2018 Decred Roadmap

2018 Decred Roadmap

It is finally time for the 2018 Decred roadmap to be released. 2017 has been quite an eventful year for both Decred and the entire cryptocurrency domain, with exchange rates surging and a substantial increase in interest from the conventional finance sector. Decred has continued with its approach of generating deliverables before hyping them, despite many other projects in the space continuing to relentlessly hype their work far in advance of generating deliverables or focusing on exchange listings in lieu of doing any substantive work. We have substantially improved our marketing in the past several months and expect a strong uptrend to continue on this front throughout 2018. Here is a summary of what we have planned for the rest of 2018 and early 2019:

  • SPV Wallet Support - Instead of taking the typical wallet service approach where wallets connect to a centralized server, we have added support for a proper SPV mechanism that uses compact filters and works over the P2P network.
  • Politeia Voting - Our proposal system is nearing completion and will allow users and stakeholders to make proposals, dictate what does and does not get funded, and participate in project-level decision-making.
  • Lightning Network - The bulk of the work to port Lightning Labs’ lnd to Decred has been completed and it will be released soon.
  • Initial Privacy Release - Privacy work has begun in earnest and we will make an incremental privacy release where we release working code and give further information about our plans and approach.
  • Decentralized Control of Funds - While Politeia voting will be used to control the flow of dev org funds in the meantime, we will be creating a smart contract that will fully decentralize control of the dev org funds.
  • Decentralized Autonomous Entities - Using a similar method as that used to decentralize control of the dev org funds, we will allow for the creation of DAEs on the Decred chain.
  • Scalability Optimizations - A variety of changes, some of which are consensus changes, are required to improve the scaling properties of Decred, e.g. a new signature algorithm, multipeer sync support, and header commitments.
  • Decrediton Integrations - The Decrediton GUI will be adding new integrations to support SPV, mobile, Politeia voting and Lightning Network.
  • Decentralized Exchange - We will draft a proposal for a cryptocurrency-only decentralized exchange and share it publicly.
  • Marketing Growth - Decred has lined up a presence at many of the premier cryptocurrency trade shows for the rest of 2018 and will continue dialing up its marketing efforts.

These roadmap items are discussed in greater detail below.

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Cryptocurrency security: Spectre and Meltdown

Cryptocurrency security: Spectre and Meltdown

Recently Google disclosed a new class of vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown. Folks in the Decred community have been asking questions about the implications of these bugs for Decred. This post delineates implications of these exploits and possible countermeasures. These bugs are akin to traders issuing cancels without back pressure to manipulate the market.

TL;DR

Run your wallet on physical hardware you control and DON’T share with others and DO NOT run a web browser on the same machine. Hardware wallets do not seem to be affected by these bugs but great care should be taken where they are accessed.

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Politeia Platform Challenge

Politeia Platform Challenge

Decred’s Politeia, a proposal system that is part of Decred’s governance system, has a vast amount of potential uses. As such, Decred can only reasonably explore a few of these use cases on their own.

The Politeia Platform Challenge is a competition designed to discover alternate uses for the Politeia codebase. Competitors will use Politeia source code to address alternate use cases besides a public proposal system and then demonstrate how they work. Decred will choose the best of these on February 10th, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TX. The event starts at 8 PM CST, ends at 12 AM CST, and is free to attend. Drinks and food will be available for purchase.

Competitors are encouraged to work in teams but may work independently. National competitors will be able to demonstrate their projects remotely through video conferencing. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place:

  • 1st Place - USD 10,000
  • 2nd Place - USD 5,000
  • 3rd Place - USD 2,000

All prizes are equivalent to USD and payable in Decred.

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Politeia: Proposals in a Timestamped Filesystem

Politeia: Proposals in a Timestamped Filesystem

Rather than settling for governance infrastructure that is just good enough to get the job done, we opted to create what we consider to be the ideal infrastructure for self-governance of a cryptocurrency. We call our system for storing governance data Politeia, which is based on the ancient Greek term, meaning “a system of government”. Politeia is a system for storing off-chain data that is both versioned and timestamped, essentially “git, a popular revision control system, plus timestamping”. Instead of attempting to store all the data related to Decred’s governance on-chain, we have opted to create an off-chain store of data that is anchored into Decred’s blockchain, minimizing its on-chain footprint. While we will use it first as the basis for our proposal system, it has been developed as a generic tool that allows its users to create and maintain arbitrary data in a version-controlled and timestamped environment. Politeia can be used without holding any decred, although it does depend on using a dcrtime server for creating timestamps. In addition to making the initial release of Politeia, we are excited to announce a competition for projects based on Politeia, with winners announced at an event in Austin, Texas on December 1st, 2017. The prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be the equivalent of USD 10,000, USD 5,000 and USD 2,000, respectively, paid in decred.

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On-Chain Atomic Swaps

On-Chain Atomic Swaps

As many of you know, yesterday marked the first cross-chain atomic swap between Decred and Litecoin. This is an important step in a direction that allows users to conduct trustless, cross-chain, over-the-counter (“OTC”) trades without a third party. This disintermediates the exchange process between cryptocurrencies that support these swap transactions. We have created some simple prototype tools under the atomicswap repository, dcratomicswap, btcatomicswap and ltcatomicswap, to allow Decred, Bitcoin and Litecoin users to swap between DCR, BTC and LTC using on-chain atomic swaps. These tools were built for those who we have the means at hand to disintermediate the exchange process: transaction script and OP_CLTV support. It is worth noting that these tools do not address the issue of order book management that is typically performed with full-featured exchanges. There are some privacy and transparency consequences related to on-chain atomic swaps that are not present with centralized exchanges. As of this announcement, the tools are text-based, but we will be integrating this into the Decrediton GUI wallet in a future release. The process for on-chain atomic swaps is described in more detail below.

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