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.
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.
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.
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 Plasma, Raiden, Lightning, TrueBit 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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...