Blockstream

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Blockstream
TypeCorporation
IndustryCryptocurrency software
Founded2014
Founders
  • Adam Back
  • Gregory Maxwell
  • Pieter Wuille
  • Matt Corallo
  • Mark Friedenbach
  • Jorge Timón
  • Austin Hill
  • Jonathan Wilkins
  • Francesca Hall
  • Alex Fowler
Headquarters,
Canada
Key people
  • Adam Back (CEO)
Number of employees
50-100[citation needed] (2014)
Websiteblockstream.com

Blockstream is a blockchain technology company led by co-founder Dr. Adam Back, headquartered in Victoria, Canada, with offices and staff worldwide.[1] The company develops a range of products and services for the storage and transfer of Bitcoin and other digital assets.[2]

The company has raised $76M to date from investors, including venture capital firms Horizons Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and AXA Strategic Ventures.[3][4]

Products[edit]

The Liquid Network[edit]

On October 12, 2015, Blockstream announced the release of its Liquid sidechain prototype which could allow for the transfer of assets between the Liquid sidechain and the bitcoin main blockchain.[5][6][7] On October 11, 2018, a production-ready implementation of the Liquid sidechain was officially launched, called the Liquid Network,[8] which is designed to facilitate interoperability between the Bitcoin main chain and the Liquid sidechain to extend Bitcoin’s capabilities.[9][10]

Liquid is built using Elements Core, a sidechain protocol also designed by Blockstream and built on the Bitcoin Core codebase,[citation needed] which introduces several new features including Confidential Transactions, Segregated Witnesses (or SegWit), native asset issuance, and new opcodes.[11] Elements Core version 0.18.1.6 was released in March 2020.[12]

Blockstream claims that Liquid reduces the delays and friction involved in a normal transfer of bitcoin. Blockstream asserts participating exchanges–including Bitfinex, BitMEX and OKCoin[8]–can reduce counterparty risk for traders and enable near-instant financial transactions between their platform and other exchanges or a trader’s wallet(s).[13] New blocks are added to the Liquid sidechain every minute, as opposed to Bitcoin's 10-minute block interval.[14]

Blockstream Satellite[edit]

In 2017 Blockstream announced the availability of one-way satellite broadcasting of the full Bitcoin blockchain[15] to enable the propagation of valid bitcoin transactions to people without Internet access or during a disruption event like an Internet blackout.[16] In 2018 Blockstream extended the Bitcoin satellite network[17] to four satellites across six coverage zones, adding Asia and Pacific region coverage, and released API specifications to allow users to send data over its network. The network as of 2019 is only a one-way network and the user still needs a connection to the Bitcoin network to send transactions, which can include SMS gateways or higher cost internet which would be expensive for receiving full Bitcoin block data, but is cost effective to send a single transaction.

Cryptocurrency Data Feed[edit]

In early 2018 Blockstream announced a partnership with Intercontinental Exchange Inc., or ICE, to launch a cryptocurrency market data feed.[18] Financial firms using this feed receive comprehensive historical price and market depth data for hundreds of crypto and fiat currency pairs from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchanges around the world.[19]

Industry Partnerships[edit]

Digital Garage[edit]

Blockstream partnered with Digital Garage, an Internet technology company based in Tokyo, in January 2019 to create Crypto Garage, a joint venture dedicated to building Bitcoin and blockchain technology for the Japanese institutional market.[20] The initiative's first product, called SETTLENET, is a protocol designed to enable institutional use of atomic swaps.[citation needed] Crypto Garage is one of the first fintech companies in the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat's regulatory sandbox program for blockchain companies.

Research and Open Source Initiatives[edit]

In addition to its corporate initiatives, Blockstream is also involved in a number of open source programs.

Bitcoin[edit]

Blockstream employs some prominent Bitcoin Core developer.[21] Blockstream engineers developed a simplified Bitcoin smart contract development language called Miniscript,[22] which currently has implementations in C++ and Rust.

Lightning Network[edit]

Blockstream developer Rusty Russell was the first Bitcoin developer to try implementing the Lightning Network during the summer of 2015.[23] Blockstream released version 0.8.1 of c-lightning, its own implementation of the Lightning Network, in February 2020.[24]

Cryptographic Privacy and Security Research[edit]

Blockstream has published work on Confidential Assets,[25] Confidential Transactions, secure multi- and aggregate signatures,[26] and Simplicity, a blockchain programming language.[27]

Controversies[edit]

Backing censorship of block size debate[edit]

The block size limit of Bitcoin has been a hot topic of discussion since it was introduced in 2010. On /r/bitcoin – a prominent Bitcoin community, two camps had emerged: those who support increasing block size and those who opposed such idea. In the latter camp there were some main developers of Bitcoin Core, most of them dismissed the idea of raising block size, which they regarded as a threat of fragmenting the bitcoin blockchain.[28]

Incidentally, most of these developers and moderators of /r/bitcoin are alleged to have connections with Blockstream. It is believed that Blockstream wants to keep the block size limit of 1 MB in order to profit from their side-chain solutions.[29][30][31][32][33][34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Making Bitcoin work better". The Economist. 29 July 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  2. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (4 January 2015). "2015 will be a make-or-break year for Bitcoin". Vox. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Our Investment in Blockstream". Mosaic Ventures. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  4. ^ "Bitcoin startup blockstream raises 55 million in funding round". Wall Street Journal. 4 February 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Casey, Michael J. "BitBeat: Blockstream Unveils Much-Awaited First Sidechain Prototype". WSJ (Blog).
  6. ^ Vigna, Paul. "BitBeat: Blockstream Releases Liquid, First 'Sidechain'". WSJ (Blog). Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  7. ^ Chishti, Susanne; Barberis, Janos (February 29, 2016). "Application Stacks". The FINTECH Book: The Financial Technology Handbook for Investors ... Wiley Publishing. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-119-21887-6.
  8. ^ a b "New Crypto Consortium Seeks to Alleviate Liquidity Problems". Bloomberg. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  9. ^ Swan, Melanie (January 1, 2015). Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 978-1-4919-2049-7.
  10. ^ "Data Security Is Becoming the Sparkle in Bitcoin". The New York Times. 1 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. ^ Evans, Jon (13 June 2015). "Sidechains And Lightning, The New New Bitcoin". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  12. ^ Roose, Steven (25 March 2020). "elements-0.18.1.6". github. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  13. ^ Ji-hyoung, Son (30 April 2018). "[Herald Interview] Blockstream CSO urges crypto caution". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  14. ^ Van Hijfte, Stijn (2020). "Blockchain Platforms: A Look at the Underbelly of Distributed Platforms". Google Books. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. p. 122. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  15. ^ Russo, Camila (15 August 2017). "Bitcoin Is Literally Soaring Into Space After Rocket-Like Surge". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  16. ^ Lovelace Jr., Berkeley (8 December 2017). "Bitcoin 'can survive an apocalypse' using old-school technology, says CoinDesk researcher". CNBC. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Who Needs Verizon? Blockstream Broadcasts Entire Bitcoin Blockchain From Space". Forbes. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  18. ^ "NYSE's Owner to Launch Bitcoin Firm, Futures Contracts". Wall Street Journal. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  19. ^ "What's Bitcoin Worth? A New Plan to Bring Discipline to Crypto Prices". Wall Street Journal. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  20. ^ Russell, Jon (22 January 2019). "Digital Garage teams up with Blockstream to develop blockchain financial services in Japan". TechCrunch. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  21. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/business/dealbook/bitcoin-cash-split.html
  22. ^ Chiang, James (2017). "Bitcoin Trace-Net:Formal Contract Verification at Signing Time" (PDF): 12. Retrieved 30 March 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ Upson, Sandra (19 January 2018). "The Lightning Network Could Make Bitcoin Faster—and Cheaper". Wired. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  24. ^ Russell, Rusty. "v0.8.1: Channel to the Moon". github. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  25. ^ Andrew Poelstra, Adam Back, Mark Friedenbach, Gregory Maxwell, and Pieter Wuille. "Confidential Assets" (PDF). Blockstream.com. Retrieved 21 May 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Maxwell, Gregory; Poelstra, Andrew; Seurin, Yannick; Wuille, Pieter (2 February 2019). "Simple Schnorr multi-signatures with applications to Bitcoin". Designs, Codes and Cryptography. Springer US. 87 (9): 2139–2164. doi:10.1007/s10623-019-00608-x. ISSN 0925-1022.
  27. ^ O'Connor, Russell (2017). "Simplicity: A New Language for Blockchains". Proceedings of the 2017 Workshop on Programming Languages and Analysis for Security. ACM: 107–120. doi:10.1145/3139337.3139340. ISBN 978-1-4503-5099-0.
  28. ^ Blocke, John (Nov 14, 2016). "A (brief and incomplete) history of censorship in /r/Bitcoin". Medium.
  29. ^ "rBitcoin moderator confesses and comes clean that Blockstream is only trying to make a profit by exploiting Bitcoin and pushing users off chain onto sidechains". Reddit. Nov 1, 2017.
  30. ^ "Bitcoin's Possible Privatization: Has Blockstream Created Problem to Provide Solution?".
  31. ^ "Man Who Vandalized Bitmain's Offices Hired by Blockstream". Trustnodes.
  32. ^ "Debunking: "Blockstream is 3 or 4 developers out of hundreds of developers at Core" - Tone Vays". Reddit.
  33. ^ "Evidence that the mods of /r/Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /r/Bitcoin". Reddit.
  34. ^ "Follow the Stream (of money)". The Bitcoin Forum.

External links[edit]