The Counterparty team announced today that Ruben De Vries , also known as “rubensayshi”, has joined the fintech protocol’s core development team. De Vries is the current CTO of Bitcoin wallet company Blocktrail, and has been involved in Bitcoin software development professionally since 2013.
“Over the past half year, he has contributed significantly to the Counterparty codebase, overhauling Counterwallet for it’s 1.7 release, and working with me to greatly enhance counterparty-lib’s performance and stability. Ruben will add significant bandwidth to the Counterparty development team, and help keep Counterparty at the forefront well into the future.”
Dermody also discussed the protocol’s roadmap for the next six months including the introduction of Subassets, P2SH multisig, Segregated Witness (segwit), asset history and other performance and stability updates.
With the new Subassets feature, an owner of an named asset in Counterparty will be able to create a “child” asset, whose name is based off of the parent.
Dermody provides an example:
“For instance, consider a case where the owner of “PIZZA” could make a subasset called “PIZZA.Dominos”. This “PIZZA.Dominos” subasset could then be transferred, traded, and more, just like “PIZZA” can.”
Counterparty’s Subassets are similar to NEM’s Namespaces. In early January 2016, NEM, which launched a completely new blockchain in 2015, released a hard fork of its protocol introducing domain names, called Namespaces, that are linked digital assets created on the blockchain.
Currently, a draft Counterparty Improvement Proposal known as CIP 4 adding support for this feature is on github. Dermody expects approval of it soon and then work will begin on the core implementation of the feature in counterparty-lib.
“This work will be ultimately delivered as a new counterparty-lib version, complete with some minor API changes. Once released, the feature will go live on testnet immediately, and go live on mainnet a few weeks later. This will give some time for others to add support for this feature to their products, which should be very straightforward to do.”
The addition of P2SH multisig (Bitcoin’s Pay-to-ScriptHash multisignature) is also significant because currently Counterparty only supports “bare multisig”, which essentially allows multisig transactions through the use of a Counterparty-specific address string. With the upcoming P2SH multisig support, sending directly to and from “pay-to-script-hash” addresses, which start with a “3” on Bitcoin mainnet, will be supported as well. This ostensibly permits easier, more intuitive use of multisig with Counterparty.
Following segwit’s introduction by Bitcoin Core, Counterparty is also adding support it in its Counterwallet. Segwit moves the transaction signature data from the blockchain to a specially delegated “Segregated Witness” data structure, which is outside of the transaction block. This will theoretically free up space in the blockchain, lead to cheaper transactions and bring Counterparty in-line with the Bitcoin Core development roadmap. Although a protocol in its own right, Counterparty relies on the power of the Bitcoin Blockchain.
The protocol’s development team is also enhancing it to record a full history log for each asset, and make this log available via a new API call, which will theoretically simplify things for third-party Counterparty developers.
In the wake of the Bitcoin “stress testing” since mid 2014, the Counterparty core development team has implemented extensive changes to the protocol’s internal transaction processing mechanics, especially around the low-level Counterparty integration code with Bitcoin Core.
“The new versions remain stable and responsive, even in the face of very large transaction backlogs. As we move into 2016 we will be further enhancing and tweaking this code as necessary, to ensure that the average user’s interaction with Counterparty-driven wallets, websites, vending machines and more remains as speedy and reliable as possible.”
Symbiont was formed earlier in 2015 by the founders of Counterparty, Dermody (President), Evan Wagner and Adam Krellenstein (CTO), along with Mark Smith, the founder of MathMoney (fx). In August 2015, Symbiont was the first to issue securities on a blockchain, the Bitcoin Blockchain.