Proof of Work: visibility into both the US and Asian crypto scenes

Quick Take

  • There’s a real blindness among many people in the US scene to what’s going on in Asia, particularly in China
  • Sia hit a huge milestone with their 1.4 release, which gets them close to being able to work as a truly viable low-cost filesharing solution
  • Grin got a cool Chinese name (古灵币, literally “ancient spirit coin”)
  • Coinbase launched a staking service that supports Tezos to start

The following newsletter is republished with permission from Eric Meltzer of Primitive Ventures, a global venture investment firm with a focus on blockchain and related technologies. You can follow Eric on Twitter at @wheatpond and subscribe here to Proof of Work

Hi from San Francisco!

At Primitive, my partner Dovey and I feel that a part of our advantage over other managers is our visibility into both the US and Asian crypto scenes. There’s a real blindness among many people in the US scene to what’s going on in Asia, particularly in China. We’ve decided to give away this advantage to everyone reading PoW, in the form of an additional column of updates on the Asian crypto scene: mining, exchange hacks, random shitcoins raising hundreds of millions of RMB, Chinese government regs and all. This is a bit experimental: if you like it, or if you don’t please hit reply and let me know!

Some highlights this week: Sia hit a huge milestone with their 1.4 release, which gets them close to being able to work as a truly viable low-cost filesharing solution, Grin got a cool Chinese name (古灵币, literally “ancient spirit coin”), and Coinbase launched a staking service that supports Tezos to start.

Tiny housekeeping thing: projects that don’t update in a given week won’t be mentioned. Don’t worry, they haven’t been dropped—they’ll be listed again any time they send an update.

Thanks as always for reading PoW, and please ping me here or on Twitter if there is any way I can make it more useful for you!

China & Asia Updates


  • Upcoming wet season brings extremely low electricity costs (lower than 3 US cents) revitalizing the mining community

  • The consensus among miners is that total BTC hashrate will go back up to 60E. Even if BTC price stays around $4000, thanks to cheap electricity, many old mining models can be back online and profitable again (even WhatsMiner M3 and Avalon 7 Series, which are in the red now)

  • Bitmain announced new CEO, Micree remains as chairman of the board, and Jihan remains a board member. Jihan made a first public appearance for a keynote 3 days after the announcement


  • Sales of the new AntMiner S17 from Bitmain will start on April 9th

  • A new ASIC firm VidToo (Hangzhou) announced a Cuckoo Cycle ASIC G1, claiming to be 50x more efficient than GPUs. Detailed specs will be published in late April. Currently announced Grin ASICs now include Innosilicon, VidToo and Obelisk—of these, only Obelisk has published specs so far.


  • DragonEx was hacked, Bitthumb was hacked, and there is some suspicion that Coinbene was also hacked. [ed: I assume that 100% of “hacks” are actually inside jobs until proven otherwise]

  • (finally) announced its own exchange coin with a fairly unique distribution model (different than all the BNB clones)

  • Too many IEOs to keep track of (Huobi, Bittrex, ZB, ..everybody is doing IEOs)


  • The Cyberspace Administration of China (ed: I wonder what Gibsonthinks when he reads those four words) announced the first batch of companies that are compliant with regulation filing known as “blockchain information service registration” There are 197 companies in the first batch including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu (full list here, filing requirements here).

Bitcoin & Friends

Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

  • Bitcoin fees are up a bit recently: after over a year of most Bitcoin transactions confirming rather quickly as long as they paid a feerate above the default minimum relay fee (except during a brief exceptional period), a modest backlog has developed over the previous week and raised the feerates for people who need their transactions to confirm within the next several blocks. Spenders willing to wait a bit longer can still save money. For more information, we recommend Johoe’s mempool statistics and’s fee estimate tracker.

  • Trampoline payments for LN: Pierre-Marie Padiou started a thread on the Lightning-Dev mailing list suggesting that Alice could send a payment to Zed even if she didn’t know a path to his node by first sending a payment to an intermediate node (Dan) and asking Dan to figure out the route the rest of the way to Zed. This would especially benefit Alice if she ran a lightweight LN node that didn’t attempt to keep track of the entire network. For increased privacy, Alice could use several intermediate nodes rather than just one (each one receiving its own instructions encrypted by Alice). A downside described in the email is that Alice could only make a rough guess about the required fees as she wouldn’t know the actual path, so she’d probably end up paying more in fees than if she chose the route herself.

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

  • Dave Collins has made some dcrd optimizations which will be landing in our v1.5 release. They make an initial blockchain sync 20-25% faster, bringing things down to around 45 minutes for a full sync on typical hardware.

  • Richard has published a new issue of the Politeia Digest covering March 15-31, it includes discussion of the two live dev proposals that are up for vote; one to put out an RFP for Trust Wallet integration and another to move forward with the planning phase for potential ATM integration work.

  • We also have about 9 days to go for our on-chain consensus vote, so stakeholders who wish to participate should make sure their vote choices are set in their wallet. The vote can be monitored at

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

  • Core — CAP005 (surge pricing), CAP006 (buyOffer), CAP020 (Bucket list) got first round of reviews, ETA unchanged (end of April release).

  • Platform — Making good progress planning for new ingestion system, proposed Q2 Platform goals will be out this week.

  • Platform —  Additional work is being done on improved

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • We have finished fixing all of the known bugs in our proof-of-stake and implementation and now have a fully-functioning Ouroboros Praos.

  • Deepthi implemented a check in the SNARK to ensure coinbases are correctly distributed.

  • Paul has been improving the versioning of types for backwards compatibility.

  • Jiawei fixed an important bug in how common ancestors of blocks are computed. 

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a digital currency utilizing zk-SNARKs to enable its privacy-protecting properties.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASI