Shannon Developer Evangelist – Ask Me Anything

Hello Masterminds,

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Shannon Code. My position here at Mastercoin is an exciting one. I have been named the Developer Evangelist. In an attempt the pool resources and tighten integration within the team I am also going to be taking on many of the responsibilities we were looking for a communications director to fill. I started off my adventure here at Mastercoin as head of Security and will continue to triage security issues as they arise.

I’d like to welcome everyone to join me on Reddit today for an Ask Me Anything Session

What is a “Developer Evangelist”?
Wikipedia defines a technology evangelist (Which I’m going to use for the purpose of discussion) as a person who builds a critical mass of support for a given technology. Promoting the use of the technology through talks, blogging, user demonstrations, or the creation of small projects. I like this definition because it embodies much of what I’ll be doing with Mastercoin and the Crypto Currency  community.

Who is Shannon Code?
I’m Shannon Null Code, I’ve been a software developer since I can remember. (apparently before that too but I don’t remember) No kidding I would bang away at my IBM PC that would boot into Basic. I knew from an early age that this is exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I have worked with a number of startups over the years and excelled at the task of “Someone said this is impossible, can you take a crack at it” type tasks. At one place of employment I co-developed software that would play the game of World of Warcraft Autonomously. (Gold Farming, Power Leveling)

These positions allowed me to build up a large catalog of knowledge that many people in traditional jobs to not have the opportunity of obtaining. I also developed a love for API’s and Mashups. I really enjoyed taking a few API’s and inventing something new. As the years progressed I was introduced to the concept of Agile & Extreme programming, testing and automation. Circle all the way around back to today. I find myself telling people all the time that the secret to success it to do what you love. No seriously, it’s cliche for a reason. If you really do what you love for a living, you will love what you do.

So how about that name?
My wife and I, both lovers of technology, both in the software community agreed on the name change of code when we got married. (Later we issued this Announcement that we were pregnant in code) This was after a bunch of involvement from twitter, voting by all the members of the family (My kids came up with some cool names, notably “Maya Hacker Johnson” ) The tester / hacker in me wanted to have more fun and decided we should change our middle names also. So I became Shannon Null Code and my wife, Dawn Test Code. (Yes drop tables was a strong contender)

Moving forward
I plan on working closely with Craig Sellars, David Johnston, Judith Jakubovics, Adam Chamely & Faiz Khan to reach out and communicate with the community, to represent the users to our team and to represent the team to the community. Together we will work  to hear your needs. I will listen and ask questions. I will help with integrations, I will participate in group brainstorm sessions. I will be available to talk over the communication network of your choice. My plan largely involves helping inspire the developers who are not working with the Mastercoin Protocol. To offer them the support that they need, even if it’s not directly related to Mastercoin.  I plan on releasing tutorials and blog posts  regularly about my adventures experimenting with the technologies that Mastercoin releases along with crypto currency technology in general here:

Follow us on Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Facebook, Reddit. IRC and any others I might not be thinking about right now. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help, ask for guidance, ask me anything.

Starting today on Reddit and continuing through the other networks as well.

(Name Change)
(IBM Basic)
(Wow Bot)


Shannon Developer Evangelist – Ask Me Anything

Update: Poloniex Brings on Mastercoin

Quick update

We are excited to work with such a resourceful team at Poloniex to provide our community access to another exchange. Poloniex, now the highest-volume exchange of Monero, currency of anonymous-blockchain project CryptoNote, is now live with MSC trading followed by Maidsafecoin (MAID) trading expected soon after. Poloniex owner, Tristan D’Agosta, stated, “We are highly anticipating the Master Core release and will be adopting it as soon as it is available.”

Update: Poloniex Brings on Mastercoin

Viva Mastercoin and Bitcoin Gurus in Las Vegas

Nothing caps the last two weeks better than USA Today writing about two of our very own Board members, Brock Pierce and David Johnston, at the Inside Bitcoin conference in Las Vegas with Ron Gross, Mastercoin Foundation’s Executive Director.  Now if I were a gambling man I would definitely place some bets using Mastercoin, of course.

It’s been a couple long, fruitful weeks with a lot of happening so this update is packed with information, and shows just how much progress and growth the community around Mastercoin has achieved since August.

Continue reading “Viva Mastercoin and Bitcoin Gurus in Las Vegas”

Viva Mastercoin and Bitcoin Gurus in Las Vegas

Be the Support Lead for Mastercoin Foundation

Following Mastercoin developments on or watching some of the github repositories associated with various bounties shows just how much great work our developer community has been putting in since September 2013 to develop applications for the Mastercoin protocol.

Looking into the near future Mastercoin Foundation will need a person to actively take on the role of Support Lead so that as developers in the community release code that is intended for use by non-technical users there is an organization and processes in place to support our community.  

Mastercoin is a combination of new concepts (networked p2p value transfer systems and smart contracts) with old (stocks, bonds, contracts for difference, betting, etc).  We’ll need clever ways to ensure that users from all backgrounds and among many languages can get support.

On the developer community front all of the Mastercoin repositories are on Github. The Support Lead should also lead support strategy and put into action operations that enable the growth of our developer community, and provide technical support to partners (i.e., an exchange, a smart property issuer, etc) wishing to implement the Mastercoin protocol applications for their services.

We are currently developing our Wiki via a Documentation Contest, have forums software installed, and will likely implement a solutions such as uservoice for support forums and knowledge base for end users. If this is something you are interested in we generally work on a trial basis with individuals who show initiative and self-direction.

Introduce yourself to

And answer the question on Quora:

What would a Support Lead for Mastercoin do in the first 10-30-60 days?

Be the Support Lead for Mastercoin Foundation

A Brief History Of Mastercoin

Mastercoin Foundation Vision Statement:

Accelerate innovation throughout the world by building a global value exchange platform in an open, decentralized, transparent way.

Mastercoin Foundation Mission Statement:

To become the standard protocol for smart properties and virtual currencies on the Bitcoin network by providing peer-driven development of Mastercoin-enabled distributed applications that are easy to use, secure, and decentralized.

The Idea of Mastercoin

“The Second Bitcoin Whitepaper” (version 0.5) written by J.R. Willett and made public in January of 2012 laid out the basic ideas behind Mastercoin proposing that the existing Bitcoin network could be used as a protocol layer for higher level protocols to enable new rules for contracts thus enabling the creation of new currencies without changing Bitcoin itself or requiring the creation of an alternate blockchain to handle new rules. If you are familiar with the OSI protocol stack the relationship between Bitcoin and Mastercoin could be visualized as such:

The rationale behind J.R. Willett’s proposal addressed several issues: improve the stability of Bitcoin through the issuance of new currencies which have evolved into Contracts For Difference; benefit Bitcoin holders by adding new value to the Bitcoin network; provide a mechanism by which to fund software development, marketing and maintenance of the new protocol layer(s); and provide for a way by which early adopters would benefit financially.

With this new protocol layer, Bitcoin users could go abóut creating new smart contracts within the Bitcoin ecosystem.  The smart contracts protocol enabled via Mastercoin encapsulate the facilitation, verification and enforcement of contracts thus enabling the electronic exchange of smart properties such as: stocks, bonds, real estate, intellectual property and so forth.

The following year on July 31, 2013 v1.0 of the same whitepaper was released and included a call for funding the Mastercoin project. A Bitcoin “Exodus Address” was created and anyone sending Bitcoins to this address before August 31, 2013 received 100X that number in Mastercoins, as well as extra Mastercoins depending on the week during which the send transaction took place.

Exodus: Moving from Idea to Funding

July 31, 2013 marks the inception of the fundraiser the Mastercoin project when J.R. Willett’s idea moved one significant step closer to reality.  On August 15th the first ever Mastercoin transaction was recorded when CryptoBegger was sent 1 Test Mastercoin.  To this point the 1EXoDus address had received significant investment from Mastercoin’s founder and other individuals, however the big push came a presentation of Mastercoin to BitAngels in the middle of August 2013.

The total funds raised peaked at approximately 4740 BTC which resulted in the creation of about 563,162 MSC and another 10% of that initial amount in development Mastercoins will vest over a period of time.  No more MSC will ever be created from the 1EXoDus address.

Mastercoin Foundation and Board

The Mastercoin Foundation came to existence in September 2013 with seven volunteer Board members:

  • Ron Gross

  • David Johnston

  • Brock Pierce

  • Antony Vo

  • J.R. Willett

  • Jonathan Yantis

  • Sam Onat Yilmaz

Today the role of the board is to guide strategic decisions and partnerships, approve bounties as suggested by the community, as well as oversee the general budget and the hiring of operational staff.  The board is actively working to minimize its temporary central role in the Mastercoin protocol – both controlling the Mastercoin Spec, and awarding bounties, is scheduled to be turned over from the board to full community control via Proof of Stake voting. The holders of Mastercoins will be able to fully control the evolution and development of the protocol and associated software.

If you wish to reach our board members for a discussion or proposal send an email to

The Bounty System: 1st Code Contest

On October 15, 2013 the final awards were announced on for the contest participants.  The winners will share in a prize of 180 BTC or about $25,000 at the time. Five developers split the prize for this contest and some of the main Mastercoin websites and GitHub code repositories in use today were established.

Here is a list of the applications, websites and libraries which resulted from the contest:

Mastercoin-ruby: A ruby library to parse MasterCoin data. Source

Masterchest Library: A .NET DLL that gives potential new mastercoin developers the ability to use functions with a single line of code. Source

Masterchest Engine: A blockchain scanning & mastercoin transaction processing engine. Source

Mastercoin-tools: Package of mastercoin related tools including tx parser,web UI and APIs; uses package sx, libbitcoin. Source A Ruby on Rails application to index all Mastercoin transactions and show other data. Source

Mastercoin-wallet: A (QT-based) Mastercoin thin-client implementation. Source a block explorer for displaying mastercoin transactions and address balances/history. Source

Masterchest Wallet: a desktop wallet for mastercoin. Source web UI for mastercoin-tools. Source

Distributed Exchange Code Contest #2

The current contest is aimed at developing the first commercially viable and scalable distributed exchange on the Bitcoin network allowing owners of Mastercoins and Bitcoins to trade.  Later on this capability will be extended to Smart Properties such as stocks, bonds, currencies and other financial contracts.  The contest will award out a total of 300 BTC, which originally was valued at around $50,000 at the start of the contest, but has risen significantly since.

The capability is not simply a pipe-dream, our developers have already conducted the the first distributed exchange using Test Mastercoins and Bitcoins.  The acceptance criteria and thus the milestones for this contest are the following:

  • Minimum one PC wallet (for both Linux and Windows) which can generate simple sends and the buy/sell messages required for the distributed exchange, using agree-upon multi-signature format.

  • Minimum two websites parsing such messages, and the resulting balance transfers.

  • Minimum one website showing BTC/MSC price charts derived from these messages.

  • Minimum 10 days of real-world usage with no major problems.

  • High bar for usability.

Mastercoin Gets an Executive Director

Ron Gross is an early investor in Mastercoin having participated in the August 2013 crowd-funding event and a founding member of the Israeli Bitcoin Association.  After dedicating a few months to the Mastercoin effort Ron was asked by the Mastercoin Board to step up to the role of Executive Director in November 2013.  You can read Ron’s acceptance letter here.  Since taking on the role Ron has taken steps to rally a large number of individuals from across the world to join the development of and realization of the Mastercoin vision.

Mastercoin Today

The group of individuals contributing to Mastercoin today easily numbers in excess of thirty people.  While there are several developers working on the Distributed Exchange contest and more developers are joining the Mastercoin open source community. From an operational standpoint we have recently added Taariq Lewis as the Smart Property Lead, Aric Fedida has joined as Head of IT and Dominik Zynis as Head of Communications.  We have a large group of people helping in areas ranging from documentation, project management, development of the Mastercoin protocol specification, communications media (videos and Web), and opening local Mastercoin chapters. We also have blogs in Chinese and Hebrew, and many more languages coming soon.

Currently, there are four Mastercoin chapters in: one in China, one in the USA, one in the UK and another in Israel.  If you are interested in forming a chapter check out the direction on our wiki.

Mastercoin and the Future of Bitcoin Commerce

Mastercoin’s vision is to “Accelerate innovation throughout the world by building a global value exchange platform in an open, decentralized, transparent way”. That can be achieved by enabling investors, entrepreneurs and workers to freely exchange knowledge, time, effort and money globally.  With that in mind we have set milestones after the Distributed Exchange functionality is in place to bring about new capabilities inherent within the Mastercoin protocol that will capture value creation in a global context, in particular:

  • Create and track “Property creation” logic (stocks, bonds, deeds, financial contracts) and integrate with distributed exchange

  • Create and track “Savings Wallet” logic

  • Create and track “Data Stream creation and display” logic

  • Create and track “Distributed Betting” logic

  • Create and track “User-Defined Currency” logic

  • Create and track “Distributed E-Commerce” logic

A Brief History Of Mastercoin

Meet Ups and More Mastercoin Bounties

Week 47.2013

Big things are happening and we need your help.  But before we get into that we have a video of Ron Gross, Mastercoin Foundation’s Executive Director, speaking about Mastercoin at the Mastercoin Israel meet up which took place earlier this week.


Now that you had a chance to watch that video and know all about Mastercoin, you’re ready to kick down some bounties!

Earlier today we kicked-off the first Documentation Contest with a $5000 Bounty.  We also have a few other bounties open as well as several job opportunities.  And if you have some great ideas we also now how a process for proposing bounties as well.  If you need some more ideas check out the slides form Ron’s presentation.

Mastercoin Slides

If you are into the 300 BTC Distributed Exchange Code Contest taking place right now we have a list of all the GitHub repo’s which have been updated.  Head over to the development thread on to see how you can help in development or testing.

We now have local chapters in New York, Israel, UK and China. Thank you to those who made this possible.

Active Bounties

Check the Bounty spreadsheet for links to these opportunities.  If you decide to take on a bounty and recommend a bounty give some thoughts the responsibilities of what it means to being a feature owner.

Bounty Name Bounty Size Currency
Spend from Multisig 1500 USD
Localization of at least one client 500 USD
Document a rough plan to migrating off the Bitcoin blockchain into a new altchain (possibly merged mined) 300 USD
Economic research – why does MSC have value? 500 USD
First peer reviewed academic paper about Mastercoin 1000 USD
Get an existing nonprofit organization to accept Mastercoin 200 USD
Build a budget website 1000 USD
Write spec for voting on Bounties 250 USD
Write a white paper for BitAngels on how to use the Mastercoin Smart Property / User Currencies to list a BitAngelscoin 1000 USD

Have some great ideas?  Voice yourself.  And see our Bounty Process.

Open Positions

See the Open Positions List on Trello.

Currently looking for:

Security Auditor
Chief Financial Officer
Executive Assistant
Social Media Analyst
Project Manager

Protocol & Proposals

The Mastercoin Protocol v1.2 master repository on GitHub

Proposal for Standardizing the Distribution Rate of Dev MSC via the MSC Protocol

Code Repositories

Below are the repo’s on GitHub which have been updated recently.  Click on the link for more details.








If you are interested in project statistics head over to


MSC Price Chart as of 22-NOV-2013 :

chart_1 (3)

(X-axis: time; Y-axis: Price of 1 MSC in BTC)

Note that trading is manual at this time, a list of contacts is in the Order Book spreadsheet.


The Mastercoin community is expanding rapidly, here are some of the sites where you can find us and join in the conversation:












Ron Gross, Executive Director, Mastercoin Foundation will be speaking at Inside Bitcoin taking place in Las Vegas December 11-13.

Local Chapters

We now have local chapters in New York, Israel, UK and China.  Thanks to all who made this possible:

Israel – founded by Ofer RotemStas Oskin and Amnon Gilboa.
China – founded by Red Li and Zhen Li.
UK – founded by Eric Benz.
New York – founded by Jeffrey Parries.

Interested in starting your own local chapter here are the instructions.

Mastercoin Foundation

Smart Property Lead

We are excited to announce a new addition to the team: Taariq Lewis recently took on the Smart Property Lead position.


Mastercoin Fund Ledger (MSC) 10071.6150979
Exodus MSC 563162.35762218 End of Exodus 9/1/2013
Dev MSC 56316.235762218 Years since Exodus 0.22569854646742
Total MSC 619478.593384398 Available Dev MSC 8155.66935554026
Mastercoin Primary Fund Ledger (BTC)
Beginning Balance 4740.6200979
Overall Balance 4436.2910979

Source: Fund Ledger

Meet Ups and More Mastercoin Bounties

Making History With Distributed Exchange

News for the week 43.2013.

Last week we discussed the fantastic results of the 1st code contest. Throughout this week a few key exciting events took place.

J.R. Willet, the person behind the Mastercoin protocol, announced the 2nd code contest which aimed at enabling distributed exchange transactions between two currencies (BTC <-> MSC); this ambitious contest is giving away 300 BTC and will need support not just from those who will be developing the wallet and website applications, but support from those who are willing to test the developed applications. So, take a look and get involved. Your contributions will be rewarded.

We also saw an important decision take place with the Bitcoin code base.  According to Gavin Andresen a Bitcoin pull request which allows for the association of up to 80 bytes of arbitrary data in a transaction will make it into Bitcoin’s 0.9 major release; this will enable Class C Mastercoin transactions (more information below).

Lastly, earlier this week the Mastercoin Foundation Board had its first meeting. Scroll down to see the minutes.

Mastercoin Websites

Looking for a MSC transaction or address? Check out some of the websites that were created for the last code contest:

Mastercoin Explorer


Mastercoin Giveaway

If you did not get your hands on some Mastercoins a couple months ago, the giveaway is back up and running.  Help promote Mastercoin. Go get some coins!

Announcing the 300 BTC Coding Contest: Distributed Exchange

A few days ago J.R. Willet announced the next coding contest centered on building the distributed exchange and Smart Property capabilities of the Mastercoin protocol layer (see the latest protocol specification) which uses the Bitcoin network for data communications, storage and transactional security. With the completion of this contest we all will be able to buy and sell Mastercoins for Bitcoins, and soon other Smart Properties, by utilizing Bitcoin’s distributed peer-to-peer network as the exchange host.

We’re making history here! Join the effort as there are many roles (developers, code review, testing, bug reporting) that need to be filled and share in the 300 BTC prize.

Here is a brief on the contest requirements which can be met as part of a group effort and by using already open sourced code. Jump in by joining the development discussion thread on bitcointalk.

Acceptance criteria:

  • Minimum one PC wallet (for both Linux and Windows) which can generate simple sends and the buy/sell messages required for the distributed exchange, using agree-upon multi-sig format.
  • Minimum two websites parsing such messages, and the resulting balance transfers
  • Minimum one website showing BTC/MSC price charts derived from these messages
  • Minimum 10 days of real-world usage with no major problems
  • High bar for usability.

Repo Updates

If you are looking to contribute to the next contest or want to try out a Mastercoin wallet have a look at the MSC repositories on GitHub.

mastercoin-tools update

    • parse multisig_long and disable multisig_simple
    • change send multisig to compressed+obfuscated pubkey format
    • change to obfuscation using sender address
    • give change address in BIP11 as uncompressed pubkey

Market Update


Market Depth: BID 8,641 MSC || ASK 3,336

BID MSC 275 * 0.0800 BTC || ASK MSC 100 MSC * 0.1000 BTC

Note that trading is manual at this time. Offers are available at Maxmint’s Mastercoin Order Book

Protocol & Proposals

Bitcoin 0.9 & Mastercoin Transaction Classes

Earlier this week Gavin Andresen published Core Development Update #5 for Bitcoin outlining some of the source changes which will be making it into Bitcoin’s 0.9 major release. A key decision announced in this update will have a positive impact for Mastercoin development because it approves the merge of Bitcoin Pull request #2738 that allows for the association of up to 80 bytes of arbitrary data transactions.

Basically, this merge gives Mastercoin developers another way to encode Mastercoin data into the blockchain.  Thus, we have three transaction classes available (many thanks Tachikoma for summarizing what this means). If you would like a more in-depth explanation of Class A & B transaction types Zathras has created an appendix document to the MSC protocol specification entitled “Storing Mastercoin data in the blockchain” which details the transaction rules for these two types.

Class A

Hiding the data in an Bitcoin address. The downside to this method is that these addresses can never be spent since no private key exists and bloat the Bitcoin blockchain.

Class B

Multi-signature transactions. By supplying a public key to be used when spending the output we thus ensuring every output created is spendable.

Class C

Add 80 bytes of arbitrary data to each transaction.  A way to encode data in the most benign way since outputs are ‘Provably Prune-able’ and can safely be ignored when parsing the blockchain.

Mastercoin Transaction Example

If you are wondering how a Mastercoin transaction is encoded in the blockchain Zathras has prepared this graphic explaining how a simple send transaction appears along with Class B obfuscation:

Mastercoin Foundation

The Mastercoin Foundation is now a Silver Member of the Bitcoin Foundation.


Current Balance: 4521.9910979 BTC

More details available at the Mastercoin Fund Ledger

Board Meeting Minutes

Earlier this week the first Board Meeting of the Mastercoin Foundation took place. The board meeting agenda is available online. Outlined are the items discussed and the results.

  • Are our meeting minutes public?

We decided that the meetings are public.

  • How to engage in Press Relations?

We haven’t decided on that, waiting to hear a marketing plan from Social Circle.

  • Update on blog, social channels

Updated the board about our blog. We do also plan to review our Twitter & Facebook channels.

  • We need a roadmap. Revive our Trello board? We need someone to be in charge of the roadmap / project management, whatever the medium.

No Trello for now.

  • Do we start paying all bounties as 50%/50% BTC/MSC ?

It was decided that bounties are paid in whatever currency the developers/bounty collectors wish.

  • Share the news of Nxt

Updated the board briefly about the Nxt alt currency

  • Protocol specification

J.R. – Goal – get next revision of the spec into github.

Have something exciting to talk about?

Use this form to tell us what you are working on related to Mastercoin. We will include it in the next weekly update.

Making History With Distributed Exchange