CRYPTO DEV DIGEST: Catching the Bitcoin Cash Drift; Augur v2 Launches; Cardano Hardforks

Bitcoin Cash

TL;DR: Crypto Dev Digest (CDD) documents cryptocurrency development, highlighting the projects and persons working under the hood. The Bitcoin Cash community contemplates drift and a new DAA. Ethereum’s prediction market Augur launches v2, and Cardano hardforks.

Catching the Bitcoin Cash Drift

“If there is a valuable problem statement (from a user/business perspective),” posted Josh Green, founder of Software Verde, LLC, “that correcting historical drift resolves then I (and possibly others) may be amenable to changing my opinion on the matter. I think discussing those merits in the next DAA dev meeting is prudent. I’m optimistic that we can come to an amicable solution between node implementations. Keeping us together is something I value a lot.”

Bitcoin Cash

Green referenced the recent controversy in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) dev space: the difficulty adjustment algorithm (DAA). The latest dust-up on that score involves a proposal by BCH protocol client Bitcoin ABC and its lead developer Amaury Séchet, called the Grasberg DAA. Presumably inspired by conversation provoked through Jonathan Toomim and his BCH upgrade proposal: Use ASERT as the new DAA (which was offered as a way to move years-long gridlock forward).

Séchet’s counter-offer was seen as unexpected in the face of a developer meeting on July 16th, just days prior, to address the DAA and Toomim’s contentions (considered a well-received meeting and among the largest BCH dev gatherings in months: Séchet, Toomim, Jacob Eliosoff, George Bissias, Chris Pacia, Scott Roberts, Jason Dreyzehner, Antony Zegers, Karol Trzeszczkowski, Freetrader, and Josh Ellithorpe all particpated), and mere days before a follow-up meeting on the 27th (which has yet to be made public as of publication). [All told, there’ve been three DAA meetings in as many months since May of this year.]

Proof of Lundeberg

Grasberg is Séchet’s home-spun DAA answer with a nod to highly-respected independent developer Mark B. Lundeberg, who both Séchet and Toomim cite to varying degrees. Lundeberg is an interesting figure in the Bitcoin Cash dev community for a variety of reasons. He approaches tasks from a non-ideological manner perhaps due to his training as a physicist. In fact, when the Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP) was announced, Lundeberg, a longtime notable contributor to ABC, announced his unwillingness to support the IFP and appeared to take a much less public role in BCH development as a result since.

Lundeberg’s eventual weighing-in on the subject might prove to move the debate further along. He soon did. Thoughts on Grasberg DAA is Dr. Lundeberg at his very best: measured, analytical, focused. “I’d given up hope on BCH ever getting a DAA,” he confessed in a preface, “and I’m pleasantly surprised that this seems to be happening.” He deemed Grasberg “should be safe,” but admonished it “is unnecessarily complex for what it accomplishes, i.e., the same thing could be done much simpler.”

Bitcoin Cash node Bitcoin Unlimited seized on Lundeberg’s remarks, characterizing Grasberg as Bitcoin ABC’s “controversial proposal to correct historical drift,” quoting Lundeberg directly as having stressed, “‘Drift correction should default to ‘no’ unless there is a strong reason, simply because some accumulated drift has until now been a natural and widely accepted part of every DAA (even ASERT).’” The present debate, Toomim versus Séchet, Grasberg versus ASERT, has zero’d-in upon so-called drift (thus all the stupid puns in this article). Drift correction, then, is what Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN) lead maintainer Freetrader defined as “Bitcoin Cash emission being slightly ahead of an ideal emission curve that one could construct based on the mathematical parameters that govern coin emission.”

Grasberg as More Complex

Freetrader’s concerns with Grasberg have to do with propositions allowing for that DAA to effectively add “additional expected time per block [of] around 75 seconds (on top of the 600 of the ideal target) – for a number of years,” which he feels makes it more of a liability compared to ASERT, and ultimately failing to “offer a major tangible benefit for introducing a drift correction” at all. Grasberg, Freetrader insisted, “does nothing beyond what a good DAA would to help smart contract developers estimate future block times based on height” and “breaks existing smart contract which do that and which assumed a figure which may now be significantly off, e.g. due to blocks taking more than 10% longer on average.”

ASERTI3 vs Grasberg in condensed, integer-only python3: a visual comparison by Toomim

Toomim soon responded to Grasberg with a visual comparison: ASERTI3 vs Grasberg in condensed, integer-only python3. “These are from a draft of my difficulty simulator,” Toomim explained. “I haven’t pushed the [Grasberg] stuff yet to my repository, but it will be there fairly soon. The aserti3 stuff is from a more general-purpose next_bits_aserti function that actually supported six different algorithms. What you see here is after removing all but the actual aserti3 proposal (e.g. no aserti2, and no median-of-three prefilter),” which appeared to show Grasberg as more “complex” by leagues.

Developer Jacob Eliosoff, one of the co-inventors of ASERT, then posted, “Drift correction” and the ASERT DAA. “If I did want to tweak ASERT to do drift correction,” Eliosoff entertained, “without adding too much complexity and without much worsening its performance in Jonathan & Zawy’s DAA simulations, I’d probably just take a weighted average of ASERT’s target block time and the ideal drift-correction block time,” resulting in “an initial average block time of about 11m15s (like Grasberg), gradually easing down to 10 minutes over the years as the historical avg block time climbed up to 10 minutes, and block_time_to_correct_all_drift shrunk from its current ~22,590,000 to ~0. Or a weighted geometric average might have advantages — either way.” However, he warned, “I don’t actually recommend adding drift correction to ASERT.”

Bitcoin Cash Argument Clinic

Bitcoin Cash developer Jonald Fyookball, who also opposed the IFP along with Lundeberg, criticized Grasberg as well, though on decidedly less-technical grounds. “Yesterday it was the IFP, today the ‘drift’ aspect of the DAA, tomorrow who knows what,” Fyookball scorned. “Regardless of whether a protocol change is good or bad, it is extremely dangerous to set the precedent that it’s ok for ABC (or whoever else sets the pace in the future) to start performing changes to the protocol for things that aren’t on the roadmap.”

Tobias Ruck, CEO of be.cash, gave his take as a non-protocol developer. “I don’t give a flying fuck. I’ll just focus on building and don’t want to waste my energy on something irrelevant like that. That’s all, thanks for your attention.” And, truth be told, Bitcoin Cash might be de-evolving into a crypto version of the skit made famous by Monty Python (see embed video, above), The Argument Clinic. That seems to be the BCH community’s function, arguing. Aspersions. Conspiracy. Accusations. Rinse. Repeat.

The good news is Séchet appears willing to consider criticism of Grasberg. “After a few [passes] on https://reviews.bitcoinabc.org/D6981,” he posted the day of July 27th meeting, “the code is now both simpler and more precise,” thanking Lundeberg in particular and cautioning, “We likely haven’t reached the bottom of that barrel, so go have a look at it.” In related news, former ABC dev Shammah Chancellor was inspired enough by all the drama to announce “the Bitcoin Cash mêmé competition of 2020,” which already yielded pretty great results.

  • dApps on Dash

  • Bitcoin ABC 0.21.12 Released

  • Godspeed Cardano

  • SLP Foundation Update

Here. 

  • Fee Market Reform

  • PSF Specs for Bounties

  • Latest Tutorial

  • Congrats!

  • First SLP SPICE Multi-Party Escrow With Oracle

  • Neutrino Coming to Desktop.

Here.

  • Augur v2 Launches

  • BCHD Release v0.16.5 · gcash/bchd

The 0.16.5 release is primarily to address compatibility with indexers.

  • Zecwallet Full View Key Support

  • PSF Seeks Junior JavaScript Developer

  • BitPay Wallet Improvements

  • Knuth v0.3.2 Release

Bitcoin Cash

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