Pamir Galende from Hummingbird mentioned in a Fireside chat at EF London this week that 3 Whitepaper’s per day is not even enough for a blockchain investor to read. The blockchain space is unique in the amount of novel technical content coming out especially in relation to the number of people involved and doing good work.
Most of the papers are not going to be winners, but last week we saw an anonymous entity by the name of Team Rocket release a Whitepaper detailing a novel consensus protocol. It’s these kinds of potentially game-changing research pieces that make it such an exciting space to follow.
Finally, Around the Block readers may also enjoy the newest season of Anatomy of Next. This season’s Founders Fund podcast talks about going to Mars. While not blockchain related (yet) it made me think about how DLT will be used to safely implement some of our current protocols that assume low-latency communications. If you are interested in the connection, start by reading the paper on Interstellar Trade by Paul Krugman on the impact of the speed of light on trade.
The Digital Currency Initiative team at MIT has been demoing smart contracts for Lightning. They developed an oracle to signal recent prices of USD measured in satoshis. This in principle could support the creation of simple smart contracts in bitcoin that rely on external conditions provided by trusted oracles. The proof of concept may be handed over to a larger company to carry forward.
RET2 detail their solution to one of Defcon’s qualifier challenges for their annual CTF competition. In this task a “Gambling” smart contract had to be decompiled without having access to the source code. EVM is stack-based, which is notoriously hard to interpret for humans. RET2 had to develop their own decompiler UI to solve this task. The solution relies on a novel use of the random seed to reduce gas costs under a pre-configured limit.
The IPFS URL for the Whitepaper is here.
The new protocol claims to support 1,300 transactions per second with a 4 second confirmation latency. The new consensus algorithms don’t use Proof of Work, instead using “gossip algorithms”. The protocol liberates from the transaction chains of PoW blockchains and moves to a DAG-based model where each node maintains a partial order on transaction dependencies. That way consensus for each transaction can be queried independently using a sampling mechanism.
📚 Blockchain Science
When building a dispute resolution system responsible for governing a decentralized protocol, we must assume that most, if not all, of our arbitrators are malicious or may have malicious intentions. Forced bribes exist when a dispute resolution protocol has a built in system to bribe arbitrators. The challenge is hiding the origin of the bribes so they appear real.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) let you tokenize arbitrary information (media), and importantly track ownership of that information. Information and value now perfectly meet. Among interesting applications we will see continuous auctions (where you don’t have to list to sell), fractional ownership, etc.
- New Twitter list for Crypto Thought Leaders by Richard Lin
- Dharma video “What will you build on Dharma?”
- Luiz G. Ramalho identifies technical highlights from Consensus 2018
- Vitalik Buterin and Glen Weyl discuss liberation through decentralization
- Tony Sheng talks about defensibility in crypto
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