Jul 13, 2022

Quarterly Update Q2 2022

Quarterly Update Q2 2022.

Welp, we’re doing another one of these, which means we’ll keep doing them every quarter until the man shuts us down or I pack it all in to go work on a weasel farm.

🌀 Team Updates

Maybe you saw our tweets about looking for devs to join our full-time team. Or maybe you didn’t because you don’t have a crippling social media addiction. Either way, the tweets paid off. After months of interviews, we hired Elias Rohrer, Wilmer Paulino, and Gursharan Singh. If you don’t count Matt Corallo (I don’t), this doubles the size of our full-time engineering team and makes a bigger and better Lightning Development Kit (LDK) all the more imminent. Which brings us to…

🌀 LDK

Don’t know much about LDK despite over two years of us tweeting almost non-stop about it? You’d like my job. Fortunately, with the launch of an informative but incredibly dry developer-focused blog, it’s now a lot easier to keep track of what’s happening with LDK.

Blog post #1 covers LDK’s history, who it’s for, its use cases, and the team’s engineering priorities. Blog post #2 deep-dives into the team’s work on phantom node payments. There are many more LDK blog posts in the works, so make sure you subscribe as soon as someone gets around to adding a subscription feature. Until then, follow them on twitter. Only took them a few years to finally use the account.

Speaking of use cases, Cash App’s Ryan Loomba recently gave a talk about adding LN functionality via LDK, in case you were thinking of doing something similar or having a last name that rhymes with a popular vacuum cleaner.

🌀 Elsewhere in Spiral

In April, Haley completed a research initiative aimed at understanding how women outside the U.S without bitcoin experience saw it and how their perceptions differed from men’s. Here are the highlights, and here’s the full study.

Conor drafted a framework that outlines how individuals and institutions can work with project founders and their communities to sustain FOSS bitcoin projects.

In early June, the Spiral team, along with nearly 25 other Lightning developers and researchers from around the world, gathered IRL to discuss the state of the network. Check out Lalou’s event summary and the complete meeting notes to learn more about what’s coming down the pipe.

Finally, since people in our mentions kept asking, the motivational Puppet Jack mug is now for sale in our store. Please don’t tweet at us about how there isn’t an option to pay in bitcoin. We know, and we’re working on it.

🌀 New Grants and Renewals

Though our full-time team is small, thanks to the scope of our grant program, our impact is somewhat biggish. Here’s who received a grant or had one renewed this quarter.

New grantees:

  • Mogashni is doing much-needed UX Research for the Bitcoin Design Community, which is sure to benefit the UX-deprived greater bitcoin community.
  • Ruben is working with grantee Dhruv on something called Spacechains, which both insist is important.
  • Thunderbiscuit is developing and maintaining BDK in a way that only someone who publicly identifies as Thunderbiscuit could.
  • Bitcoin Zavior is creating tools that improve experiences for bitcoin and Lightning Network developers.
  • Daniela Brozzoni is contributing to BDK by completing ”'non-core” modules, writing onboarding docs for new users, using timelocks and multiple keys to build a user-friendly decaying multi-sig, and since she isn’t busy, she’ll also be helping build out the BDK Rust Library.

Renewed grantees:

Know someone with the know-how and ambition to improve bitcoin but without the time and resources to go full-time? Send them our way: grants@spiral.xyz

🌀 Grant Spotlight

We’ve only got one of these ready this quarter, and as you can see from its content, I definitely wrote it.

Dhruv @dhruv
With help and guidance from Pieter Wuille and Tim Ruffing, Dhruv’s been hacking away at BIP324.

Since the last public draft went out on GitHub, the working group has added transport versioning (enabling future upgrades like authentication and PQC handshakes), forwarding secrecy, and features that make the v2 protocol bytestream completely pseudorandom.

After nearly releasing a public draft in April, they instead made version changes that use RFC8439 and benefit from security analysis, making protocol security easier. They’re also migrating the design from alligator-squared to SwiftEC for the pseudorandom encoding of the secp256k1 pubkeys used in the Diffie-Hellman handshake. The new technique is simpler and faster, they say.

We expect a public draft in the coming weeks, along with working code that lets reviewers run nodes. Finally, since the BIP324 V2 P2P protocol is opportunistic and compatible with V1, reviewers will be able to run nodes on the mainnet and connect them during code review and testing.

🌀 Media Appearances

People are always asking your favorite Spiral developers, PMs, and social media managers to appear at events, podcasts, and whatnot. We rarely do them. But when we do, we post about them here.

UPCOMING APPEARANCES
August 26–27, 2022: Conor will be speaking at Surfin’ Bitcoin, which might sound more fun than talking RapidGraphSync, but in my experience, whatever involves Arik is always more fun than whatever doesn’t.

RECENT APPEARANCES
Spiral sponsored bitcoin++, an Austin, Texas-based developer conference and hackathon in early June. Arik and Jeff shared the stage to teach attendees how to build a lightning node with LDK, and Spiral grantee John Cantrell led a workshop on Sensei, a lightning node implementation that uses LDK.

Finally, every year in Miami, there’s this conference called Bitcoin 20XX [XX = whatever the year is]. While still up-and-coming, several Spiral team members, grantees, and grant program alumni were invited to speak at this year’s event.

You can now find all Spiral media appearances on our website’s new media page. Like this blog, what it lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity.

See you in October,
The Spiral Team