What we learned at the first San Francisco + London BSV meetup

Last week week we held the first San Francisco + London BSV meetup. It was an online-only meetup joining both the San Francisco BSV Meetup and the London BSV Meetup, with support from the Bitcoin Association, Money Button, and Baemail. We had over 200 people in attendance.

P2P Transactions with Money Button and Handcash

Bitcoin is “peer-to-peer electronic cash”, and yet most wallets are not actually sending transactions peer-to-peer. Money Button and Handcash recently announced the launch of a new protocol for sending transactions peer-to-peer with paymail.

In this first section of the meetup, Miguel Duarte of Money Button, Ivan Mlinaric of Handcash, and Rafa Jiménez of Handcash discussed the protocol and implementation. The protocol is based on paymail and is intended to be used by any wallet hoping to scale their infrastructure.

There are many reasons to send transactions peer-to-peer. The title of the original whitepaper is “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” indicating that transactions are intended to be sent peer-to-peer because they are digital cash. But there are good reasons to send transactions peer-to-peer that have nothing directly to do with the whitepaper.

Most wallets have to scan all transactions on the blockchain to find transactions sent to them. This is not scalable. As the transaction volume on the network grows, the burden on each wallet also grows. This can be offloaded to third-parties, but is still a cost that can be eliminated by sending transactions peer-to-peer. There is no need to scan the blockchain if a wallet receives all its transactions directly from other wallets.

The new protocol does not also send merkle proofs. The protocol is intended to be one step towards proper Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) as described in the whitepaper, but is not a complete solution. Merkle proofs and other features can be added to the protocol over time to iterate towards full SPV.

Bitcoin is similar to a Mandala network. The miners are the first layer and are all connected together. Applications form the second layer, and users form the third layer. Users send transactions to each other, but are not all connected to each other. Users are connected only with other users whom they transaction with.

Craig Wright interview by Ryan X. Charles

Craig Wright, also known as Satoshi Nakamoto, is the the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper. Craig was present to discussed the meaning of “peer-to-peer” as intended in the whitepaper. Craig clarifies that there are two networks – miners, which send blocks and transactions to all other miners, and users, who send transactions to other users who they are transacting with. They are two different networks and are connected (like a Mandala network described above).

The original design for Bitcoin sent transactions ip-to-ip, and “send to address” was a backup for when the recipient was online. The new protocol for peer-to-peer transactions between Money Button and Handcash is based on this idea, but leverages modern technologies. Craig was asked his opinion about paymail, and suggested it is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t go far enough because it does not yet allow real authenticated identities.

Paymail is based on DNS, the naming system of the internet. Craig was asked about his thoughts on DNS and what would constitute a proper naming system for Bitcoin. Craig suggested an even older protocol, X.500, has some insights we could learn from.

A brief discussion of the value and history of money occurred. The notion of “one gram” of gold originates in “one gram” of wheat and other non-monetary commodities. Bitcoin is based on this idea. Similar to gold, Bitcoin is cash, but does not by itself constitute an entire system of money. No debt or banks are present in the design of Bitcoin. Those systems have to exist in addition to Bitcoin.

Craig was asked his technical opinion on IPv6, the new protocol for the internet, and its relationship to sending transactions peer-to-peer. IPv6 is a substantial improvement over IPv4, the original protocol for the internet, because it includes IPSEC, built-in firewall rules, and a vastly expanded address space. And it is already widely deployed, just not universally understood or used. We could use it today inside Bitcoin wallets to unify low-level messaging with identity systems. We can even use Bitcoin transactions at a low level inside IPv6 packets to allow the commercial monetization of the entire internet at every level.

Craig was asked by Brendan Lee whether his obsession with understanding and rearchitecting things in detail, such as when he built a pencil, might explain why he wanted to understand and rearchitect money from scratch in the design of Bitcoin. Craig answered yes.

Invisible Money Button with Eva Ferreira

Eva Ferreira, Software Engineer for Money Button, and also organizer of CSS Conf Argentina, Google Dev expert, and prolific reader of W3C specs, presented Invisible Money Button, the new product from Money Button that enables applications to fully customize the user experience (no longer requiring swipes), while also allowing users to retain full control of their wallet.

Money Button was designed with a swipe from the beginning to allow a very good experience for users in the general case. The swipe means users have confidence about the amount of money they are spending and will not accidentally spend money they don’t intend.

However, the swipe is not appropriate for all use cases. Since BSV has grown, social media, messaging, and file upload apps have come along that require a huge number of swipes. The number of swipes is so large it is cumbersome for users. Instead of requiring a swipe for every payment, Invisible Money Button allows the user to swipe just once for many payments.

Included in Invisible Money Button is a new permissions system that gives users full control over their wallet. Apps can request access to spend money on the user’s behalf, but users always have the ability to control the amount of money the app can spend, and to delete permissions from an app at any time.

One example of an app that uses Invisible Money Button is Baemail. This is relevant as Baemail was used to prioritize user questions for the meetup.

Invisible Money Button is easy for developers to implement. It is designed to be as similar to normal Money Button as possible, making it easy to understand and easy to migrate to. Developers can find documentation at docs.moneybutton.com.

Daniel Krawisz of Boost POW

Daniel Krawisz, Chief Scientist for MatterPool, presented Boost POW, a way of applying Bitcoin-style proof-of-work (PoW) hashes to content in order to sort valuable content in a distributed way.

Similar to the Handicap Principle, as Daniel discussed with Money Button CEO Ryan X. Charles in this YouTube video last year, Boost POW provides a way for users to pay miners to perform PoW hashes on content, proving a demonstrated cost measured in energy for the production of the content.

The idea is that creators have an incentive to provide an accurate amount of PoW for their content. If they use too much PoW, it is too expensive and they run out of money. But if it is not enough, they do not get the value they would have gotten for increased attention for their content. The PoW is a way to demonstrate the value of content in a way independent of any third party service provider such as a social network.

Daniel references Grefen 1990 as the central scientific paper on the Handicap Principle for people who are interested to learn more.

Twetch is integrating with Boost POW to provide Twetch users with a way to attach Boost POW hashes to their content. This is a new way to sort content with a more accurate valuation mechanism. Baemail has also already incorporated Boost POW.

Mark Wilcox of 21e8

Mark Wilcox presented 21e8, a way for people to leverage proof-of-work on data to create a multidimensional ranking. 21e8 is similar to Boost POW in that it enables people to create proof-of-work on data, however because of its multidimensional nature it is not simply about ranking content, but can be used more as a prediction market for data.


We are excited about the turnout for the first San Francisco + London BSV meetup. We are very thankful to the speakers for their contributions, and to the Bitcoin Association for their support. We are planning more events based on what we learned from this event. Stay tuned to announcements from Money Button, Baemail, and the Bitcoin Association to hear about the next one!

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