Decred is gearing up for growth – a quick roundup of recent developments!


It’s been a busy week for Decred, and things aren’t showing any signs of slowing down! This week we have seen the launch of a snazzy new update to the Decred Forum, the release of Decred v1.0.7, the 10,000 follower mark has been reached on Twitter, and with the launch of the Decred website in 13 different languages yesterday, it looks like this number is only going to get bigger!


Forum update
The Decred forum has had a complete overhaul, with the implementation of a new design that brings it in line with the new Decred theme and branding. Along with Reddit and Slack, the Decred Forum continues to provide the community with an invaluable source of information and means of keeping in touch with other Stakey fans around the globe. If you’re not already a member, sign up and check it out at


Website Translation
As part of Decred’s grand plan for global domination the Decred website has been translated into 13 different languages, including: Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Italian, German, French, Finnish, Spanish, Greek and Polish! I believe the website translation will be fundamental in building new Decred communities around the world, along with educating the billions of people who don’t speak English about the benefits of Decred.

A big thank you goes out to all the Decred community members who have made this possible. In the true decentralized spirit of Decred, community members from across the globe have given up their valuable time, working tirelessly to make this possible.

However, we aren’t stopping here! More languages are set to be added to the list soon, including Japanese, Korean and many others too; inclusivity is one of the core principles of the Decred Constitution. In line with this, and to extend our reach across all corners of the globe, we have plans launch in as many languages as possible to ensure we cater for everyone’s needs – no matter where you’re from, or what language you speak!

In addition to the recently released website translation there are also plans to release translations of all Decred documentation. If your language is not currently supported, and you’re capable and willing to help out, then why not drop by the #international_ops channel on Slack to find out how you can get involved!


10,000 Twitter followers
This week has also seen @decredproject reach the golden number of 10k Twitter followers! In just a few months Decred has almost doubled its number of followers on Twitter. In recent months there’s been a big focus on improving both the quantity and quality of tweets in an effort to help keep the community up-to-date with the latest Decred news and announcements – something that’s only going to get even better!

However, Twitter is not the only social media platform that has seen success recently. In the last couple of months Reddit members have almost doubled, and subscribers to the Decred Assembly YouTube channel have almost quadrupled! All down to the hard work of the Decred contractors working in these areas. A big thank you from all the community for your efforts!

As part of its global growth plan Decred hopes to follow in the footsteps of this success with plans to launch across other popular social media platforms in an effort to extend our reach into new communities around the world. In turn, this should also bring about an increase in the number of services providers that accommodate for Decred in the more underserved parts of the globe. The current Decred Brazil community and Facebook group is a prime example of the strong Decred community we hope to build, the Decred Brazil ecosystem continues to expand rapidly because of it.

Stay tuned for more details – but if you’re interested in helping build up a new community in your part of the world then get involved!


Release Update
The new v1.0.7 release brings some awesome new features to Paymetheus and Decrediton. Along with a whole host of backend improvements, users will now benefit from new artwork, animations and an enhanced user interface that makes ticket buying even more enjoyable!

The release has also resolved a few minor issues in dcrwallet, and laid the groundwork for some highly anticipated and regularly requested staking features!

In addition, the release also brings us one step closer to the long awaited Lightning Network integration on Decred. There have been a whole host of new improvements to the infrastructure of btcd that lays the foundations to provide full support for the Lightning Network!

On behalf of all the Decred community I would like to thank the Decred developers for their tireless work behind the scenes, and also welcome the new additions to the party! To update your wallet and check out the new features for yourself visit, and for the full release notes visit Github.

lightning gif

In all the time that I have been a part of the Decred community I’ve never been so excited about the future! Although we’ve seen lots of great improvements recently, things are not slowing down – in fact, the pace is picking up! Building on the solid foundations the marketing team have built over the last few months, and in response to feedback from the community, there has recently been an overhaul in Decred’s approach to marketing (keep your eyes peeled for an official post on this). And, as outlined in the recently updated roadmap, there are a whole host of major features due over the next few months.

We will soon see the release of the proposal system: the second step in the process of converting Decred into a fully functioning stakeholder-directed DAO. The proposal system will be the first of its kind that is actually anchored to the blockchain itself. It will be a censorship resistant system that will allow stakeholders to submit proposals for funding towards a project that adds value to Decred.

At the present time governance is also high on everyone’s agenda. We’ve all recently witnessed what happens to a blockchain without an effective governance system. The creation of Bitcoin Cash on the 1st August has highlighted the need for decentralized governance to everyone. While a lot of Bitcoin holders have enjoyed receiving their free Bitcoin Cash airdrop, I suspect that the real governance issue will only be recognized over the coming weeks when the incentive of more profitable mining – combined with an increase in value – may cause some Bitcoin miners to switch blockchains. In turn this could lead to Bitcoin Cash gaining more traction. Furthermore, if the Bitcoin block size increase goes ahead as planned in November with the SegWit2x proposal it is likely that the threat of a Bitcoin blockchain split will emerge, unless a high percentage of miners come to an agreement. It will surely be an interesting time! A time that Decred is uniquely positioned for as the only cryptocurrency with a working on-chain decentralized governance system that solves these issues.

In the coming months we will see the highly anticipated release of Lightning Network support for Decred. As mentioned earlier, major progress has already occured in relation to this goal and is made easier due to the strong ties between Decred’s current lead developers, Company Zero, and the Lightning Network team. Company Zero created btcsuite – the package that both Decred and the Lightning Network is built with!

Following this, we will see work begin on privacy enhancement. The feature is a closely guarded secret, and no one other than the developers themselves knows what this will entail, but you will have to take my word for it when I say I have never seen or heard of anyone that is as serious about privacy as the current Decred developers. The extent that they go to ensure they maintain complete privacy is truly mind-boggling! So I can confidently say that I’m excited!

Furthermore, since the recent call for new Decred Astronauts in last month’s blog, lots of new contractors have been brought on board and this will also going to help speed up the development process to ensure that everything is delivered as planned. New contractors have already made some fantastic contributions to the project, and I am sure this is something that will continue!

Overall, the Decred ecosystem is expanding rapidly! With the recent releases, the future roadmap, and a whole host of surprises along the way, the future is bright for Decred. If you’re not part of it already, now is the time to get involved – join the Decred community!


The road to The Decred DAO: A self-funding cryptocurrency

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“Anyone can take the easy road, for that reason it is the hard road that leads to the most beautiful destination” – Unknown.

Decred is unique, in more ways than one. It has an on-chain user activated hard fork (UAHF) voting system, a hybrid Proof-of-Work (PoW)/Proof-of-Stake (PoS) design, and a unique funding model. Each of these innovations have been developed with decentralized governance in mind. Why? Because we all know that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A truly decentralized system has no single point of failure.

Decred’s on-chain UAHF voting system is just the outer layer of governance – the way users make decisions. Although the hybrid PoW/PoS design enhances network security, its purpose is also to allow on-chain voting to take place, and prevent PoW miner domination. In turn, the economics of the on-chain voting system, such as ticket buying and staking rewards, incentivize mass user participation in the network, which therefore ensures decentralized decision-making.  Buying tickets is fun, but really the process is just one cog in the greater governance system. This blog will talk about the very beginning of this unique system – its funding model.

dcr - road to decred dao - twitter

Over the last few years an array of cryptocurrency funding models have emerged. Notable models have included the instamine, as seen with coins like Dash, where approximately 15% of the coin’s total supply was mined in the first 48 hours, and the Zcash founders reward, where 10% of the total coin supply will be distributed to the stakeholders in the Zcash company. However, the most popular funding method by far has been the initial coin offering (ICO), where we have recently seen Tezos break the record, raising a staggering $232,000,000. The question is – are all these funding models decentralized? Are they fair? And, are they legal?

Amongst the cryptocurrency community I feel there are unwritten rules – rules that make a project legitimate in the eyes of the community and give them faith in it. I believe these rules are derived from the communities’ cypherpunk roots and the cypherpunk manifesto. For this reason I believe the community values the fundamental principles of privacy, transparency, decentralization, and working together for the common good. Cryptocurrency has the ability to give people real financial freedom. For centuries banks have controlled and profited from us, but the blockchain revolution has the power to change that.  However, do all cryptocurrency projects abide by these fundamental principles? To fully understand the importance of the considerations that need to be made when funding a cryptocurrency, we must take a more detailed look at the various methods that the more notable projects have previously used to raise funds.

Firstly, the instamine – is it fair? Or does it represent a founder taking advantage of the system for his or her own financial gain? In my opinion, it depends on the project. You may think that the millions of dollars that the founder of Dash has made from his instamine goes against the community’s principles. But on the other hand, when Satoshi Nakamoto mined more than 1 million coins at an extremely low difficulty (relating to almost 5% of all Bitcoins that will ever exist), was it their intent to profit from the system? To date it seems the answer is no, as their coins have never moved. But we have to trust that they never will be.

However, whilst the instamine is often considered to be a negative feature of Dash’s funding model, a more positive point is the fact that they at least had a working product when the project launched. Furthermore, the ongoing 10% development subsidy taken from each block mined ensures that the coin remains self-funded, without the need to rely on any external funding.

Zcash also has a rather unique funding model with their founders reward, which is similar to Dash’s development subsidy. For the first four years 20% of all block rewards will go to the Zcash founders, which represents 10% of all coins that will ever exist. The founders include early stage investors, developers, and the Zcash foundation. It is clear that some thought has been put into this funding model to try and make it fairer. Zcash has an amazing team of developers and scientists who are working on cutting edge cryptography, and early stage funding from investors paid for their salaries to help get the project up and running. But in spite of this, there has still been some criticism of the founders reward. Some people feel it is unethical that the founding investors are financially benefiting from the project. As a result we have seen Rhett Creighton create Zclassic, removing the 20% fee because he believed the miners deserve to earn their fair reward.

Nevertheless, in my opinion the founders reward is a fairer way of funding a project than carrying out an ICO or instamine, as at least there is an incentive for the developers to continue adding value the project over time. And, to give credit where credit is due, Zcash did make a positive step forward when they created The Zcash Foundation and decided to allocate portion of the founders reward to it. In addition, when the company’s founder, Zooko, decided to donate half of all the Zcash coins he was due to receive from the founders reward to the foundation, this also helped to clear up some further ethical concerns.

The latest funding craze is the ICO. Over the last month alone $500 million dollars has been invested in ICOs. For those of you that are reading this and don’t know what an ICO is, see this article. But the general basics of an ICO involve a project offering coins, or tokens, to investors in return for a fiat and/or cryptocurrency investment. There are many variations of the ICO – capped, uncapped, and Dutch auction. There are ICOs that distribute all coins to investors, and there are ICOs that withhold a specific amount of coins to fund future development. As a result there are many pros and cons for each of these variations, but overall I believe a few fundamental issues exist.

In the vast majority of cases projects use an ICO to raise anything from tens of millions, to hundreds of millions of dollars, without any working product. Therefore, the first and most obvious issue with this funding method is that it attracts scammers. There have been dozens of scams, where projects such as Declouds and Ebitz have raised millions with nothing but a white paper, and then made off with investors funds never to be heard from again.

On Episode 8 of The Decred Assembly…

On Episode 8 of The Decred Assembly, Monero’s current project organizer Riccardo “FluffyPony” Spagni made his opinion on ICOs clear. Riccardo said “when someone does an ICO my default is – it’s a scam until proven otherwise”. However, Riccardo also stated that he’s “not against the tokenization of securities” but he is “against ICOs being used to sidestep the protocols that have been put in place for the protection of investors”.

In crypto it is often said that “code is law”. If there is no code, and no working product, then it would be fair to say investors should think twice before investing, or double up on their due diligence checks. Without any code people are essentially investing in vaporware. Furthermore, do these projects actually need hundreds of millions of dollars to fund development? What incentive do they have to continue developing if they receive all the money up front? In some cases, project founders have even used this as a get rich quick scheme. In the ICOs that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, this has turned founders into overnight millionaires. On Episode 9 of The Decred Assembly the creator of Litecoin, Charlie Lee (aka coblee) said he is “very wary of ICOs because most of them are money grabs because they see how easy it is to raise money”.

In the case of the recent Tezos ICO, the company Digital Ledger Solutions (DLS), that is currently controlled by the founders of Tezos, will be sold to the Tezos Foundation. Once the Tezos blockchain has operated successfully for three months DLS’ shareholders will receive 8.5% of the contributions made during the ICO, in addition to a 10% allocation of the all tokens from the genesis block, placed in a smart contract that will vest monthly over a period of 48 months. Using the figure cited of $232 million, this means DLS shareholders will receive an initial payment of around $19.72 million (representing 8.5% of fundraiser contributions). Furthermore, if the investors who took part in the Tezos ICO were to just break even, this would mean DLS shareholders would also receive an allocation of $23.2 million worth of Tezzies (representing 10% of all tokens issued in the genesis block). Together these two figures equate to a staggering amount of over $40 million dollars.

It was nice to see Tezos take extra precautions to safeguard those investing in the ICO through the addition of a facility that allowed investments to be made offline. This additional security measure is a positive step in providing an extra layer of protection to ICO investors, and I believe it is something that ICOs should consider in future. However, in my opinion, if a project raises money before having a working product then they are in direct breach of the “code is law” principle, and in breach of the unwritten rules of the cryptocurrency community itself. Therefore I believe we should all demand “code before ICO” to protect investors.

A recent bulletin from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggests this might not be the only law these ICOs are breaking. In another report the SEC ruled that tokens issued in the DAO ICO were in fact securities, and are therefore in direct breach of federal securities laws. Whilst the DAO was the first ICO to come under investigation, I doubt it be the last. I suspect there will be further repercussions for other projects that have raised funds and issued tokens or coins that fall under the remit of ‘securities’. In a recent Facebook post billionaire investor Tim Draper, who recently backed the Tezos and Bancor ICOs, asked for exemptions for projects that raised funds prior to October 30th 2017 “in the spirit of clarity and encouraging innovation”. Tim is also a shareholder in DLS.

This crackdown was predicted also by Charlie Lee when he spoke on The Decred Assembly. Charlie said “the SEC will come down hard on ICOs because it’s basically like an IPO but without going through the normal regulation. So I think it’s going to end badly”.

In my opinion there are very few projects that have a fair funding model, one of them is the coin Charlie created, Litecoin. The other is Monero. Both Litecoin and Monero rely exclusively on donations and open-source development. These projects have exceptional development teams that are fully committed to their project for the good of the people, and for these reasons the projects are held in high regard by the community. However, both projects also admit that they are vastly underfunded, as they do not receive a steady supply of ongoing donations, which presents difficulties in terms of the rate of development. This is also similar to problem that Bitcoin has had.

Bitcoin is perhaps the greatest gift of all to the cryptocurrency community. In fact, the community didn’t exist before it – Bitcoin is the grandfather of all cryptocurrencies. No one really knows how the creation of Bitcoin was funded, because no one really knows the true identity of the person(s) who created it. But it is widely acknowledged that it was created for the good of the people. To our knowledge creator Satoshi Nakamoto never received any funding before or after its release.

While there are many Bitcoin developers that contribute their time to the Bitcoin project for free, because they believe in its power to make the world a better place, these contributions alone are not enough to keep up with the amount of network maintenance and development that is needed. To address this problem the development team Bitcoin Core (BC) receives ongoing funding from the corporate entity Blockstream, to pay for the salaries of a number of full time developers. Blockstream describe themselves as a “leading provider of blockchain technologies, on the forefront of work in cryptography and distributed systems” that “provides a range of software and hardware solutions and expert professional services to companies deploying new blockchain-based networks”. For obvious reasons this creates a conflict of interest, bringing into question the extent of influence and control that Blockstream has over Bitcoin. Because BC are funded by Blockstream it could be perceived that they have an obligation to make decisions that favour them. Similarly, this could also be said for another notable development team, Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), who are rumoured to have received significant donations of Bitcoin from Bitmain.

Bitmain are the company behind Antpool…

Bitmain are the company behind Antpool, the world’s largest Bitcoin miner. Bitmain’s founder, Jihan Wu, is spearheading the campaign to scale Bitcoin by increasing its blocksize. Compared to a second layer scaling solution such as SegWit, an increase in block size allows more on-chain transactions per second, which therefore means more Bitcoin earned from transactions for miners, and therefore more profits for Bitmain. BU also supports the increase in block size as a method to scale Bitcoin. Of course, the influence that Bitmain have had over this decision cannot be confirmed. But again, it is easy to understand why someone may perceive this, and it also clearly highlights that this method of funding is inappropriate for an apparently decentralized blockchain system.

There will always be the need for ongoing network development and maintenance in a blockchain network, but as highlighted by the above examples, if this funding comes directly from an external source then the system may be subject to real or perceived external influence, and therefore centralized control. If a blockchain is to remain truly decentralized, then a decentralized method of funding is required. This is why Decred chose to do things differently, opting for their unique self-funding model instead. Compared to the flair and hype we have seen with many cryptocurrencies that have launched recently, Decred had a very different, more humble beginning.

Those of you that have read my previous article will know that the origin of the Decred project started with Memcoin2 (MC2), and that the project’s early founder was an unknown individual going by the name of Tacotime. When Tacotime first started work on MC2 he was a graduate student who spent hours of his own time on the technical development of the project for free, because he believed it would benefit the community in future. But working alone, with a limited amount of time on his hands due to being a student and holding down a paid job meant development was slow. In contrast, there was a high demand from the community for the project to be developed quickly. But if this was to happen it would mean Tacotime would have to commit to the project full-time, which he couldn’t afford to do. So he considered raising some development funds from the community.

From the outset Tacotime struggled with the ethics of funding the project in this way. Initially the idea was to hold a kickstarter campaign to raise funds, as he did not want to use a premine. However, this way of crowdfunding presented some difficulties, and as a result it went through a series of changes before the final funding model was agreed upon. For years, there were back and forth deliberations over how to ethically fund the development of the project.

It was clear that the entire funding model was thought through in great detail, over a prolonged period of time. In fact, the project took part in what was perhaps one of the earliest public discussions about cryptocurrency funding. Even at this early stage, one of the project’s current organizers, _ingsoc, wanted to ensure that the funding process was as transparent as possible, and that all funds raised should be used solely for development purposes only.

Once the project organizer, _ingsoc, found out Tacotime was really busy with grad school, and didn’t have enough time for development work, he went in search for more developers to help out. It was here _ingsoc stumbled across a company who he thought fitted the bill nicely – Conformal Systems (now known as Company Zero, the current lead development team). _ingsoc decided to set up a meeting between them and Tacotime.

Ideally Tacotime would have loved to have coded the project on his own, but he was realistic, and understood that if he was going to release it in a reasonable time frame he would need the help of some well versed coders too. After meeting with Jake Yocom-Piatt (the current project lead and CEO of Company Zero) and hearing about the background and skills that the Conformal Systems developers had, Tacotime got excited about the project’s future prospects. He liked that that Conformal Systems were strongly dedicated to free and open source software development that assisted users in achieving more security, such as btcd, and also that they were a small company.

Although Tacotime initially intended on holding a fundraiser, he eventually decided to eliminate the premine funding method. This was his reasoning:

“Looking back at all the cryptocurrencies that people actually have faith in, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Peercoin, it seems like the only practical and fair way with which to launch a cryptocurrency is by doing so without the premine.  The people who will benefit from such a model will be you, the future users.  In the spirit of everything that this community has ever been about, it seems only appropriate to try to develop this myself while I live off of my own savings.  It’ll be a rough road ahead, but I hope I will have the continual backing of the community for choosing to develop this for everyone’s benefit with no monetary expectations in return. Development will formally commence tomorrow, and I have left my job so I am free to work on this full time.”

Tacotime was right, it was a bumpy ride over the next year. But despite an uphill struggle, both he and Company Zero knuckled to work and got their hands dirty, funding development themselves. They spent almost two years coding away behind closed doors before the project was publically released. When it was completed Tacotime handed over full development of the project to Company Zero, with his final Bitcointalk post on December 15th 2015, and was never heard from again. From this point onwards Jake Yocom-Piatt took over the project as the lead organizer, merging it with his own vision, to create a unique and truly decentralized cryptocurrency. Company Zero refined Tacotime’s working Proof-of-Concept and brought the project alive and made it a reality.

In his first blog Jake highlighted the challenges that Bitcoin faced around funding development and decentralization. These challenges were similar to the Bitcoin funding issues described earlier in this article, and related to the implications of the Bitcoin Core and Blockstream relationship. Nevertheless, Jake recognized that an ongoing source of funding was required.

In a follow up blog Jake went on to explain his motivation for a different type of funding. He described the difficulties around developing an unfunded open source project, and continued to explain how external funding can create both real and perceived conflicts of interest with developers and the projects they work on. As a solution to this problem Jake proposed a consensus rule that sends 10% of each block subsidy to a development organization that is responsible for funding and overseeing development and related work. However, there was still a requirement for initial funding to get the project off the ground.

In his third and final blog in the series Jake announced…

In his third and final blog in the series Jake announced the launch of Decred. He explained that he had opted for a different approach to start-up funding that shifted the risk away from the community and supporters, and towards to the developers. Instead of asking people to contribute funds towards development, Company Zero developers decided to pool together their own funds to carry the project through to completion before making it public. This is something that is in stark contrast to the funding methods we have seen in recent years. But Company Zero felt it was the only ethical way to fund the project given the inherent risks around software development, something that the current ICO funding model seems to completely overlook.

Jake also explained why the project decided to conduct a premine that represented 8% of all coins that will exist. Where 4% of coins were purchased by Company Zero developers to help fund the initial start up development, and a further 4% were distributed as part of a free airdrop to the community.

The airdrop was free and merit-based, and involved 840,000 coins being distributed to community members. This ensured the initial distribution of coins was spread as far and wide as possible, enlarging the Decred network, and helping to decentralize it. Furthermore, compared to the many projects we see today where founders make millions from launching with an ICO, Decred was unusual in that no developers received any amount of coins for free. All coins were either purchased, or exchanged for development work.

It is clear that the project organizers have always taken funding extremely seriously, and have always considered ways to ensure funding was ethical, fair, and decentralized.

As a consequence of these actions, today the project stands strong. It is self-funded, with 10% of all block rewards going to the development fund Decred Holdings Group (DHG).  Unlike other open-source projects that are underfunded, Decred is going from strength to strength, while remaining fully decentralized. Approximately $430,000 dollars are now available for development work every month, and with only 25% of that budget current being spent, Decred is actively recruiting for new developers.

We are now approaching a new era, where Decred will soon become The Decred DAO. Once the proposal system is up and running DCR from DHG will flow according to the votes of stakeholders. The next step before control of these funds is fully decentralized and formally handed over to The Decred DAO.

Decred started out with a young graduate student coding away for free in his garage, driven by their passion to do work for the good of the community. It was made a reality by a group of highly skilled and committed developers who typify the fundamental values of our community. As a consequence it will soon become The Decred DAO. A self-funded cryptocurrency – truly, the money of the people.


Join in the discussion on Reddit: What do you think are the most fundamental principles that should be considered when funding a cryptocurrency project?

Why Bitcoin needs an effective on-chain decentralized governance system

Decred elephant in the room.jpg

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King Jr.

We are now approaching the height of the Bitcoin civil war. If it previously wasn’t clear to everyone why Bitcoin needs a decentralized governance system – it is now. Over the next few weeks the fate of Bitcoin will be decided. As a result we are all feeling the knock on effect of the markets uncertainty. Worries of a Bitcoin split are causing volatility right across the cryptocurrency ecosystem. We all want Bitcoin to resolve its governance issue. Peace for Bitcoin means peace and stability for all. In this article I will explain why I believe Bitcoin needs a fair and effective on-chain decentralized governance system for everyone to reach an agreement.

Over the last year I’ve found it interesting to watch how things have played out for the Bitcoin network. People say Bitcoin is a decentralized system that doesn’t need governance. A system controlled by no one and owned by everyone. But that’s not what I’ve observed. All I‘ve seen is groups of high profile crypto celebrities trying to influence the direction of the entire network, in any way they can. We’ve had the Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitmain led blocksize increase idea. The Bitcoin Core and Blockstream led SegWit integration proposal. And, more recently, the halfway house ‘New York agreement’, SegWit2x. However, despite what any of these groups want, or what anyone else wants for that matter, Bitcoin will be the Bitcoin that Satoshi Nakamoto designed it to be. The future of Bitcoin will ultimately be dictated by the economic incentives of its decentralized system.

While it is clear Satoshi designed Bitcoin to be resistant to change, they didn’t design it to be ‘changeless’. In their white paper Satoshi stated that it is “computationally impractical for an attacker to change if honest nodes control a majority of CPU power”. But who decides what an honest node is? And what if unhonest nodes control the majority of CPU power?

It’s also clear that Satoshi designed Bitcoin in a way that ultimately gives miners power over the network. In the Bitcoin white paper Satoshi concluded that “they vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them. Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.” It appears that users can run as many nodes as they want, but the Bitcoin blockchain that has most CPU power, will be the Bitcoin that survives. As Satoshi put it “the system is secure as long as honest nodes collectively control more CPU power than any cooperating group of attacker nodes”. Therefore, the network with the most CPU power will generate the longest chain, and outpace the any other chain. What if we are now in a situation where the majority of CPU power is made up of miners, who are controlling the network for their own interests? Do any of the users get a say? Is this the peer-to-peer electronic cash system that Satoshi once imagined?

Despite it being crystal clear that the economics of the Bitcoin network will ultimately dictate its future, I have found it interesting to watch various groups attempt to garner support for ‘their Bitcoin’. Although these groups have refused to admit that Bitcoin needs a decentralized governance system, they have nevertheless strived to find ways to effectively govern the network. We have had the Bitcoin and Satoshi roundtable meetings, twitter pollsminer signalingshows of company supportlive public debatesformal ‘agreements’, and most recently a Coinbase poll. All I see is Bitcoin searching for a fair and effective decentralized method to govern the network. Are any of these methods fair and effective? No, absolutely not.

Let’s start with the round table meetings. Decentralized? Fair? Effective? Okay no need to explain that one. Twitter polls – yes, no need to explain that one either. What about the show of support from Bitcoin companies, the live public debates, or the ‘New York agreement’? Okay, I don’t think I really need to go into any detail explaining why these methods are useless too. They are all either subject to centralization, geographical constraint, bias or sybil attack. There has even been a Coinbase poll created by a Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream contractor in an attempt to try and establish ‘user’ opinion. A good attempt to get an idea of user support. But the obvious problem here is that in order to have a Coinbase account you don’t actually need to hold any Bitcoin. Which therefore means you can vote maliciously in the poll. Moreover, does a Coinbase poll actually have the power to change anything in Bitcoin? No.

I am passionate about cryptocurrency because I believe its technology can change the world for the better. But I am disappointed to witness the struggle for power, the in-fighting, and the pure ignorance of certain individuals who just bury their head in the sand, rather that being open minded to solutions. I don’t believe that the users of Bitcoin want to simply let a handful of companies, miners and developers have the final say on the future of their network. I believe the users need a voice, and that the power to make decisions on changes to the network should be devolved to them accordingly. Let the users decide!

Will this ever happen? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that every now and then something better comes along, a new kind of technology. A concept thought of ahead of time. Something that solves an existing issue. For all of the reasons explained above I believe a blockchain network needs to be built on the foundations of decentralized governance. I believe we need Decred.

Coming soon: Stable ticket prices and the first on-chain user voted hard fork in history!!

river split

Last month Decred stakeholders voted in favor of a hard fork to replace the current stake difficulty (sdiff) algorithm – aka the ticket price algorithm. As a consequence the new sdiff rules will automatically activate at block 149248 – some time tomorrow. However the hard fork itself will actually happen a few hours later when the next sdiff retarget occurs at block 149328 (see for up-to-date details of the time remaining).

 Why is the current ticket price algorithm being replaced?
The current sdiff algorithm generates a large variation in the range of ticket prices. For example, in the last week prices have been as low as 44 DCR, and as high at 229 DCR. This oscillation in ticket price results in a scramble to purchase all 2880 tickets during the low price window, and then no ticket purchases in the following three higher price windows. Competition to purchase tickets during the lower price interval has lead to stakeholder fee wars, making ticket buying a less pleasant experience.

 What benefits will the new sdiff price algorithm bring?
The good news is that the new sdiff algorithm means more stable ticket prices! From simulations, it is expected that the new sdiff algorithm will maintain prices within an approximate range of 50 – 70 DCR. This will make ticket buying a much easier and more enjoyable experience. As you can see in the below image, ticket prices have now began to stabilize as stakeholders are already beginning to buy tickets across a range of intervals in anticipation of the imminent sdiff change. Once the new algorithm comes into effect you will be able to buy tickets more regularly during any interval, without paying excessive prices. Plus, lower fees means a higher profit margin from staking rewards!

ticket price

Resolving the sdiff algorithm issue is a prime example of how the user activated hard fork voting system allows Decred to quickly adapt to any problems that arise. It is another historic moment for Decred, and another blockchain first. The first on-chain user voted hard fork in history. However, with Lightning Network development now underway and a host of other improvements planned on the roadmap it definitely won’t be the last!


Reminder: If you haven’t done so already, please upgrade to v1.0.5. All nodes pre v1.0 will be forked from the network (visit

The Value of Decentralized Governance

btc dcr decision making 6

“The many, of whom none may be individually excellent, nevertheless can, when joined together, be better than those [the excellent few]” – Aristole

Many Decred newcomers ask the same questions. Why Decred? Why decentralized governance? What benefits does Decred have compared to other cryptocurrencies? What’s so important about decentralized governance? This article explains a few of the reasons why Decred’s decentralized governance system is so valuable.

In the last few years it could be argued that the greatest threats to the two most valuable blockchain networks (by market cap) were entirely down to the absence of decentralized governance. Last year the Ethereum blockchain forked into two, because there was no real governance system in place to enable the community to agree on how deal with the DAO hack. Now Bitcoin is going down the same road. There is no end in sight to the Bitcoin civil war, purely because there is no decentralized governance system in place to allow the community to make a collective decision on the best way forward to scale the network. As a consequence, a split in opinion now looks like it might result in a split in the Bitcoin network too.  No one really knows for sure what will happen when SegWit2x or BIP 148 is implemented in the coming weeks. However, it is possible that the consequences of these actions may jeopardize the security, stability and value of the network.
A recent report by the World Economic Forum highlighted a number of blockchain governance challenges. It suggested that if the blockchain revolution is going to reach its full potential, an effective governance solution is needed. The report stated that “we need to figure out new decentralized governance systems that can be easily deployed on top of these decentralized infrastructures”. It seems decentralized governance is emerging as the most important component of a blockchain network.

What are the main benefits of blockchain technology that make it so valuable?
Blockchain technology is revolutionary because it disintermediates the storage and transmission of value. It enables two parties to privately make an exchange without the oversight of an intermediary. Furthermore, because blockchains networks are decentralized, they have no central point of failure, which means they are also more secure against malicious attacks and censorship. Therefore in my opinion cryptocurrencies are valuable because they offer the world a secure, decentralized, private and censorship resistant way to store and transmit value, without the reliance on a third party. The more secure a blockchain is, the more valuable. The more private it is, the more valuable. The more decentralized and censorship resistant it is, the more valuable. However, if a blockchain is not built upon the foundations of decentralized governance then I believe it isn’t truly secure, decentralized, or censorship resistant. In which case, it is also less valuable.

Decentralized governance prevents centralized decision-making and censorship
The first, and most obvious issue with centralized decision-making, particularly in a decentralized system, is that decisions made by central authorities may not be in the best interests of the wider network and users. In contrast, centralized decisions may be self-serving. If anything, the current Bitcoin civil war shows that the miners hold a large amount of power in the network. It’s evident that some miners are reluctant to implement second layer scalability solutions due to fears they will reduce the amount of fees they earn from on-chain transactions. This decision does not serve the users. It serves the pockets of the mining companies. Therefore, in effect, this decision has excluded many users in developing or poorer countries from using Bitcoin. Users who earn less than $1 a day simply cannot afford to pay a $5 transaction fee to make a payment. This is disappointing, especially since these are the people that need blockchain technology the most. In my opinion this action is no different from your bank putting up the cost of a money transfer fee.
Another problem that comes with centralized decision-making is censorship. Blockchains need to be able to keep up with change, meeting new and unforeseen user demand. Therefore, they need the capability to adapt, evolve and progress over time. Unless there is a fair and effective decentralized governance system in place that enables the community to reach a majority agreement on changes that effect the network, there will always be a faction of people who have their opinion censored by an opposing group or centralized authority, who in turn end up enforcing their opinion on the entire network. As we have seen in the past with Ethereum and currently with Bitcoin, the consequence of this sort of action can lead to chain splits and infighting. In contrast, Decred’s decentralized governance system devolves the decision making process amongst the entire community, giving all stakeholders a say in the decision making process. Everyone has a voice, and it won’t be censored by a central decision maker.

Decentralized governance utilizes wisdom of the crowd
Although the primary benefit of Decred’s decentralized voting system is giving stakeholders a voice, collective decision-making also has a few additional and perhaps unexpected benefits. There is some evidence to suggest that the aggregated decision of a large group is as good as, and often better than, a decision made by an expert alone. This is often referred to as the ‘wisdom of the crowd’. Historically is has been utilized in the courtroom, where judgement is devolved to a jury. However, more recently blockchain technology is creating new use cases, such as decentralized prediction markets.
I think a simple and easy to understand explanation of how wisdom of the crowd can be utilized effectively is the ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ game show example. Contestants on the show can ‘ask the audience’ what they think the correct answer is. Even though the audience is not made up of experts, on average they select the correct answer 91% of the time. So when Decred stakeholders were asked the yes or no question “change stake difficulty algorithm as defined in DCP0001?”, the wisdom of all the Decred stakeholders who participated in the vote was consulted. In turn this ensured the right decision was made to achieve the best outcome for the Decred network.
Now that Decred’s hard fork voting system is up and running, all future changes that affect the network will essentially utilize wisdom of crowd. This will only bring greater security to the network by ensuring correct decisions are made for consensus changes.

Decentralized governance enhances network security
More often than not, when people talk about how secure a network is they are relating to the networks ability to maintain resilience against a malicious attack, such as denial of service, or a 51% attack. However, the social and political stability of a blockchain network is often overlooked.
As mentioned earlier, without a decentralized governance system a divided opinion may result in a divided blockchain, which would consequently impact upon the security and stability of the network. Is SegWit2x safe? What happens if BIP 148 doesn’t get enough support? If the Bitcoin network forks, what chain will the value move to? In any case, these uncertainties are likely to have a negative impact on the value of the Bitcoin network. So in addition to the uncertainties around network stability following these actions, a drop in network value would also make it less costly to launch a 51% attack. Although hypothetical, should a nation state wish to try and bring down a blockchain network, it would make sense for them to launch a social, political and psychological operation to bring down the network value first.
Decred’s decentralized governance system helps prevent all these kind of attacks. Lead developer Dave Collins gave a great explanation of how resilient Decred is against a 51% attack compared to Bitcoin earlier this year. In summary, because all blocks created by proof-of-work (PoW) have to be validated by proof-of-stake (PoS) vote in Decred’s unique hybrid PoW/PoS governance system, you would need approximately 455 million USD to attack Bitcoin, whereas you would need roughly 2.03 billion USD to attack Decred!  You can read the detailed version of the explanation here.

Decentralized governance allows unlimited progression and scalability
Most of the present scalability discussion revolves around the technical mechanisms available to increase the network capacity. But as mentioned earlier, this is not the real problem. Scalability solutions already exist. The issue lies with the ability to actually decide upon and implement a scalability solution.
This is where Decred’s decentralized governance system shows its strength again. Bitcoin has been trying to scale the network for almost 3 years. In comparison, Decred voted to integrate the Lightning Network in less than a month.
Decred’s governance system hands the decision-making process over to stakeholders, allowing everyone to collectively agree on which new enhancements to bring to the network via the on-chain hard fork voting system. Once the public proposal system is implemented in the coming months this will only further empower stakeholders. The proposal system will allow users to put forward ideas to be voted on in the next voting agenda. So whether this is bringing the Lightning Network to Decred, deciding to integrate the absolute best privacy-enhancing feature available, or maybe upgrading the networks smart contracts. The opportunities are endless. What’s more, if another cryptocurrency brings something new to the table, stakeholders can simply vote to bring it Decred too.

Whatever the future holds, Decred can adapt and evolve to meet its demands. This is all made possible because Decred is built on the foundations of decentralized governance. Progression will never stop, as long as stakeholders vote for it!

Visit the offical Decred website for further details. Join in with the discussion on Slack, Reddit, or the Decred Forum, and don’t forget to check out the Decred Assembly YouTube show!

Decred disintermediates banking AND the central banking process!


The cryptocurrency revolution started in 2009 when Bitcoin first introduced its peer-to-peer electronic cash system. It was the first decentralized network to offer people a secure and convenient way to disintermediate both the storage and transmission of value. In other words, if you hold your own private key you can securely store Bitcoin in a wallet, or send it to a friend without the involvement of a third party. Unlike fiat currencies that are subject to government decisions and the control of banks, cryptocurrencies have no central point of failure, and there is no central authority that can tinker with the monetary system – is there?

It’s clear that Bitcoin has done a good job of disintermediating the storage and transmission of value, or what we know today as ‘banking’. However, while the Bitcoin network is decentralized, its decision making process is not. Bitcoin has no governance system that allows its users to voice their opinion on decisions that will effect the network – their bank and their value. We now know this creates a number of problems.

At around three transactions per second the Bitcoin network has become congested, and this month the average fee for each of these transactions has reached a high of $5.50. Transactions are now slow and costly. If cryptocurrency really is going to disintermediate banking and remain an efficient method of transmitting value this just won’t do.

For the last three years all efforts to resolve this issue and scale Bitcoin have been unsuccessful. Not because the technology to make sufficient improvements is unavailable, but because there is no governance system in place to allow the decision makers for the Bitcoin network to reach an agreement.

Bitcoin’s decision makers are development teams, miners, and companies such as merchants and exchanges. As I have mentioned in a previous post; Bitcoin companies (, and mining pools ( signal their support for specific Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP) put forward by development teams – notably Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Unlimited. The best option currently available for users to voice their opinion is to run a full node in support of a BIP. However, for many users around the world this is simply not possible. Some people just don’t have the computing capacity, resources or technical ability to run a full node.

I think it’s fair to make the assumption that the vast majority of Bitcoin users want both cheaper and faster transactions. But without an effective governance system in place to give users a say in the decision making process, it leaves them completely reliant upon the centralized authorities described above to make decisions on their behalf (a somewhat ineffective Bitcoin central bank). However, as with decisions made by central banks around the world, these decisions might not always represent the wishes of the people. In contrast, decisions may be self-serving, and therefore they might not be made with the best interests of users in mind. For example, some Bitcoin miners are reluctant to implement second layer scalability solutions, due to fears it will reduce the amount of fees they earn from on-chain transactions. As a consequence, Bitcoin users now have to pay a higher fee to wait for a longer period of time for their transactions to be confirmed. What happens when we arrive at the next hurdle?

Decred’s decentralized governance system solves this problem. Not only does it disintermediate banking, it goes one step further and disintermediates the central banking process too. Decred’s hybrid proof-of-work/proof-of-stake governance system allows stakeholders to collectively make decisions regarding any changes to the Decred network via an on-chain vote. This therefore removes third parties from the ‘central bank’ decision-making process needed to govern the storage and transmission of value.

In my opinion an effective governance system is now proving to be the most vital feature of a blockchain. Governance is necessary to enable users to fully participate in decision-making. It prevents chain splits (as seen with Ethereum), and political deadlock (as seen with Bitcoin).

Decreds decentralized governance system is enabling it to rapidly adapt, evolve, and progress. As a consequence, I believe Decred is now beginning to separate itself from the rest of the pack. With the number of new features planned on the 2017 roadmap, and the current rate of development, I only see the gap getting bigger.

Furthermore, with the recent integration of Decred on Exodus it has never been easier to store and transmit value on the Decred network! And since stakeholders have also voted to integrate the Lightning Network, those transmissions will soon be even cheaper and faster!

Be your own bank. Be your own central bank. Join the Decred community!


P. S. Why not try and solve the new Decred ‘Exodus’ puzzle – with a prize of approximately $6000 up for grabs! Visit for details and the Decred #puzzles Slack channel to join in!

I propose it’s DCRTIME!


As most of you know, Decred astronauts have recently successfully landed on the Moon. The landing coincided with the release of the first ever on-chain user activated hard fork (UAHF) voting system, and the subsequent vote in favor of bringing the Lightning Network to Decred. However…we are not stopping at the moon! The Decred team always strives for constant improvement and progression through the development and integration of new and innovative technologies. In preparation for any unexpected warping of space-time while traveling at light speeds during the next phase of our journey, new enhancements are being added to the Decred rocket!

As set out on the 2017 roadmap, Decred will soon launch the proposal system, in an effort to allow users even greater participation in the governance of Decred. The proposal system will enable stakeholders to put forward their ideas to be considered for inclusion in the next voting agenda – a further step towards Decred becoming a fully functioning stakeholder-directed Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).

Today, Decred developers have announced the details for the first part of this proposal system, dcrtime a blockchain-based timestamping service! Dcrtime is a result of collaboration between Decred developers; Marco Peereboom, Jake Yocom-Piatt and Dave Collins, and is born from the desire to achieve maximum accountability and transparency throughout Decred’s governance system. The service draws upon the excellent work of Peter Todd, who launched opentimestamp earlier this year.

The implementation of dcrtime means that all proposals made by Decred stakeholders will be timestamped on the Decred blockchain. In turn this will enable stakeholders to submit their proposal for consideration safe in the knowledge that should it be removed or censored, dcrtime will provide them with proof of censorship.

However, the good news doesn’t stop here! In addition, anyone will be able to make use of the free public time stamping service provided via dcrtime, for a range of purposes! Dcrtime will run hourly, on the hour.

Decred believes that the voice of its users really matters, and as such it will always be heard. With the introduction of the proposal system and dcrtime that voice will be forged into the Decred blockchain, forever. Make your voice heard – join us!

For further details please see the official Decred announcement here, and to join in with the discussion please visit the Decred Forum or Slack!