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Announcing the new MultiChain wallet

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An important step forwards for performance and scalability

After two months of intensive development and testing, we’re proud to release the latest alpha of MultiChain, with a completely rewritten in-node wallet. This new wallet transforms the performance and scalability of creating, receiving and storing transactions in MultiChain.

Before we get into the details, let me provide some context. When we began developing MultiChain, we made the decision to use Bitcoin Core, the standard node for the public bitcoin network, as a starting point. In programming terms, this means that MultiChain is a “fork” of the bitcoin software. Our primary reasoning was that bitcoin was (and continues to be) the highest valued and most battle-tested cryptocurrency ecosystem, by quite some way.

On the plus side, this decision helped us get to market quickly, compared to coding up a blockchain node from scratch. Despite the many differences between public and private blockchains, they share a large amount of technical common ground, including the peer-to-peer protocol, transaction and block structure, digital signature creation and verification, consensus rules, key management, and the need for a node API. Forking from Bitcoin Core allowed us to leverage its maturity and focus on what MultiChain adds to blockchains – configurability, permissioning and native asset support. As a result, we were able to release the first alpha in June 2015, just 6 months after starting development.

However, alongside these benefits, we also had to accept the fact that some aspects of Bitcoin Core are poorly architected. While they work just fine at small scales, their performance degrades dramatically as usage grows. With the public bitcoin network still restricted to a few transactions per second, this won’t be an issue for most Bitcoin Core users for a long time. But with private blockchains aiming for hundreds or thousands of transactions per second, we knew that, sooner or later, these bottlenecks would need to be removed.

Bitcoin Core’s wallet

The “wallet” within Bitcoin Core was always the most crucial of these pain points. Its job is to store the transactions which are of particular relevance to the node, because they involve a blockchain address which it owns or a “watch-only” address whose activity it is tracking. For example, every transaction which sends funds to or from a node must be stored in that node’s wallet. And every time a node creates a transaction, it must search for one or more “unspent outputs” of previous wallet transactions which the new transaction will spend.

So what’s wrong with the wallet we inherited from Bitcoin Core? Actually, three things:

  • All wallet transactions are held in memory. This causes slow startup times and rapidly increasing memory usage.
  • Many operations perform an inefficient “full scan” of every transaction in the wallet, whether old or new.
  • Every transaction in the wallet is stored in full, including any arbitrary “metadata” which has no meaning from the node’s perspective and is already stored in the blockchain on disk. This is very wasteful.

The consequence is that, with around 20,000 transactions stored, Bitcoin Core’s wallet slows down significantly. After 200,000 or so, it practically grinds to a halt. Even worse, since a MultiChain blockchain allows up to 8 MB of metadata per transaction (compared to bitcoin’s 80 bytes), the wallet’s memory requirements can balloon rapidly even with a small number of transactions.

It’s important to clarify that these shortcomings apply only to Bitcoin Core’s wallet, rather than its general transaction processing capacity. In other words, it can comfortably process and store millions (or even billions) of transactions which don’t relate to its own addresses, since these are held on disk rather than in memory. For example, many popular bitcoin exchanges and wallets use Bitcoin Core as-is, but store their own transactions externally rather than inside the node.

MultiChain’s new wallet

We could have made the same demand of MultiChain users, to store their own transactions outside of the node. However this didn’t feel like the right solution because it would greatly complicate the setup and maintenance for each of a chain’s participants. So instead, we bit the bullet and rewrote the wallet from the ground up.

How does the new wallet differ? If you have any experience with databases, the answers may be obvious:

  • Rather than keeping the wallet transactions in memory, they are stored on disk in a suitable format, with transactions of interest retrieved when necessary.
  • Instead of performing full wallet scans, the transactions are “indexed” in various ways to enable those which fulfill particular criteria to be rapidly located.
  • Any piece of transaction metadata which is larger than 256 bytes is not stored in the wallet. Instead, the wallet contains a pointer to that metadata’s position in the blockchain itself.

In other words, we’ve rebuilt the in-node wallet to be properly database-driven (using LevelDB), rather than relying on a naïve in-memory structure that can’t be searched efficiently. Unsurprisingly, the difference (as measured on a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7) is rather dramatic:

MultiChain wallet transaction throughput

Memory Usage

The graphs show that, once the old wallet contains 250,000 transactions, its send rate drops to 3 tx/sec and it adds 600 MB to the node’s memory usage. By contrast, the new wallet sustains over 100 tx/sec and only adds 90 MB. We stopped testing the old wallet at this point, but even with 6-8 million stored transactions, the new wallet continues to send over 100 tx/sec, and it tops out at around 250 MB of RAM used (due to database caching).

These tests were performed under realistic conditions, with multiple addresses and assets (and therefore many unspent transaction outputs) in the node’s wallet. In an idealized scenario (one address, one asset, few UTXOs), the sustained send rate was over 400 tx/s. Either way, as part of this rewrite, we have also properly abstracted all of the wallet’s functionality behind a clean internal interface. This will make it easy to support other database engines in future, for even greater robustness and speed.

To reiterate, all of these numbers refer to the rate at which a node can create, send and store transactions in its local wallet, rather than its throughput in terms of processing transactions created by others. For general network throughput, MultiChain can currently process 200 to 800 tx/sec, depending on the hardware it’s running on. (Be skeptical of any blockchain software promising numbers like 100,000 tx/sec on regular hardware, because the bottleneck is digital signature verification, which takes real time to perform. If nodes are not verifying individual transaction signatures, a blockchain cannot possibly be used across trust boundaries, making it no better than a regular distributed database.)

To finish, I’d like to mention the next major feature coming to MultiChain, which required this wallet rewrite. This feature, called streams, provides a high-level abstraction and API for general purpose data storage on a blockchain. You can think of a stream as a time-series or key-value database, with the added blockchain-related benefits of decentralization, digital signatures, timestamping and immutability. We know of many blockchain use cases that could use this functionality, and we’re already hard at work on building it. Watch this space.

 

Please post any comments on LinkedIn.

 

Technical addendum

Starting in MultiChain alpha 22, you can verify which version of the wallet is currently running by examining the walletdbversion field of the getinfo or getwalletinfo API calls. A value of 1 means the original Bitcoin Core wallet, and 2 means the new MultiChain wallet.

If you run the new version of MultiChain on an existing chain, it will not immediately switch to the new wallet. You can upgrade the wallet by stopping the node and then re-running multichaind with the parameters -walletdbversion=2 –rescan. You can downgrade similarly using –walletdbversion=1 –rescan.

By default, when you start a node on a new chain, it will automatically use the new wallet. You can change this by running multichaind for the first time with the parameter –walletdbversion=1.

With the new wallet, all MultiChain APIs work exactly the same way as before, with the exception of the old transaction querying APIs getreceivedbyaddress, listreceivedbyaddress and listtransactions (use listwallettransactions or listaddresstransactions instead). In addition, the new wallet does not support API calls and parameters relating to Bitcoin Core’s poorly implemented and soon-to-be-deprecated “accounts” mechanism, which was never properly supported by MultiChain. These calls are safely disabled with an error message.

 

Source: https://www.multichain.com/blog/2016/07/announcing-the-new-multichain-wallet/

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World’s first tradable carbon token launched by Universal Protocol alliance

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The Universal Protocol Alliance [UPA] which included prominent blockchain companies like Bittrex Global, Ledger, CertiK, InfiniGold, and Uphold launched the Universal Carbon [UPCO2] on a public blockchain. It can be bought and held as an investment, or burnt to offset an individual’s carbon footprint.

According to the press release shared with AMBCrypto:

“… the UPCO2 Token is set to democratize an important new asset class, which could lead to the establishment of a global clearing price for carbon (as today exists for such commodities as oil and gold) and more resources going directly into environmental projects.”

One UPCO2 token represented a verified project in the rainforest reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by one metric ton annually. The alliance provided a digital certificate issued by Verra, an international standards agency, which allows certified projects to turn their greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions into tradable carbon credits.

The Chairman of the UP Alliance, Matthew Le Merle noted:

“The projects we support through carbon credit purchases prevent deforestation in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia as well as other threatened rainforests. For a new generation of investors looking for more than mere financial return, UPCO2 offers attractive social, economic and environmental benefits. At a key moment for climate change, UPCO2 allows people worldwide to do good for the planet and potentially do well for themselves.”

The voluntary carbon credits backing these carbon tokens should eventually fetch the same price anywhere, as per the Chairman. The logic behind this was that they represent, a metric ton of carbon per year, which is measured the same for any company seeking to offset its carbon footprint. The dollar-denominated, globally-recognized, fungible, and perennial assets should maintain their option value until consumption.

The chairman further concluded:

“Combine a digital asset with a rainforest carbon offset and give everyone in the world access. How could that not be a great idea?”

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/worlds-first-tradable-carbon-token-launched-by-universal-protocol-alliance

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E-Crypto News Talks to Clem Chambers on Bitcoin’s Price Surge

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Bitcoin’s price surge has caught no one by surprise. So much so that my within the crypto space think that this is the “it” moment when mass adoption will take place.

E-Crypto News reached out to Clem Chambers, the CEO of global stocks, shares, and crypto website ADVFN (and author of Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin) on the possibilities of Bitcoin prices reaching $20,000. Here is what he had to say. 


Clem Chambers, the CEO of global stocks, shares, and crypto website ADVFN (and author of Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin)

 E-Crypto News:

  1. Now that Bitcoin has risen, what are your projections for now and next year?

It’s impossible to say but I will sweat when BTC hits $35000, and I think that will happen before 2021 is over. 

 E-Crypto News:

2. Why do you think the Altcoins haven’t followed Bitcoin this time?

You need a use case and a brand. Ethereum and Bitcoin dominate use cases because they have the brand. Altcoins therefore straggle. However, they will rise if BTC continues its vertical.

 E-Crypto News:

3. Do you think institutions are the new whales in the cryptospace? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.

Crypto-whales are a red herring.

 E-Crypto News:

4. Do you think we will have a massive reversal of prices the same way it occurred in 2017? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.

Highly probably, but so is $250,000 BTC; the route there will be wildly volatile. 

 E-Crypto News:

5. What are your thoughts on decentralized finance (DeFi)?

Revolutionary, world-changing, and absolutely the next big thing. Colossally impactful. 

 E-Crypto News:

6. What are your thoughts on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)?

All currencies are digital currencies; 90% of all money is digital already. The Fed doesn’t send paper to banks anymore.

Misnomers are dangerous things. Central bank crypto? Why not? Crypto is about political structure and that can be whatever is coded and as good as the code and its structure. Would central bank crypto be any good? Probably not at first.

 E-Crypto News:

7. Do you think that there is an Altcoin that could replace Bitcoin in the future? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.

No. Bitcoin has an unassailable first-mover advantage.

 E-Crypto News:

8. What do you think are the factors causing the current Bitcoin price surge?

The Halvening

Trouble in China and Hong Kong

Inflation worries

Continued growth of adoption

DeFi wrapping BTC

PayPal sucking up a lot of new issuance

Corporate treasury hedging

 E-Crypto News:

9. What is your timeline and prediction for the next Bitcoin All-time-high?

Before Christmas but it’s foolish to try and call; technically, market timing is impossible

 E-Crypto News:

10. How do you think the security vs. commodity dilemma that Bitcoin and many of the cryptocurrencies face can be solved? 

Politics is never solved… resolved perhaps. Yes, it will be resolved at some point because it will become yesterday’s news and the gatekeepers will re-engineer their rentier position and grab their slice of the pie. 

 

Source: https://e-cryptonews.com/e-crypto-news-talks-to-clem-chambers-on-bitcoins-price-surge/

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Gold Begins Breakdown Against Bitcoin, Triggering 90% Decline On Per Oz Basis

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Bitcoin price just set a new all-time high against the US dollar and other top global fiat currencies. But what might be even more significant, is the fact that the gold standard itself is breaking down against BTC after this latest rally.

The gold versus Bitcoin price chart shows that in the past, each time support broke down, the precious metal dropped 90% in value against BTC on a per ounce basis. Here’s a look at each 90% drop historically, and some insight as to why this is such a big deal for the emerging financial technology.

Bitcoin: The Dawn Of Digital Gold And A New Monetary Standard In The Making

2020 could go on to be remembered as the year Bitcoin finally matured and became the respected financial asset cypherpunks, millennials, and other early adopters realized years ago. The leading cryptocurrency by market cap has long been positioned as digital gold, designed to be such, and sharing so many of the key attributes that give the asset safe haven like properties.

The precious metal once underpinned the entire monetary system, until the gold standard was disbanded in the early 1970s. At that time, gold traded at $30 an ounce.

Today, it trades at around $1,800 an ounce, showing what an incredible investment the scarce asset made over the last 50 years. It took well-known boomers like Paul Tudor Jones to begin comparing Bitcoin to gold in the 1970s and highlighting its rarity, that goldbugs began considering the cryptocurrency alternative.

RELATED READING | GOLD CHART SHOWS WHY BITCOIN IS THE FASTEST HORSE IN RACE AGAINST INFLATION

Gold is archaic and in the post-pandemic, all-digital, and preferably decentralized world, Bitcoin is showing it is more valuable. A recent example where tonnes of gold was moved from a central bank in the Netherlands, requiring extensive planning, an armed guard transport, and costing millions. A BTC transaction could be done in a couple of clicks, and move that value without the cost, time, or effort associated with it.

The BTC supply is more finite than gold also, and cannot be counterfeited. But these are just a few of many reasons the cryptocurrency makes for an even better version of gold than the precious metal itself.

bitcoin digital gold xaubtc btc xau

Gold is breaking down against BTC, leading to a potential 90% decline | Source: XAUBTC on TradingView.com

institutions and hedge funds who make up much of the $10 trillion gold market cap are starting to wake up to this fact, and are reallocating money into Bitcoin. The trend is clear on the XAUBTC price chart, where gold is now breaking down against Bitcoin from support set back at the previous peak.

RELATED READING | FUTURES AND FUND FLOWS SHOW BITCOIN IS REPLACING GOLD

There was once a time an ounce of gold cost hundreds of BTC. At the peak in 2013, Bitcoin reached price parity with an ounce of gold. Today, a gold bar is worth just 0.1 Bitcoin, and after each breakdown of support, the cryptocurrency gains another 90% against the hard money standard.

After another 90% decline, and the price per one-ounce gold bar reaching one-tenth the price of a Bitcoin, the world might need a new standard.

Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com

Source: https://bitcoinist.com/gold-begins-breakdown-against-bitcoin-triggering-90-decline-on-per-oz-basis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gold-begins-breakdown-against-bitcoin-triggering-90-decline-on-per-oz-basis

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