Dev Update II: Moving forward [September]

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Overview


"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

Vince Lombardi

It has been a long week with lots improvements and cosmetic bug fixes. We plan on using Umbra's chat a lot ourselves, for team and community communication, so it's definitely worth investing time into getting the details just right. This week's update does not have a lot of visually noticeable improvements. Most of the work went into tweaking and cleaning up JavaScript code used within Umbra's chat.

We're glad to see the community stepping in and helping The Shadow Project.

Note: You can download our latest release on GitHub

Laying the groundwork

With decentralized software systems, every feature is a bit more complex and challenging to implement than it would be in its centralized form. This week we've worked on the architecture of the Javascript code to lay the groundwork for upcoming features.

We now have better tracking of the addresses participating in a group conversation, which allows us to create some pretty cool features such as:

  • Dynamic user lists
  • User tags
  • Mention users with @username

We've also spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve the underlying architecture of the chat, such that it allows for a wider range of capabilities.

  • Dual-key stealth addresses for chat contacts, enabling private payments to/from those contacts.
  • Before joining any chat, requiring users to enter a nickname, and hiding the display of addresses all together.
User tags

An upcoming release will require you to enter a username before joining a chat, because it's a decentralized network we can't yet ensure that you have a unique alias (nickname). This would be possible through implementing a scheme like BitAlias allowing addresses to register nicknames on the blockchain in a secure manner.

Whilst we eventually plan on supporting that kind of Alias system, for now we decided to keep it simple and easy. We will allow non-unique usernames in the same group chat but it is up to the user to do the record keeping.

Currently we allow users to register themselves as in the temporary verified user-list. This means we have a list of address and nicknames in our application, everyone can register a username in our #verified channel on Slack and they will get a verified check next to their name.

Verified check

The verified check merely means that the nickname shown on the screen has a unique username in the static verified list OR is included in your addressbook.

THIS IS BY NO MEANS AN INDICATOR OF HOW TRUSTWORTHY SOMEONE IS. ANYONE CAN GET VERIFIED!

Who: everyone in the static verified list and everyone in your addressbook.

Contributor

The contributor tag is given to everyone who has proved to be of value to the project.

Contributors also get to pick a custom avatar which is displayed next to their message.

Shadowteam

Given to all team members and core developers, they also get a custom avatar.

Potentially untrusted

This tag is not yet included but it will warn you when the same nickname is used for multiple addresses. The potentially untrusted address will get flagged because the nickname is already in the verified list or in your address book.

This serves as a protection against imposters.

Dumping strings for translation

Our GUI has a lot of new language and doesn't play well with the translation provided by the Bitcoin GUI, which means we need to translate it ourselves.

We've started the process of dumping the string into Transifex for the translators to get loose.

This will enable us to provide our interface in multiple languages, allowing us to reach a wider target audience.

As well as promoting the importance of right to privacy within China, our translation team has also begun translating Umbra's interface. Expect to see a localized version of Umbra coming in the near future.

Head over to https://www.transifex.com/shadowproject/shadowcore/ for more information or if you wish to contribute.


Community development


We've previously mentioned that the community has been really helpful this week.

Entering China

ShadowCash has become the top PoS coin in terms of market cap with over $9.5 million (taken as of 9/15/2016 on http://coinmarketcap.com). Trading volume has also increased over a 1,000% on average. This resulted in us being contacted a by a few Chinese exchanges that are looking to add SDC to their trading platforms.

We recognize that China will perhaps benefit most from our decentralized application, but in order to do this, a large resource needs to be allocated towards promotion within China. We have formed a dedicated team in charge of translating videos, articles and other tools to prepare us for China.

Chinese translated promo video

Chinese translated presentation

The most widely recognized cryptocurrency "All-in-One" website in China is undoubtedly 8BTC.com. Our goal is to establish our very own Shadow Project sub-forum within 8BTC forum, and to share our secure and decentralized technology Umbra offers with our Chinese friends. Pay close attention to the altcoin sub-forum on 8BTC.com, where we will be advocating the importance of our platform:

http://8btc.com/thread-39876-1-1.html
http://8btc.com/thread-39970-1-1.html

All our Chinese translation and publications can be found within The Shadow Project's official forum:
https://talk.shadowproject.io/category/22/%E4%B8%AD%E6%96%87-chinese

At the current stage, proposals are being made, and discussions are happening. As well as communication with major news site, our Chinese community is also slowly growing in size. You can find us on QQ, ID: 554658325

General activity

For the coming weeks, we will be testing, improving and auditing our current code and software. Some of that will be done by our own team; some of it may be outsourced to a cyber security consulting (auditing) firm who we have recently established contact with. Our goal is to remove any possible weak links and create more confidence in our current technology so that we can safely move on to the final phase of adding the decentralized marketplace.

Please keep in mind, if we want Umbra market to be a success, Umbra has to be as bulletproof as possible. This means that every time we run into a bug or other complications, they will need to be fixed before we can continue. Because of this, as we continue to roll out new features, updates, and releases over the coming weeks you will see more of these small improvements, fixes, and a lot of bug squashing. Rest assured that our core developers have already started laying out the groundwork to install the marketplace within the Umbra platform.

Over the past weeks, our developers have received a very large amount of messages and e-mails from people that want to know the exact release date of Umbra's decentralized marketplace. We honestly don't have an exact date yet. Even if we did, we decided to "ninja-launch" just for the sake of deadlines. For example, during testing we could run into a security issues that requires fixing before launch. We surely don't want to disappoint our users, but the last thing we want to do is compromise their privacy. Umbra’s market beta will most likely be announced about 7-8 days in advance like we did with other features in the past.

Join the fight

Want to help speed up the testing progress? We have a series of bug bounties. Similar to the bounties offered by Mozilla and Google, Shadow Project bug bounties provide an opportunity for people who find bugs to be compensated. Unlike those programs, however, Shadow Project bounties are not limited to security vulnerabilities.

Depending on the type of bug and when it is reported, different bounties will be awarded. Bounties are paid out in SDC, at the 3-day average US Dollar value!

You can find more information about our bug & bounty program at https://shadowproject.io/en/bounties

Not a coder? Some of our community members took it upon themselves to add several community bounties! You can learn more at https://shadowproject.io/en/community

That covers our development updates for this week. If you have any questions regarding recent or upcoming changes you can contact us via our support channels on slack, our forum or GitHub.

Download

You can download version 1.5.0.2 on GitHub!