Vertcoin Development Update — November 2018

Development continues, prices be damned. The team is pushing forward like it has in past market downturns, continuing to improve Vertcoin and prepare it for adoption regardless of what the market does. This month showed great progress in securing Vertcoin for the future and ensuring it is keeping up with the ever evolving needs and conditions of the crypto space.

Algorithm update and plans

Initially Verthash was planned for completion before ASICS were on the network, but due to unforeseen circumstances this wasn’t possible. We want to make sure Verthash is done properly and is not just another mining algorithm, development has and will be continuing as normal to make this possible. In the mean time we present you with something else.

Lyra2REv3

As has been previously announced, ASICS that can mine Vertcoin utilizing the Lyra2REv2 hashing algorithm are in the wild. The Vertcoin Development Team has a long term solution, dubbed Verthash, in the works. However, we realize GPU miners need a solution today. Meet Lyra2REV3.

Goals:

  • brick existing ASICs
  • reduce inherent advantages of ASICs/FPGAs over GPUs
  • enable hard forking in a fast, yet safe and secure way

Lyra2 internal changes (aka Lyra2MOD)

During the wandering phase of stock Lyra2, a random Matrix row to be worked on next is selected based on the following equation:

rowa = state[0] & (num_rows — 1);

We have changed the methodology for random row selection for v3.

uint instance = 0; // initialized to 0 at the beginning of time

instance = state[instance & 0xf];

rowa = state[instance & 0xf] & (num_rows — 1);

Reasoning:

The change described above replaces a static path (which can be determined at synthesis time) with a run-time decision, based on the previous Wandering Phase loop. This change does not undermine the security of the Cipher, because all of state is guaranteed to be random normal distribution at this location in the overall algorithm. More so, explicitly tying each Wandering Phase loop serializes the algorithm even more so than before.

With just this change alone, Lyra2REv2 ASICs could target Lyra2REv3, but only get 0.39% answers correct.

Reduced Efficiency Algorithm Set and Order Changes

Lyra2REv2 Algorithm Set and Order:

Blake → Keccak → Cubehash → Lyra2 → Skein → Cubehash → BMW

Lyra2REv3 Algorithm Set and Order:

Blake → Lyra2mod → Cubehash → Lyra2mod → BMW

Reasoning:

Blake, Keccak, and Skein algorithms are all orders of magnitude faster on ASICs/FPGAs than GPUs / CPUs. To reduce the advantage, Keccak and Skein were removed. We decided to keep Blake and BMW around such that the ABI for GPU kernels stays consistent from Lyra2REv2 to Lyra2REv3, allowing an accelerated hard fork.

If we only removed algorithms, ASICs with re-ordering capabilities like the Baikal Miner would be able to adapt to this specific change (and get 0.39% answers correct assuming no possible way to patch in the Lyra2MOD change). Thus, we added in another Lyra2Mod block. We decided to not put the Lyra2MOD blocks back to back, because that would enable hardware re-use. This change completely breaks any pipelined implementations. Also, this change would be difficult to add as a metal fix at the manufacturing level.

Why not change Lyra2 parameters?

GPU kernels are highly optimized for the current Lyra2 parameters. Making parameter changes requires entire re-writes of optimized kernels, which not only takes expertise, but also takes time. Time which we don’t want to give to the ASICs.

What about FPGAS?

FPGA resistance is much tougher than ASIC resistance. With ASICs, the cost to re-spin a design consists not only of money, but also of time. The average ASIC chip takes 3 months to manufacturer, but a FPGA developer can update a bitstream quickly, and at no monetary cost. FPGA developers will have no issues making the Lyra2MOD change, nor re-ordering of algorithms. However, due to the memory resources utilized by the Lyra2 state and matrix, entire design floor-planning, routing, etc would have to be re-done. If the “core count” was limited by memory for Lyra2REv2 bitstreams, it will be even more limited for Lyra2REv3. As FPGAs with more resources become available, our resistance becomes weaker (this has always been the case has it not?). But remember, Lyra2REv3 has short term goals, and is to serve as a stop-gap between Lyra2REv2 and Verthash.

Are the Neccessary Code Changes Done to the miners?

CPU and both NVIDIA/AMD miners have been updated and tested with the changes. Test net versions will be available soon. We will announce the hard fork date shortly. Our plans are to push everyone to upgrade within a month. That means we will need everyone's help spreading the word to exchanges, pools, and any other services that run a vertcoin wallet. Please look for a separate announcement with all the info you will need.


Non Securities Legal Opinion


Marketing

Below is a summary of some of the initiatives that the marketing team worked on this month.

Vertcoin Talk

Canen felt the desire to go hiking at the start of November. In doing so, he sprained his foot because walking up a mountain is hard…resulting in no Vertcoin Talk for the month of October, and a plummet in the price.

Tune in (November) for Vertcoin Talk: Episode 12 — October & November Development Update!

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.


Merchant Adoption

We have seen some positive developments regarding merchant adoption. Several new merchants have started accepting Vertcoin. One of the latest additions, namely Flubit, actually offers a great variety of products you can purchase with Vertcoin. Furthermore, we have received very interesting input on our merchant survey. This input will help us define the added value of Vertcoin payments for merchants and to identify development opportunities for both Vertcoin and payment providers.

Vertcoin is now on Flubit!

Take our survey here

Merchant Page here


Highlighting Community Projects

Vertpig Swap Launch

Vertpig took a nasty stumble a few weeks ago resulting in a temporary shutdown of the site, read more about it here.

The good news is Vertpig swap is back with even more coins now! Vertpig adds DASH, GRS, XZC & MONA to join BTC, VTC, LTC, DGB, RVN & DOGE. Easily Swap between all these currencies with no account required. Give it a try! All fees go to those who lost money on Vertpig in recent events.


Vertbase Public Launch

In the next coming weeks, Vertbase will open it’s platform to the public. This means an invite token will not be required to sign up, buy, and sell Vertcoin with the US dollar. In addition, the community can look forward to a brand redesign, platform design updates, new features, and additional digital currency listings.

Sneak peek of coming changes…

Vertbase also wants to give a special thanks to the entire community for supporting them during the public beta. During the month of November Vertbase offered a 2 x 250 VTC giveaway to all users that placed an order on the platform in the month of November.

To show our appreciate a donation of 500 VTC has also been given to the Vertcoin Development Fund: https://vertcoin.org/donate/


Monthly KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

  • Reddit: members: 33,982 -0.1%
  • Discord: members: 8993 -0.112%
  • Twitter: followers: 64,500 -1.45%
  • Facebook: followers: 9,545 -6.05%

VTC Development Fund

Donations for November:

Marketing & Advertising Fund +5 VTC

General Dev Fund +1.001 VTC

Thanks!

Expenditures:

0

Coming up

  • New multi-platform Lightning based wallet incl. stealth + atomic swaps
  • Establishment of the Vertcoin Foundation( still waiting..The law office moved from a back alley to inside a laundromat )
  • More VertDocs
  • Verthash
  • Hopefully some donations

Links and Resources

As always we’d like to give a big thanks to all who have helped with the project so far. We love our community and have been amazed at the response to the project.