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Announcing the new MultiChain wallet

An important step forwards for performance and scalability After two months of intensive development and testing, we’re proud to release the latest alpha of MultiChain, with a completely rewritten in-node wallet. This new wallet transforms the performance and scalability of creating, receiving and storing transactions in MultiChain. Before we get into the details, let me… Read more »

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An important step forwards for performance and scalability

After two months of intensive development and testing, we’re proud to release the latest alpha of MultiChain, with a completely rewritten in-node wallet. This new wallet transforms the performance and scalability of creating, receiving and storing transactions in MultiChain.

Before we get into the details, let me provide some context. When we began developing MultiChain, we made the decision to use Bitcoin Core, the standard node for the public bitcoin network, as a starting point. In programming terms, this means that MultiChain is a “fork” of the bitcoin software. Our primary reasoning was that bitcoin was (and continues to be) the highest valued and most battle-tested cryptocurrency ecosystem, by quite some way.

On the plus side, this decision helped us get to market quickly, compared to coding up a blockchain node from scratch. Despite the many differences between public and private blockchains, they share a large amount of technical common ground, including the peer-to-peer protocol, transaction and block structure, digital signature creation and verification, consensus rules, key management, and the need for a node API. Forking from Bitcoin Core allowed us to leverage its maturity and focus on what MultiChain adds to blockchains – configurability, permissioning and native asset support. As a result, we were able to release the first alpha in June 2015, just 6 months after starting development.

However, alongside these benefits, we also had to accept the fact that some aspects of Bitcoin Core are poorly architected. While they work just fine at small scales, their performance degrades dramatically as usage grows. With the public bitcoin network still restricted to a few transactions per second, this won’t be an issue for most Bitcoin Core users for a long time. But with private blockchains aiming for hundreds or thousands of transactions per second, we knew that, sooner or later, these bottlenecks would need to be removed.

Bitcoin Core’s wallet

The “wallet” within Bitcoin Core was always the most crucial of these pain points. Its job is to store the transactions which are of particular relevance to the node, because they involve a blockchain address which it owns or a “watch-only” address whose activity it is tracking. For example, every transaction which sends funds to or from a node must be stored in that node’s wallet. And every time a node creates a transaction, it must search for one or more “unspent outputs” of previous wallet transactions which the new transaction will spend.

So what’s wrong with the wallet we inherited from Bitcoin Core? Actually, three things:

  • All wallet transactions are held in memory. This causes slow startup times and rapidly increasing memory usage.
  • Many operations perform an inefficient “full scan” of every transaction in the wallet, whether old or new.
  • Every transaction in the wallet is stored in full, including any arbitrary “metadata” which has no meaning from the node’s perspective and is already stored in the blockchain on disk. This is very wasteful.

The consequence is that, with around 20,000 transactions stored, Bitcoin Core’s wallet slows down significantly. After 200,000 or so, it practically grinds to a halt. Even worse, since a MultiChain blockchain allows up to 8 MB of metadata per transaction (compared to bitcoin’s 80 bytes), the wallet’s memory requirements can balloon rapidly even with a small number of transactions.

It’s important to clarify that these shortcomings apply only to Bitcoin Core’s wallet, rather than its general transaction processing capacity. In other words, it can comfortably process and store millions (or even billions) of transactions which don’t relate to its own addresses, since these are held on disk rather than in memory. For example, many popular bitcoin exchanges and wallets use Bitcoin Core as-is, but store their own transactions externally rather than inside the node.

MultiChain’s new wallet

We could have made the same demand of MultiChain users, to store their own transactions outside of the node. However this didn’t feel like the right solution because it would greatly complicate the setup and maintenance for each of a chain’s participants. So instead, we bit the bullet and rewrote the wallet from the ground up.

How does the new wallet differ? If you have any experience with databases, the answers may be obvious:

  • Rather than keeping the wallet transactions in memory, they are stored on disk in a suitable format, with transactions of interest retrieved when necessary.
  • Instead of performing full wallet scans, the transactions are “indexed” in various ways to enable those which fulfill particular criteria to be rapidly located.
  • Any piece of transaction metadata which is larger than 256 bytes is not stored in the wallet. Instead, the wallet contains a pointer to that metadata’s position in the blockchain itself.

In other words, we’ve rebuilt the in-node wallet to be properly database-driven (using LevelDB), rather than relying on a naïve in-memory structure that can’t be searched efficiently. Unsurprisingly, the difference (as measured on a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7) is rather dramatic:

MultiChain wallet transaction throughput

Memory Usage

The graphs show that, once the old wallet contains 250,000 transactions, its send rate drops to 3 tx/sec and it adds 600 MB to the node’s memory usage. By contrast, the new wallet sustains over 100 tx/sec and only adds 90 MB. We stopped testing the old wallet at this point, but even with 6-8 million stored transactions, the new wallet continues to send over 100 tx/sec, and it tops out at around 250 MB of RAM used (due to database caching).

These tests were performed under realistic conditions, with multiple addresses and assets (and therefore many unspent transaction outputs) in the node’s wallet. In an idealized scenario (one address, one asset, few UTXOs), the sustained send rate was over 400 tx/s. Either way, as part of this rewrite, we have also properly abstracted all of the wallet’s functionality behind a clean internal interface. This will make it easy to support other database engines in future, for even greater robustness and speed.

To reiterate, all of these numbers refer to the rate at which a node can create, send and store transactions in its local wallet, rather than its throughput in terms of processing transactions created by others. For general network throughput, MultiChain can currently process 200 to 800 tx/sec, depending on the hardware it’s running on. (Be skeptical of any blockchain software promising numbers like 100,000 tx/sec on regular hardware, because the bottleneck is digital signature verification, which takes real time to perform. If nodes are not verifying individual transaction signatures, a blockchain cannot possibly be used across trust boundaries, making it no better than a regular distributed database.)

To finish, I’d like to mention the next major feature coming to MultiChain, which required this wallet rewrite. This feature, called streams, provides a high-level abstraction and API for general purpose data storage on a blockchain. You can think of a stream as a time-series or key-value database, with the added blockchain-related benefits of decentralization, digital signatures, timestamping and immutability. We know of many blockchain use cases that could use this functionality, and we’re already hard at work on building it. Watch this space.

 

Please post any comments on LinkedIn.

 

Technical addendum

Starting in MultiChain alpha 22, you can verify which version of the wallet is currently running by examining the walletdbversion field of the getinfo or getwalletinfo API calls. A value of 1 means the original Bitcoin Core wallet, and 2 means the new MultiChain wallet.

If you run the new version of MultiChain on an existing chain, it will not immediately switch to the new wallet. You can upgrade the wallet by stopping the node and then re-running multichaind with the parameters -walletdbversion=2 –rescan. You can downgrade similarly using –walletdbversion=1 –rescan.

By default, when you start a node on a new chain, it will automatically use the new wallet. You can change this by running multichaind for the first time with the parameter –walletdbversion=1.

With the new wallet, all MultiChain APIs work exactly the same way as before, with the exception of the old transaction querying APIs getreceivedbyaddress, listreceivedbyaddress and listtransactions (use listwallettransactions or listaddresstransactions instead). In addition, the new wallet does not support API calls and parameters relating to Bitcoin Core’s poorly implemented and soon-to-be-deprecated “accounts” mechanism, which was never properly supported by MultiChain. These calls are safely disabled with an error message.

 

Source: https://www.multichain.com/blog/2016/07/announcing-the-new-multichain-wallet/

Blockchain

Shiba Inu’s days in the sun may be over; here’s why

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In a market full of investment-worthy coins, there are a few meme-coins such as Shiba Inu that do not offer much value, be it in terms of use-case or a strong network. Thanks to its strong community though, SHIB managed to surprise the entire crypto space.

However, it seems the community is not what it used to be anymore.

Shiba Inu sees a dump

On September 16, SHIB got listed on Coinbase pro, and people went into a frenzy. The meme-coin witnessed a 28.87% growth in 1 day.

This is the highest single-day growth since May and even then, SHIB could not breach its long-established resistance level of 0.00001010. SHIB has been stuck under it since May.

Shiba Inu’s price rose by 28.8% 48 hours ago | Source: TradingView – AMBCrypto

But that did not stop the SHIB supporters from reacting strongly. Within 48 hours, over 6.04 trillion SHIB was bought out of the market, figures that were last seen on July 26. This further led to the supply on exchanges falling to a 4-month low.

Shiba Inu’s supply on exchanges at a 4-month low | Source: Santiment – AMBCrypto

Why you should stay away from SHIB?

This kind of behavior is the exact reason why SHIB is an untrustworthy asset because it is literally treated like a pump and dump asset. The instances observed yesterday are similar to what we saw at the beginning of the July rally.

Its own community does not take it seriously and only appears during a price rise to cash out as much as possible. Active addresses and transaction volumes remain dormant and pretty low, regularly, and rise only when there is a price rise.

Shiba Inu’s transactions volumes | Source: Santiment – AMBCrypto

In fact, long-term holders cash out at the first sign of profits, too. Yesterday over 3.3 quadrillion coin days were destroyed, levels similar to which were earlier noticed, in July, showing the movement of old coins. If they had kept their holdings instead, the price would have remained stable.

Shiba Inu’s coin days destroyed | Source: Santiment – AMBCrypto

Adding to the pump and dump narrative, is the fact that in less than 24 hours, MVRV fell. Down from the strength of 2.0 into the negative zone at press time.

Shiba Inu’s MVRV in the negative zone | Source: Santiment – AMBCrypto

Simply put, there is no real value coming into the coin from the very loyal SHIB community as of now. However, due to its fanbase and hyped DOGE, it will keep blipping on the crypto radar every now and then.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/shiba-inus-days-in-the-sun-may-be-over-heres-why

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Blockchain

Making sense of Solana’s ‘extremely rapid’ growth

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When Solana experienced a crash right after hitting a new all time high on 9 September, traders and experts tried to make sense of the event. On “The Best Business Show,” investment expert Anthony Pompliano interviewed Kyle Samani, co-founder and managing partner at Multicoin Capital, to discuss the rising star-turned-meteor, that Solana has turned out to be.

From 4 cents to over $200

Pompliano began by discussing Multicoin Capital’s investment in Solana. He calculated that the initial investment had gone up roughly 3750 times since the initial round, when one SOL had been at $0.04.

For his part, Samani said,

“Solana today is growing at an extremely rapid pace. Users being on-boarded, assets being issued, stablecoins going into it – all of these things. Look at the last nine days: it’s just a vertical line from, call it a billion in assets to like 10 billion.”

While listing out possible factors for Solana’s success, Samani cited Solana’s speed and network, its NFT platform Metaplex, the rise in SOL’s price, and the stablecoins issued.

Network > Price

Inevitably, Pompliano brought up Solana’s crash – though he admitted calling it so was “hilarious,” in the context of the alt coin’s growth. However, Samani’s answer was a surprising one. He claimed that he tried to ignore prices and didn’t refer to Coin Gecko or Coin Market Cap. Rather, he preferred to focus on Solana’s network and its growth. He further explained,

“Our time horizon is measured in years, not weeks or months. So the question we will always ask ourselves, is you know, is this network compounding at a sufficiently fast rate? And if you really go dig into developer activity, user on-boarding, dollar flow in the system. . .all of those things right now are compounding at an astounding rate and I don’t think that’s going to slow down.”

Furthermore, the following infographic presents data on Solana transfers.

Could Solana kill Ethereum?

Samani spoke about Metaplex and how the NFT platform came during the NFT Boom of summer 2021. He noted Ethereum’s high gas fees and how many users saw Solana as a faster alternative. Even so, Samani admitted that he thought it was “improbable” for Solana to displace Ethereum. Instead he suggested the two would likely co-exist.

Samani also addressed a common criticism aimed at Solana, regarding the its centralized nature, due to the number of validators and the expensive hardware required to run it.

Samani called the criticism “valid” but “irrelevant,” pointing out that the trade-off meant better performance for users, reiterating the network’s rapid growth.

At press time, there were between 974 and 1000 validators on the Solana mainnet. Samani’s assessment of the alt coin was simple but memorable. He said,

“I don’t think there’s going to be another Solana.”

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/making-sense-of-solanas-extremely-rapid-growth

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Will Bitcoin make a pitstop at $85,000, before racing to $100,000

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Even though Bitcoin has been making no major moves of late, the market’s bullishness on the coin continued making headlines, and all for the right reasons. After all, the king coin surprised the market before, with massive its moves that rendered skeptics silent. 

Bitcoin to $100K, by the end of the year is a much-anticipated move by the market. As we enter the last quarter of this year, Bitcoin is expected to push towards that major psychological barrier. However, even though Bitcoin presented a solid recovery from the May crash, at the time of writing, the effects of the September 7 flash crash hadn’t completely worn out. 

Nonetheless, as BTC presented around 3% daily gains and traded at the $48.5 level at press time, the market once again eyed BTC for some major moves. But before Bitcoin actually makes a move towards the $100K, its last stop would be the $85K mark which will confirm an upward move to $100K. 

The above observation was part of a market report by trading platform Decentrader ,which presented bullish signals in the near term, for BTC. It presented how we it could be setting up for a major run that first reaches $85,000 before breaking through the psychological barrier of $100,000, thereby making for an explosive Q4 2021. 

BTC looking hyper bullish 

In spite of BTC trading below $50K throughout the week, on-chain metrics have led analysts to stay bullish on Bitcoin price action. A report stated that the constantly decreasing supply of BTC on exchanges put upwards pressure on price in the medium term. With demand increasing as supply reduces, the price would go up. 

Further, another factor that contributed to Bitcoin’s bullish mid-term trajectory was its SOPR which presented a similar trend to the months that followed the March covid crash. After the summer crash where SOPR was heavily printing green candles, some minor selling at a loss was observed on this pullback from $50,000 too. Thus, SOPR flashed a sort of buy-the-dip opportunity as final sellers get flushed out before it moves higher, as was observed in Q4 2020. 

Additionally, Active Address Sentiment Indicator had reset with price change lower than active address change. With a pullback in prices alongside constant network growth, the market will look to catch up with network growth by noting price gains. 

Thus, the report presented a hyper-bullish possibility of Bitcoin reaching $85K by the end of Q4. However, Bitcoin’s options market didn’t look too big on gains at the moment with funding rate flashing negative signs. Further BTC’s global open interest by expiry indicated year-end expectations of around $65K which is almost $20K less than the target of $85K. 

So, is $100K too far?

Well, not really. The reason being that, from the July local low of around $30K Bitcoin registered almost 75% gain to reach the multi-month price high of over $52K. Notably from the current consolidating prices, another 75% price gain would land Bitcoin to $85K. So a rally like that over the next three months won’t be a big surprise. 

Thus, while BTC was consolidating, a squeeze upward should characterize the remainder of this year, similar to events from 2020. 

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/will-bitcoin-make-a-pitstop-at-85000-before-racing-to-100000

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