Decred continued to innovate across several verticals in the crypto space during 2022, deploying cutting-edge technology for privacy, decentralized exchanges and social media. Each release stayed true to the original ideas of crypto and reiterated the project’s commitment to decentralization, self-custody, privacy and sovereignty.
Decred v1.7 release
In January Decred announced the release of Decred v1.7, which added post-quantum secure mixing to stakeshuffle, its opt-in privacy system. This provided stakeholders with robust protection for the privacy of mixed coins against quantum computers - a significant achievement for privacy and an industry first.
Decred v1.7 also included four consensus votes, the most notable was the vote to modify the block reward split between Proof-of-Work, Proof-of-Stake, and Treasury from 60/30/10 to 10/80/10, substantially reducing subsidy paid to miners.
Funding for the shift was approved by stakeholders on the project’s off-chain proposal system, Politeia, in Dec 2021. The proposal to change the block reward distribution was presented to stakeholders by Decred’s Co-Founder Jake Yocom-Piatt, referencing on-chain data, which showed ongoing price suppression funded by mined coins in Decred markets.
Another feature of v1.7 was the integration of a simple payment verification (SPV) Bitcoin wallet into DCRDEX, Decred’s decentralized exchange. The major upgrade enabled users to transact securely without downloading a Bitcoin wallet and the entire Bitcoin blockchain and made the exchange - the first of its kind with no platform trading fees - more widely accessible.
“Decred v1.7 contains several new technological innovations in governance, security and privacy,” said Yocom-Piatt. “The project continues to demonstrate its ability to evolve and adapt with the will of its stakeholders and improve the security of their coins and their privacy.”
Shift to a majority proof of stake model
In May Decred shifted to a majority proof of stake Model in the first stakeholder-activated change of its kind. The consensus change modified the Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Stake/Treasury block reward split from 60/30/10 to 10/80/10. Stakeholders approved the consensus change in February on Decred’s off-chain proposal system, Politeia, with 92 percent of ‘yes’ votes, to combat malicious miners.
“The change highlights Decred’s ability to pivot and make swift substantive changes to adapt to evolving conditions and threats,” said Yocom-Piatt.
The move highlighted the strength of the project’s governance system and commitment to decentralization. In the six years since launching, Decred has decentralized several public utilities in the crypto ecosystem - value storage and transmission; project-level consensus changes; project-level budgeting; privacy; exchange, and the project treasury.
In September the project made inroads in the DEX space, making secure atomic swap-powered trades more accessible with the launch of DCRDEX v0.5. Key features of the release included support for Electrum light wallet software for Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin (BTC), and a built-in Decred wallet.
DCRDEX v0.5 included several new privacy capabilities, including support for ZCash (ZEC), using zcashd. The release gave users who are most serious about privacy the ability to use their ZEC full node wallet. The latest Litecoin Core software (v0.21) was also added, which included private addresses (MWEB). DCRDEX now supports using mixed account configurations with Decred’s dcrwallet and Decrediton wallets, allowing Decred’s privacy features to be used automatically when trading.
The release solidified Decred’s commitment to true decentralization and self-custody. DCRDEX remains the only decentralized exchange of its kind, with no intermediary tokens, trading fees, escrow vaults controlled by third parties, or centralized wallet data services. Each trade is a direct peer-to-peer atomic swap, and every component is open source.
“We’re holding true to the set of principles that matter the most to people who take cryptography and privacy seriously,” said Jonathan Chappelow, Lead Software Developer at Decred.
November saw a new use case for blockchain - combating fake news in political elections. Ahead of the elections in Brazil on October 30, presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known universally as Lula, and São Paulo Governor nominee Fernando Haddad registered their government plans on the Decred Blockchain, details of which were confirmed on Haddad’s official website.
To fact-check the document, voters could upload a government plan file to Decred’s website, and compare the code that appears with the code available on the Lula and Haddad websites. If there was a difference of just one letter it would change the code, proving it was not an identical copy of the official plan.
In the run-up to the elections, Lula and Haddad's government plans had been modified to spread misinformation. The press and Superior Electoral Court (TSE) struggled to combat the fake news, so the candidates turned to blockchain so people could independently verify the authenticity of their plans.
In December, Decred announced the launch of Bison Relay, a secure, private and censorship-resistant platform where users have custody over their personal data.
“The web is broken and in desperate need of a reboot,” said Yocom-Piatt. “The root of the problem is that the web and social media platforms are fundamentally custodial networks and when people have custody of your data, content, and metadata, they can record, sell or even manipulate it. Instead of arguing about who the custodian should be, the solution is to remove or minimize that custody.”
Bison Relay was created to give users sovereignty with absolute freedom of expression and custody of personal information. The platform offers "zero knowledge communications" with end-to-end encryption that ensures only the intended recipients see the content of messages. It’s also censorship resistant. Server operators can’t see what users share or which chats they participate in, protecting them from censorship.
Users are able to monetize their content on the platform, as opposed to being monetized by centralized entities, using the built-in Lightning Network, with things like private newsletter subscriptions or tips for video content. Everything is powered by micro-transactions using a Lightning Network crypto wallet - users are the customer, not the product, with custody and control of their personal information and data.
“The long-term goal is to build Bison Relay out to become a full-on alternative to the existing web,” continued Yocom-Piatt. “Giving control, privacy, and data protection back to users and eliminating centralization.”
Decred will be entering 2023 more feature ready than any other blockchain, opening a world of possibilities for the year ahead. While no one knows what the future will bring, one thing is certain. The revolution will not be centralized.