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Author Topic: [ANN] Webcash: A new Proof-of-Work digital currency based on e-cash  (Read 541 times)
kanzure (OP)
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August 05, 2022, 09:37:33 PM
 #1

Official website:
https://webcash.org/

Join our discord:
https://discord.gg/qf95KMqkPW

Join our subreddit:
https://reddit.com/r/webcash

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/kanzure/status/1503724974942658566

Community Made:
https://webcashfaucet.org/
https://webcasa.app/
https://github.com/maaku/webminer

python wallet: https://github.com/kanzure/webcash
javascript wallet: https://github.com/kanzure/webcashjs

"I'm not normally a fan of altcoins, but this is not just any copy-paste altcoin - rather a different concept in its very early stage. Nice experiment."

What is webcash?

Webcash is a peer-to-peer (p2p) bearer cryptocurrency with a strong focus on payments, simplicity, and Proof-of-Work mining. Unlike other altcoins, webcash has a radically different architecture: there's no blockchain. Instead, webcash wallets check for double-spending by querying the webcash server. It's based on the "e-cash" concept which was originally conceived in the 1980s.

This allows for extremely fast payments with no fees. Payments are decentralized, p2p, and instant, based on users copy/pasting their webcash directly to their recipient over any communication system they already use like email, chat, etc.

Anyone can send and receive webcash because webcash is sent p2p. There's no user registration or logins. There are no "addresses". The server only talks to a single user at a time and does not "forward"/send value from one user to another. Users send webcash to each other out-of-band without talking to the webcash server. Wallets talk to the server only to protect against double-spending. The value of webcash is not pegged to any currency.

Status

Webcash was launched fully functional in January, 2022 and has been growing ever since. A fledging community has formed around webcash, creating new software to make webcash easier and delightful to use. I can't say enough positive things about the (community made) WebCasa wallet, and there's a pretty cool open-source C++ optimized miner made by another user.

WebCasa wallet is particularly useful for mobile payments. I've used it to give quick demos at conferences. When you type in an amount of webcash to spend, WebCasa shows a QR code that has a link for the new user's camera to launch into a new WebCasa wallet with the payment already in the wallet. It's a neat demo, and it's very fast.

Mining

Webcash is CPU mined. Anyone can be a miner. As webcash does not use mining for consensus, it's easier to change the mining algorithm if anything negative should happen on the network due to excessive growth. So far CPU mining has been relatively stable, but this might change in the future as interest continues to grow.

I think that user mining was a big draw for users in the beginning of cryptocurrency. There's just something about using your existing laptop or desktop computer and being able to mint coins right there without waiting on equipment to be shipped or registration delays or anything else. It feels like magic.

Miners give the server 5% of mined webcash.

History

Here are some highlights from history to give background to webcash.

David Chaum introduced the concept of electronic cash or "e-cash" in the 1980s.

Early attempts at commercialization were focused on banks and dollar pegging. Each bank would purchase the software and run their own e-cash with their own tokens. Users could spend the token at an online shop but only if that merchant was also a customer of the same bank. Naturally this was not good for adoption and the whole thing never took off.

Ultimately, credit card networks won the fight against Chaumian e-cash for online payments.

Early e-cash attempts were based on actual regulated banks and financial institutions that handled dollars to peg the e-cash. Nobody tried anything else. Nobody tried PoW mining for e-cash. In light of this, it's easy to see why Satoshi was disillusioned with the early attempts at trusted systems. In a sense, bitcoin helped disrupt the thinking around e-cash and what digital money could be. Webcash shows that p2p transactions don't have to go through a trusted server.

But it has a central server?

I should make a point here that webcash has a very different design and trust model from other cryptocurrencies.

Webcash does not rely on complex arguments of mathematics, cryptography, or decentralized consensus. Instead, the webcash system relies on some trust in the webcash server. Webcash relies on a distinction between decentralized consensus and decentralized payments, focusing on the latter rather than the former.

This is a new experiment with a very different architecture from other cryptocurrency projects. Much of the early interest in bitcoin was because for its lack of a centralized server. However, many people simply don't want to run a blockchain node (and lightning node) to personally validate consensus and all of the transaction history. Some do, others don't. In spite of bitcoin's (continuing) success, there are still hundreds of millions of users around the world that use centralized or trust-based systems every single day.

I definitely think there's room to for webcash in that kind of world.

As one user puts it, "[Webcash is] the heretofore untried happy medium between fully centralized (eg - Paypal) and fully decentralized (eg - Bitcoin). It gives up some decentralization properties to bring a gigantic gain in efficiency, simplicity, and ease of use."

Many of the risks associated with a server can be mitigated using traditional techniques that were developed for other large-scale services.

Who am I?

My name is Bryan Bishop (kanzure) and I am the creator of Webcash and Webcash LLC which runs the Webcash server. I have been a bitcoin developer on open-source projects since 2014. In a commercial capacity, I have previously worked as a bitcoin developer at highly-regulated financial institutions for LedgerX (now FTX US Derivatives, where I am on the board) and as CTO/co-founder of Avanti Bank (now Custodia Bank). Also previously worked at Blockstream.

I was fortunate to be one of the recipients of Satoshi Nakamoto's emails announcing bitcoin, but I was too young and foolish to grasp the magnitude of opportunity these emails presented. In fact, I publicly commented something rather negative on hplusroadmap IRC. I remain grateful to Eugen Leitl for notifying me of Satoshi's email on January 10th, 2009. Unfortunately I also didn't act on the February 2009 p2pfoundation emails either.

Adoption

Other cryptocurrencies require a lot of effort for integration into business systems. Webcash doesn't. I think that this will be a key component of the webcash adoption story.

Here's some feedback from developers who have integrated webcash into their projects:

* "The protocol is absurdly simple and fast. That's a draw for developers like me."

* "Thanks. Absolute breeze writing apps around Webcash btw. Especially compared to self-hosted Lightning."

* "So nice to have something that works and less intimidating than usual blockchains."

* "Your code is very accessible and clear so it was fun to build on top."

* "Watching a miner crank away on a spare laptop pushes all of my ‘this is cool’ buttons."

I think of webcash as mainly useful for simple and fast online e-commerce payments. It could find a place in online checkout forms as an alternative payment mechanism where the user just directly attaches their payment to their order.

Another interesting observation that I've been playing around with is that webcash allows for what I think is the fastest way of starting an online store today. It's basically an electrified version of the old-fashion mail order catalog. Anyone can post a comment on reddit or some blog and indicate what they have in inventory, their prices, and an email address. Users would send webcash by email to purchase their selected items.

Of course, webcash can also be used in more sophisticated online e-commerce systems as well. But we like to play around with weird ideas in the webcash community! Think different, etc.

Getting started

Got any questions or want to chat about webcash? Join our discord: https://discord.gg/qf95KMqkPW

There are a number of ways to get started:

* Get some webcash from a friend.
* Sell goods or services in exchange for webcash payments.
* Try out a faucet like webcashfaucet.org. Once you click to get webcash, it will give you a link to WebCasa to create a new wallet with the webcash.
* Mining. Follow the instructions on the website to setup webminer, and join discord to see the binaries on the pinned messages.

Terms

It's important to read and agree to the terms of service before using webcash:
https://webcash.org/terms
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August 05, 2022, 09:49:13 PM
 #2

Nice to see something real new, that do not use blockchain and pretend its decentralized because of it, also very simple in design

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..I  D  E  N  A..
   
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August 05, 2022, 09:59:56 PM
 #3

I joined the discord and will follow. Seems pretty interesting.

A centralized server is an interesting approach. I bet some people might have some strong opinions about that.
Cool project, please post some updates in the future.
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August 05, 2022, 11:32:50 PM
 #4

is everything going to Python based? What about a Windows Miner?
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August 06, 2022, 06:01:30 AM
 #5

I have been following WebCash for a few months now and I think it is currently the most interesting new project in crypto.
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August 06, 2022, 11:55:51 AM
 #6

Finally something interesting, not another copy-paste shit.
Am I right that there will be no explorer in any form, because there are no records of the transaction in the blockchain because there is no blockchain?
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August 06, 2022, 02:20:28 PM
 #7

1) Why? What's the core value?
   
2) Could there be an atomic swap involving Webcash? Since the settlement happens based on the centralized server, it seems close to impossible to me.

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August 07, 2022, 12:33:42 AM
 #8

A lot of answers are here
https://webcash.org/webcash-slides.pdf
https://webcashfaucet.org/faqs.html
https://github.com/sparcsun/webcash-faq/wiki
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August 07, 2022, 02:28:51 PM
 #9

By saying that it's killer value comes from being dead simple, does it mean that its sort of OSI-fied and there are no future features planned? If so, then it seems it's up to the userbase and its in-the-wild adoption to progress it or through social pressure show a need for more features.
   
It certainly sounds interesting and not so lame as other altcoins, but I wonder if everyone will just say it's interesting and it will just slowly die into obscurity, kind of similar to Mimblewimble but without as much innovation.
   
Personally I think it's still missing something, maybe in the area of atomic swaps and permissionless invisible tokens so the server operator doesn't a responsibility.
   
I will try to follow more, tho.

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August 13, 2022, 01:15:26 AM
 #10

is everything going to Python based? What about a Windows Miner?

There is an executable for Mac…I don’t know if there is one for windows

Hardforks aren't that hard. It’s getting others to use them that's hard.
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August 13, 2022, 01:24:20 AM
 #11

1) Why? What's the core value?
  
2) Could there be an atomic swap involving Webcash? Since the settlement happens based on the centralized server, it seems close to impossible to me.

1) it isn’t decentralized but pretending to be decentralized (see Ethereum)…because Webcash is centralized, scalability is far easier…all the other shitcoins pretend to be decentralized and offer “features” that are fundamentally incompatible with decentralization. But if those shitcoins would just give up the pretense of decentralization, they could scale far better.

2) not “on chain,” so to speak. I’d think of it more like trying to atomically swap (knowledge of) telephone numbers…I’m sure there is some way to do it, but you’d need to roll your own solution for it.

There are a number of details that are unclear to me regarding auditability/verifiability…but kanzure ain’t dumb…so I presume there is some preservation of key features of bitcoin…

But having been fairly near to the beginning of bitcoin and not coming out unbelievably wealthy, I’ve learned to act before fully grokking details. That said, this feels an awful lot like early bitcoin to me.

Will this compete with Bitcoin? No, of course not—it isn’t decentralized. But then again, neither is Ethereum. While I personally feel Ethereum is of no value, sacrificing both decentralization & auditability, my feelings are clearly contradicted by the non-zero market cap of Ethereum. Webcash is the logical optimization of a shitcoin trying to solve the money problem (to the extent I understand webcash).

Hardforks aren't that hard. It’s getting others to use them that's hard.
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August 13, 2022, 11:52:44 PM
 #12

By saying that it's killer value comes from being dead simple, does it mean that its sort of OSI-fied and there are no future features planned? If so, then it seems it's up to the userbase and its in-the-wild adoption to progress it or through social pressure show a need for more features.
    
It certainly sounds interesting and not so lame as other altcoins, but I wonder if everyone will just say it's interesting and it will just slowly die into obscurity, kind of similar to Mimblewimble but without as much innovation.
  
Personally I think it's still missing something, maybe in the area of atomic swaps and permissionless invisible tokens so the server operator doesn't a responsibility.
  
I will try to follow more, tho.

Maybe, I will just wait for this coin to be really used in the e-payment sector. The intentions may be authentic but sometimes it is how you market a project so people will indeed use it. The question is, will merchants/shops integrate this in their payment system? Remember they have a lot of choices aside from bitcoin and thousands of alts that are already existing. So what makes this coin an outstanding candidate for the payment sector?
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August 15, 2022, 04:51:43 AM
 #13

https://freicoin.substack.com/p/webcash
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August 16, 2022, 06:22:31 AM
 #14

I remember their was a coin named with web dollars, which mining with broswer

Is there any compiled wallet / mining software to use ?

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August 22, 2022, 03:33:20 PM
 #15

I remember their was a coin named with web dollars, which mining with broswer

Is there any compiled wallet / mining software to use ?


At the moment there is an unofficial compiled miner for Mac and Linux, and there is a browser-based wallet called WebCasa than can be run totally locally if desired.
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November 07, 2022, 12:41:35 PM
 #16

The following proposal was posted on discord. I am curious to see what the feedback here will be:

Quote
When webcash got started the mining schedule was largely taken from bitcoin, but accelerated. There are a couple of good reasons for doing this: get the currency out faster so that inflation factors don’t dominate, get excitement around halving events, and get people using the currency as quickly as possible with meaningful amounts of currency dolled out every 10 seconds. On all of these factors I think that the inflation schedule was, and continues to be largely a success. The fast inflation schedule certainly pushed me in the early days to work on webminer and get it out fast so that people had fair access to mining before the first halving events. About 9 months later there are around ~400 people on this discord, and I still feel there is a fair amount of excitement around this project, even though we are nearing the 1-year anniversary. I think the right choice was made.

Of course the downside of the fast subsidy schedule is that it plays out more quickly, and this has the potential to harm the continuing adoption of webcash. Exponentials decay rapidly, and already the subsidy is 6.25% what it was at the beginning of the year. I have noticed that a lot of people coming to the project for the first time are discouraged, and perhaps reasonably so. The subsidy was meant to play out over 3 years, but the exponential decay means that the vast majority of total webcash has already been issued.

This is what I suggest: starting on January 8th, 2023 (the first anniversary of the project launch), a new subsidy schedule will be started, in addition to the existing initial issuance payout, of 16625 webcash every 10 seconds, with a halving every 12 epochs (= 2 years), for 30 years. This will double the total issuance from 210 billion to 420 billion (haha!) webcash, over a long enough period of time to ensure project adoption. The hard cut-off after 30 years, at which point the reward will be about 0.5 webcash, prevents having to continue to support proof-of-work issuance mechanisms on extremely long timescales.

Compared to other possible corrective mechanisms the minting of new webcash is preferred because it has the smallest impact on existing software. The mining software gets the amount of webcash it is allowed to generate from the webcash server, which has technical freedom to adjust how this value is calculated. No other software needs to be updated other than the webcash server.

The downside is that this will essentially dilute everyone’s webcash holdings by 50%, as the money supply is doubled over the next 30 years, an unplanned-for alteration of the expectations set by the project. In my opinion it is an absolutely obvious choice to make: adoption hurdles can create conditions of dying interest which could become an existential risk to webcash, and in that circumstance any existing holder of webcash ought to prefer to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing. Still, this proposal could never get adopted if it did not have the support of a large contingent of existing webcash users.

Ultimately this is kanzure’s project, and as the owner/operator of Webcash LLC it is his decision. But I hope that people who feel strongly about this make their voices known.
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November 08, 2022, 02:49:19 PM
Last edit: November 08, 2022, 03:04:41 PM by rzero
 #17

The following proposal was posted on discord. I am curious to see what the feedback here will be:

Quote
When webcash got started the mining schedule was largely taken from bitcoin, but accelerated. There are a couple of good reasons for doing this: get the currency out faster so that inflation factors don’t dominate, get excitement around halving events, and get people using the currency as quickly as possible with meaningful amounts of currency dolled out every 10 seconds. On all of these factors I think that the inflation schedule was, and continues to be largely a success. The fast inflation schedule certainly pushed me in the early days to work on webminer and get it out fast so that people had fair access to mining before the first halving events. About 9 months later there are around ~400 people on this discord, and I still feel there is a fair amount of excitement around this project, even though we are nearing the 1-year anniversary. I think the right choice was made.

Of course the downside of the fast subsidy schedule is that it plays out more quickly, and this has the potential to harm the continuing adoption of webcash. Exponentials decay rapidly, and already the subsidy is 6.25% what it was at the beginning of the year. I have noticed that a lot of people coming to the project for the first time are discouraged, and perhaps reasonably so. The subsidy was meant to play out over 3 years, but the exponential decay means that the vast majority of total webcash has already been issued.

This is what I suggest: starting on January 8th, 2023 (the first anniversary of the project launch), a new subsidy schedule will be started, in addition to the existing initial issuance payout, of 16625 webcash every 10 seconds, with a halving every 12 epochs (= 2 years), for 30 years. This will double the total issuance from 210 billion to 420 billion (haha!) webcash, over a long enough period of time to ensure project adoption. The hard cut-off after 30 years, at which point the reward will be about 0.5 webcash, prevents having to continue to support proof-of-work issuance mechanisms on extremely long timescales.

Compared to other possible corrective mechanisms the minting of new webcash is preferred because it has the smallest impact on existing software. The mining software gets the amount of webcash it is allowed to generate from the webcash server, which has technical freedom to adjust how this value is calculated. No other software needs to be updated other than the webcash server.

The downside is that this will essentially dilute everyone’s webcash holdings by 50%, as the money supply is doubled over the next 30 years, an unplanned-for alteration of the expectations set by the project. In my opinion it is an absolutely obvious choice to make: adoption hurdles can create conditions of dying interest which could become an existential risk to webcash, and in that circumstance any existing holder of webcash ought to prefer to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing. Still, this proposal could never get adopted if it did not have the support of a large contingent of existing webcash users.

Ultimately this is kanzure’s project, and as the owner/operator of Webcash LLC it is his decision. But I hope that people who feel strongly about this make their voices known.

I say do it. Doubling supply is a small price for current holders to increase the chance of some sort of wider adoption.
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December 03, 2022, 07:55:00 AM
 #18

I am deep into this experiment. The speed is fantastic. The easyness to handle (browser wallet) is nearly unique.

Just to set up the miner is difficult for an "Average Joe". I would love to see a miner activation direct from the wallet.
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