Six Years of Decred - Part 1
Taking a look back, over the course of six years worth of development.
February 8th 2022, Decred celebrated its 6th birthday. That’s 6 years of running nonstop and 6 years of live innovation happening directly on the network in real time. In this video, we’ll look at how Decred has pushed the boundaries of what is possible and how it’s taken a direction that no other cryptocurrency has been able to follow.
To understand why Decred, we need to look at the basic premise for sound money, alongside the colossal one-sidedness of the current financial system.
2. Sound money
Over the past 10 years, it’s been said many times, that digital currencies with a maximum supply offer us the biggest opportunity to break this negative cycle. But it’s also clear that we can’t have more of the same.
Decred has picked up the mantel for peer to peer money and seen the need to include interoperability in the form of peer to peer exchange. Money should not be restrictive, money should not be confiscatable, and money should be exchanged freely without the need for middlemen or a third-party fee.
3. Decred sound money principles
Sound money must be:
Peer to peer
with a transparent coin supply
So, let’s follow the Decred path, to see where it all began and where we are headed:
4. Bitcoin talk slide
Decred traces its origins back to April 2013, when a pseudonymous developer named tacotime responded to a thread on Bitcointalk stating that they had been thinking up a new cryptocurrency.
Shortly thereafter, following a promise to share a technical specification of the idea, tacotime started a new thread, publishing a white-paper titled "Memcoin2 (MC2): A Hybrid Proof-of-Work, Proof-of-Stake Crypto-currency".
The proposal extended and combined the principles of both Litecoin and Peercoin, and was developed using btcd, the platform created by Decred’s first developer team (Company 0).
5. Decred announcement
December 15, 2015 – Decred was announced to the world.
After witnessing the contentious nature of centralised development and a rough consensus system that made the miners the final say for all upgrades. The Decred founders (Company 0, tacotime, ingsoc) began work.
The proposal was for "an open source, progressive, and self-funding cryptocurrency with a system of community-based governance integrated into its blockchain." At the core of the project was a hybrid proof-of-work / proof-of-stake (PoW/PoS) consensus system that aimed to strike a balance between PoW miners and PoS voters to create a more robust notion of consensus.
6. Decred Mainnet
February 8, 2016 – Decred mainnet was launched along with its initial stake pool and the Decred constitution. Which is a set of principles and guidelines that provide users a clear understanding of the social contract between themselves and the project. At launch, 8% of the total supply was pre-mined, with 4% used to compensate the developers and 4% air-dropped to 2,972 people.
7. First POW vote (4096)
On February 21, 2016 – the First PoS votes got included in block 4096. This was a monumental moment and an all-time first. Votes getting added to the blockchain demonstrated that DCR coin holders were actively staking their coins and validating the mined blocks for consistency with the rules.
This process adds a new dimension to the security of the blockchain. And along with Decred’s built-in chainlock rule, of 5 blocks, this new consensus method improves on the original POW design by a magnitude of factors.
In later years, pure proof of work projects would quickly come to realise the importance of these two elements as many of them would suffer from a variety of attacks caused by malicious miners.
December 26, 2016 – The first release of Decrediton, a GUI wallet for Linux/OSX. Decred has a habit of building everything in house, this makes sure that all improvements and developments have to go through the procedures and high expectations of the governance system.
The Decrediton wallet, has been the best-in-class wallet in the cryptocurrency space for many years. This is due to its security features, functionality, and ease of use. The underlining principals here, are that, Decrediton should be the gateway and interface to the project and protocol. If Decred can do it, you will find it in the Decrediton wallet.
9. DCRTIME Timestamps
June 14, 2017 - dcrtime was release
This is a free service and method for time stamping information on the blockchain to show information existed at a certain point in time. dcrtime was originally built to store timestamped hashes of data for Politeia, Decred’s proposal system. But we’ve also seen it used by designers and content creators to prove they are the owners of their work.
dcrtime allows a nearly unlimited number of hashes to be timestamped and recalled on the Decred blockchain.
Output hash (Ron Paul - Inflation.pdf) - ad24af9a986adcf9a2c64ee4a78d4f9302b056e15aa2aedbfeb5cfddc4e93543
For instance this piece of writing was timestamped to demonstrate who wrote the original and when it was written. To verify this, enter the hash or upload the document. As the output hash will be the same, the system will reject your version. If you change the document in any way, it will be included, but your hash will show a later date demonstrating you are not the owner.
In the future, I can see this system being used, for all kinds of things. Including, patenting ideas without the need for a trusted third party.
10. First Consensus vote
July 9, 2017 - Decred held the first consensus vote in the history of cryptocurrency. The consensus vote changed Decred's stake difficulty algorithm. Decred is the first blockchain to successfully implement a consensus or rule change without causing a chain split or hard fork. Making it, also, the first Blockchain to become fork resistant.
In later months, and for test purposes only, Marco Peereboom Coded a consensus change that could update the block size for Decred if necessary. Although, this has never been used, it does, demonstrating, that if Decred ever had a Block size debate like that of Bitcoin in 2017. The stake holder would be able to vote on whether to implement it or not. This would be completed, without a destructive fuss or manipulation, which was seen and drawn-out during the Bitcoin Cash hard fork.
October 06, 2017 - The initial release of DCRDATA, Decred’s home grown Block explorer and on-chain data tool set. DCRDATA has remained, the best places to find out how the Decred blockchain is performing. There is no need to resort to third party applications. All data provided from DCRDATA, is harvested directly from, what’s happening on-chain.
Decred has a transparent nature, and as such, makes sure that the data produced is as easy to read as possible. With a clean interface and unprecedented information and charts, DCRDATA also remains true to these principles.
12. Atomic Swaps
October 19, 2017 – Decred developed Atomic swaps, a tool that would allow blockchains to interact with each other without needing a trusted centralised third party to hold the coins, whilst the exchange takes place. The first implementation of this tool demonstrated a peerless exchange between Decred and Litecoin. The tool also supported Decred to Bitcoin exchange.
Atomic swaps is paving the way for a system of interoperable peer to peer exchange, which is likely to be unparalleled by any other protocol. The holly grail for cryptocurrency, will be achieving, a ‘peer to peer exchange’ and removing the need for centralised exchanges and trusted third party fee takers.
13. SPV Mode
September 21, 2018 - the Initial SPV release for dcrwallet. The Simple Payment Verification mode allows the use of a Decred wallet without having to download the entire Decred blockchain (currently 7.5GB). This is perfect for improving the user experience whilst keeping the download to a minimum, this is especially useful for mobile wallets.
October 15, 2018 - Politeia goes live on mainnet. With the development of Politeia, Decred’s governance system, it’s now possible for the community to submit, review and vote on proposals that steer the direction of the project.
The release of Politeia along with the Decred treasure has paved the way for Decred to become a new kind of organisation, a DAO. A Decentralised Autonomous Organisation is a self funding, self governing, systemised approach to achieving goals. Where no individual or leader has access to treasury spending and the treasury amount is finite to just 2.1 million DCR.
Instead, a proposal must be submitted to Politeia and voted on by the Decred stakeholders which are those that hold the DCR coin. If the proposal passes, the person doing the work submits invoices for work completed then receives their funds if all conditions have been satisfied.
Over the years Politeia, has proven itself to be a truly groundbreaking project that has no equals and adds a massive amount of value to the Decred project.
15. The First Three Years
At this point, we have only witnessed three years of development. And in this time Decred has pushed more successful firsts and contentious innovations than any other project in the space, to include:
The first Hybrid system for Proof of work and proof of stake
The first system to have on-chain voting and block validation for miners work
One of the first to include a decentralised chain locking system that prevents deep re-orgs of the blockchain data
The first on-chain consensus vote by coin holders
One of the first to fully develop a formal governance system to vote on development and marketing proposals
One of the first Layer one projects to work towards becoming a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO)
The first system to time stamp all governance information on the blockchain for future reference and investigation
The first peer to peer exchange using Atomic swaps, a system Decred built
Built in SPV mode to streamline the setup of a Decred wallet
The first project to be self funded using it’s own coin as the payment system
If this is what happened in first three years, image what the lead up to six has to offer!? The development continues! Join us in part two where we explore the next phase of Decred’s development cycle.
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