our adjusted mining algorithm Lyra2REv3. Even though this fork went off without a hitch, there are still threats to the security of our truly decentralized PoW chain. While the hard fork seems to have successfully rid our network of ASIC driven hashpower, the battle is far from over. As we’ve already seen, there is now a marketplace on Nicehash for Lyra2REv3. Although the currently available hashpower is not enough to do an attack on our network, it will only be a matter of time before large quantities of GPU hashing power will have installed updated Nicehash software to allow them too to mine Lyra2REv3. At this point the amount rentable hashpower for Lyra2REv3 — provided someone is willing to pay for it — is enough to carry out an attack.

We therefore advise everyone that accepts Vertcoin in exchange for goods or services, to be cautious about when to consider a payment final. We encourage you to set higher confirmation limits for higher deposits or payments, in line with something we’ve expressed many times: The confirmations should consider the value of the deposit related to the price for renting enough hashpower to dominate the network. Only then will you make a double spend attack economically infeasible. Stay safe — we’re committed to finding a solution to this problem without giving up on the decentralized values that we adhere. So don’t expect solutions like masternodes, notaries or checkpointing. While they might successfully prohibit 51% attacks, they give away too much power from the network to a select few — which is not in line with what Vertcoin wants the network to be.

The Lyra2REv3 hard fork was an emergency measure to abolish ASICs, aligned with our vision that ASICs are not fairly available to all, like commodity hardware (such as GPUs) is. We therefore consider ASICs harmful to the decentralization and fair sharing of mining rewards with all users of the network, but we’re wary of the fact that Lyra2REv3 does not address the biggest threat to our chain: mining outsourcability (i.e. Nicehash)

If you haven’t already updated here is all the info you need.

Verthash

Verthash is and was under development before we decided to hard fork to Lyra2REv3. While Verthash would’ve resulted in the same effect for ASICs (making them useless for mining Vertcoin), the timeline was incompatible with the desire to get rid of ASICs quickly. Verthash is still under development and tries to address the outsourcability problem.

Verthash is an I/O bound algorithm that uses the blockchain data as input to the hashing algorithm. It therefore requires miners to have all the blockchain data available to them, which is currently about 4 GB of data. By making this mining data mandatory, it will become harder for auto profit switching miners — like the ones that rent out their GPU to Nicehash — because they will need to keep a full node running while mining other algorithms for the moment Verthash becomes more profitable — the data needs to be available immediately since updating it can take a while.

Over the past month, we have successfully developed a first implementation of Verthash in the Vertcoin Core code base. Within the development team we have run a few nodes on Testnet to test the functionality — and everything seems to work properly. The next step is to build out the GPU miners for AMD and Nvidia. This is a NOETA at the moment, since we’re waiting on GPU developers which are in high demand. Once the miners are ready, we’ll be releasing the Vertcoin 0.15 beta that hardforks the testnet together with the miners for the community to have a testrun. Given the structural difference between Lyra2RE and Verthash, we’ll have to run the testnet for a longer period than we did with the Lyra2REv3 hard fork. We’ll have to make sure the system is reliable before hardforking our mainnet. So the timeline will be longer than with the Lyra2REv3 hard fork.

Some people in the community have voiced concerns about the fact that Verthash development is not being done “out in the open”, i.e.: the code commits are not visible on Github. The main two reasons for us to keep our cards to our chest at this stage are: (1) only when the entire system including miners has been coded up can we be sure the system works, we don’t want to release preliminary stuff that doesn’t work or isn’t secure. Also (2) we don’t want to give hardware manufacturers or mining outsourcing platforms a head start on trying to defeat the mechanisms we’ve put in place.

Once we hardfork the testnet, all code will be public. There’s no secrecy for released software. All code will be open like you’re used to. Just not yet.

This month it was all about the fork, so all of our marketing energy was focused on getting people prepped for the fork. Our fork was successful, so I would call that a great month for marketing!

January was a busy month for Talks, we had 3 in total! We had our standard Vertcoin Talk, a breaking down of tribalism inside of crypto with a “Talking Blockchain” show with DigiByte Ambassador Josiah Spackman & a very rushed stream of the FORK happening live. Canen had this big production set for the fork and the fork happened faster than anticipated, oh well! Enjoy! Make sure to follow us on all of our social sites to get alerted to upcoming talks. Episode 15 should be going live in the coming days. A lot of valuable information was passed around in these talks, check them out below.

Vertcoin Talk: Episode 14 — Vertcoin Development Update — December 2018 & UPCOMING FORK!

Talking Blockchain with DigiByte Ambassador Josiah Spackman

Vertcoin Fork

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube or Twitch!

Tune in on YouTube LIVE, Soundcloud, Google Podcast or iTunes for an on-demand recording of the show. You can find the latest here.



Monthly KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Things are starting to settle.

  • Reddit: members: 33,761 +0.2%
  • Discord: members: 8936–1.3%
  • Twitter: followers: 63,100 -1.1%
  • Facebook: followers: 9,470 +5.1%

VTC Development Fund

Donations for January:

Marketing & Advertising Fund +100.01 VTC

General Dev Fund +1406.6 VTC

Thanks!

Expenditures: 0

Links and Resources

Big thanks to all who have helped, and continue to do so!

Credit: Gertjaap, Canen, and The Vertcoin team.

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