Happy New Year! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a full announcement about the status of development, both of the core project and Evolution. We have had a lot of positive news in recent months that we’ve been working on, and I thought now would be a good time to update everybody on our progress, which has been quite good. In fact, we are progressing on many fronts simultaneously. VERSION TWELVE POINT ONE / SENTINEL RELEASE Launching a new software release on the network requires that all budget proposals be re-submitted into the system. Due to the timing of superblocks, we have a short window to launch, near the beginning of the month. In order to ensure we launch the most stable possible version of the software without interfering with the budget system, we would like to hold off until early February to launch 12.1. Launch date: February 5th, 2017. CORE DEVELOPMENT The first area of progress is Dash Core. In addition to running the network at present, Dash Core also serves as the backbone of the Evolution engine. We have done a great deal of work on Sentinel, our large-scale decentralized programmable database solution, which is going to allow us to move radically faster than any other organization in cryptocurrency. Among other things, Sentinel will allow us to push updates to Dash Core much more quickly and easily. Sentinel can also be re-geared and deployed to operate digital companies that have a built-in workforce, infrastructure to deploy again, and as an engine for storage and retrieval of information. This is the concept we’re working on, which will allow companies to run on the Dash Network and compete with centralized companies that refuse to work with Dash. It’s a simple divide and conquest model. We have recently moved a good deal of our funding into paying some new hires, who have now integrated into our team and have pushed through many new versions of the software. Among other things, they have fixed various issues with the stability of the daemon, the syncing of governance objects, and the workability of the new Sentinel system. Sentinel uses a complex set of rules and conditions for validation of objects and maintaining the consensus of the network. STRATEGIC EXECUTION Ryan Taylor, Dash’s CFO, has coordinated a deal with Arizona State University’s SkySong incubator, allowing us access to their top tier facility in Tempe, Arizona. There are 29 fast-growing, innovative startups sharing this location, and we look forward to talking with many of them. We also look forward to hiring exceptional talent from the University. NETWORK UPGRADE Feb. 5 is the date of the launch of our new platform. Enforcement will be turned off for this network upgrade, meaning nodes running the old version of the Dash software (12.0) will quickly stop being paid (contingent on miners upgrading). That means masternode rewards will be shared amongst a much smaller pool of upgraded nodes. This should provide a strong incentive to upgrade quickly; it will be very lucrative to upgrade your nodes as quickly as possible. EVOLUTION UPDATE Lead evolution developer Andy Freer has been locked away producing huge amounts of documentation for the various concepts of Evolution. This comes after months of conversations between Andy and myself about how each component of Evolution works, then reimagining it and improving the components and designs systematically. Since the original research phase, documentation, specifications, plans and diagrams have been being drafted, growing into a collection of documents that will be put into a wiki with full documentation for Evolution’s end-to-end design and implementation. EVOLUTION RESEARCH In January 2016 we released an early Evolution prototype based on Electrum which enabled basic functions such as registering a username and paying friends by name. The prototype was pretty basic, with user interaction limited to just paying a few friends and user data stored on a dev server, but at least it proved the concept. What we set out to do then was to design and prototype all the key technologies that would make these functions work in a purely P2P way, with data secured on the Dash blockchain and accessible from anywhere on any device, with integrated SPV based security and no centralized intermediary services required, and using the most common and censorship resistant protocol available - HTTP(S) What we have designed and prototyped in various parts is a system that will let people signup to Dash, connect with friends, connect with merchants and buy products and services online with options to refund or pay recurring subscriptions, using just a web browser, without going through any intermediary service or having to integrate their own full node. It’s also a system that lets websites and apps become Dash enabled as easily as signing up for an API key and then cut and pasting a few lines of code into their business application that pops up a payment form and bills the user automatically, with all customers and payments visible to the merchant in DashDrive. What this enables is the first usable digital cash built for the digital economy, because rather than having to integrate an esoteric P2P system into existing digital applications and services using complex infrastructure and interoperation or a centralized intermediary, Dash Evolution can be accessed by an HTTPS API that works more like a decentralized cloud, using familiar data structures such as Users, Accounts and Orders instead of transactions, blocks and crypto addresses, secures user information like a cloud service, but behind the API functions as a purely P2p, decentralized service. We believe this will be the key to gaining mainstream traction for users and businesses on P2P cryptocurrencies, i.e. they won’t even know it’s a P2P cryptocurrency they are using, because it’s as quick, familiar and easy to use / integrate as any existing payment systems used in the mainstream digital economy, all of which are API service based. EVOLUTION FRONTEND The 3 main areas of frontend design and development have been to design a secure, SPV based Web Wallet, merchant tools to enable drag-and-drop checkout on a website, and an SDK that connects web clients to DAPI. The Web Wallet has taken the form of an SPA (single page application) that web users can download as a single HTML page and hashcheck to use securely from their desktop, that enables users to login and manage their accounts, contacts and merchant relationships, including an integrated marketplace for products and services. Users hold their account password and account HD seed on the client side, and on the network side, all of their account meta data is encrypted and stored on the network. After designing the UI / UX in July, ongoing work has been to develop the web wallet platform and soon work is starting to port the work to Android and iOS Evolution wallets. A revamped Dash.org is also being designed (following from the upcoming launch of dash.org v2) to provide a signup to Evolution call-to-action on the homepage and a download or hosted link to the Web Wallet code (and mobile versions). The merchant tools have taken the form of code that can be cut and pasted into their web page and server to instantly enable Dash payments by user’s name against products the merchant is listing, including a Dash Checkout modal that can handle the payment automatically on the client side. The merchant can also list the products directly in DashDrive to enable Users to make one-time payments, moderated refunds or recurring auto-payments within any DAPI enabled client (such as the Web Wallet) and access full CRM information for their sales / product listings in DashDrive via DAPI. The SDK (Dash.js) is a single library that web clients and servers include to easily access all wallet and merchant functions using their user accounts or API keys for merchants. This has been based initially on BitPay’s BitCore API and ongoing work has included a variable SPV implementation for the library which enables clients to specify the level of security they wish to balance this between performance and amount of data that needs to be downloaded. EVOLUTION BACKEND Evolution Backend Development has leveraged two strategies this year. The first has been to port BitPay’s Bitcore Platform to Dash including merging Bitcore Node to DashCore 12.1 for native API support. The second ongoing strategy is to leverage this platform to fulfill long-term Evolution requirements while filling more immediate needs. Through this approach we’re now positioned to leverage the entire BitPay ecosystem, most notably Copay (https://copay.io) and the new Insight API. We anticipate having a Dash variant of the Copay wallet available on testnet by the end of January 2017. In support of the v0.12.1.x Dash Core release, we’ve integrated the Governance Object model into the Bitcore platform (e.g. Budget Proposals). This integration has led to the development of a client-side budget generator as well as an extension of Insight API which returns active budget proposal objects. Moving forward this type of close integration between Bitcore and the Governance Object system will be a huge asset and a foundational piece for continued innovation in v0.12.2.x and beyond. Work has also included with ProtonMail and Sean Ryan (Node40.com) has also delivered a Payment Processing API which is capable of connecting directly to the Bitcore Wallet Service. A compatible WooCommerce plugin has been developed and is intended to act as both a Proof of Concept for this API as well as a Prototype for future eCommerce integrations. More information on this plugin and related API will be released in early January 2017. EVOLUTION CORE Evolution Core work has been focused on first providing a basis to the new system in the form of Sentinel and improving DashCore to be implementation-agnostic to governance functions and objects. Additional work has been the design / prototype of several key technologies needed at the core level, ranging from the RPC/ZMQ interface to DAPI, a generic Object system governed by a shared Schema protocol that enables Users to secure Object state transitions on the Dash Blockchain and store Object Data sharded across Masternodes (DashDrive). This work has also included upgrading the existing Masternode design to retain proposals, votes, and rewards in DashDrive to provide blockchain consensus. After 12.1 release, work will focus on implementing these designs in conjunction with the frontend and backend work. Thanks to everyone involved!