Around the Block, Issue Nº9: ETHEREAL featuring 20kb chains, backdoors, ASICs
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Around the Block, Issue Nº9: ETHEREAL featuring 20kb chains, backdoors, ASICs

A surprising amount of interesting content was written ahead of the busiest week in crypto. My original plan was to feature videos, but ConsenSys covered that well so I’ve resorted to the usual approach of summarising articles.

If we thought that network and protocol innovation is slowing, O(1) proved us wrong. Once again, zk-STARKs make the seemingly impossible possible. Zero knowledge is appearing everywhere from the O(1) labs and StarkWare announcements to Amber Baldet’s new company Clovyr.

💎 Ethereum

ConsenSys feature Ethereal highlights

People don’t go to blockchain week for the talks, however, this year, some conversations have been a refreshing break from token mania. This is a quality compilation of those talks by ConsenSys. I particularly enjoyed the Ethereum governance panel and Amber Baldet’s talk on interoperability. Having both conversations in the open is necessary and helpful for Ethereum.

Will Little explains Proof-of-Stake

Traditionally core developers, node operators, network users and major token holders are in gridlock for many blockchains (e.g., in PoW, miners are not incentivised to hold coins). The PoS consensus protocol is introduced as a mechanism for aligning incentives between the four groups. Many variations of PoS exist. Given the importance of scalability, PoS solutions like DPoS, DBFT, Tendermint, and Casper are most promising.

⚡️ Protocols and DApps

O(1) Labs are announcing Coda

O(1) Labs released their whitepaper for a new protocol that compresses and delivers what a user needs to know via zk-SNARKs allowing for much lighter clients to interact with the ledger. A user of Coda would only require around 20 kilobytes and about 10 milliseconds to verify their balance.

📚 Blockchain Science

OpenRelay talk about the history of back doors in encryption

Governments have always wanted to have back door access to encrypted communications. In principle, it is possible for citizens and corporations to encrypt data with selective permissions for the government. However, in practice this will create a trade-off by either not preventing criminals from hiding their own data or allowing criminals to access all data.

Arnav Vohra explains Hashed Timelock Contracts

HTLCs are a mechanism for executing conditional payments in Bitcoin. They are relevant in Lightning, where the only way to securely transfer between parties not in the same channel is to make a conditional payment that can only be unlocked by a hash key provided by the final recipient. Payer makes conditional payment to intermediary and intermediary makes conditional payment to recipient. Recipient then “unlocks” the payment chain triggering completion of both payments.

David Vorick shares lessons about cryptocurrency mining

There are too many learnings to summarize here, but the overall message is that cash and hardware manufacturing is where the power is concentrated.

😅 Misc

🚀 Releases

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