Bitcoin Private Austin Conference #4 – The History of ZClassic & Bitcoin Private

Wow hi everyone, this right here is really overwhelming just to see everyone right here. And I guess I have another announcement a little bit overwhelming. So we created this voluntary miner fund pool because we are a community-driven decentralized project.

And it’s always been 100% purely mined coins. So when I create ZClassic I didn’t get any for free for making and I just made some source code and I went on Bitcoin talk and I said: “Hey you guys can mine this if you want right?”. And so a lot of other projects have community funds set aside to pay all these centralized service providers like exchanges and wallets for partnerships and things.

And so we all want Bitcoin Private and ZClassic to succeed in the future. We want them to be the best possible projects that they can be. So we created this voluntary miner pool fund where miners can actually contribute.

It’s basically the classic that will get donated to be used by a group of individuals to help create partnerships with centralized services and products. And yesterday that was about it was mining at about 1% of the total hash rate of ZClassic. And I just checked in about the past hour.

It’s jumped to about 18% of the total mining hash rate of ZClassic. So I mean I guess we could get a round of applause for the miners. But that’s just one of those things that like I didn’t know if that would come together.

And it looked like it was at 1% and it was yesterday it was kind of like well you know it is what it is. And jumping into 18% and it’s probably gonna keep increasing is just that shows how much community support there is for this.

And so I’m gonna talk about the history of ZClassic and what you’re really gonna see I mean when we start getting into I mean the Bitcoin Private history you’re gonna just see how incredibly fast it all come together. So who wants to start with Ralph Merkle. So raise your hand if you don’t know who Ralph Merkle is.

It’s okay. There’s a lot of people who raise them high.. I want to see everyone who doesn’t know who. If there’s one thing that we walk away from at this talk, it’s you all will now know who Ralph Merkle is.

So who is Ralph Merkle? Well in 1979, he patented this data structure is called a Merkle tree. And it is the data structure that is used in Bitcoin for the blockchain so you have this thing.

If you look at a block explorer there’s a Merkle root and I highlighted it in pink. And that hash is when people talk about the Bitcoin blockchain is immutable and you can’t go back and change its history and there was a big talking point for a long time. That is all because it’s all secured by that Merkel root which is part of the Merkle graph data structure that Ralph Merkle invented.

But Bitcoin was not actually the first application to use this data structure. So when people talk about blockchains, in my mind I think well that’s really you’re describing this data structure, that’s Merkel route data structure. But we had this data structure with getting in 2005.

So Linus Torvalds understood that he needed a data structure to secure the code of the Linux kernel because that was actually securing billions of billions of dollars worth of computers all around the world. So he also used a Merkel tree data structure and that commit also guarantees the immutability of the entire commit history of all of the Linux kernel history before it so it’s very important right.

But while Ralf was actually working on and inventing this Merkel tree data structure he was not very well known for his work. In fact what Ralph Merkle was best known for being the nephew of Fred Merkle. So this is Ralph Merkel’s uncle, Fred Merkle.

Has anyone here ever heard of Fred Merkel? So it was kind of a long time. Well, Fred Merkel was really famous for not stepping on second base is what he was famous for.

And so it was actually it was a 1908 pennant race so I’m gonna go into a baseball analogy here. I’m gonna sidetrack a little bit. I don’t know if you like or just dislike based on analogies. But well I’m gonna get in this baseball analogy and it kind of ties together.

So Fred Merkle was in 1908 he played for the Giants. It was a pennant race and it was actually his rookie season and it was his first game of the whole season he was substituted in. He was on first base. There was a runner on first and third and it was a tie game.

The bottom of the ninth and his teammate get a hit right and then the runner on third base comes home. And Fred Merkle remembers he’s on first base so he’s running up to second. The runner comes home tags home plate the fans go nuts everyone runs on to the field right.

And everyone’s celebrating they won the game and then Fred like runs into the fans and he’s celebrating. And then the players and the Cubs realized that he never touched second base. So this was him there’s the hit and he’s running towards second base right.

And then all the fans like run onto the field and so the players and the Cubs they have to go and they had to fight some fans to get the ball. And they and they bring the ball back like minutes later. They step on second base they bring it up higher over and all the fans are on the field.

The umpire looks and he’s like you know he’s out and if red is out it’s a force play. They take the run back and they lose the game and so they were I mean newspapers they call a boner right “Merkle’s Boner”. And this was what he was known for. His whole life and in fact he never lived it down his 40 years later.

No, it wasn’t just 40 years later till the day he died his whole career all anyone knew was a Hugh is a guy that didn’t step on second base. And it went so far that was all people knew about Ralph Merkle was that he was the nephew of the guy that didn’t step on second base one time okay. And this is what he was famous for and he’s finally well now.

He’s basically like invented the blockchain and so like hopefully, I don’t know I think he’s famous for a few more things. We all owe him a debt for being a little bit more than the nephew of the guy who didn’t step on second base. But like you know I think about like what is this is kind of interesting how this ties together like “what does this mean?”.

Don’t be like Fred and what I mean by that is you have to make sure we’re all controlling our own private keys. And I’ve messed this up in the past but you have to make sure your private keys because you are controlling your own money and they have to be secure and they have to be available.

If you lose a private key, it’s super secured right. No one’s gonna get it but it’s not available so you have to make sure there are both things and if you don’t do these things. If you don’t go the whole way and step on the second base right and make sure that your private keys are secured and available for your own money that you’re controlling, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. And it will haunt your descendants as well.

Just like Fred and Ralph Merkle. All right that’s the baseball analogy thinking like a seventh-inning stretch here. So I have this theory of crypto-economics and because when people say blockchain I just think of the data structure.

And I think that what we’re all doing it’s a little bit more than just the blockchain, the Merkle tree data structure. And there are really these three pieces of technology that we’re tying together in crypto-economics and you’ve all probably heard of them in some way.  One of them is just the public and private key pairs right so we have like Diffie-Hellman public-private keys. That’s been around since the 70s peer-to-peer networking right.

We had BitTorrent and other types of peer-to-peer networking long before Bitcoin. And then we have these Merkle data structures and this includes DAG you might have heard of it.

It’s basically the generalized form of a Merkle data structure. It’s called a directed acyclic graph and then you can call them to Merkle chains or Merkle trees. I would say one of the most innovative parts of Bitcoin originally was actually what we call it today is Nakamoto consensus and that was really just these three pieces. He didn’t really innovate on the public and private keys.  He didn’t really innovate on those this blockchain or the Merkle data structure right.

That was already invented it kind of fell more under in bullet point to the peer-to-peer networking. There was this new Nakamoto consensus algorithm with proof of worth mining that was kind of introduced. And so these are kind of the three you know when I think about a coin right now I think about these three pieces of technology and then how do things fit together here and with Bitcoin Private what we’re actually able to do.

If you look at these three pieces is we can take this data structure that already exists in Bitcoin we have this distributed ledger right that everyone has access to it’s been replicated thousands of times all around the world, the Bitcoin blockchain.

And we can actually anyone can download that ledger and read it permissionless and then we can actually include that into our own peer-to-peer network and technology in ZClassic.

So we can take this data set and then include that into all the network with all of our technology and then we’re bringing all of the people who are participants in that data set in that ledger into our network. And so that’s really in sort of the simplest terms what Bitcoin Private is doing.

So yeah one of the kinds of just so we’re talking about the history. I mean this was something I didn’t really expect that I changed his name. This was one just one example.

Somebody introduced himself to me he’s told me who’s from Iran. I had never met him and this was almost yes about a year ago. And he said oh you know myself and all of my friends we all mine ZClassic and I had just you know I just launched the ZClassic but I mean  I wasn’t really involved with it.

I didn’t know I didn’t mind it and I was kind of shocked to hear someone say they like knew of me and they mine ZClassic on a daily basis in Iran and then I said you know I said like why do you mine ZClassic. And he told me that he’s already lived through an event where everything he’d ever owned and his whole life, his wealth and his friends have been confiscated.

And so the idea is that when he tells people that you can mine ZClassic and you can hold that on a private key that you hold yourself that no one can take away its world-changing to these people. And it’s really hard to understand that coming from.

You know we’re all so privileged in the United States and I don’t feel like I live under that threat and I and my father and grandfather haven’t lived through some kind of event where all of their wealth has been confiscated.

And we’re really lucky but there are people all around the world that are mining ZClassic and other crypto coins because this is a really powerful idea to them. And so this is what he said he told people you can hold your own private keys and it’s just changes everything. And then so I asked him why do you guys mine ZClassic why don’t you mine Bitcoin or something instead.

And he said well we can’t import the Chinese mining hardware. It’s just impossible to get it so they can only get access to the generic GPU cards to mine. And so we all know that.

You know privacy is a big reason why we’re all here but there are all these other benefits to the ZClassic and Bitcoin private community and one of them just happens to be that the mining algorithm is really friendly to generic GPU cards.

So what that means is it gives access to people all over the world, people who can’t maybe import specialized mining hardware from China or other places. And then I said well why don’t you guys mine Zcash, Zcash is bigger and why do you mine ZClassic and he said they don’t want to pay this 20% tax. They recognize it’s not something that they want to be a part of and they don’t want to support just a small number of individuals that are getting 20% of this.

So you’re asking what I mean so there’s a question here for those of you who aren’t familiar exactly what Zclassic is and why I was motivated to make it so I guess it was November of 2016. I actually went to an event in San Francisco with Zooko the founder of Zcash.

And they had just set up their private ceremony for their trusted set up for Zcash and they explained what Zcash was and basically you know it was the Bitcoin with much better privacy technology and there were a small number of individuals that invested in that in that project.

It was actually a corporation that the U.S. Delaware C-Corp, the Zerocoin corporation, and right so they invested in that and then 20% of all the Zcash mining fund goes to that organization and then about 5% just goes to these people that just happen to invest in it early on.

And it made me sick to think that what if this replaces significantly a major currency in the world and there’s a small group of people that basically get 20% of all the money in the world.

And so I was just like there’s got to be something we can do about this and I went into the code and I looked at. It was actually really simple to edit the code to change that so first I went on Twitter and I said hey why don’t we all you know everybody let’s just mine, let’s just get rid of that tax and well we’ll just mine it without that and nobody really cared right and so you know you have to kind of do it right.

So this was a commit that removed the 20% Founders Reward from Zcash. I don’t remember exactly it says there are two editions I don’t know what they were with 215 deletions right. So I deleted 200 lines, most of those were texts. About 22 lines I think were the actual code to remove the Founders Award and so I made this code.

And then I had something I said okay instead of just telling people hey we should do this thing. That’s sort of not very tangible it’s like here’s the code now if you’re a miner you can mine this if you want to. And this was kind of how I felt. I wrote up a little article but this was sort of just going back to what I would sort of pictured like the Zcash foundation trying to do.

It’s this is sort of from Mr. Robot and they’re saying you know we are gonna control the ledger. And that in fighting between Ecoin and Bitcoin. And Zcash kind of looked a lot like to me. And you know and here’s just to sort of bring the point home this is Zooko.

He’s not messaging me this was somebody else he messaged and it’s a little hard to read. But Zooko says here basically they have a trademark on Zcash because they’re Delaware C-Corporation so he’s telling someone to be clear we will need to initiate legal action in order to protect the trademark.

If we don’t do that the trademark can be invalidated. So in practice, this may mean getting your Twitter account suspended. So Zooko’s threatening other people like we might have to threaten your Twitter account if you’re using Zcash in the name because that’s our trademark.

And so I was like oh crap well I can’t call it Zcash classic because I could get sued by the Zerocoin foundation but Zooko actually blessed Zclassic as a name because it doesn’t actually infringe on the on Zcash in any way so that is where the name Zclassic comes from.

I said okay well we’re taking out the Founders Reward Z something you don’t own the letter Z right and he’s like yeah we don’t know the letter Z, yet or whatever so we kind of got to like the okay from this right and then there were people in the Zcash forum and them were saying look well how could the cash stick around there’s this other alternative that doesn’t take the 20% it’s exactly the same but it doesn’t take out this 20% fee. So how is this gonna stay around so they were already kind of posting that and you know it’s interesting?

It is actually interesting if you look at just the market capitalization of the two coins I’m obviously not advising anyone to speculate or anything but just looking at the past Zcash has been a larger coin than Zclassic so to me this is all kind of a big experiment.

I thought maybe by taking away the 20% it would always give this big advantage to Zclassic but actually you know we have it has appeared at least for the past year it was the opposite whereby having those founders rewarded what they were able to do something with it and create enough partnerships and interests that the Zcash has been outperforming Zclassic over the past year.

Now what I feel like we may be seeing now is it’s possible that because we’ve been a fairly mined community coin from the beginning, this might be the point where we wind up leapfrogging them I mean I don’t know any kind of like speculative obviously.

I have no idea what is gonna happen with price. I’ll just say like we all know that Bitcoin was $19,000 a few weeks ago and now it’s whatever 11 or something so you can lose half your money very quickly investing in any crypto.

So then Zucco he sort of had to address this Founders Reward thing. He actually came out and he defended the Founders Reward but he also said that he was happy about the classic. And so we kind of looked at it as sort of the red hat fedora model where they’re gonna keep operating with this taking the fees. But in a lot of ways it ZClassic created some redundancy for their project.

So if anything ever went wrong with their project there was actually already ZClassic sort of running. So we sort of been friends and actually the Zcash developers were some of the biggest contributors. I mean if you just look by the commits that we pull in in code obviously the Zcash developers are the biggest contributors to ZClassic.

So this is what you get. This was right after I created the code and launched in announce it to Bitcoin talk one of the maybe the fifth comment in there from Sammy. If you guys don’t Sammy double-oh-seven I don’t know but Sammy says don’t touch POWs limit you moron and here’s a link to the commit.

Those changed. it last second you’re gonna do the same or something. So basically, there’s Cunningham’s law which is the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask the question but it’s supposed to wrong answer and you know that’s a lot of what I found to be the case with this project.

So a lot of things that I’ve tried to do is I will try to do some things to the best of my own abilities and oftentimes there are problems and things wrong with it and what’s amazing is then people come forward and they say no that’s not right do it this way.

And now all that I try to do is take all those suggestions and say thank you and can you help do it the right way and that’s really it’s really kind of what I do all day now. So this is how we’ll get sort of to the Bitcoin private history.

This is actually December 13th so a little over a month ago. I said look they’re Bitcoin Hard Fork. Jimmy Song says 2018 is gonna be the year of the Bitcoin Hard Fork. They’re super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Platinum, Bitcoin uranium, Bitcoins cash plus, and Bitcoin silver and I proposed the idea right out in the open on Twitter.

And I said you know look the classic we have this community we have this really great privacy technology. There it’s a year of the Bitcoin fork why don’t we turn ZClassic into a Bitcoin fork and then the next day I said what are we gonna call it right and I ran a Twitter poll.

And there was like Bitcoin shadow, Bitcoin private, Blitz coin and ZBitcoin were the top choices. And it actually was not even an overwhelming majority. The Bitcoin private won with about 35% of the 500 votes. And that was a big part of the reason where we came up with the name and then we had to think about how we were gonna do this.

Because we thought this could be a force take over of ZClassic and because it was something people are really a lot more interested in Bitcoin private than they were in ZClassic a few months ago. And so we thought why don’t we just keep the community together and I had to you know think pretty hard about this for about a day.

And what I really concluded is that this whole thing that we’re doing with crypto-economics I feel like a big part of it is about giving everyone control and their end choices over their own finances.

And so I think as a developer all that you can really do is you can offer choices to people. And the miners they’re gonna choose whatever they want to mine and exchanges get to choose whatever the wallets they want to use.

The users choose what networks they want to connect to but we had a choice where we could try to sort of coerce people, the miners, and the exchanges to say look this is what ZClassic is gonna be it’s actually going to be a Bitcoin private or as a developer we could offer replay protection and say you can keep using ZClassic forever if you want to but you always have this option to move over it’s a Bitcoin private.

And I wound up deciding I think that that that was the responsible choice is to offer replay protection and not try to coerce anyone if there’s even 70% that wants to switch not trying to coerce the minority just giving everyone the freedom to choose which network in which chain they want to use.

So that’s been our approach and then this is about two weeks later you know everything just blew up bigger than I really could have imagined it at the time and I’d already planned a road trip. And then there was like Jake and there were all these people chatting and they’re like no we need to have like a voice meeting we all have to get together this thing’s getting really huge.

And I was on the road and I was like okay I’m gonna stop into a Red Lobster and me kind of just set up shop in the Red Lobster and they were really cool about it. And this is today a few weeks later and we have the 70 contributors, 20 engineers and it’s just grown larger than I can imagine. So that’s I talk and you know definitely I know they’re definitely gonna be some questions and probably some more technical questions.

All right so who’s ready for an announcement. Come on that was weak. All right we have to test out the sound first. So I’m sorry that we’re gonna announce some announcements so hold on.

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