[AMA] We are the Counterparty Foundation Community Director candidates

About Counterparty Foundation

The Counterparty Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the Counterparty protocol and its products, educating the community on the Counterparty technology, driving global Counterparty awareness, and ensuring Counterparty remains a successful and growing financial platform.

The Foundation is governed by five directors, one Founding Director, Robby Dermody, and four Community Directors.

About the Counterparty Foundation 2017 Election

On May 2nd last year, the Counterparty community elected four Counterparty Foundation community directors to help shape the direction of the Counterparty project and grow the community around it. Candidates with most votes from the community were Matt Young, Jeremy Johnson (J-Dog), Koji Higashi and Trevor Altpeter.

With the term of one year coming to an end, the Foundation is running new elections with six candidates competing for the four director seats.

Users who want to give their votes to one or more candidates may do so by broadcasting a message with the following parameters:

text = XCPELECTION2017 + Candidate Number
value = votes

Candidate numbers used as the broadcast parameter:

1 - Michael Sullivan
2 - Shawn Leary
3 - John Villar
4 - JP Janssen
5 - Dante DeAngelis
6 - Trevor Altpeter

More about the election and voting - [ANN] Starting the Foundation Election 2017 voting period

Voting will be held till block #464556

Ask us anything!

Do any of you have any ideas about how to grow our contributing developer community and how to spur our developer community into action?

It seems to me that we have people who are willing to contribute. But we need something to help the developers work toward completing meaningful project milestones. I think the foundation might be able to help in a meaningful way here, but I’m not sure how. Do any of you have any ideas?

  1. What do you like about the counterparty platform?

  2. What are your thoughts on how to best grow the community in the coming year? How would you contribute to that effort?

  3. Should Counterparty move to another blockchain for faster transactions and cheaper fees? When?

  4. Do you think the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) should be enabled on counterparty? Why?

I like Counterparty because it expands Bitcoin’s use case without picking favorites or tying itself to a single project. It is truly an open source protocol that doesn’t try to blend itself with a corporation or overarching project as many other competitors do. The method, in which the founders burned bitcoin to spawn all of the tokens, also attracted me to this project. These were true pioneers attempting to create something unique and that action really separated this project from the rest. The ability to burn tokens after distribution also ads a novel way to route value.

The Counterparty community is, by far, the best community out here. Its even one that a bitcoiner, can appreciate. I became a fan of Counterparty shortly after hearing Chris Derose present on it at Coins in the Kingdom, Fall of 2014. The Overstock rumors also prompted me to pay closer attention. Growing the community of developers is so important, and over the past year I have pushed the buttons on Facebook, hoping to grow it in new directions. To be completely honest, I don’t know if its truly having any impact. I have heard some in the Telegram chats say they arrived there via a Facebook share, so that does spark hope that it hasn’t been in vain. There has been a great deal of media attention around one of our projects, and I think using social media to spread the news makes sense. Trevor’s monthly updates have been superb, and I think we can do even more with social media with them.

Demonstrating the power of this layer and showcasing some of the growing projects is an excellent way to attract new developers. I would also entertain supporting a booth at a video game conference and would discuss with @mandelduck and others to identify one or two larger conferences to showcase what Counterparty can do.

I think moving away from Bitcoin is a horrible option. I believe that SegWit will be activated and there will be an expanded cadre of tools for Counterparty devs to access, and we would see a reduction in fees. The Bitcoin fees are high, but we are paying for immutability on the longest chain.

I have mixed feelings on the EVM. I am not a coder, so to comment too heavily on what is possible with our protocol would be severe overreach. The market seems to be asking for Smart Contracts, but there is so much hype and marketing around Ethereum that its hard to tell if its genuine demand. Ethereum is having great success attracting new developers by continuing to market well and putting out tools and guides for them. At this point, even if Smart Contracts are a complete dud, they can always fall back on value transfer and token issuance. If the EVM is something the devs feel they can implement on top of Counterparty, while not jeopardizing the current tools and projects, then I think its worth a try.

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  • Do potential developers know about existing bounties? I donated the proceeds of PEPE to CIP3, escrowed by J-Dog / the foundation’s bounty program. It was about $500. It’s not the most challenging implementation to code, and I believe we’ll find a developer if we look for one.

  • Make guides to start developing for Counterparty. The largest challenge - for me at least - is simply how to get started. This is why I personally haven’t attempted to code for Counterparty directly, and instead focused on javascript tools.

  • Create demand for XCP. If XCP is more valuable, so will the bounties and the desire to develop. Just to be clear; I strongly condemn punp’n’dump but I do advocate real demand for XCP. I propose a randomness oracle as something that will enable real demand for XCP lotteries.

In one word- revolutionary. A digital token platform is something completely new and its value is still to be discovered. Pepe and game cards are just a few first really cool initial use cases.

I miss the early days when features such as CFDs (contracts for difference) and rock-paper-scissor were part of the protocol. I’m not saying these two should necessarily be re-enabled but I want serious efforts to add useful features. With more debates, visions and real goals to improve Counterparty, I think we’ll attract more people to the community.

I won’t hide the fact that I want more demand for XCP. Real usefulness of XCP is necessary to attract more money and development into the protocol.

I am one of the most active users on the forum and on Slack. I’ll work to create a good atmosphere for debates, help to formalize the best ideas into CIPs and assist the bounty program in any way I can.

No. I think it’s socially impossible (would lead to a fork - many would insist on staying on BTC). If you really want to, you can experiment with Dogeparty. It’s a Counterparty fork on Dogecoin. No one has used it for one-two years though.

I am not sure. It will require significant developer commitment to address bugs/issues for years to come. Maybe some other, less complex virtual machine is a better idea? Or perhaps better make it simple - add only hard coded features that are in demand?

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Your positions on switching to the Litecoin chain?

The simple fact that the use cases are well defined, and the capabilities are limited exactly to those definitions without additional fluff to create attack vectors is a big plus for financial systems meant to handle asset transactions. Moreover, the DEX is one of the greatest and more interesting pieces of code around.

I guess some easy to understand short videos like the “Kurzgesagt” series in youtube would help spur interest around the tech. I gather that although the technology is sound, and the implementation works really well, most interfaces and objectives for the “common” user are a bit nebulous. For example, creating an asset presents a modal form on counterwallet that is really difficult to navigate for newcomers. Some kind of tutorial or wizard to create these assets would be great.

A trello board would be great for all of us. We currently use it @ rarepepe.party and it helps us organize our workload quite well.

This is a hard one for me, as i’m relatively new to handling PR. I guess promoting (and adding) governability to the foundation would create interest, as nowadays the political tendencies of Bitcoin has made everyone aware of the troubles centralized structures can create around these new revolutionary financial instruments.

In no way i would support moving OUT of Bitcoin. However, one idea i came up (which i don’t think i’m the first one to come up with it) is pluggable chains: Having support for multiple chains to handle transactions seems like a good idea, but it needs to be analyzed with detail as it will probably create weaknesses in the protocol that should be addressed BEFORE doing any work on it.

Regarding the current state of the Bitcoin chain, and it’s drama about forks, splits and high TX fees: One of the greatest strengths of counterparty is that its database can be reconstructed ANYTIME from the Bitcoin data. An eventual fork should be addressed taking security of the chain as the first and most important value for consideration. Any other requirement (speed, tx feeds) is secondary as these two are issues that can be worked around on client implementations.

NO. I have two issues with this:

  • The first issue is subjective: The EVM has been the target for the biggest scams and theft seen in the crypto world to date. Receiving that baggage onto XCP doesn’t makes sense, nor will make XCP value proposition more valuable in the short or mid term.
  • The second is a little more objective: EVM was designed for 30secs blocks, making execution of the contracts fast and continuous. Moreover, most EVM contracts are designed to handle DEX-like approaches. There’s currently a plethora of use cases for EVM based contracts that XCP already handles without programmable logic. Going further into this, the idea of the EVM was to create a world computer, however, nowadays just a handful of nodes execute that code and its security is affected because of this.

If/when counterparty decides to include programmable contracts, it should first begin with the use cases it needs to cover and then pick a language/solution that won’t create the known weaknesses and problems EVM brings with it, namely, xcp’s solution should include:

  • A debugger/simulator for the contracts.
  • A steppable VM, with tight control over the CPU/HDD resources given to each contract based on some consumable resource.
  • Inspectable public VM state. A public explorer for the current state of execution for the contract + developer tools to remotely stop and fix issues on the fly.
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In January 2015 at TNABC Miami, I had an engaged and detailed conversation with Eric Larchevêque (Founder of Ledger - hardware wallets) about Counterparty. I explained to him the benefits of Counterparty and the enthusiasm of the community behind it.

A large portion of our discussion was about the possibility of them making their wallet become Counterparty aware. I walked away feeling confident that this was something that might actually happen. As we now know, the “Ledger Nano S” is now Counterparty compatible.

That same week I had a very similar conversation with Paul Puey of Airbitz. He seemed receptive and it appears from their developer site that there has been movement in the direction of supporting meta-tokens like Counterparty. A recent quote from Paul to me: “We have a significant refactor of our wallet this year that would make it much easier to make it counterparty aware.” Paul further stated: “Any dev on counterparty however would probably need to happen from a 3rd party.” “We’re happy to start talking to counterparty devs to show the new architecture and get feedback. If there is any interest.”
I see this as a good thing to move the ball forward.

Numerous times I spoke with Alena Vranova (@AlenaSatoshi) of Satoshi Labs and other members of the team about Counterparty integration and the request was always well received.

There is no way to know whether the actions of these example companies were directly attributable to my efforts but I’m okay if it was just part of the accumulative effect of hearing this request from multiple people in the Bitcoin community.

There are ideas that I have that would incentivize developers to take on various projects with a clear Scope of Work. This would require that the Foundation drive and manage this plan along with the community consensus regarding which projects are a priority. It would require that the community agreed that it would benefit the Counterparty platform by increasing developer achievements. My ideas may or may not require a CIP, but the details are outside the scope of a brief answer in the AMA.

I love the DEX. I was originally attracted to the fact that Counterparty did a proof of burn rather than a money raise. That made a big statement to me.

I like the fact that an asset owner can make their own business plan and business rules. It reminds me of when anyone could have their own domain name and build out their vision of a website. Some have great value and others go straight to the potato.

Assets will be the same way. We have barely gotten out of the starting gate - the innovations that we will soon see will astound many of us ‘longtime Counterparty people’.

Several years into the Web I thought that I had seen it all - now I am constantly surprised and amazed by what people do with the Web that we hadn’t even considered in the early days.

I look forward to seeing that same explosive innovation in our space.

I have been putting effort into growing the community for a few years now. I know it has been effective based on the feedback from the attendees of the 150+ weekly Bitcoin Meetups I have co-hosted.

I have also been educating members of the domain investor community which we have much in common with. Many of them have become very involved with Counterparty assets and these are the types of people who look to find ways to actually build things out.

I expect to continue and expand my reach and dialogue moving forward.

We would all ideally like to see faster transactions and cheaper fees including Bitcoin users that never use Counterparty.
I’m confident that these hurdles will be overcome either by some of the solutions that are currently proposed. It wouldn’t surprise me if another solution presents itself that is not currently being considered.

In my opinion, moving Counterparty to an alt-coin could be a big mistake. No other blockchain has the security of Bitcoin.

If Counterparty assets were to become utilized in such a way that each token of an asset represented something of great value (imagine a token being paired with a diamond or something similar), it is conceivable that the value held in Counterparty assets could dwarf the entire market-cap of bitcoin itself.

While the energy burned today is adequate to make the value of Bitcoin secure it is an open question as to what happens once we make the network hold an unexpected extreme additional value.

Even with Counterparty on the most secure blockchain (Bitcoin) there are those potential future concerns. Moving Counterparty to any other blockchain that is far less secure is a scary thought and could make the platform unusable for assets and tokens carrying great value in the future.

I believe that the EVM introduces potential attack vectors that we don’t currently need to worry about. If we had our own DAO style incident it could cause many unintended consequences and potential liabilities for our platform.

I believe we have attributes that can be celebrated that Ethereum does not. There are so many additional value-added features that we can build into Counterparty. I don’t think we need to be a different flavor of Ethereum.


Outside of financial incentives from bounty announcements, I would suggest some traditional recruiting efforts on a regular basis. A small budget to hire a recruiter may be considered but the core team could also collaboratively organize and manage recruitment tasks for short or long-term paid positions and volunteers.

As far as organically growing interest and contributions, I would suggest we look at enhancing the current documentation with video tutorials (screencasts) from anyone willing to produce them (ideally, those who have been developing apps around CP for a while). Videos are a great way to get new people to dip their toes in and casually get a feel for the platform. Beyond this, an occasional audio podcast and general updates to current text docs would be helpful.

I have also thought about a ways to get more federated nodes running. These people may not nec be developers or at least not for CP core but are willing to deploy the CP platform and run Bitcoin full node etc. These are important members of the community as well and we should consider how to make the network more robust.

Earning XCP or alternative way to have “credits” for asset creation was a thought I had at one point. This would require a protocol change to allow for an alternative method to “pay” for new asset names but could become a useful way to incentivize. This could possibly use a special subasset of XCP (XCP.CREDIT).

Counterparty has worked reliably since the beginning of blockchain meta asset layer protocols. It was launched and began with a genuinely honest approach (Proof of Burn). The people involved have been professional and helpful. The project has been drama-free in a hyper-drama space. It still uses Bitcoin and no plans to change this which I agree with. For more of my opinion on Counterparty, see this recent post - https://medium.com/coval/coval-update-0417-b45325c95d14#---0-16

EVM should be revisited at the end (4th quarter) of 2017 for reassessment. I want to have the EVM personally but not if there is a risk is damaging Counterparty so I agree with the patient and cautious approach. There are ways to still use EVM with your Counterparty Asset(s) and projects without direct integration with CP and I am currently exploring these ideas with Shannon Code.

Not anytime soon. If someone wants to start experimenting, that would be great, as is any and all such experimentation. But this should not be paid for through a bounty nor a priority for CP at this time. Why? In theory it could have some benefits but all is unproven. Bitcoin is obviously superior today and will be for the foreseeable future in terms of security. A Litecoin CP fork should be tried (I support that) and tested over many months or more. Many discussions would be needed and this entire process would be time consuming. Fow now, we can encourage developers to try this but offer no official support. That is my opinion.

The 2017 voting period has ended and the new community directors have been elected. https://counterparty.io/news/announcing-the-names-of-the-2017-counterparty-foundation-community-directors/