Since our release of Elements Alpha, we have been hard at work making the codebase production-ready for live, federated-sidechains such as the Liquid network. This post announces a number of improvements now available to developers.
In our second white paper on sidechains, we discuss the concept of Strong Federations, or a federated blockchain system that facilitates movement of any asset among disparate markets without requiring centralized trust. Strong Federations provide security and confidentiality advantages with support for transactions where asset types and amounts are opaque while preserving the public verifiability inherent to Bitcoin. The white paper was published on arXiv, an academic e-print service.
Starting this month, Ben Teitelbaum is joining the leadership team at Blockstream as our new Vice President of Engineering.
This post will describe how covenants can be implemented with a small extension to the Bitcoin script language that already exists in the Elements Alpha sidechain.
Over a dozen representatives from companies leading work on Lightning systems met in Milan last week to establish a shared scope and specification for protocol compatibility.
Announcing first end-to-end test of a Lightning micropayment network, including invoicing, multi-hop payment, and item delivery.
"Adam has extensive practical experience building teams and shipping products as shown by his track record at organizations large and small, such as Microsoft, PI, EMC, and VMware," said Paul Maritz, Chairman, Pivotal, and former CEO of VMware
Over the past several months, we have been fortunate to welcome a number of talented people to Blockstream.
We are pleased to announce that we have acquired GreenAddress, a leading bitcoin wallet software provider based in Europe.
Today we are excited to announce some important steps we are taking on the patent front, why these defensive steps are necessary, and our hope that others will see merit in our approach and follow our lead.
We are proud to welcome Christopher Allen to Blockstream. He will be working with us on a number of strategic initiatives, including the company’s participation in the Hyperledger cross-industry collaboration, as well as future technical efforts with international standards organizations such as W3C, IETF, and Oasis.
Blockstream is off to a strong start this year with a number of new customer engagements, our announcement of a strategic partnership with PwC, and today being able to share the news of our second round of financing. I'm excited to announce that we raised $55 million in Series A funding to further enhance our sidechain technology, expand our operations globally, and support new industry partnerships, bringing our total investments in the company to $76 million.
Blockstream is pleased to announce today a strategic partnership with PwC to bring blockchain technology and services to companies around the world. The rapid pace of innovation in cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers, and smart contract technology is driving organizations to transform their operations. PwC exemplifies the type of partner that will help us deliver the promise of this cutting edge technology.
Blockstream announces new hires, joining our engineering, product and operations teams.
For a young company, nothing is more exciting and vital than announcing the first product. That's why it was so rewarding for us to be able to include some of our initial customers in the Liquid announcement, which helped us add a real-world dimension to our work. We also greatly appreciated the discussion that followed. We all benefit from and share in the learning process as we advance the state of Bitcoin.
Blockstream, in collaboration with an initial set of launch partners, is excited to announce Liquid, our first production sidechain. Liquid will improve capital efficiency and market liquidity by facilitating rapid and secure transfers between accounts held at any participating exchange or brokerage.
Lightning network intro and update on developments since it fired the starting gun for development of trustless off-chain bitcoin transactions.
After the release of Alpha we realized that its script language, thanks to the addition of OP_CAT, enables a simple form of Merkle tree verification. Therefore, we can now emulate a subset of MAST without any changes to the consensus rules. All we need to do is use the script language in a way that wasn’t anticipated. As you will see in the next sections, this enables some very large multisig constructions with very low cost (in terms of opcodes executed and size on the chain).
Today we joined other leading California bitcoin companies in submitting a letter (link to PDF) to the California State Senate on pending digital currency legislation, AB 1326
. The letter expresses our desire for California to set pro-technology policy for digital currency, and was sent from us together with Bitgo, Bitnet, Chain, Gem, Mirror, and Xapo.
We’re excited to announce the release of Sidechain Elements. Sidechains extend Bitcoin functionality through interoperable blockchain networks and today’s open source release includes an experimental sidechain that has a number of new working capabilities. With the release of Sidechain Elements, Blockstream is moving this effort into the community. We’re inviting developers to work with us, to test and use the code for their projects, and to share their proposals and code for additional capabilities. Sidechains are decentralized, peer-to-peer networks that provide useful security, risk, and performance enhancements for global systems of value exchange that don’t need intermediaries, central banks or other third parties. They are distributed ledgers that are interoperable with each other and with Bitcoin, leveraging the most secure blockchain and code infrastructure in an additive way. Sidechains enable innovators to safely develop new applications without jeopardizing Bitcoin’s core code and putting billions of dollars worth of digital currency
Blocksteam is proud to welcome three new people to our team, expanding our globally-decentralized crew from North America and Europe to now include Australia! Rusty Russell, Core Tech Engineer Rusty is a well-known Linux kernel maintainer, renowned for his foundational work on modules and iptables. After 14 years as a senior developer at IBM, he took a six-month sabbatical to work on cryptocurrencies. It was his top-notch work and writings during this period that brought him to our attention. Rusty has worked on a plethora of low-level code over the years, spoken at dozens of conferences around the world and also founded the first Australian Linux conference. He continues to maintain some Linux kernel parts as a hobby, while devoting most of his time to exploring the emerging frontier of Bitcoin development. On Bitcoin and Blockstream, Rusty notes: “I was drawn to Linux by a group of passionate developers, and
Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream co-founder Gregory Maxwell discusses his recent work on privacy and the future of multi-signature technology at a recent San Francisco Bitcoin Devs Meetup. Maxwell explains important aspects of bringing multisig transactions to the blockchain. In the second half of the presentation he defines what effectual cryptography can look like and illustrates how developers can help create more reliable new technologies with it.
Today we joined with over sixty thought leaders, investors and companies calling on the New York Department of Financial Services to create a safe harbor under its proposed BitLicense rule. We’re excited about the recent announcements for blockchain businesses out of New York. They demonstrate an expanding recognition of the enormous potential of blockchain technology. However, as the leading technology company developing open source protocols for virtual currency and blockchain businesses, we believe it’s misguided to expect early stage companies to adhere to licensing requirements that are similar to those of large financial institutions. The untapped potential of blockchain technology is almost entirely being pioneered by startups and early stage players. These companies are several years ahead of Wall Street. Imposing significant costs and bureaucracy on early adopters will stifle innovation at a time when it’s needed most, if the not-too-distant history of the financial markets is to be avoided.
We’re proud to welcome three new members to Blockstream’s team, as well as announce the creation of the company’s first job board with several technical and non-technical openings. Glenn Willen, Core Tech Engineer Originally from Los Angeles, Glenn got a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007, followed by a four-year stint at Google as a Software Engineer and a Site Reliability Engineer. About working with Blockstream, Glenn says, “I’ve been following Bitcoin since I read about it on Slashdot in early 2011. I love truly decentralized systems, like the ones that have survived from the early days of the Internet, chief among them email and the web. I hope to see Bitcoin take its place among them someday.” James Murdock, Vice President Corporate Development & General Counsel James holds extensive legal and business strategy experience ranging from IP, cyberlaw, M&A and global partnerships. He was previously Senior
In a recent episode the Epicenter Bitcoin podcast, posted on February 3, 2015, Adam Back and Gregory Maxwell discuss the motivation behind sidechains, the concept of digital scarcity, concerns about the security of sidechains and the different stages of sidechains from federated pegs to merged mining to block extension.Video courtesy of Epicenter, hosted by Brian Fabian Crain & Sébastien Couture
“The Bitcoin Policy Prescription: Will Policymakers Get It Right (Again) Or Will Fear Stifle Innovation?” That was the question posed to a panel at this year’s State of the Net conference, held on January 27, 2015 in Washington DC. Along with Blockstream Co-Founder Alex Fowler, other panelists included: Eli Dourado, Research Fellow and Director of the Technology Policy Program, Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Vanessa Kargenian, Supervisory Development Associate, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and Chip Poncy, Co-Founder, Financial Integrity Network. The panel was moderated by Jerry Brito, Executive Director of Coincenter. Video courtesy of State of the Net, hosted by the Internet Education Foundation
Reprint: “The Future of the Bitcoin Ecosystem and ‘Trustless Trust’ – Why I Invested in Blockstream,” by Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s Pulse, November 17, 2014 Bitcoin is often characterized in the media as a volatile virtual commodity that can optimize speculation even more efficiently than gold, securitized subprime mortgages, or tulips. That’s not how I think about it. For me, Bitcoin is a transformative addition to Internet communication protocols that will create new networks of trust, fuel massive economic ecosystems, and create enduring long-term value. Beyond arguments over whether Bitcoin functions more like a commodity or a currency is the fact that it introduces the blockchain, a distributed ledger that resides on tens of thousands of servers around the world. Every time one party exchanges some amount of bitcoins with another party, this transaction is checked against this public and permanent record of every Bitcoin exchange that has ever happened. The
“Can’t be evil.” That was the first thing Adam Back and I wrote on a whiteboard at the start of 2014. I had flown out to Malta to spend a week with Adam to map out a vision for an ecosystem and a future we wanted to see built. In the late 90’s I had the pleasure to recruit Adam after reading his Hashcash whitepaper to join the team of cryptographers we had at Zero-Knowledge Systems. Zero-Knowledge Systems was a company I co-founded with my father and brother to commercialize several cypherpunk privacy-enhancing technologies, including anonymous encrypted networking and Dr. Stefan Brands’ pioneering protocol for e-cash (still the most-flexible and powerful of the central-server protocols developed to date). While we had some amazing successes, many of which live on today, we were too early to see wide scale market acceptance of our e-cash work at that time. Fast forward to December 2013 the roles
As someone with some community visibility, I make this commitment to the community: Blockstream will be a robust champion of Bitcoin’s ethos, supporting values of decentralisation, end-to-end security, user control, user values and open, permissionless innovation. To me, and my Blockstream co-founders, these are more than mere words. They represent deeply rooted beliefs and a culmination of decades of involvement in the technology community and related professional work. The technical team and I are making a choice by founding this company to work towards extending bitcoin. This choice is a direct reflection of the primacy of our commitment to bitcoin. Blockstream arose from a firm belief that sidechains are the most important and pressing technical work ahead for Bitcoin to reach its full potential as a programmable money and asset internetwork. The seeds of Blockstream originated from the values shared by the cypherpunk community. It was through this network that
Since releasing our paper, “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains,” we've been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response from the Bitcoin community and also the enthusiasm for the kind of innovation sidechains can enable. We received close to 10,000 downloads of the paper, saw a number of excellent blog posts and critiques on sidechains, and over 3,000 people logged in for a Reddit AMA with us to discuss the paper and Blockstream. However, we noticed a handful of comments that reflected some misconceptions and a few concerns regarding our integration into the Bitcoin ecosystem that we thought it would be helpful for us to address now, while the discussion is still ongoing. I've pulled them together into six questions and worked with the other authors to provide responses.
We are long-time Bitcoin protocol developers who are convinced that finding an architecturally sound and permissionless way to extend Bitcoin is essential for cryptocurrency to reach its full potential.