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Author Topic: [ANN] Webcash: A new Proof-of-Work digital currency based on e-cash  (Read 172 times)
kanzure
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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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thelittlecryptoboi
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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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