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Monday Monero Missive #5

Hello, and welcome to our fifth Monero Missive!

Major Updates

  1. fluffypony had a great time discussing Monero at the Bitcoin Supernode Conference in Estonia. Many thanks to rpietila for hosting him and all attendees.
  2. Work on the academic peer review of the CryptoNote whitepaper is slowly starting to move away from an academic platform and on to the code itself, to determine whether the reference implementation correctly implements the whitepaper. Before that happens, though, a summary of the initial findings will be published. We are expecting this to be completed this coming week.
  3. Transaction auto-splitting is now in the main codebase. To explain our methodology: the main github repo will always be "active development", and may contain code that will be reverted or is not fully tested. For those that are brave and want to test and contribute to development, it is the ideal starting point. However, on an ongoing basis we are going to create tagged releases, whereby when a group of new features have been fully tested, a new release can be tagged, and binaries can be put out (along with the code on the github tag, of course). Expect this change to start taking effect within the next 4 weeks.
  4. We'd like to apologise for not finalise the GUI bounty - everyone has been a little scattered this week. We will resolve this in its entirety within the next 48 hours!

Dev Diary

Core: daemonizing changes are ready for testing: https://github.com/mikezackles/bitmonero/tree/daemonize

Core: rpcwallet is ready for testing: https://github.com/tewinget/bitmonero/tree/rpcwallet

This Missive is a little light on major updates (well, we can't have something major every week;) primarily because there has been lots of plotting and planning this week. As always: you can keep up to date with the nitty-gritty on IRC in #monero-dev on Freenode if you're interested.

Until next week!

Monday Monero Missive #4

Hello, and welcome to our fourth Monero Missive!

Major Updates

  1. This week's Missive has been a little slow in coming because fluffypony has been en-route to Estonia to represent Monero at the Bitcoin Supernode Conference in Malla Castle. Thankfully, he has arrived safely, and the conference starts today (nickname'd and all). If you'd like to keep tabs on him over the next three days, he will be Tweeting as the conference progresses: http://twitter.com/fluffyponyza/
  2. Just in case you weren't aware, XMR has been added to two exchanges: BTer and MintPal!
  3. Work continues on the annotated CryptoNote whitepaper, the latest version of which can be found here: http://monero.cc/downloads/whitepaper_annotated.pdf. We have also begun a parallel analysis of the implementation of the concepts in the Monero code (most especially as it has been inherited from the reference implementation).
  4. We caught a bug where restoring a deterministic wallet would not find old transactions. This was due to the assumption that is made by simplewallet that a newly "created" wallet will never have old transactions in it. This has been patched, and will be merged up to master and included in updated binaries from the beginning of next week.
  5. We've been putting a lot of emphasis on making Monero a lot more stable and usable by pools, merchant systems, and exchanges. More details on our ongoing efforts in the dev diary below!
  6. Transaction auto-splitting has been testing quite well, and is just about ready to be included in the main codebase (subsequent to a few minor changes on the RPC side).

Dev Diary

Miner: huge changes to add AES-NI support in slow_hash

Core: tx auto-split testing successful, auto-split RPC call needs to have payment ID support added before being merged into master

Core: major overhaul to the daemon is in progress in mikezackles' repo (https://github.com/mikezackles/bitmonero/tree/daemonize). Currently this is Linux / OS X only, and allows for the daemon to fork to the background properly (whilst still allowing daemon commands to be executed against it). Windows support by means of a Windows service will come later.

Core: along the same lines, simplewallet has been split out into simplewallet (CLI) and rpcwallet (stand-alone RPC daemon), ongoing work is on tewinget's branch (https://github.com/tewinget/bitmonero/tree/rpcwallet).

Until next week!

Monday Monero Missive #3

Hello, and welcome to our third Monero Missive.

Major Updates

  1. We've been stalling this week's Missive on purpose, because we were hoping it would happen...and it happened! We got to number 1 on the MintPal voting list in a week - which is quite an achievement. There was quite a stack of paid-for votes (more than normal for a cryptocurrency on the MintPal voting list), which is surprising, but it definitely helped catapult us up front.
    An interesting graph on CryptVote shows the meteoric climb (XMR is the blue line):
  2. We are immensely grateful for the work the CryptoNote developers have put into the protocol, but their whitepaper is unfortunately lacking in peer reviews. To that end, we have taken it upon ourselves to peer review the whitepaper, and to release the peer review as an annotated whitepaper.
    The two primary peer reviewers are not part of the Monero core team, and are highly qualified academics in the fields of mathematics and cryptography. They are assisted by some of the Monero core team who have a similar computer science academic background. Due to the nature of the Monero project both of the primary peer reviewers have chosen to work under a pseudonym. In a later missive we'll introduce them more formally, but for the moment we wanted to release the current copy of the annotated whitepaper for everyone to take a look at. If you'd like to provide your input on the annotations, please feel free to email any comments to dev@monero.cc
    The latest annotated whitepaper can be downloaded here: http://monero.cc/downloads/whitepaper_annotated.pdf. Please bear in mind that it is only up to page 8 in the CryptoNote whitepaper at present, so the annotation does cut short there :)
  3. We have completed initial work and testing on transaction auto-splitting (thanks to tewinget's tireless work). Now, if you have too many inputs for your transaction, simplewallet will automatically try to split your transfer up to as many as 30 transactions. It will prompt you first and let you know the total fees before just sending it, of course:

    This feature requires more testing, and is NOT in the main code base yet. If you're able to build Monero, please grab it from fluffypony's repo here, and build and test: https://github.com/fluffypony/bitmonero - you won't need to build tests or change the daemon, it's just simplewallet's operation that has changed. Please do not try this with the RPC API yet, this needs the CLI at the moment.
  4. We have had a lot of people asking about the progress of the GUI wallet. We'd like to reiterate that there are a great number of core and fundamental things that need to be worked on before we can get lots and lots of users flocking in. Some of the core necessities that we're working on at breakneck pace are: QoS to reduce the bandwidth demand on full nodes (as everyone will be running a full node at this stage anyway), segregation of wallet functions in order to create a far more robust system for exchanges and merchants to use, Gitian-based builds for everyone's safety and to ensure binaries are safe (safer, really), moving blockchain storage to an embedded database, fixing the now-infamous "ABSTRACT_SERVER_SEND_QUE_MAX_COUNT" (in big red letters!) error that is quite harmless but everyone freaks out about, and so on.
    These are issues at Monero's core that we're working on, and we need to have these in place and fixed before a GUI wallet is widely dispersed, otherwise there will be massive resource constraints placed on user's systems. We're not here to win a race against other cryptocurrencies. We're here to to continue to push out great features and stable and reliable code, in a way that will make sure Monero is around for decades and not just a flash-in-the-pan.

Dev Diary

Core: Checkpoint added at block 80 000

Core: We've incorporated two changes from BBR - proper tx_pool handling, and a fix for the high number of orphans pool miners were experiencing. tx_pool handling is incomplete, as it is implemented by the daemon but the wallet is not, as yet, mempool aware.

Core: Initial tx auto-split commit, ready for testing

Build: Made changes to CMakeLists to allow for the project to build on Arch

Until next week!

Monday Monero Missive #2

Monero Missives June 10th, 2014

Hello XMR users! Welcome to our second Monero Missives.

Major Updates

  1. We're happy to introduce a major new feature for Monero: deterministic wallets based on a mnemonic seed! When creating a new wallet you now get a 24 word seed that you can use to restore the wallet: Usage: This affects simplewallet, and is the default behaviour for --generate-new-wallet. If you would like to disable the deterministic seed during wallet generation, you can pass the --non-deterministic flag. To restore from a seed you can use the --restore-deterministic-wallet flag.
    This provides a MAJOR benefit in that backing up your wallet no longer requires backing up the .bin.keys file! All you have to do is write down the 24 words and that's the only backup you need. If you're particularly brave you can even memorise the 24 words. You can also use this to create an offline cold wallet or a paper wallet: create a wallet on a computer disconnected from the Internet, write the 24 words and the address and the view key down, and then remove all the files created by the wallet.
    Security notes: Please note that this key is independent of your password. By default the 24 word key is written to simplewallet.log when the wallet is created. This is the expected behaviour, the next release will both exclude this from the log and reduce the default log level. Please run --generate-new-wallet with the --set_log 0 flag, or alternatively make sure to delete the simplewallet.log file afterwards.
    Technical details: The key length for this remains 256-bits and thus does not compromise user security. The view key seed is generated from a keccak1600 hash of the spend key (which is directly from the mnemonic seed), hence the deterministic nature of this. The non-deterministic method is still available as an option.
    How to get it: binaries in the OP have already been updated, or you can compile from the source on github.
    Moving to a deterministic wallet: unfortunately it's not possible to retroactively make an existing wallet deterministic. If you want to take advantage of the new feature, you will have to create a new wallet and move your funds in there.
  2. XMR is now on Mintpal for voting. You can find the voting link here: https://www.mintpal.com/voting#XMR - Mintpal allows 1 vote an hour from registered users who have traded before, as well as paid-for votes.
  3. Monero will be officially represented by fluffypony at the Bitcoin Supernode Conference at Malla Castle in Estonia at the end of this month.
  4. Neozaru has made great strides in his RPC-based Qt GUI wallet, and it requires some testing. If you are keen on trying it out, head over to his comment the GUI thread, give it a spin, and give him feedback.

Dev Diary

RPC: incoming_transfers is now available as a simplewallet RPC API call, and payment_id has been added as an optional argument to the transfer RPC API call. Neozaru also committed a large amount of additional functionality to the RPC API, including progress estimation to getinfo.

I2P: no commits this week, much of the work has been around scoping and planning the RPC subsystem.

Core: new seed nodes have been added, so bootstrapping on cold start should work just fine. We are going to add DNS seed node bootstrapping at a later stage.

Docs: work has begun on adding Doxygen comments throughout the code. This will both help us to understand the code written by "The CryptoNote Developers" (who appear at the top of every piece of source code except for the epee library), but will also result in proper developer documentation being made available.

Mining: Wolf` has continued to improve his CPU miner - the latest copy of which can be found on his github repo.

Mining: Claymore released a CryptoNight GPU miner, which you can find at this thread. Please be advised that his miner is currently closed source, and the appropriate level of caution should be exercised.

Until next week!

PS. If you've made it this far, there's a reward in the example wallet listed in the screenshot - first to grab it gets the prize!

Monday Monero Missive #1

This is the start of a slightly more formal way of keeping everyone updated as to what we're doing in Monero. On an ongoing weekly basis we'll post an update on what has happened over the past week, as well as a dev diary highlighting work done on major efforts. If you'd like to get involved with Monero don't ask for permission - just get stuck in :) Fork the repo, make changes, submit a pull-request, and let's discuss it.

Also an important note on updates: Our policy is to only provide announcements on projects which are either complete or near completion. We'd like to focus on providing you with the most accurate and reliable news, without generating any type of investor hype or speculation. As Monero is still a project in its infancy, and there is a great deal of work still to be done, we want to make sure you are getting an honest overview of our ongoing progress.

Major Updates

  1. The big one… we have a logo! If you use Monero in any of your projects, you can grab a branding pack here. You can also see it in all its glory right here:
  2. With our logo completed, we are going to be moving forward on a major overhaul and redesign of our website. We are also in the process of architecting and designing a better repository of information - which includes a forum-style that allows for both discussion, as well an open-source, crowd-funded development incubator. We will be keeping you updated on our progress in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the best place for threaded discussions are the /r/monero subreddit, and for live discussions join us on Freenode: #monero for general chat, #monero-dev for development efforts, and #monero-otc for price talk and over-the-counter trades.
  3. The pool bounty has now closed, and was awarded to zone117x and LucasJones for their excellent work on the Node CryptoNote pool. You can see the results of their hard work on their github repo here or, you know, just use pretty much any of the Monero mining pools:)
  4. In order to maintain ISO 4217 compliance, we are changing our ticker symbol from MRO to XMR effective immediately. This change primarily effects exchanges at this early stage, as we are sure that MRO will continue to be used colloquially and in general discussion. We are aware that this may cause a little confusion, but we feel it necessary to make this change early on rather than later when Monero is more widely spread.

Dev Diary

RPC: Neozaru and others have submitted pull requests to add RPC methods that were missing.

I2P: libssu has been decoupled, and outstanding changes to master have been merged.

Core: just a reminder that there are breaking changes to 0.8.8 to prevent a transaction dust attack on the block reward. Because of the block reward penalty, it was previously possible to constantly reduce the block reward down to nearly zero, which is what has been fixed. You can see this quite dramatically on the Block Reward chart on monerochain.info where our average block reward plummeted by around 13% on May 25 - 27 as the fix was tested, deployed, and miners began adopting it. Please don't forget that simplewallet using the older code will not add the correct transaction fees, causing transactions to sit in the mempool for several days before being rejected.

Core: initial work has begun on documenting the code and on providing architecture overviews. This will be a relatively lengthy project, but will provide us with a more useful codebase that has had more eyes on it.

Crypto: we have also begun an initial foray into examining the underlying cryptographic and mathematic principles of the CryptoNote protocol, and ensuring that it has been correctly implemented in the reference code (Bytecoin - upon which Monero is based). We will reveal more details as this project progresses.

Crypto: DGA has done an incredible job of optimising the PoW hashing code, and has vastly improved the speed at which it operates. This makes syncing the blockchain faster, as well as improves the speed at which miners can run and pools can verify work.

Mining: Wolf` has worked hard on optimising and tweaking LucasJones miner. If you are mining, it is strongly suggested you give Wolf's fork of cpuminer-multi a spin. Because it takes advantage of AES-NI you may find that reducing the number of threads down to around half of the number of cores in your computer is the most efficient.

We'd also like to take the time to introduce you to our core team (in no particular order) - tacotime, eizh, smooth, fluffypony, othe, davidlatapie, NoodleDoodle

Many others are involved in peripheral and related projects, including: zone117x, Neozaru, LucasJones, Wolf`, Quanttek, and so many others

Thank you for your hard work if you have been involved in Monero already, and we look forward to continuing to innovate as keep Monero the most secure, private, untraceable cryptocurrency!

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