Progress Update: Road Map, Communications, and Partners

Masterminds,

In my first post on the 5th of August when I took over the role of Chairman, I set out three immediate priorities for the MSC Foundation.

1. Establish a Clear Road Map: http://goo.gl/rl5Zvp

2. Open Communications: http://blog.mastercoin.org/2014/08/06/opening-up-communication-and-amas-starting-today/

3. Streamlining of spending and partnerships.

On each of these topics I’d like to offer a quick update and invite the community to continue actively engaging as they have done so the last few weeks on how to improve the MSC Protocol, the Foundation, our community, and the open source software.

Road Map:

Firstly on the Road Map, I want to thank everyone for the helpful comments and input on the direction of the Foundation and its priorities. You can find the most updated version of the Foundation’s Road Map at: http://goo.gl/rl5Zvp

As for the milestones for the August and September period I’m happy to report the team has completed 10 out of the 17 items on the list and the others are in progress. Completed items include; partnering with industry expert on best practices for order book of decentralized exchange, engaging our best developers and increasing the bandwidth of the MasterCore team with more testers, announcing points of contact for MasterCore, OmniWallet, and so forth.

Open Communication:

Secondly, on “Open Communications” in addition to making regular posts on the blog, being available on Reddit, and the forums, Shannon Code is working to weave together all the different channels of the MSC community so that users can see updates on progress, developer discussion, and so forth easily without having to log into a proprietary program such as Skype and find a invite based chat room. http://blog.mastercoin.org/2014/08/06/opening-up-communication-and-amas-starting-today/

Shannon will be posting soon about his efforts on this front to open up all of the communications.

Streamlining Spending and Partnering:

Thirdly, on Spending I’ve been reaching out to the community to get input on how to improve the Role Based Bounty and general bounty system that has been in place since the beginning of the Foundation’s work. One point of consensus is to move from a generalized bounty system which is currently paid on a monthly basis, to that of a deliverable based bounty system, where the milestones are clearly defined, prioritized, and set at the beginning of each month and paid out at the end of each month. This way the priorities of the community for the development of the MSC open source software clients will come first in focusing contributing developers time and energy.

As for “Partnering”, serious new projects with the potential of engaging new demographics and users have announced they will be developing on top of the MSC platform including the recent post about the Merchant Coin project.

Conclusion:

All in all, I believe we have the right team members working with the Foundation to encourage the development of the MSC protocol and make its open source clients the standard for reliability for major projects who have large user bases and will transact significant value on top of the protocol. I’ll continue doing everything in my power to encourage the continued development of an engaged and authentic community of users and developers extending the capabilities of the bitcoin blockchain to include smart property, decentralized exchange and much more.

Sincerely,

David A. Johnston

Chairman of the MSC Board

David (at) Mastercoin.org

Omni: There and back again for Data

For the past few weeks the code changes and updates Omniwallet has been publishing have been mostly maintenance oriented. The team has been cleaning up existing code, refining the functionality of the interface and trying to clean out some of the back logged issues. But this is far from all that has been happening. Behind the scenes we’ve been preparing and working on a brand new back end. Originally, the code was built around data from a series of flat files generated by the reference client parser. While functional and usable, it posed certain limitations to future growth. With the recent development efforts put into Mastercore we have been focusing on revamping our back end structure. With a brand new parsing engine centered around Mastercore we are going to be leveraging a proper database.

So what does this mean for you, our users? Once the database integration is complete here are just a few items we will be able to start leveraging / working on:

  • We should see significant performance improvements as well as more reliable data integrity.
  • Previously data could appear to be lagging behind by several blocks but now we’ll be as current as Mastercore.
  • Foundation to enable integration of other Altcoins
  • Full Bitcoin history support for wallets.
  • We can start offering Wallet enhancements ex. Address tags, notifications.

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks. We’ll have more information and futher progress reports as development continues.

Updated MastercoinWallets.org Website

Masterminds,

The team has just updated the MastercoinWallets.org website.

Please be sure and check it out and give us your feedback.

Thanks.

David A. Johnston

Chairman of the Board of the MSC Foundation

David (at) Mastercoin.org

MerchantCoin Partners with Mastercoin

Hello Masterminds,

My name is Martin Schaeferle, and I’m the CIO of MerchantCoin, the first self-sustaining, marketing centric crypto-currency that incentivizes consumers, advocates and businesses to acquire and use Bitcoin. I am writing this blog from Raleigh, NC at the Cryptolina Bitcoin Expo where we are exhibiting along with many others in the Bitcoin ecosystem. The energy in the convention center is palpable and driving many excellent sessions and panel discussions. Also in attendance here is Shannon Code, one of Mastercoin’s very talented developers and evangelists, who will be presenting a session this afternoon—a must attend.

So why did MerchantCoin partner with Mastercoin? There are several key factors we considered which ultimately led to what has become a very successful enterprise.

Master Protocol

MerchantCoin needed to launch its coin and considered various options including the possibility of creating its own blockchain. What attracted us to Mastercoin is the commitment to supporting the Bitcoin community, to drive further adoptions, and strengthen the Bitcoin network and miners. That is a position that aligns perfectly with MerchantCoin. We, too, are also about the promotion of Bitcoin and the need to strengthen the ecosystem that surrounds it. The joining of companies and foundations to a common cause can only strengthen one another and everyone benefits.

Wallet

MerchantCoin will be launching its wallet shortly which is a joint effort with Mastercoin’s Omni Wallet. We needed to get a wallet released quickly to meet our aggressive schedule and after meeting the Omni Wallet team: David, Craig, Judith, Marv, Adam, Shannon and Faiz, it was clear that by leveraging their hard work and teaming together that we could not only meet our goals, but have a powerful, state-of-the-art wallet as well. Our wallet will be available soon from our Website at http://www.merchantcoin.net

Rapid Launch

MerchantCoin needs to hold a crowdsale and history has shown many examples of poorly executed events. Crowdsales are critical to the success of any crypto-currency and we needed to make sure it was smooth and engaging. Mastercoin with their Master Protocol provided us not only the tools for a successful crowdsale but also the coaching and mentoring so we can focus on getting our message out to the street and educating merchants and investors on our vision.

Credibility

Mastercoin was the brainchild of J.R. Willet who launched his whitepaper over 30 months ago. Since then, Mastercoin has been an influential player in the Bitcoin community and has spearheaded many new innovative technologies including its revolutionary work around extending the Blockchain. With legacy comes wisdom; and with all the successes and failures surrounding crypto-currency launches, MerchantCoin could not afford to go it alone. Through our relationship with Mastercoin we are confident in our infrastructure and look forward to successful launch in late September.

Well I’ve almost missed my lunch break and the afternoon sessions are about to start. Signing off for now…

 

Cheers,

 

Martin Schaeferle

CIO | MerchantCoin

http://www.merchantcoin.net

 

Security in the Blockchain: Past, Present and Future

This weekend I went to my first Bitcoin Expo here in Raleigh NC. It was pretty exciting. I got to meet a bunch of local enthusiasts, discovered I had a few friends from other circles that overlapped into Bitcoin. I also got to meet face to face with some of the Mastercoin team and network: Sam Yilmaz  , Brian Deery from the NotaryChains.com team & the entire Merchantcoin team.

One of the reasons I was attending the Cryptolina Bitcoin expo was to present a talk about security. Security is important to me and the entire Mastercoin group. Many of our decisions come from thinking about security early in the requirements and design phase of development. I followed CrowdCurity CEO Jacob Hansen who spoke also on security. I would like to point out that here at Mastercoin we utilize the services of CrowdCurity to offer ongoing crowd based security audits on Mastercoin products.

I’d like to offer a condensed version of my security talk for you today:

Security in the Blockchain: Past, Present and Future

One early mistake discovered was the use of an un-random source of entropy to generate key pairs for wallets or sign transactions. Attackers were able to scan the blockchain looking for collisions of public keys. Details of this heist can be seen here.

Another exploit as seen on Blockchain.info was when an an XSS was placed into a transaction by running hex on the outputs of the transaction potentially resulting in code execution on user’s browsers. Details can be read about here

This next story is a warning to anyone who is thinking about using a brain wallet: Don’t
When I decided to get back into bitcoin ~8 months ago I decided I’d buy some bitcoin and transfer it to a wallet, I had read about brain wallets and liked the idea, I used the following string because for some strange reason I still remember it from high school “IWentToTheWoodsBecauseIWishedToLiveDeliberately“. Within seconds of my transfer into the generated wallet my coin was transferred out. I was hooked. After researching and testing with a few other transfers I discovered a huge network of brain generated addresses that were being monitored. It’s fair to assume that if it’s been written down in any language, ever it’s not safe to derive a wallet address from.

The most common vulnerability seen by Bitcoin heists these days is the old fashioned SQLInjection attack, Un-sanitized inputs result in the ability for bad guys to modify the sql statements used to display custom information on a page. This type of attack is easily mitigated through testing and crowdsourced security testing.

The ideas of meta layers on top of the Blockchain, self generated assets & decentralized applications, while not new are only now becoming technologically possible, experimented with and deeply thought through. Because of the fast movement of the technology and the rate at which new features are developed, often security is forgotten. An issue I have seen is bestowing some incorrect level of trust to things within the Blockchain. We have to remember things are in the blockchain because someone asked and ultimately paid a miner to persist it there. That being said, with meta coins they will most often include things like a description, name, more information url. This information is delivered to users in their wallets, exchanges, explorers, often as sanitized strings.

A coin titled “ExploitCoin'<scrip t>Alert(‘doing bad things now’)</scrip t>” might allow the execution of JavaScript on users’s devices. As developers remember to sanitize both inputs and outputs.

A potential attack that I made known to the Bitmain representative at Cryptolina describes how, using a search engine that indexes hardware or “The internet of things” one can find over 550 AntMiner Bitcoin miners publicly available on the internet. It’s probably the case that some of these devices did not change their default username and password.

Bitcoind instances should always be upgraded, I showed another query that identified over 2000 Bitcoind instances vulnerable to the HeartBleed vulnerability.

My Slide deck can be seen here:  and anyone can ask me anything Mondays on Reddit (Here’s Today’s AMA)

Mastercoin is celebrating one year since its inception-by Judith-BizDev

Dear Masterminds
Mastercoin is celebrating one year since its inception – Happy Birthday Mastercoin!
Our community is rapidly growing, we are only one year old, but have already more than 1030 members on our Mastercoin FB – thank you Masterminds.
The Master Protocol is driven by community and uses the Bitcoin Network to encode the transfer of tokens, smart properties, user currencies, etc.,
We already know that there is a global shift towards decentralized applications and I would like to introduce you to one of them – MerchantCoin.
MerchantCoin with the Master Protocol Technology is about to fundamentally change the applications used today. MerchantCoin are aiming to be the first self sustaining marketing centric crypto-currency that incentivizes consumers, advocated and businesses to acquire and use crypto currency. This is how MerchantCoin wants the community to be a part of the cryptocurrency revolution 

https://docs.google.com/a/mastercoin.org/file/d/0B24QQibj1NJwVDVFNDZ4Q1dkcTR5XzVxbk5ucnJiUVpYREJV/edit

Great things are happening to the Master Protocol

Point of contact for companies and organizations who want to issue a token (Judith Jakubovics) Judith (-at-) Mastercoin.org and on Skype: Judith.Jakubovics

MSC Open Communications Update – Next Steps

Masterminds,
 
Thanks to everyone who participated in kicking off our open communications for the MSC Foundation with your blog posts, AMAs, questions and comments the last week.
 
The energy level in the community has visibly increased with a 132 comments on 9 posts that were made to http://www.reddit.com/r/mastercoin/ One of the first outcomes has been new developers coming in to help with OmniWallet, who saw the AMA’s and want to get involved in the project.
 
Going forward the plan is to keep up this weekly posting of blogs and Reddit threads, which Shannon Code will cross post to all of the other MSC channels (Twitter, Facebook, IRC, Skype Chat, MSC and BTC forums, etc)
 
To keep things on a consistent and daily basis, 7 of us from the MSC Foundation will have 1 day each week we will posting to the blog and Reddit thread that day on different topics. Including new projects launching on the Master Protocol, updates on MasterCore and Omni Wallet, bounties available for the community, guest posts by technical thought leaders in the crypto ecosystem, and a lot more.
 
Communicating openly with the community about our progress, challenges, ideas, and so forth is the primary way for the MSC community to grow and empower everyone to add their value to this great endeavor to extend blockchain technology and decentralize the corrupt financial institutions of our day.

I’m excited about where we are headed. Lets pull together as a community and make it happen.

As my old friend Christopher Orem used to say, Go Team!

Best Regards,

David A. Johnston

Chairman of the MSC Foundation Board
David (at) Mastercoin.org

Sam Yilmaz – Board Member at the MSC Foundation- AMA

HELLO MASTERMINDS,

I’m exited to introduce myself to the MSC community and work with many of you in the near future.

Some of you will know me as the Executive Director of BitAngels. During my tenure there, I had the opportunity to meet fantastic entrepreneurs, invest in Bitcoin companies, as well as purchase MSC during the genesis period. Likewise, to help build out additional features and capacities to our crypto-world, I volunteered to become a board member of the Mastercoin Foundation.

As of May 2014, I have shifted my focus from the BitAngels group to the Decentralized Applications Fund and am now serving as the Managing Partner for the fund. I have the privilege of working with David Johnston and other visionaries in the space, as well as extremely gifted developers and entrepreneurs whose enthusiasm, passion and persistence are building the crypto-powered share economies of our future.

If you’re an entrepreneur or a developer and would like to have input on monetization, product vision, product roadmap of your decentralized application, or crowdsale best practices, I’d love to field any questions in my AMA , Wednesday Aug 13th, 2014, on Reddit. You can also email me at [email protected]

I look forward to offering input on all the exciting decentralized projects this community is developing.

Sam Yilmaz

Tagged , , , ,

An AMA with Adam – Omniwallet Development Lead and Mastercoin Infrastructure Admin

Hello Masterminds,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Adam Chamely and I am the Omniwallet Development Lead. This means I have the privilege of working with some extremely gifted developers on the Omniwallet project as well as other Mastercoin projects. In addition to contributing code I am responsible for coordinating the development decisions Omni takes with our product manager Marv, running our daily standups where we discuss the current issues being worked for the Milestone, reviewing/updating new/existing issues in github, reviewing proposed code changes and ensuring they are merged correctly.

I have also been responsible for assisting 3rd party integrators who are looking to integrate with the MasterProtocol using the reference client or Omni API. Beyond just Omni responsibilities I am also one of the Foundations Infrastructure Admins responsible for overseeing the Foundations services and assets.

Want to know more about Omni, The Foundation, My Coworkers or Me,

Then come join my AMA on Reddit, Tuesday Aug 12th 2014.

 

Omniwallet Milestone v0.15

Another two weeks down and another Milestone complete. As Milestone v0.15 (Bushwhacked) comes to a close we want to take a moment and acknowledge some recent changes. Ron Gross has spent the past year building up and guiding the development of the MasterProtocol. He has been chiefly responsible for some of the new ideas that were brought into Omni. As he moves on to his next project we want to recognize the difficult but amazing job he held and the professionalism with which he carried it out. We are now looking forward to working more closely with the new supreme overlord leadership, David Johnston ;) . He has already started laying the ground work for a more involved community facing presence. So, to that end we will also be adding a fortnightly status update about Omni development or the milestone status in addition to these Milestone completion summaries.

Milestone Summary (See the full list of details on Github):
  • Fixed Critical bug in how we encoded sale price for Distributed Exchange
  • Distributed Exchange Accepts now validate how much is left
  • Updated balance checker results on homepage
  • Crowdsale page updates, clarifications and data validations (Deadline picker and EarlyBird Bonus estimation)
  • Leveraging Google for more relevant analytics and stats
  • Updated search engine optimizations for omni homepage (seo)
Constantly Ongoing
  • UI/UX updates
  • Constant rapid deployment of updated code
  • Crowd-sourced Security Testing
On the Horizon:
  • New Database design in the works
  • Additional SP token values in USD
  • Continuing integration of Master Core features

Take a look and let us know what you think, we’re always happy for user feedback.

Next up, Milestone v0.16

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