Proof of Work: the slow but steady process of institutional adoption

Quick Take

  • Institutional cryptocurrency adoption is continuing to happen. It’s a slow process that mostly so far has happened in the form of fund investment
  • A number of endowments and a couple of pension funds have put decent-sized checks into crypto focused funds, who are currently deploying that money into a mix of venture-style bets and buying liquid cryptocurrencies
  • Project highlights: Decred lightning network goes live on testnet, Grin’s UTXO set shrank by 15% last week, Loom’s Plasmachain Universal Transaction Signing allows users to seamlessly interact with L1/L2 transactions without having to really know or care which they are doing, and Decentraland releases cute Avatars

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 LA!

I’ve been at a small conference for institutional investors and crypto people to get to know each other better. The simple takeaway so far has been that institutional adoption is continuing to happen. It’s a slow process that mostly so far has happened in the form of fund investment—a bunch of endowments and a couple of pension funds have put decent-sized checks into crypto focused funds, who are currently deploying that money into a mix of venture-style bets and buying liquid cryptocurrencies. If you hold BTC, this seems like a good reason (among many) to just keep holding it—my sense is that there’s a lot of interest from large institutions, but that they are still somewhat hampered by a lack of regulated custodians, easy tie-ins to the tooling they are used to, etc.

Highlights: Decred lightning network goes live on testnet, Grin’s UTXO set shrank by 15% last week, Loom’s Plasmachain Universal Transaction Signing allows users to seamlessly interact with L1/L2 txs without having to really know or care which they are doing, and Decentraland releases cute Avatars.

No update from: Kadena, Spacemesh, Zeppelin, Theta.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy on Bitcoin

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

  • 0.18.0 coming next week, big update then!

James from Summa

Summa builds tools to exchange crypto in a convenient and trustless fashion.

  • This week we are wrapping up our share of development on a major partnership that will significantly improve interoperability between BTC and ETH. More details to come.

  • We were super excited to learn that our friends at Bolt Labs are using riemann to prototype private payment channels for Zcash. 

  • Matthew and I will be in NYC from May 10-20 for blockchain week. We would love to meet up. Reach out to us at: [email protected], so that we can arrange something

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.

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.

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 begun development of our zero-knowledge scripting system. Join us on our Discord to get involved.

  • John, Avery, and Brandon have been developing our GraphQL backend.

  • Vanishree has been analyzing our new chain selection rule.

  • Jiawei identified an important consensus bug.

  • After a great effort from John, Paul, and others, versioning types for backwards compatibility is now complete.

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 ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

  • Monero had it's Moneroversary this past week. It had a lot of fun events that went on.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • New Download page, new Home page, enhanced News Center

  • We still are working on the integration with Trezor T and on the development of our Atomic Swap Feature #447

  • We have began to develop a super cool feature that will allow us to translate our GUI&CLI Wallets #544

  • We have finished the develop the following features: Clear all Data in iOS (contacts, addresses, transaction history) for better privacy #107, Ability in iOS to connect to specific Node  #98, Ability to hide balance on iOS for better privacy  #83, Alert user to stay online and active when send/receive Beam  (iOS #85) & (Android #178), Ask password on every send on Android  #174

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

  • This week we finished our work on the public and private range proofs.

  • We are progressing with our trusted setup, this week focusing on the writing of the formal paper outlining the security properties of the system

  • Zac, our CTO, has contributed to two open source projects with the aim of making cryptography cheaper on Ethereum:

  • We have just started work on tooling upgrades for adoption of AZTEC, including a rewrite of our aztec.js client side library, and a starter kit demonstrating how to build a zero-knowledge loan. Both will be released in the coming weeks.

  • We’re still hiring for two cryptographers to join the team. You can apply here, or by emailing [email protected] with the name of the role as the subject

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

  • 17 PRs in nearcore from 5 different authors

  • Whiteboard series recorded with Quarkchain

  • Application/Dev layer

    • Cover access key functionality with tests

    • Switch HTTP RPC interface to JSONRPC in both Node and nearlib

    • Support configuration of multiple deployment environments for CLI tools

    • Updated Chess and Memegen to use latest CLI tools / nearlib

    • Deployed NEAR Place to permanent location on GitHub pages

  • Blockchain Layer

AJ from Tezos

Tezos is a self-amending blockchain that features formally verified smart contracts, on-chain governance, and a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm which enables all token holders to participate in the network. 

Topper from Quorum Control

Tupelo is a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Tupelo v0.2.0 has been released!

  • Send and Receive Token functionality fully available from both Go and JS

  • Code simplification through moving fully to libp2p for gossip layer

  • Moving TestNet to 0.2.0 targeted for April 30th

  • Latest performance data available here

  • Significantly improved integration test suite coverage

  • Setup for a Tupelo cluster on Kubernetes in testing

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

  • Released Universal Transaction Signing, which allows our Layer 2 sidechains to verify and accept transactions signed by native Layer 1 wallets. That gives users the ability to interact with PlasmaChain dapps directly from their existing wallets (e.g., MetaMask, Scatter, TronLink, etc).

  • Launched imToken integration, allowing users to stake LOOM tokens directly from their imToken wallet.

  • Certus One partnered with CMCC to launch a validator on PlasmaChain. 

  • 182M LOOM tokens are now staked on PlasmaChain, which amounts to ~23% of circulating supply.

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • Private Alpha testing our new margin trading product. Seeing strong usage so far with well over $1M supplied and $500k borrowed / traded in the first week of private testing!

  • Successfully liquidated >$75k of positions for our Alpha

  • DAI lending rate has been high due to strong demand to go leveraged long on ETH, peaking at over 77% APR returns for lenders over the weekend

  • Gearing up for our public launch: implemented charts, fixing minor frontend bugs, adding features based on feedback form Alpha users

  • Hiring product designers & engineers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • #ReFi with #DeFi continued in full force, leading to over 1.7m in borrow volume (nearly all Dai-denominated)

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email ([email protected] or [email protected]) or apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • Guesser and Boost VC became the first ever venture capital deal done using Dai. 

  • Released a development update to Multi-Collateral Dai on Kovan testnet, covering the MCD CDP Portal, Dai.js, and new contract addresses. 

  • Forbes detailed Maker and DeFi in a recent article featuring COO Steven Becker

  • Underscore VC sat down with CEO Rune Christensen for an interview to discuss the future of blockchain. Watch it here

  • Fomohunt integrated Dai as a supported payment, and Maker is one of the first to have access to their community event tool. 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • Added minting fee and flow improvements to MPX

  • Completed initial integration of ethers.js

  • Integrated solidity contract release into MPX and MPX API

  • Completed alert and notification setup for production environment

Layer two and interoperability

Tieshun from Namebase

Namebase is the easiest way to buy, sell, and use Handshake.

  • R

Paul from Veil

Veil is a peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur, 0x, and Ethereum.

  • R

Rahul from 0x

0x is an open protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Tony from Liquidity.Network

Liquidity Network is a transfer and swap platform for any token

  • Sleek design and cool interface

  • Support ERC-20 tokens on-chain & off-chain

  • Support for $DAI

  • Improved user experience

  • Hub security checks ️

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We finished UI for game introduction, leaderboard, game history and game result. 

  • We finished defining CelerX game info APIs and loaded and displayed Gomoku game (dev version) on CelerX platform. 

  • We finished mobile sandbox for internal game developers. 

  • We completed new wallet on-boarding and open-channel UI and finished refactoring iOS UI architecture. 

  • We finished CelerX feature development for the Soft Mainnet Launch.

  • We are working on LiBA and PoLC internal testnet launch. 

  • We switched devops to containerized system deployment and finished generic channel dispute and settlement implementation.

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer is a decentralized video infrastructure network, dramatically reducing prices for developers and businesses building video streaming applications at scale. 

  • Merged support for multiple supply-side node support and failover. Broadcaster software now automatically will negotiate prices off chain with various providers on the network, will be able to work with multiple, and fail-over automatically, all without having to go on chain. This is part of the upcoming Streamflow release.

  • The community node grants program has continued to receive a stream of applications, including for a Livepeer Primer microsite, and an improved token holder user journey.

Ryan from FOAM

FOAM is building spatial applications and proof of location that bring geospatial data to blockchains and empower a consensus driven map of the world.

  • Building a front end for the previously released FOAM Plasma Demo 

  • Hosted the first Community Workshop call on improvement proposals, video recording here

  • The Weekly Scavenger Hunt with Blockcities continues, with the latest in Tokyo Japan. 

  • Tokens in the FOAM voting contract have doubled in the last month and are nearing 1m as challenges heat up on the map. 

  • Finalizing the FOAM developer grant program to launch alongside ETH New York hackathon, taking place at the Foamspace teams headquarters in the New Lab. 

David from Sia

Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage marketplace that is more robust and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.

  • We're getting closer to our goal of seed-based file recovery, making Sia files recoverable anywhere as long as you have your seed.

  • Manually disconnecting from a peer also blacklists that peer for you, improving the future integrity of your data.

  • Renters can now delete corrupt files and have access to improved logging.

  • The `siac renter` command is now more robust. It includes the number of contracts, total data stored, and minimum redundancy.

  • Sia-UI: Renters can now drag & drop files into the UI to upload them

  • Sia-UI: The config.json file allows users to customize things like the path where the blockchain data is stored


Ari from Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual world where you can build and explore 3D creations, play games and socialize.

  • We released the SDK 6.0 Beta. It includes larger 16mx16m scenes, a more robust audio engine, more animations, better textures, and other new features and optimizations.

  • Announced Decentraland Avatars, the customizable 3D characters and identity management platform for the virtual world.

  • Released an upload/download feature for the Builder, allowing users to backup and restore their scenes across instances of the Builder.

  • We also added support for multiple asset packs in the Builder along with fixing some small display bugs for mobile, improved some icons and hotkeys, and added a preview button for the Publish to LAND feature.

Bowen from Hydro/

Hydro Protocol is an open source framework for building Decentralized Exchanges. DDEX is the first decentralized exchange for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens built on the Hydro Protocol.

© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.