Bitshares: At the crossroads

in #bitshares4 years ago (edited)

Not all is well on Bitshares land

As many of you are aware, drama erupted some weeks ago as allegations and accusations started flying in a flurry of accusations, promises and eventually, cliffhangers.

We have been waiting for developments (pun intended) on this matter ever since, and except for a few question dodged here and there, not much appears to have changed.

The big casualty ?

Private transactions in the #bitshares blockchain.

This is not a small issue.

The choice is ours - a dystopian future where our every transaction is publicly associated with our identity forever, where the government and a myriad of for-profit companies know everything we buy (and who we buy it from, and how often, and so on).. or a reality where we get to maintain our financial privacy while having the convenience and advantages of using blockchain technology - in other words, true digital »»»cash«««.

The #monero guys got this one right.

I am of the opinion that this enforced transparency on the #bitshares blockchain has cost us dozens, if not hundreds of thousands of users over the years - and that by continuing to delay its implementation, we will continue not onboarding many more.

In a competitive technological area such as this, failure to address such a basic point as the privacy of the users of the system ("bitshares: the telnet of blockchain") can and WILL eventually relegate the project to obscurity, as better solutions come along.

NOW is the time to expand our influence and become a safe haven for intelligent people looking to leverage blockchain technology to improve life & liberty. A FULLY PRIVACY-DEVOID SYSTEM IS A COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF THAT.

We must find a solution to move forward.


@chris4210, @kencode work whatever it is that you guys have to work out between yourselves, but don't forget what we're trying to accomplish with #bitshares, and do not for even one second doubt that creating a secure, private, confidential system where humans (dogs coming soon) can store value digitally is FUNDAMENTAL for this technology to do good in the world.

Graphene / #bitshares still has an edge. For now. With totalitarian-like full transparency, I'm reasonably sure we will never see widespread adoption of the network.

And that would be a damn shame.

Work it out guys! And keep us posted.


I've been with Bitshares since AGS/PTS. Fully private transactions should be implemented immediately. I agree that not implementing this feature has resulted in a substantial losses with regard to user base and adoption. I thoroughly understand the arguments on both sides, but ultimately Dan designed Bitshares as means to financial freedom. There is no freedom without privacy. 'Nuff said.

Hey! I also have been with bitshares since AGS/PTS, (though I never bought ags, and was disappointed when they broke from the whitepapers), but have been surprised by its lack of price movement. I thought always the two were correlated, I never sold but I did lose faith in the principle at that point, but I do think it is poised for some big movements!!!

I'm also surprised by the BTS market cap, really don't understand why it's not run into the billions yet. If you look at the top 10 there are a bunch that don't really do anything or they do thing that are not particularly useful to mainstream users. BTS has huge utility, the best blockchain tech in the world (Graphene), is super fast and a lot of people are actually using it to do a lot of things. I would expect BTS to be well north of a billion by now, it will come but it is frustrating watching these shitcoins get pumped while the solid platforms that could really benefit from the increased developer funding languish.

The market cap compared to others baffles me as well. Its far superior to most in terms of its tech.


You have my $2 for promotion. Good luck.

Thats the attitude... i found this post cuz i wanted to see what sort of content were promoted

seems reasonable..we don't really want transparency so much as incorruptibility.

Can't agree more on all points and, as I already see down below, this deserve an AMEN, all limbs and fingers crossed too. All for one and one for all! Namaste :)

This is first and foremost an organizational problem for Bitshares. Despite the best governance model for a blockchain, it can't get stakeholders to cooperate efficiently. That's why I've been quite skeptical about Bitshares for a long time. It's not really that hard to see that the lack of efficient cooperation will cause bad times for business.

If Bitshares wants to get up from this, it needs to think how to improve the organization. When the organization is in good shape, new features will be developed fast without drama and hassle.

That is exactly what I can see and understand, like one who is not familiar enough from technical side of matter. I'd start to invest in bts, but after reading this kind of stuff I'm becoming a bit worried. Polite said.

Solution. Worker proposal. Bitshares has the money.

That would not solve very much of the problem, but would at least be a first step.

A really good read thank you for sharing.

I'd love your thoughts on my post regarding Privacy, Identity, and Human Flourishing. I agree privacy is important, but I also see value in identity, transparency, and building reputations. Without government, we'll need reliable ways to build trust so we can make informed, non-violent decisions.

The whole point of crytpo is to decentralize money and maintain privacy for the individual. The only way this can be maintained is through keeping our money with companies that respect that ideal.

go for privacy and freedom

Always :)

With my (growing) involvement with bitshares and this post being brought to my attention. Would simply like to ask how may simply beneficially move forward. Maybe we should set some goals & priorities to improve upon these matters. Will look forward to solutions along with everyone else I am sure.

up voted because i don't think it deserved the "f" word


BitShares already has a STEALTH feature that is fully secure and functional on a blockchain level. It has been ready for over a year and there is documentation and a tutorial about it on

If average Joe don't know about it and can't use it , I don't see much value on it.

I disagree @xeroc. It only has a partial solution of blinded transactions. Moreover these type of transactions are only available in the cLI-wallet which will never see mainstream adoption or use. The capability is pretty close to worthless. I have personally evaluated this functionality and found it to be severely lacking in utility.

It is nowhere near the level of confidentiality that Monero has. It may compete with Dash in terms of the level of protection it provides, but but only if a GUI interface were provided and I doubt anyone will bother to invest the effort to do that.

Even @dantheman gave up on that before he left to pursue Steemit.

Actually, all the code for the frontend has been written by @jcalfee already including a hosted-wallet solution that is a requirement for STEALTH in the frontend.
Dan didn't give up, he actually build it 100%. What he didn't want to do is run a business that hosts the wallets and offers STEALTH transactions. That's why the STEALTH feature is not merged into the main BitShares UI. Back then, Dan sold STEALTH tokens to kencode in the hopes he would just turn the switch on and run the wallet-hosting company.

W.r.t. confidentiality, the current Stealth implementation does indeed not support Ring signatures, but does stealth transactions. From here

The above quote demonstrates that while a Monero ring signature may be a "smaller" anonymity set, stealth addresses mask the receivers identity while the ring signature guarantees plausible deniability. When RingCT is activated in January, 2017 the amount of Monero spent in each RingCT transaction will also become protected.

In our case, amounts are hidden by another feature called Pederson Commitments using a blinding factor (weird crypto math).

That said, please don't believe everything you can read on the internet.

Thanks for writing this one up.

Based on your comments, I have to say that it seems like really bad design that using the current STEALTH implementation requires hosted wallets - this probably has severe implications in terms of liability and would make hosted wallets a big (and dare I say, easy to bring down) target in the ecosystem.

You mention in your other reply (ctrl+f stealth-receipt) that stealth receipts have to be kept server-side .. this appears to me as a very strange requirement, take #monero, (arguably? based on my research anyway) the best solution in terms of privacy/fungibility right now..

There is no such requirement.

I am sorry, I didn't make it clear in the first place.

STEALTH transfers requires to store a 'receipt' for every transfer you receive. Those receipts can be stored in a hosted wallet, but don't need to be. You could also write them down, or store them in your local browser storage, or some other means of storage. It is just that the "hosted wallet" solution would make it easier for users to do so, because it all happens transparently through a server storing the encrypted wallets entirely (including the receipts).

I agree that ring signatures are someone easier to use from the user's perspective.

Thanks for clearing that up.

It seems to me that this is a very fragile solution - as you are well aware, most users would lack the technical sophistication to kept such receipts safely (eventual data loss being my main concern here), which really only leaves the hosted wallet option.

I am inferring from the information that you have provided so far that it is game over if the user loses the receipts?

In that case, all of the user's balances are one third-party-company-going-away step from the void.

It is possible (quite possible, in fact) that I misunderstood something, but if the picture I painted above does match what the technology can do.. then I don't see how even someone technical like me could get the warm fuzzy feeling (tm) using this technology..

In timeless words by timeless people.. sh.t happens.

I am inferring from the information that you have provided so far that it is game over if the user loses the receipts?

Yep. Fortunately, you could also store an encrypted receipt on the blockchain using a custom operation. It would just end up being slightly more expensive to store them on-chain. It's not like there aren't cool solutions to that 'storing' problem. Not having that problem would be nicer though - of course.

Well, if you manage to secure the private keys for your accounts, you should be able to do so as well for receipts. You could easily store them next to the wallet of private keys in your browser (though that would require regular backups instead of just a single backup) - but I (and probably also Dan) agrees that the storage problem in the STEALTH solution is somewhat delicate.

Shit doesnt need to happen. Thats just a poor excuse. Why does security continue to be the bottle neck for many of these crypto currencies.

What about this?

@vikx shows that all it requires is a separate account with '~' prepended to it.

Is this what you're referring to?

Thanks xeroc for your reply. I'm certain you have more info about the stealth functionality, especially the GUI elements that I've never seen. I do recall providing @dantheman with feedback on his intended GUI design but I don't recall him offering much if any dialog about it. Some of that I believe can be found either on the bitsharestalk forum or in github issues.

Also, I was under the impression the primary reason dan didn't move ahead any further with stealth was he couldn't or didn't find a method to protect/backup the password he found acceptable. Not sure if his subsequent work on password recovery in steem is applicable to the (same / similar) problem in stealth or not.

BTW, is the jcalfe GUI work available as MIT open source on github?

Thanks again for all you do for this ecosystem. If it weren't for you I am certain BitShares would not be the great product it is!

One last thought - are you aware of any discussions past or present concerning a proper and thorough code audit of graphene? Is that even possible (i.e. are adequate specs available for an independent 3rd party audit service to perform such an audit)?

I've heard this mentioned here and there.

A few questions:

  1. searching for "bitshares stealth" brings this up, with one mention of stealth, that links to a nonexistent page. Searching for "bitshares stealth" leads one here, which is great, for programmers. I looked around the website to find the tutorial you mentioned, without success.

  2. I am running a fairly old release of the GUI, but quickly skimming through changelogs yields no results about STEALTH being baked in the official GUI - any idea why it was (apparently) never implemented?

  3. According to cryptofresh, about 0.01% of the BTS supply makes use of the feature - related to no GUI support no doubt?

  4. And perhaps most important of all, if there is already a working solution, why is all this time, money, attention and developer effort being spent reinventing the wheel?

  1. Check this out.
  2. No Stealth in the GUI, even though like 95% of the code has been written by @jcalfee a year ago already. It's just that someone needs to run "hosted-wallets" in order for people not to lose their stealth-receipts.
  3. Agreed - having stealth in the gui would be wonderful
  4. That's a question that I asked a year ago already. The point here is that the only ones interested in doing this feature are those that hold STEALTH tokens - because they profit from the feature. Now take a look at who holds those tokens and then approach them on how they plan to continue.

Thanks for all the information provided. I've replied to #2 above, and concerning #4, do you think that the technology being developed now to replace the stealth we have is a superior solution?

In my view, not even touching on the hardcore cryptographic aspects, if those stealth-receipts you mention are not needed with the new solution, that's already enough of a reason in my book.. what are your thoughts on this?

do you think that the technology being developed now to replace the stealth we have is a superior solution?

All I know about what is currently "in development" is that there is something in development. I would need specs and documentation for that before I can make an opinion on it and I have asked ken numerous times to provide it. No response so far. Not seen ken's testnet that he promised for Christmas last year either.

From the top of my head, I think there are 4-5 different ways of adding some sort of privacy to the blockchain level. 2 of them are already available on BitShares and there is nothing technically preventing us from adding more.

However, there is the incentives that currently only lies on those that hold STEALTH tokens, to actually build something useful on it. I personally have thought about adding the current STEALTH feature into python-bitshares, but don't see a reason to work on code that earns a profit to someone else.

That said, STEALTH doesn't have a technical problem, it rather has a political and economical problem on BitShares -- currently.

100% agree that we should have access to the technical inner-workings of the new system. As you know I have not been around much lately (pretty much due to the stealth-stall), so I just assumed such documents would exist - it seems rather silly to be funding such work without knowing exactly what is being funded, and if the technology being implemented is even sound to begin with - before any line of code is even written.

The good-natured side of me would say that @kencode has been too busy or that perhaps there has been some sort of miscommunication, I hope it is something like that - because I 100% agree with you, we need such technical documentation.

Apparently there is also a GUI since 2016. Here is a post (in Russian) about it.

Stealth client is located in here:

This post has been flagged because it creates FUD based on faulty information. In fact, development of stealth features continues as we speak.

Development continues only because I am paying the developers that Ken has working on it OUT OF MY OWN POCKET.

Nowhere in the post do I imply or directly state that development has stalled.

Merely that the whole community has been pretty much in the dark about what's happening since the news/drama surfaced weeks ago.

I've been around #bitshares for awhile. Perhaps you don't know me so well. I don't FUD, all I want is for this very important matter to move forward, so that we can all keep pushing #bitshares forward.

You don't imply it? Actually, you state very explicitly right at the top that privacy features are "the big casualty" of the disagreement between Ken and Chris. Your intention may not be to FUD Bitshares, but that is exactly what you are doing.

The big casualty ?

Private transactions in the #bitshares blockchain.

I want it resolved too. But what does this have to do with stealth? Again, Ken's work on stealth continues. Granted, it should NOT be necessary for @onceuponatime to provide alternative funding (which I am thankful for). But that is another matter entirely!

all I want is for this very important matter to move forward, so that we can all keep pushing #bitshares >forward.

I believe that it is obvious from both the surrounding context of the wording and the general tone of the text (in your opinion, FUD, in my opinion, attempting to galvanize the community and the main protagonists of this episode into finding a solution by reminding everyone of the greater good in doing so) that what you claim is not the case.

Likewise, I find it in extremely poor taste that you use your extreme weight on this platform to downvote this post to oblivion, but self-evidently you see the motivation behind this action differently.

Just remember this: we're both invested in BTS and we both want it to succeed.

As for the rest - let's just agree to disagree.

Where would BTS be without people like onceuponatime. The guy has stepped up again and again for the project. Thank you good sir!

< appropriate gif that celebrates onceuponatime.gif >

I spent a long night
Not too long ago.
I was sittin' around
With the mafio.
They were trying to steal control of the Vision!
Well, I said: patahhh!
You can try if you want to.
But power comes from within.


They thought they can escape "elegantly"

Children these days! Sheeesh! No respect.

lol deserve resteem and upvote...

Yes! Good info. I followed you please follow me 🔙

This is so great, thank you for sharing

Big brother is insecure(financially too), it makes him feel good to control others (he thinks it will ensure keeping his position in the family).

Can someone please say this is utter nonesense so I can get back to drinking my beer. I've spilt some while reading this. :D @virtualgrowth sent me loads already because he is awesome like that!

Seems you almost spilt spilled your beer on my virtualness. So will have to take a look at this at a little more closer.

Try re-reading it sober, perhaps it won't read like nonsense then.

Just sayin'. :D

Don't get me wrong. I like to get info from all the angles. I'm just rooting for BTS! :)

and WHAT, precisely, are the accusations? (As I actually missed it...)

Is bitshares a product of Steem?

BitShares came before Steem, and Steem is built on the technology developed for BitShares.

Oh, ok. Thanks for the info.

If you don't know #bitshares too well, you should definitely check it out :)

This is huge for lot of us and as this phenomena continues to grow, we definitely need more privacy. Thanks for the post !

What do you guys think about the EOS cryptocurrency?

Great post thanks for the info. Following you, follow me if you like to see some trade posts on crypto.

Upvoted and thank you for sharing.

I'm investor in Bitshares since AGS/PTS as well, actually I started with the keyhotee id :-), I still believe in the keyhotee idea, share "just-enough" identification. that way you can keep your privacy but still be transparent.
I think Dan and the BTS community should work more to try and comercialize this...

thanks for the info

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Great post! I resteemit upvoted your post.
I followed you please follow me 🔙 if possible.