Bitmex Research Launched a Fork Monitoring Website
BitMEX research developed a fork monitoring tool that can be used to monitor network and protocol upgrades for soft and hard forks for Bitcoin and BitcoinCash. They plan to include different implementations of Bitcoin nodes such as Bcoin, BTCD and Libbitcoin which might be helpful to detect consensus bugs such as CVE-2018-17144 that was discovered last September. They also announced that the source code for the tool will be made available soon.
Move bitcoin UTXOs off-chain with Statechains
Statechains author @SomsenRuben gives several different depths of explanations for how statechains work including a short FAQ. Statechain aim to allow users to move bitcoin UTXOs entirely off-chain. Enables instant off-chain creation of Lightning channels, with the ability to easily add or remove funds, and more.
Testnet3 Reset

A Testnet is an alternative Bitcoin Blockchain that is mostly used by developers to test their code, test edge case transactions and other development related subjects, the testnet is currently 1412193 blocks long and takes about 2 days to fully sync.

This caused some conversation on the bitcoin-dev mailing list calling for a reset of the testnet to make it sync faster and use less disk data, while some developers called for this, others actually called for a larger blockchain compared to the mainnet to find size-related errors. Developers like Jimmy Song and Johnson lau called for the existence of two testnets, one small and one large.

Block propagation at it's fastest

Reddit user /u/StopAndDecrypt posted the following chart, showcasing the speed of Block Propagation over the Bitcoin Network:

When blocks return to their maximum capacity, we will have normalized data for making better comparisons. StopAndDecrypt describes this as “an efficiency floor of 1-2 seconds and delay may no longer be the scaling bottleneck”.

This data has been retrieved from https://dsn.tm.kit.edu/bitcoin/.

A Proposal Called Numerifides for Solving Zooko's Triangle

Following the discussion that happened around tyzbit’s proposal on advertising lightning nodes via DNS records, he followed up with a proposal that aims to provide human readable, secure and decentralized “names” and arbitrary data on the blockchain while solving Zook’s DCS triangle

I have been working on a proposal called Numerifides which would provide a general method to register human-readable names and arbitrary data (such as username->GPG key, domain->IP address, Lightning node Alias-> URI, etc).

Here are the key highlights:

  • New transaction type called “numerifides” transactions
  • Lock up Bitcoin for a certain amount of time to make the mappings valid, discourage “namesquatting”
  • Transaction puzzle attached to transactions to allow community consensus revocation of highly contested names or “squatted” name mappings.
  • Transactions are RBF so if name is contentious or miners wish to censor, one honest greedy miner can include the censored user’s high-fee transaction)
  • Solves Zooko’s triangle of Secure, Decentralized and Human Meaningful

Proposals and Implementations of Bitcoin Sidechains

Blockchains and Sidechains

Bitcoin in its original, unmodified state has enormous utility. When it was created, the original designer(s) could not account for everything that would transpire after its launch. There are many aspects of the software that are final and unalterable. The consequences of final variables of Bitcoin results in a hard forks. In the occurance of a hard fork, the nodes running modified software sacrifice their ability to interact with the nodes running the original software. The altered nodes begin creating blocks differently and within six blocks there are two block chains - the original and the forked chain.

Liquid Release Candidate Network Is Ready to Go

Liquid is a sidechain created by block chain company Blockstream, its production release is scheduled for May 2018 and the Liquid Release Candidate Network is a network for the participating exchanges aiming to use Liquid.

Last week, Blockstream launched the Liquid Release Candidate Network for participating Liquid exchanges. This new network marks the conclusion of the Liquid Beta program, and we are on the way to a production release in May 2018. The Liquid Release Candidate Network enables member exchanges to integrate their software with Liquid, to be ready at launch.

Accuracy of Bitcoin Timestamps

An interesting thread was started by Neiman via bitcoin-dev regarding the accuracy of Bitcoin block timestamps.

I’m doing a research project about blockchain timestamping. There are many such projects, including the fantastic OpenTimestamps.

I didn’t find any discussion or research regarding Bitcoin timestamp accuracy (also not in the history of this mailing list). I share here a simple analysis of timestamp accuracy, and a suggestion how to improve it.