Privacy in Crypto: Intro to MimbleWimble & Grin

Privacy in Crypto: Intro to MimbleWimble & Grin

In late 2016, a pseudonymous character named Tom Elvis Jedusor showed up on the bitcoin developers’ chatroom and posted a tor link, which hosted a single file named MIMBLEWIMBLE, outlining a new design for a privacy-preserving, massively prunable blockchain. Tom Elvis Jedusor, as some may recognize, is the name of Voldemort’s given name in the French Harry Potter books. Tom Elvis Jedusor to this date has never logged into the chatroom again. In this article I explore how MimbleWimble works, the first live implementation of the protocol, and privacy in crypto.

Bitcoin Scaling, Lightning Network & The Future with Micropayments

Bitcoin Scaling, Lightning Network & The Future with Micropayments

The Lightning Network is a network of payment channels that was originally built on top of Bitcoin and has since extended to other blockchains. Individuals can open up peer-to-peer payment channels with one another and make many transactions without accruing the costs of on-chain fees whilst reaping the benefits of having a decentralized blockchain as an underlying layer of security. In this article we will explore how Lightning works, its use cases, and implications of the ability to do micropayments.

Scalability pt 2: State Channels & Counterfactual Instantiation

Scalability pt 2: State Channels & Counterfactual Instantiation

As a follow on to my previous post on scalability and sidechains I thought it would make sense to give state channels a closer look. This article introduces some core ideas and features of state channels, explores current techniques for generalized state channels, and current challenges and limitations. By the end, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of state channels and the implications of having a generalized framework for them.

Sidechains, Scalability & A Closer Look at Rootstock (RSK)

Sidechains, Scalability & A Closer Look at Rootstock (RSK)

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, as stores of value, exist as math and code, secured through energy-intensive protocols like proof-of-work. For the masses to adopt a global, financially inclusive digital store-of-value, the network it runs on needs to be decentralized and secure. However when considering complex use cases beyond store of value, we also need to be able to transact at scale (speed).

Second-layer (L2) solutions like PlasmaRaidenLightningTrueBit and RSK are exploring structures that anchor to a main blockchain as a root of trust, with scalability features implemented in higher layer(s). While many L2 solutions are building on a newer blockchain, what can we do to improve the scalability and programmability of bitcoin itself?

In this post I will be exploring how we may leverage the decentralization and security of the Bitcoin network to run decentralized applications at scale, and dive into the Rootstock project which is tackling this very problem. 

Consensus Algorithms: Proof-of-Work & Mining Deconstructed

Consensus Algorithms: Proof-of-Work & Mining Deconstructed

Because the blockchain is decentralized and transaction data is distributed between nodes, there must be a way for the nodes to sync and agree on what transactions have already occurred. In other words, they have to be in consensus about what the blockchain looks like. This is is the first of a multi-part post on different consensus protocols: it discusses proof of work, Byzantine Fault Tolerance, mining, energy consumption, and scaling.

A Closer Look at Decentralized Exchanges & The 0x Protocol

A Closer Look at Decentralized Exchanges & The 0x Protocol

The blockchain is often heralded as a technology that removes the need for trust. Yet hundreds of thousands, if not the majority of cryptocurrency traders today still need to place so much trust in exchanges to operate in a responsible, secure manner. For my first post that dives into a specific use case of the blockchain, I'm excited to be writing about decentralised exchanges addressing these problems, and the projects currently being implemented. I'll do a quick overview of centralised/decentralised exchanges and then dive into the 0x project - a decentralised exchange protocol that will serve as the public dex infrastructure.

Anatomy of a Bitcoin Transaction

Anatomy of a Bitcoin Transaction

Our bitcoin transaction ledger now contains 512200+ (at the time of writing) immutable pages of history detailing nothing except who sent how much BTC to whom...

But what exactly happens during each transaction? What are public and private keys and why is it such a big deal to keep the latter a secret? What's in a wallet? What does it mean to verify or "sign" a message in this context? In this post I will walk through what happens when you send and receive bitcoin and what it means to "own" cryptocurrencies.

Idea to Event: Behind the Scenes at ThoughtWorks Talks Tech #1

Idea to Event: Behind the Scenes at ThoughtWorks Talks Tech #1

We take time out of our busy lives to attend things and often forget to evaluate whether or not the returns from our being there justify the investment of that time and effort. I've been to whole-day conferences where there was no information about where everything was at the venue, sessions strayed off the agenda, speakers came unprepared... and on the other hand I've also been to conferences that were easy to navigate, and every session had some gem to write home about. What did the organizers do differently that led to these different outcomes? My experiences and learnings from helping to put on ThoughtWorks first tech talk event of 2018 in Thailand.

Dig my Crate: A Ruby project inspired by record collecting

Dig my Crate: A Ruby project inspired by record collecting

I went to bed with a half-finished post on record collecting and thought it would be nice if somehow, non-collectors can explore someone's collection in a simple, interactive way. While Discogs is packed with information about each release, there isn't a way for someone to peruse the records without being bombarded with details they might not care about. In addition, there may be some records that collectors forgot they even had or have not listened to in a while. Though the tactility of crate digging is part of the allure to vinyl in the first place, I thought it'd be fun to also have a tool to pick something for you at random. So I decided to do something about it...

Back to Code

Back to Code

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to revive a hobby I had begun to pursue in college: computer programming. I enrolled in a Data Structures & Algorithms course during my final semester in an attempt to fight off senioritis - and despite the allnighters spent debugging and balancing red-black trees, this decision ended up being one of the best I made at Cal....

Smart Contracts & Ethereum 101

Smart Contracts & Ethereum 101

If you've scoured around for some information on blockchain technology, you are likely to have come across the name Ethereum. Like the experience of reading about Bitcoin for the first time, the abundance of technical terms and novel concepts may have left you more confused than when you first started reading. With this post, I aim to give a gentle introduction to the fundamental ideas behind Ethereum, explain what "smart contracts" are, and what we could potentially achieve with the technology...

Bitcoin explained using emojis

Bitcoin explained using emojis

I first came across the term Bitcoin a few years ago as it gained wider traction across online forums and social media. Initially, I dismissed it as a form of digital money that ran on the same technology on which our traditional online banking systems rely.

I eventually gave in to an ever-increasing sense of FOMO as Bitcoin became enthusiastically discussed amongst friends and colleagues, as well as on my favourite podcasts. I decided to do my own research on the topic, making an effort to understand its fundamentals and why it has a potential to affect billions of lives. As a result...

A(n involuntary) new chapter.

A(n involuntary) new chapter.

Last Spring, I crossed the threshold into adulthood and graduated with an exciting job offer in hand. Like many Bay Area graduates, I was about to enter the weird and wonderful world of tech startups. I joined the talent acquisition team at Instacart and was immediately immersed in the fast-paced and innovative environment that is unique to this scene.

In the months that followed, I...