RChain Blog

RChain Co-op Weekly Community Debrief #196 Sept 16 2020

0:00:08 – Tech Update: https://rchain.atlassian.net/wiki/spa…

0:15:31 – Community Week in Review

0:19:47 – Discussion around turning Surveillance Capitalism on its head.

Relevant links:

United States Congress Will Vote on American COMPETE Act to ‘Beat China’ in Blockchain Technology

https://blockchain.news/news/united-s…

The COMPETE Act:

https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr…

The Social Dilemma:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Soc…

Surveillance Capitalism:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveil…

Greg Meredith 0:00
Right. Well, why don’t you go ahead and give us the technical update, and then we’ll move on from there. All right.

Rao Bhamidipati 0:07
All right. So this is Community Update 137. Welcome. We have a new version of 0.9.25, running on the main net, all nodes, all validators and observers. So it’s 0.9.25.4. And this, this really is has improvements to the LM dB. How the, for the longest time we had a an ephemeral bug where the data would be corrupted or we would get this error that says, You’re trying to get more bits out there out of vector than or available. That was a JVM error. So that’s resolved and that fixes that Now in on all the main net nodes.

In addition, it also has some improvements to lmdb store, especially in the Tomislav added multiple key support for lmdb store. So that’s what is they’re running on all the main nodes at this point in time, we have made substantial progress on 0.9.26. As we speak, Tomislav is trying to run the final set of integration tests to create the 0.9.26. Last finalized state beta and the aim was being developed in a separate feature branch so it is trying to merge the feature branch and run the final integration tests right now. So that should be released sometime this week, most likely tomorrow. Not latest by Friday, we should have the beta release, if you want to play with it.

And we are also still developing more tests for the last finalize state. So if you I know last finalized state has been going on for a while. But I guess that we have had three alpha releases, and a bunch of a lot of testing on that. And each testing, improving things along to get to beta and then the final one, then we’ll have it. So that’s where it is all networks are running 0.9.25.4 other than other than what I mentioned about that testing for 0.9.26 beta so the piece that the one that Tomislav is currently merging, that’s actually a big, big PR, it’s got a few different issues resolved in that so one of them, the main one is the fixing the requesting of blocks and chunks of state.

And then there are other ones, such as the node cannot request approved block. This again, this was something that was happening in the last finalized state code, which is not on the main net or anywhere else. This is just in that feature branch that we were running tests and then creating issues and then resolving those. So that’s kind of where that is. Those are some of the issues that are being resolved in there. The gist for last finalized state specification is This link. So for those that are interested in figuring out what last finalized state how it works, and its relationship to the rest of the system and the conditions, like bonding and all that, please read that specification and comment. If you have any questions or suggestions, go ahead add issues in the, in the main GitHub, our channel chain GitHub. The other thing that we have is: Will has started, on the API side, Will has started the open API as well as swagger standard documentation for the API. And that’s this 3128 item. So that should help people, developers that are either familiar with it or

Rao Bhamidipati 5:05
in general, we can use all the tools that are out there for swagger, to make it easier for people to use the API, so that that effort has started. It’s not complete yet. But we will put some focus on the usability of the API ease of use. Because certainly the current developers in the community have mentioned how hard it would be for newcomers to come and pick up rholang and start doing things, so we’re trying to simplify things there, especially in view of the upcoming hackathon on that’s planned, so let me speak to that. So there is a substantial amount of work to be done for the hackathon. And that’s in process.

The registration page for the hackathon is ready. And last few days, we were going back and forth on the October 10 and 11 dates that we originally talked about, and we have decided to push that back by about three weeks. The main reason for that is that we learned from Code Tantra that the October 10 and 11th dates may be conflicting with the exam dates for many of the schools in India for sure. Because of COVID, apparently, the exam schedules are much more spread out this year than normal. So we wanted to make sure that people have the opportunity to both prepare for the hackathon because they do need to learn rholang at the very least As a new thing. So both prepare for and participate and pay attention to the hackathon. So for that reason, we pushed it out by three weeks, should give us also a little bit more time to prepare for it. We had the first. I mean, we’ve had several hackathon planning sessions within the team, but we started with engaging with the developers in the community yesterday, and there will be many more of those activities.

We need to get a lot of work done, we need to get the question or test question banks for for the qualifying test that we’re going to give to the registrant and then they will go through a pull request process on GitHub. We will encourage the people that come the candidates to come up with their own problem statements. But we do have the theme of governance and coordination. And then basically the self proposed problem statements, whatever they might be. We need to think about during the hackathon, we probably want to have brief technical talks or tips and tricks kind of thing so that people can get up to speed relatively quickly.

And we need folks to support the participants during that 48 hour window of the hackathon pretty much on a continuous basis. So we need to have a few senior developers from the community holding office hours during that time so that the hackathon participants can go to somebody if they have problems. So there’s all of that. And then there’s helped needed in judging and, and, helped me that in improving documentation, whatever we can do ahead of time. Any learning links that you think are particularly useful, we want to be able to push them out to the hackathon participants. All of that. So the current plan is to use the rholang.github.io, which is a site that Toby started

Rao Bhamidipati 9:34
to use that as the hub of all learning materials so that folks can go to a single place and find most of what they need to learn about the platform about rholang and how to do contracts and sample contracts and tutorials and everything. So that’s the thing around the hackathon. And hopefully, in preparing for the hackathon, we would make life easier for the current developers also, this is a key element of getting ready for a developer ecosystem. And hackathon is just one of the events, but the developer ecosystem is the logical network moving towards so any and all help you can provide there anywhere from marketing through to any other tasks that I just talked about. Please, please participate in the in the hackathon activity.

Then tech governance wise, we had a meeting last week. Mostly that meeting focused on network security, especially relative to making sure that the stake staking is spread over a longer time than the four months I mean, right now the way we have Is that four months is the minimum you can stick for most people or stick for that at some people have expressed a desire to stick for longer, but relatively a small percentage. So the question is, how do we make sure that we can have a rolling on rolling off steak whereby the steak is distributed over a longer period of time so that we don’t have specific dates or events such as, for example, the end of this four month period in the current Park.

We don’t want to have a specific period where we worry about you know, like now how much debt Are we going to get instead, we want to keep it a continuous on continuous off with a delay type of timeframe so that new people can join anytime and the stake and that there is always Have a certain amount of state that spread out over, ideally at least two years or so. But that that is under discussion to really say in what timeframe? Do we take 10 quarters or, or longer? So that’s that’s part of the discussion going on in the that was what was going on last week. And around that is also the conversation about how do we make sure that everybody pays for the security of the network, all the token holders pay for the security of the network, as because if some people are staking and some people are not, by definition, the people that are staking or giving up some degree of freedom. So how do we make sure that everybody shares in that burden is the other side of that that we’re discussing? So once these discussions go somewhere, and we have a model of what the team agrees on, we will have that. We’ll put it up for discussion by the larger review and discussion by the larger community.

So that’s what was last week and take governance and I think the next tech governance meeting is going to be more on the technical side. Because we have all these changes coming up. In preparation for block merge and all that there are issues we need to resolve about, okay, how do we change the proof of stake contract? How do we, you know, what are the things what are the processes we need to go through to enable that if we do a hard fork, what are the things we need to do so there’s there’s a bunch of technical issues that the development team wants it resolved so that we have those days. is made well ahead of actually having a situation where the court can code is ready for changing the state or for a hard fork, things like that. So we need to focus on that probably for one or two sessions, at least, going forward. So that’s where we are with the tech owners. I think that’s mostly my update. Are there any questions, comments on any of this at all, either on the development side, or the hackathon or tech governance pieces that are spoke to?

Greg Meredith 14:35
So how many releases from beta do we do we get to where we’re, we’re happy with Oh, 926.

Rao Bhamidipati 14:45
Um, I think, at least after the beta, I’m assuming probably one or two releases. No more than that is the is the plan what’s going out today, tomorrow. Whatever is the beta So the next release or the one after, but depends on if we discover any other issues, I guess. But if we don’t discover any issues, it may be the next release. Otherwise, it’ll be the following release.

Greg Meredith 15:15
Sounds good. Sounds good. All right. Any other questions for Rao? Okay, moving on. Darryl, do you want to give us a Week in Review, community in review?

Rao Bhamidipati 15:30
Sure.

Darryl Neudorf 15:32
Hey, everybody. So here’s the Community Week in Review for Thursday the 10th to today Wednesday the 16th.

Darryl Neudorf 15:40
So last Thursday on the Governance Committee call, the main topic of conversation was rv2020. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jfARb33suC_7AkICblTOFTmKN2mvTu9r7cFRPDKZ6hw/edit# The on chain voting process for the AGM. Also on Thursday, the DAP developer Working Group converted voting tally shell script to JavaScript using agile object capability.

Darryl Neudorf 16:00
On Friday on the Climate & Coordination, RCast we discussed the wildfires on the west coast of the US. I hope everybody out there is breathing okay. Apparently the cloud is spreading across North America. We’ve got it up here in Kelowna right now. So it’s been pretty, pretty heavy and hazy. And then we talked about the US House of Representatives newly proposed COMPETE act, COMPETE standing for American Competitiveness Of a More Productive Emerging Tech Economy and how that act could apply to RChain.

Darryl Neudorf 16:39
Then on Saturday in the RChat call, we discuss the next steps for the dust approach for voting and whether we need to improve the usability for the AGM and we created an assigning some GitHub issues to individuals for follow up. And at 830 the DAP developers, they reviewed tool development for hackathon programmers Liquid democracy development.

Darryl Neudorf 17:03
On Monday in the CASPER Standup Greg discuss the generalization of the presheaf construction to support different collection semantics. And you can check that out by searching for Casper Standup on YouTube. And on the Blockchain Art call, they did a user experience test of the new voting system. And they discussed Eric’s XR performance project and related app and whether or not he should issue a utility token to fund the project and which jail he would be sent to if he decided to go that route. I wish I was there in that call. Sounds interesting.

Darryl Neudorf 17:39
On Tuesday, in the RChain education call, they learned about the RNode API swagger interface, Dev Tools, explore deploy, and Jq JSON processing and bash script. Also on Tuesday in the communications working group, we discussed expanding out of our bubble in social media, asking members to create Dappy pages, the latest hackathon plans, creating a walkthrough of the voting process and new weekly Chinese community updates. I’ll speak more about that later. And Dan’s requests to brainstorm on names for rholang game manager and rholang contract manager, etc.

Darryl Neudorf 18:25
Today, there was no members hangout in Jim’s room, he was tied up in another call.

Darryl Neudorf 18:31
And that brings us to now and I would just like to say that we’re starting a new segment in the Community Week in Review thanks to co-op member Shixi where she is going to provide us with a recap of what’s been going on in China. So here’s the first one:

Darryl Neudorf 18:52
So they hosted an online educational event about how to make a Dappy homepage. They also announced that they’re going to do a conference For the Chinese community to make Debye homepages, and they have a Chinese member who’s researching how to create a gaming pool on REV. So again, thanks Shixi for that update from China and hope to continue on this tradition every week now. And that brings us to the present. Back to you, Greg.

Greg Meredith 19:23
Thanks very much. Any questions for Darryl?

Nora Germain 19:27
No questions. But I just wanted to encourage everyone in the community to follow RChain on Instagram and also to subscribe on YouTube, because we’re really posting a lot more stuff there now. So thank you, everyone.

Greg Meredith 19:42
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Um, and especially, you know, the more people we have posting about the recent voting app or the work we’ve done on RChat, all of that is a is actually quite critical to starting to get the attention that we want on the platform, I don’t think people understand how much we’ve lowered the bar in terms of being able to generate interesting and highly useful applications on top of the chain. So, the more we can bring attention to this, the better.

Greg Meredith 20:21
Um, All right, then. Let’s see, I’m trying to going through all the topics. There are several that have to be relegated to the closed door session on Friday. But as we mentioned last Friday, one of the things that we’re we’re looking at is the sponsorship model for DApps. On on RSaaS, and we’re, you know, how do I say this, so we want to acknowledge that there are many more click to play events than click to pay. Um, so in particular, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. have almost no click to pay events and lots and lots and lots of click to play events in the sense that you know, all the engagement is about using the service and collaborating with other users of the service. So and in fact, when you think about it, sponsorship for click to play, the economies are bigger than oil, they are in fact the largest economies in the world. So this makes a lot of sense to follow. And we want to support that. If you think about it, from the end user perspective, it’s simply too unwieldy to charge users on a per transactional event. So there are two additional options, right? One is that they can pay a subscription. And for a lot of users, that’s going to work. But for many users, that’s not going to work. However, for the blockchain generation, sponsored engagement has to be differentiated from surveillance capitalism. Right? This seems to be a given for the kinds of the kinds of user bases that we’re interested in also in terms of RChain’s own ethics. So hopefully that makes sense is is that is that resonating with folks?

Nora Germain 23:01
Well, I would just put in the chat, there’s a link to a film that’s been very popular on Netflix recently called The Social Dilemma. And it talks a lot about, you know, these business models that it’s not just the existence of social media that is causing so much disarray, I guess we’ll say around the world, but really the business model and I learned a lot watching that film, and I’m so glad to hear you acknowledge that, Greg.

Greg Meredith 23:33
Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, and thanks for that film that looks quite interesting. I’m looking for time to watch it. Um, it is also one of the things that that is in alignment with those propositions is that we want to focus on daps that actually create communities. And part of Part of the reason for that, you know, that is obviously that’s the “R” in everything RChain, right? It’s about “our” communities “our” chain but it also you know it has a clear business advantage. Communities that self identify through a particular DApp that are also willing to have their DApp engagement be sponsored they’ve already provided key market data about their demographics right so West Seattle Knitting Club right the DApp that they’re using to exchange pattern ideas and and tips and tricks about yarn and particular knitting knots all of that so that the DApp creates their sense of community and the extent to which, you know this West Seattle knitting club is willing to have their activities be sponsored. They’ve identified themselves as the West Seattle Knitting Club. And so there’s a lot of demographic specific information that sponsors can utilize just in that self declaration. Now, obviously, sponsors will be interested in more data. And so, you know, what we’re, we’re contemplating for ourselves is a couple of different kinds of API’s. Right? So one is an API for the submission and delivery of sponsored content to end users to adapt, that wants to allow sponsorship would avail itself of those API’s. And then there’s another set of API’s for self disclosure of additional key demographic data. Right. So creation of polls and that sort of thing. And this would allow for again, rather than rather than surveillance surveillance, capitalism, These these communities are, reveal what they’re comfortable revealing and nothing else. So does that make sense?

Darryl Neudorf 26:10
Yeah, I think it’s just I think the the thing that we really need to kind of make clear here is that the intention here is to turn surveillance capitalism on its head. It’s the number one way money is generated now in the world. And all the money so much of the money is getting siphoned to these silos that are the richest people in the world. And there’s a myriad of problems that are being identified everywhere. Now. I just saw another headline today that Zuckerberg and Facebook knew that they were utilizing Outside external exploitation of forces to manipulate the minds of potential voters. It’s a problem. It’s a serious, big, big problem. And so we need to provide the solution for that. So I just want to kind of emphasize that that’s what we’re working on here.

Greg Meredith 27:22
Agreed. Absolutely. You know, we’re, but the nice thing is that we’re, we’re creating a framework and an architecture, whereby those agents that want to have their engagement with a particular DApp be sponsored, can also participate in the economic proposition. So while it’s an ethical concern, and I’m 100% with you, Darryl, it’s also an economic concern. I mean, the issue is that the users of Facebook generate the content, the users of Twitter generate the vast majority of the content. And that’s what brings the audience right is the fact that there’s content that they find compelling but those users are not participating in the economic proposition. And so with self disclosure, and, and with participation, in other ways in the engagement with sponsored content, the community that’s using the data needs to get a cut of all the revenue that is generated from the delivery of sponsored content. So and once they have more economic power, then that frequently translates into other aspects such as….. essentially what we’re saying is that the consent and the economic power together should move the needle considerably in terms of how, how empowered the community is. Is that, does that make sense?

Nora Germain 29:28
Yeah. And I’ll also just add one more little thing. I recall that Andrew Yang, who was running for president in United States, this past cycle had a very interesting idea to give people like a Facebook dividend or a data, a data dividend, much like the oil dividends that people in Alaska have received in the past. I need to remember exactly what he called it. But anyway, it was basically a share of the profits that are generated from, you know, today’s social media business models?

Greg Meredith 30:09
Yeah. And it doesn’t work so well, when Facebook is a privately held company, it works a lot better once you have an information utility that’s decentralized and effectively owned by the entire community.

Nora Germain 30:22
Right? Yes,

Darryl Neudorf 30:23
yeah, I would, I would, I would argue that the the Yang proposal as as, as noble as it might sound actually helps empower Facebook more as they go through the legal challenges that they’re facing. I gives them a way out, you know,

Nora Germain 30:43
bring it to the forefront of conversation, I think was important, you know,

Darryl Neudorf 30:47
Yeah, I agree. But we don’t want to give them a legal way out. So they continue to continue to practice surveillance capitalism on us. Right. But But you know, the idea that our data has value. And we should be the ones that, that benefit from that value. That idea that Andrew Yang has kind of put to the forefront is is an important one for us as citizens of the world to to fully grasp. Basically what’s happened in the last 20 years is that the norms have evolved in such a way where we are so willing to give up some of the most intimate details about ourselves. Just willingly. You know, George Orwell would be rolling in his grave. You know, the, the idea of a TV that’s always on, it’s always looking at you in 1984. That TV follows us into our cars into our restaurants where we go, you know, it’s everywhere. So, you know, it’s gotten, you know, it’s it’s like, it’s like 1984 on steroids. But it’s not the government that’s spying on us it’s corporations. And so for some reason, I guess there’s like a, a sentiment that is evolved in our, in our culture where we trust that more than we trust government. And so we’re just letting them do this to us. So we’re talking about a big problem because we have to reverse the norms. And that’s the hardest of all of the the four different ways human behavior is manipulated in a system. Norms are the hardest ones to change.

Greg Meredith 32:36
Agreed, I think, you know, again, continuing to appeal to people’s economic interests, is going to have a major impact. I mean, right now, the creative classes are just devastated, right? Because it’s so easy to push content and the biggest, the biggest platforms are putting the squeeze on the YouTube put the squeeze on musicians. Now Facebook is putting the squeeze on musicians in terms of their their Facebook Live access and, and in a time period like COVID where musicians can’t go directly to an audience in a venue, then it’s not a good situation and the same is true for for most of the creative classes, not just the musicians. And so the the the argument is by making it a a platform where all of those who are producing and consuming content, have a share of the data economy. That’s the That seems to be, um, it’s, I think, well, taking a step back, what we’ve seen from the political discourse in the us is that no matter how impassioned or logical the political dialogue is, it’s not moving the needle, right? There’s a more visceral tribal response. But you can definitely move the needle if you’re talking about people’s bottom line. And that’s where I think we have to begin the conversation. How does this change the bottom line for people and in a situation where the creative types are being squeezed and squeezed and squeezed, this changes the bottom line for those people, as well as changing the the bottom line for for other participants in the you know, the social communications platforms. Anyway, so lots and lots and lots of details about sort of the bottom line propositions to go over in the the Friday call that are business critical and business sensitive, we want to begin our we want to begin our efforts to attract people to this vehicle in October. So that’s only two weeks away. So we really want to close down, make sure that everyone in the co op is behind this and, and really get and really get get some energy around energy and momentum around this. So please come to the Friday call and have your say. Anything else we want to cover in today’s call?

Darryl Neudorf 35:53
Well, I would just like to remind everybody here that RChain was born out of an attention economy social network project. And so as we kind of ascend our spiral staircase to the heavens, we see something kind of coming full circle, but at another level, where we’re now returning back to talking about and thinking about this, the things that that spurred us to create RChain in the first place. So this this makes me personally very excited.

Greg Meredith 36:31
Thank you, Darryl. I really appreciate you saying that. Yeah, I am also excited and it also feels feels good and right to me. You know, I, I turned my attention to building RChain, because I knew that there wasn’t going to be there wasn’t a platform out there that would support this social media, economic proposition. Now we have the platform, we can do it and we’ve learned so much more about the blockchain space that the the basic propositions associated with sort of an on chain social media have shifted for the better. In my opinion, we have a much clearer vision of how the economics and the technology have to work from some fairly hard won hardwood experience. So, you know, while I, you know, we don’t we don’t have to name the names of now defunct projects. We’re able to deliver on those features and it becomes important to deliver on those features for the RChain mission. Awesome.

Ian Bloom 37:53
We do have annual meeting coming up on October 24, and a couple of deadlines to keep in mind So at the annual meeting, there will be four board seats that are being contested. And there are currently six nominees in the pipeline. And hopefully next week, the board will decide which of those nominees will be balloted. Also, items of business if you have any items of business to bring forward to the annual meeting, please have them submitted by October 3 to vote in the annual meeting, members will have had to had completed their ID verification and register a REV address. So the deadline for the ID verification also October 3, and to submit your REV address you just you go to your notice of annual meeting which should already have been emailed out to about a month ago. And there’s a link there to a form where you submit your your REV address that will be used in the voting. So you should have that done as soon as possible would be good but has to be done, I believe by October 20.

Greg Meredith 39:09
Yes, exactly. Please, please, please. And if you know people who are excited and interested in Co Op, but they haven’t submitted their REV address for participation, it is absolutely critical. They must have a REV address to participate in this year’s voting. All right, thanks to everyone really enjoyed today’s conversation. As as usual, we’re making good forward progress and I look forward to speaking with many of you on Friday. Ciao for now.

Darryl Neudorf 39:49
Thanks, everybody.

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