Proving the Power of Visionary Development, Decentralization, and Community
Why I Joined the Verus Community and Looking Back on 2018
“…fully peer to peer, public blockchains disintermediate and provide tools that offer the opportunity to revitalize our economic systems and societies, potentially creating a more equitable and honest economic framework for all.” — The Verus Vision paper
When I first heard about Verus, it was through my good friend Ben O’Hanlon who told me there was a new crypto that was actually CPU mineable. In a new era of blockchain where I, along with mostly everyone else in mainstream crypto, believed CPU mining was an inefficient and outdated method best kept tucked away with the Bitcoin whitepaper and those lucky bastards who first mined BTC in its inception days, this sounded cool but didn’t really impress me, in and of itself.
When I finally decided to head over to Verus and take a look at what the project was all about, I felt like a sea-weary sailor spotting a glimpse of a distant lighthouse…if I dare sound a little corny… but was still uncertain how sure the ground was, upon which it claimed to be founded.
People and Development Strong
I immediately noticed two things about the project: first, there was no “team”, just contributors with the invitation to join the community as yet another member. Second, the project was quietly doing the best development work I had seen yet, without any glitz or glam. Being a developer myself with a solid 2 years in crypto in the capacity of researching and understanding projects, their quality of work, vision, and the condition of the market and industry…meant I was poised for having an eye for identifying that special “something.”
As I began to dig further, it occurred to me just how outstanding the development work really was, just how strong a foundation and how real the land was for which I had been sailing.
Growing up in California and frequently visiting Nevada City and the gold mines, hearing the tales of treasure sought and sacrifices made for such pursuit of real gold…and the “fool’s gold” designed to mimic the real deal which the museum curator would show us…that childlike wonder rushed back, accompanied with the sensations of being an adult who often wished I had discovered Bitcoin earlier and been more integral in it’s revolutionary movement in our world.
Verus was doing something different, something no one else was doing. The developers made things, incredible things, and then told people it was done and how to use it, leverage it, etc. The “lighthouse” of my recognition did has not disappointed in revealing the existence of the solid ground beneath it…the Verus project and community.
Becoming a Contributor
As I began to study the vision paper and really delve into the project, get to know the community, and the developers, it became even clearer how true this is, how truly Verus is like the solid ground in an ever changing and surging sea of uncertainty, and how well it provides a foundation for building sound and secured structures, systems, economies, and virtually any sort of application for use in society and the future of peer to peer money.
After a few weeks of involvement as a miner and community member, simply learning and gleaning, I began to get involved in trying to help others as a periodical contributor within the community as well. Then my buddy Ben looped me in on a conversation with Mike Toutonghi in regards to contributing more regularly, my love for writing and do a couple articles for the project.
In a matter of a few months of my own personal involvement with the project I’ve witnessed the most impressive development and strides I’ve ever seen a blockchain project take with such finesse, speed and accuracy. I’m so excited and grateful to be a part of this community and this vision.
Solving the Biggest Problems in Blockchain
In just 8 months Verus solved the theoretical problem of “nothing at stake” through a solution that incorporates decentralization and incentivizes fair play while making it an economically losing proposition to try cheating at Proof of Stake and technically improbable/unlikely. Verus then went on to solve the problem of weak subjectivity while developing a new consensus algorithm called Proof of Power. Proof of Power is immune to 51% hash attacks as proven in the mathematical paper which Verus developers released shortly after releasing the consensus mechanism to the Verus blockchain.
For anyone who isn’t so tech savvy, these three issues (Nothing at Stake on a PoS consensus, Weak Subjectivity, and 51% Hash Attacks) are arguably the top three biggest threats which face blockchain technology…and all three have been solved in a matter of months on the Verus blockchain and, in turn, for all blockchains stood up on the Verus system as autochains. Not only did Verus solve these, they have proven the 51% hash attack solution mathematically and implemented it in practice in forks and upgrades that are now live as the current Verus blockchain today.
Another major event last year, Verus incorporated the Zcash Sapling upgrade, the largest upgrade to the Zcash code yet, equipping Verus with lightning fast and resource light zk-SNARK transactions. This was a massive upgrade and positioned the Verus blockchain further in terms of the goals of Public Blockchain as a Service. As a part of this upgrade Verus also incorporated smart contracts through an enhanced implementation of Komodo’s “Crypto Conditions” which allowed for features like Stake Guard, the mechanism which allows for solving the Nothing at Stake problem.
As a friendly collaborative gesture and in the spirit of open source, Verus then shared the Sapling upgrade tech upstream with Komodo, who in turn, forked their entire ecosystem with Sapling…while allowing asset chains the option to opt-out (which 2 did).
As 2018 drew to a close it became known that a small group of FPGA miners were secretly mining Verus at a significantly higher hash-rate than the fastest GPU. Verus developers reached out to the company selling the bitstream and offered to cooperate, with decentralization and equalization key factors, along with open source of the bitstream being a necessary ingredient. Having not arrived at an agreement, the Verus developers made the choice to improve the VerusHash to better equalize hardware types, and just this past month released VerusHash 2.0.
The VerusHash 2.0 fork was one of the smoothest and well executed forks I’ve ever witnessed, the hash rate and difficulty adjusting smoothly, without a hitch at the block height of the fork and on. And a massive response in CPU mining. The fork reasserted decentralization and provided a platform for better hardware equalization going forward as Verus develops PBaaS.
Looking Back at 2018
These are just some of the major examples of what this exciting project achieved through the active involvement and contributions by all the community, devs and lead dev Mike Toutonghi included. After the 100% fair launch of VerusCoin on May 21 2018, in just roughly 7 months, it’s staggering how much Verus accomplished and how much the Verus community has grown, matured, and thrived regardless of the cryptocurrency climate.
It’s a challenge to fit all that has been achieved in that short 7 months into a single update, while truly giving each individual achievement and community contributor the acknowledgement they deserve.
Following is not an exhaustive list, there are so many updates, improvements, and lots of little things along the way including coin listings, it would be ridiculously long! But I drew out what I felt are the big highlights. Many of these highlights included more than a single community member or developer. To learn more about each you can peruse the Verus discord Announcements channel.
Some highlights from 2018:
- May 21–100% fair launch (no ico/no premine) announced on BCT
- June 12 — FAQ Bounty Offerings Announced to community
- June 13 — Vision Paper, White Paper Phase I, new website, Twitter, Reddit… all released
- July 7 — Listing on Digital Price, first exchange listing
- July 30 — Announcement of Verus Foundation formation
- Aug 14 — First community member operated pools online
- Sep 9 — Released electrum servers, Lite mode Agama, and first GPU miners!
- Sep 10 — Mobile development underway and announced
- Oct 15 — Sapling Update released & fork announced
- Oct 30 — Sapling fork at 227520, a seamless fork to latest upgrade which incorporates Sapling and a modified Crypto Conditions “Stake Guard” solving nothing at stake
- Nov 15 — Proof of Power paper published, proving Verus PoP consensus’ immunity to 51% hash attacks
- Nov 27 — Verus upstreams Sapling modifications and VerusHash 1.0 to Komodo
- Dec 13 — AAcoin launches unique exchange-staking pool for VRSC
- Dec 20 — VerusHash 2.0 Released with Verus update v0.5.0 and fork date announced. Bounty announced for GPU and FPGA developers for new VerusHash
- Dec 28 — VerusHash 2.0 Fork at block 310,000 is an outstanding success and the smoothest fork I’ve ever witnessed
We also thought it would be nice to shout out to all the community members who contributed! There are so many active contributors in the Verus community and I really want to express my personal gratitude to each and every one. I want to mention just a few of those who I’ve noted some significant participation, contribution, in some way.
Michael Toutonghi Jr
Chris — LOUD Mining Dev-Ops
Ginasis Mining Pools
If I left anyone out I’m sorry! Know that I’m deeply appreciative to every fellow community member!
Resonating with Something Deeper
With the innovative and, dare I say brilliant, development work by lead developer Mike Toutonghi as another community contributor able to deliver quality, working and revolutionary code and solutions swiftly and smoothly..and a host of talented developers, committed contributors, miners, stakers…the Verus community is an evolving decentralized ecosystem of participants working together toward the Verus vision and building a bright and thriving future society, economy and integral implementations of blockchain technology within, in my opinion, the most secure, well grounded, and best-suited blockchain system yet seen in the industry.
For me it is exactly the sort of project I’ve been looking for, it resonates with my philosophies of decentralization, with my principles of privacy, with my own desire and vision of a society which is better equipped for supporting freedom, privacy, truth, voice, and positive economy in which people are able to be in control of their own identity, money, opinions, time, and attention.
It is, in my opinion, the next logical step for Bitcoin and in total sync and alignment with the original Bitcoin whitepaper and Satoshi himself.
As I’ve grown to learn more about the Verus vision, understand the tech better, and spend time with the other Verus contributors, including Mike and other devs, my passion and love for this project continue to expand and deepen.
It’s About Community
I’m excited to be contributing on the regular now-a-days and doing my part for the community to help shine more light on the incredible project which Verus is, to help guide others who, like me, are feeling a little lost in the sea and looking for solid land again. On that note, I want to invite anyone who is looking for meaning in cryptocurrency and blockchain to join the Verus community!
While much of crypto is about buying coins to try and strike it rich, vapor ware projects selfishly pursuing their own profit or greed through well-written pitches, Verus is something rare. A project that is totally decentralized, community based, and actually building real solutions and tools for a future economy and for decentralized blockchain applications…which is already proven in its development base and is established in solving the biggest problems (real and theoretical) in blockchain…it’s as rare as was bitcoin when it first took showed up.
Sure, you can buy Verus Coin and stake it, earning rewards for helping to secure the blockchain via Proof of Stake...or even mine VRSC with modern CPUs, helping in the decentralization and security of the Proof of Work side of consensus. But honestly the best way you can get Verus Coin is by joining the community and helping out, becoming a part of the “human network” of decentralized contributors and members who are making Verus the thriving project, community and ecosystem it is fast becoming.
If you would like to learn more about Verus Coin and get involved in any way, whether in mining and helping secure the blockchain or through contributing and joining the community (or both!), visit the official site at https://veruscoin.io and join the official Verus Discord.