A recent webinar conducted by Technical Standards Committee members James Belding, (CEO of Tokenized) and Jack Davies (Strategy Manager for nChain) shed light on the technical intricacies of the BSV blockchain.
Geared towards developers and entrepreneurs, the presentation aimed to familiarise the audience with the tools within the BSV ecosystem, emphasising their quality, significance, and practical applications.
The webinar covered three main sections:
Belding characterises the BSV blockchain as the original protocol dedicated to adhering to Satoshi’s vision. Key attributes of BSV encompass extensive scalability, reliance on proof of work, adaptability, and protocol stability. BSV is strategically designed as a foundational and resilient protocol, enabling businesses to construct upon it without frequent modifications causing disruptions.
The philosophy of BSV is business-centric, prioritising utility and emphasising its enduring viability. Belding highlights that, in contrast to other blockchains, BSV distinguishes itself through its utility and its potential to remain robust for extended periods, providing stability for developers and ensuring prolonged profitability for network operators.
To newcomers, Belding suggests exploring the BSV Wiki, an invaluable resource for comprehending the BSV protocol and network. It offers in-depth insights into the Bitcoin protocol, system mechanics, technical intricacies, transaction concepts, and various technical concepts.
Belding underscores that the BSV Wiki serves as a robust starting point for those contemplating building on BSV, offering a clear comprehension of how BSV operates. He recommends utilising the BSV Wiki to grasp fundamental concepts before delving deeper or seeking additional information through chat groups.
The BSV ecosystem boasts various protocols and standards enhancing functionality, accessibility, and security.
These protocols play a crucial role in expediting efficient transactions, managing data, and facilitating communication within the BSV ecosystem. During the webinar, Belding and Davies alternated in presenting these essential pillars of the BSV infrastructure.
Belding covered the Merchant API (mAPI), an API service tailored for merchants, wallets, and various Bitcoin clients to submit transactions and verify their acceptance or rejection by miners. Additionally, mAPI offers quotes for transaction fees.
Belding noted the extensive and prolonged use of mAPI, emphasising its role as the prevailing standard. He briefly pointed towards the emergence of a novel standard, ARC, still in its beta stage but which is being implemented at the moment.
In the near term, mAPI remains a trustworthy option, affiliated with nChain and intended for the entire BSV ecosystem. Belding hinted at potential future discussions on mAPI implementation and suggested possible alterations introduced by ARC. Technical specifications for ARC are highlighted as accessible for later reference.
Paymail is a standard designed for human-readable addresses and discovery within the realm of BSV. Belding explains how Paymail acts as a user-friendly alias for the intricacies of wallets, which typically involve various complex addresses and locking scripts. Similar to an email address, Paymail simplifies sharing, remains resilient to errors, and provides an accessible means of identifying wallets during transactions. Belding underscores the significance of this approach in the evolving landscape of wallet privacy and more intricate transactions.
Widely embraced in the BSV ecosystem, Paymail sees substantial transaction usage in prominent BSV wallets. Belding directs attention to the Technical Standards Committee library, where the Paymail standard has been published following a rigorous drafting and review process.
He mentions the availability of an implementation for further exploration. In essence, Paymail is recognised as an email-style addressing system for wallets and is increasingly becoming a widely adopted standard in the ecosystem.
Davies presented the Metanet protocol, a layer-two overlay protocol that he contributed to developing a nChain several years ago. This protocol is specifically crafted for the effective management of data on the BSV blockchain. Davies points out the existence of various similar protocols, including the Bitcoin attestation protocol, each tailored for specific purposes.
The Metanet protocol stands out by providing a structured framework for handling blockchain data, with the added flexibility to integrate additional protocols for tasks like data encryption, signing, or other desired data manipulations. Users can gain comprehensive insights into the protocol definition, node structure, and transaction rules by accessing the BSV wiki through the provided link.
Davies emphasises that miners may not necessarily be the enforcers of these rules; however, application developers can employ them as layer-two rulesets, enabling diverse interpretations of on-chain data. This showcases the richness and versatility of data protocols within the BSV ecosystem. Furthermore, he hints at the exploration of additional protocols in the upcoming discussion, with specific reference to the Envelope Specification.
The Envelope Specification represents a concerted initiative by the Technical Standards Committee (TSC) to foster collaboration among diverse data protocols within the BSV ecosystem. This specification is crafted to empower the application of multiple protocols to the same data item, providing a mechanism for them to work in tandem, although there is no obligation for them to do so.
The TSC website offers comprehensive information regarding the development of this standard, covering its background, motivation, and the specific problem it addresses. The specification underscores the imperative of data protocol interoperability.
Davies suggests delving into the “Envelope Specification” because it not only illustrates the collaborative potential of various protocols but also provides insights into specific protocols, including encryption methods for ensuring the security of on-chain data.
Belding elucidates the concept of Peer Channels, a pioneering initiative designed to actualise peer-to-peer interactions. Functioning as services operable by wallets, Peer Channels facilitate a spectrum of interactions, spanning service-to-service, service-to-client, and beyond.
These interactions involve services provided by miners and clients, contributing to the overarching functionality of the Bitcoin network. An exemplary use case is illustrated by Tokenized, which leverages Peer Channels to establish connections between wallets and businesses for seamless communication.
Belding directs attention to the GitHub repository of Peer Channels, underscoring their compatibility with IPv6. Notably, Tokenized boasts a reference implementation of Peer Channels in active production.
Describing Peer Channels as a specialised communication system tailored to the nuances of BSV, Belding draws parallels to an email system but adapted to BSV’s transactional requirements, including the transmission of Tokenized messages. The protocol incorporates features such as ensuring message delivery, even in scenarios where the recipient is offline.
The session subsequently explored several noteworthy BSV implementations, showcasing the practical application of this technology in crafting valuable solutions and streamlining development processes. Whether you’re a developer in search of tools or an entrepreneur eager to innovate your business, these tangible use cases of BSV offer valuable insights into the myriad possibilities inherent in blockchain technology.
Belding presents the BSV Node, elucidating that it serves as the current node software utilised by miners and overlay network services, grounded in the original Bitcoin node software.
The BSV Node is characterised as foundational software, forming the backbone of the BSV network and serving as a crucial entry point for understanding BSV’s functionality, code, policies, and methodologies. It is highlighted that a forthcoming version, Teranode, is in development to supersede the BSV Node.
Teranode is meticulously crafted to overcome scalability limitations, offer scalability and adaptability, and enhance integration with overlay services such as ARK and Metanet. Its objectives encompass improving performance, reliability, and communication with miners.
The discussion encourages users to delve into the BSV Node repository, which encapsulates a comprehensive history of development, including comments, pull requests, discussions, and forums. This repository provides valuable insights into the software’s evolution, debates, and the rationale behind specific design choices.
Belding introduced the Tokenized protocol, underscoring its open-source nature and absence of licensing constraints. He elucidates that the Tokenized protocol operates as a smart contract protocol with a primary emphasis on tokens, and its structural specifications are detailed in the repository specifications. The protocol facilitates the creation of tokens, and smart contracts, and supports trading activities.
Engaging with Tokenized protocol tokens through fundamental wallet functionalities, such as transfers and basic actions, is relatively uncomplicated. However, navigating the intricacies of more sophisticated contract functionalities for complex instruments necessitates substantial effort on both the wallet and platform fronts.
Tokenized provides a range of open-source implementations and documentation accessible in multiple languages to assist developers in utilising and constructing the protocol. Additionally, Belding mentions a transaction builder designed to aid in constructing transactions using Tokenized protocol encoding and decoding.
Bitcoin Reader functions as a tool akin to a “listening node,” enabling the reading and processing of all traffic on the BSV network or the flow of BSV transactions. In essence, it grants access to the network, allowing the examination of incoming transactions with the capability to decide whether to retain or discard them. Tokenized utilises this tool internally, and it has been made open source for public utilisation. It serves as a valuable asset for companies and enthusiasts keen on analysing BSV transaction data.
Comprehensive documentation provided by sCrypt includes explanations of BSV smart contract models and tutorials to assist users in constructing smart contracts using the sCrypt framework. The documentation covers a range of use cases, including time locking, auctions, oracles, zero-knowledge proofs, and voting.
It also facilitates interaction with BSV’s data protocols and standards. Additionally, there exists a repository featuring example implementations and boilerplate code for diverse use cases, making sCrypt a valuable resource for simplifying development on BSV and easing the transition for developers entering the BSV ecosystem.
Both TxForge and Nimble contribute to simplifying the integration of BSV into applications, facilitating the handling of transactions and private keys. Developers can choose the library that aligns with their specific needs and development preferences.
The Envelope System constitutes an instantiation of the previously mentioned Envelope Specification. It stands as a valuable BSV data protocol designed by the Tokenized team, enabling the effective interpretation and comprehension of data stored within transactions by various services. This protocol, known as the Envelope, is characterised by its flexibility and robust features, providing a sturdy foundation for achieving interoperability with on-chain data. Serving as a practical solution, the Envelope System facilitates the extraction of meaningful information from data encoded within BSV transactions, ensuring its efficient utilisation across various services and applications.
The subsequent segment of the presentation delved into a variety of BSV services crafted to empower developers, providing them with the necessary tools for seamless interaction with the BSV blockchain. Ranging from comprehensive block explorers and data analytics platforms to intricate low-level indexing systems and integration solutions, these services cater to a diverse array of development needs.
What’sOnChain is a comprehensive platform within the BSV ecosystem, serving as more than just a block explorer. It allows users to explore real-time blockchain data, examine transactions and blocks and offers additional features like the ability to broadcast transactions directly from the browser.
The platform provides an API for research purposes, enabling data retrieval and submission. The Mempool Summary feature gives insights into the current Mempool, aiding developers in managing transaction costs effectively.
The Stats page offers a variety of statistics, including data on blockchain applications and overall usage. With its evolving features, What’sOnChain is a valuable resource for those engaged in BSV, providing a platform to explore and stay updated with the latest developments in the ecosystem.
TAAL holds a prominent position in the BSV mining sector, offering a platform featuring diverse API services seamlessly linked with What’sOnChain. Users can register on the TAAL platform to oversee API keys for utilising these services. The platform encompasses various products and services, a few of which Davies briefly presented:
Bsvdata.com stands out as a valuable hub for Bitcoin analytics. While What’sOnChain provides fundamental statistics, BSV Datacom offers a more in-depth breakdown of blockchain activity, particularly in terms of applications. It precisely identifies the applications that contribute the most transactions to the BSV blockchain.
This platform enables a comprehensive understanding of the utilisation of data protocols and standards discussed earlier. The synergy between these protocols and analytics lies in the analysis of data based on its structure within BSV transactions. If specific hash transactions or script patterns are identified, the platform attributes them to particular data protocols.
Similar to What’sOnChain, BSV Datacom provides a variety of analytics tools. It serves as an indispensable resource for individuals seeking insights into the prevalence of applications on the BSV blockchain, offering tangible proof of success for specific applications.
JungleBus stands as a crucial tool for developers engaged in constructing high-throughput applications on the BSV blockchain. Functioning as a low-level indexing system for blockchain data, Jungle Bus diverges from the conventional approach of directly querying the blockchain or maintaining a complete blockchain copy for information retrieval. Instead, it provides an API service to index data based on various criteria.
This indexing system empowers developers to efficiently query subsets of data stored on the blockchain for application-specific needs. Whether an application relies on a particular script pattern or transaction type, JungleBus facilitates the indexing of such data, ensuring easy accessibility without the necessity for developers to construct custom indexes. While developers retain the option to create their indexes, Jungle Bus streamlines this process and proves especially beneficial for newcomers embarking on BSV development.
HandCash Connect presents an API and SDK designed to streamline the integration of applications with HandCash payments. As a widely used wallet in the BSV ecosystem, HandCash Connect serves as a preferred choice for payment integration in numerous successful BSV applications. The SDK empowers developers to effortlessly link their applications with HandCash for seamless payment processing.
This serves as a convenient solution for incorporating payment functionalities into new games or consumer-facing applications, eliminating the need to develop a wallet or payment infrastructure from the ground up. Through this integration, users gain the capability to make payments, including micropayments, and explore various web3 use cases within the connected applications.
Relysia provides an extensive suite of API and SDK tools for BSV developers, serving as a centralised hub for diverse development requirements. With support for numerous BSV applications, Relysia offers a variety of resources, including educational content. Developers can register for an account to access these valuable resources, and Relysia provides products and services customised to meet various application needs, including data management and managed services. As a reputable entity in the BSV realm, Relysia stands as a valuable resource for BSV developers to explore and integrate into their projects.
As the CEO, Belding describes Tokenized as a smart contracting platform-as-a-service that aims to provide an integrated and user-friendly experience for real issuers of financial instruments and their investors, holders, and counterparties. It includes both a desktop and mobile app. The mobile app serves as a wallet for signing and key management, while the desktop app handles data management, transaction preparation, and communication.
Tokenized offers a comprehensive set of protocol documentation that defines the contract structure, data structures, and methods for managing transactions across their lifecycle. The platform aims to standardise and structure contract terms and conditions, making them codified for execution.
Tokenized also provides an SDK and API for developers, allowing for easy integration with its platform. The SDK is recommended for developing applications that interact with complex features, as it simplifies the process. The API is more suitable for internal use and connects to the desktop app and SDK.