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

 

MerchantCoin Partners with Mastercoin

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)

Security in the Blockchain: Past, Present and Future

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

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

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
MSC Open Communications Update – Next Steps

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 Sam@Mastercoin.org

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

Sam Yilmaz

Sam Yilmaz – Board Member at the MSC Foundation- AMA

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.

 

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

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

Omniwallet Milestone v0.15

Notary Chains and Scaling MSC Transactions

Guest Post by Paul Snow Lead Developer and Founder | NotaryChains.com

NotaryChains

NotaryChains is a deceptively simple yet critical technology for leveraging the power of the Bitcoin block chain.  The goal of the project is to build a protocol stack, beginning with a proof of existence layer, and ending with a layer providing proof of process.  All of which is secured with the Bitcoin block chain, without adding a significant number of transactions to the Bitcoin block chain, nor requiring any changes to the Bitcoin protocol.

Proof of Existence

The lowest layer in the NotaryChains protocol stack implements Proof of Existence.  This is done by collecting the unique fingerprints (hashes) of digital artifacts (financial transactions, documents, pictures, media files, etc.) into what we refer to as a notary block.  The unique fingerprint (hash) of the notary block is then placed into the Bitcoin block chain.  In this way, an unlimited number of digital artifacts can be secured by a single entry in the Bitcoin block chain.

Each entry submitted by a user to the Proof of Existence layer is time stamped, and added in order of receipt to the current notary block.  An intermediate hash can be provided to the user at submission as proof of its position in the current notary block.  Periodically the notary block is completed, and sealed by adding its hash to the Bitcoin block chain.  

The hash in the Bitcoin block chain provides a rough time stamp of the entire notary block, and the time stamps internal to the notary block provide a finer time stamp of each entry.  All the notary blocks are shared to all interested parties using one or more platforms for sharing data.  Initially we will share them over BitTorrent, but in the future we may share over the SAFE network, Storej, or other technologies.

Proof of Existence only requires the document, the appropriate notary block, and the Bitcoin block chain to prove a document’s existence at a point in time.  Proof of Existence does not require the continued running of NotaryChains, nor can anyone alter the notary blocks after the fact to remove or modify an entry without breaking the hashes stored in the Bitcoin block chain.

Entries and Meta Data

The next layer in the NotaryChains protocol is to add information about documents, and perhaps link documents with other documents within an entry.  An entry is a structured data representation (such as XML or JSON).  Such a structure can include a document’s URL, its hash, perhaps a database key, or any other information useful for tracking with the document.  It can even include multiple document hashes and information, tying documents together.  Notary chains hashes the entry, and records the hash in the current notary block (picking up a time stamp and type).

Again, all that is required for proof of an entry will be the documents referenced, the entry, the notary block, and the Bitcoin block chain.  

Notary Chains: Chains of Entries

Finally, entries can be managed in chains.  Each chain gets its own type, and the first entry represents the genesis entry for the chain.  The first entry defines the rules by which the chain is audited.  Any attempt to add an entry that does not conform to the rules of the chain is disregarded.  The first entry will generally provide an link to the documentation for the rules for the notary chain.  This should include a text description as well as a reference application that performs an audit of the chain.  Constructed in this way, any entry must past the audit in order to be a valid entry in the chain.

NotaryChains will provide support for some basic types.  These types will likely include:

  • Logs — periodic logging of data streams, such as security cameras, building access, computer access, etc.  
  • Accounts — documents the use of a resource.  Can allow for limited access (like limited numbers of views of a movie, limited visits to a gym, etc.).  Allows for a business to sell so many units to a user, and allows a user to document their use of those units via signed access.
  • Coins — Provides for the trading of tokens.  Configuration choices will include specifying conditions for the generation of coins, arbitrary creation of coins, authority to reverse transactions or not, and other coin features. 
  • Versions — Allows the updating of software versions.  Binary and Source can signed and the signatures placed in a notary chain.  updates can be validated by signatures and by being part of a version chain.  Particularly useful to manage generic notary chain types, so that bugs and security issues can be addressed in a way that can be validated against the appropriate notary chain.

Federated Servers

NotaryChains will use a set of independently managed and controlled federated servers.  Each of these servers will be responsible for performing real time audits of the other servers.  If a server fails a dead man switch test, another server of the federated set will pick up responsibility for processing submissions to that server.  

This architecture allows for much more rapid clearing of submissions.  Furthermore, the centralized processing of transactions insures no double spends are possible, as the server handling the transaction is responsible for managing race conditions on a first come first serve basis.  Other features of the protocol (not discussed here) insure proper ordering of submissions even if they do not arrive at the server in order. Notary Chains also allows the audit particular notary chains with partial information (not all notary blocks, not all entries are required for a cryptographically secure audit).

The MSC Protocol and NotaryChains

NotaryChains is using the MSC Platform to issue the digital token associated with the NotaryChains protocol.  Upon completing all the layers, NotaryChain tokens will be converted to native coins running on NotaryChains.  In fact, we may even be able to help improve the speed and reduce the cost of MSC transaction by running synced MasterCore nodes on the NotaryChains platform.

The advantages to running MasterCore on NotaryCains include:

  • The NotaryChains system of record secured by the Bitcoin block chain  Because the notary blocks are hashed into the Bitcoin block chain, they are just as secure as Bitcoin transactions themselves. 
  • Reduced load on the Bitcoin block chain  Unlimited MSC transactions can be performed on NotaryChains for each entry NotaryChains places in the block chain. 
  • Fast transaction processing  Centralized servers allow for millisecond processing of MSC transactions that currently take quite a long time on the Bitcoin block chain.  
  • Secure transactions  All transactions of MSC will require cryptographic signatures.  This means even if the centralized servers wanted to misdirect MSC transactions, they could not.  They will not have the private keys to do so.
  • Simplified protocols  The flexible entry format means that MSC transactions (as well as many other applications) can clearly add all the data and entries required to support the Master protocol.  NotaryChains allows the flexibility to construct transactions exactly as required by the application rather than force them into an awkward encoding scheme.

We are looking forward to working with MSC core developers and delivering the NotaryChain protocol to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

To find more information see our website, whitepaper, and GitHub at these links:

 
I look forward to community feedback on this topic.
 
Paul Snow
Lead Developer and Founder | NotaryChains.com
NotaryChains@gmail.com
 
Notary Chains and Scaling MSC Transactions

Judith – BizDev at Mastercoin – hosting AMA session today on Reddit

Dear Masterminds,

Today I am hosting an AMA on our subreddit for anyone interested in discussing ideas that can be built on the Master Protocol.
I will be here the whole day waiting for your questions and ideas.
Please ask the questions here:
http://www.reddit.com/r/mastercoin/comments/2d7td9/hello_masterminds_i_would_like_you_to_join_me_on/

In my new role as BizDev at the Mastercoin Foundation I aim to facilitate and assist new or existing initiatives that plan to build upon and take advantage of the capabilities offered by the Master Protocol. Whether you, dear entrepreneur, organization or company, have a clear vision of how this can be achieved, or you need further guidance and ideas, feel free to contact me and allow me to be your focal point. I am very responsive and will make sure you get all the answers to your questions.

Waiting for you
Judith

Judith – BizDev at Mastercoin – hosting AMA session today on Reddit