Shadow Sept 2016: Welcome to the Umbra
1 Million Block Party
As we celebrate the milestone of the SDC blockchain reaching its one millionth block, we are pleased to announce that a major software update is now ready for download!
Software Platform Gets A New Name
The goal of the Shadow Project is to create an all-in-one software platform for a completely private, decentralized, and free economy. The Shadow Project's software platform has a new name, Umbra. An umbra is "a region of complete shadow resulting from a total obstruction of light." Umbra has 3 main parts:
- Its built-in cryptocurrency, ShadowCash (SDC) - Finished!
- Its private communication system - Finished!
- Its fully decentralized marketplace - Almost Finished!
Included in today's software release, Umbra offers several new tools, encrypted group chat, and a completely revamped GUI. The update is quite extensive in its scope and depth. It's much easier to check it out yourself than for me to explain all the features in writing. So please download the newest release, get synced with the blockchain and click around!
Moments ago, I experienced a full demo of the new release, and I'm definitely impressed. I can see why this update took so long to become production ready. It is extremely feature rich; very, very advanced. It makes the last version of the Shadow Project's software look like elementary school. This is the most advanced cryptocurrency GUI in the world. Nothing else even comes close. Complex cryptography tools are wrapped in an elegant and easy-to-use interface. You really need to personally experience this GUI to fully appreciate it. Nevertheless, here is a small preview.
Above you see that balances are displayed in an itemized way: public, private and stake. There are great filters for displaying things like notifications.
In the left-side navigation panel above, all the GUI controls are broken down into logical sections and grouped together. It's very intuitive to navigate around to the controls you want to find.
New Communication Tools
The new chat is great. You can chat privately 1-on-1 or in a named group, where specific users are invited, and can save your chat contacts within an address book. It looks like a cell phone app. In fact, the whole user experience has the feel of a very slick cell phone app. Everything is fast, responsive and well designed. There are even new tools included that make it easy for users to sign a message with a SDC address and its public key, proving ownership of that address, and also validating that a message is from a particular address. This safeguards Umbra users from man-in-the-middle attacks or from otherwise being tricked into mistaking a message sender's true identity. Best of all, it's easy to use these tools, even with no technical background.
Advanced Key Management Tools
As far as I know, Umbra's devs actually implemented the very first native HD (hierarchical deterministic) wallet in an altcoin forked from bitcoin's codebase. Today's update features some great and "idiot-proof" tools for managing HD wallets and the lengthy keyword list they use as a passphrase. These tools offer protection from mismanaging your HD wallet or keys. An HD wallet is now extremely easy to create, secure, and manage, with support for unique and user-recognizable wallet names, and also a second step process ensuring you have correctly saved the lengthy passphrase list. The GUI has a simple process for wallet restoration, so you can easily import a SDC wallet backup. You can even manage the entire hierarchical tree of child/parent addresses and keys via the GUI. It's quite amazing.
Easy To Use Settings Tools
Umbra's new GUI allows a multitude of advanced settings, all from a simple to use GUI. Everything is logical and remarkably well organized. It would take forever to explain all the options and tools available in the new GUI though, so let's move on.
Umbra's decentralized marketplace is now approximately 80% completed, with Beta testing coming soon. The marketplace is functional via the command line. Ryno is finishing up testing and polishing up the marketplace's API implementations, and plugging everything in to the marketplace's GUI, on which our GUI developer crz is also working.
The huge increase in the SDC exchange rate has galvenized the community's resolve, and efforts are racing forward like never before. Community members have recently donated over 5 BTC and 35,000 SDC to the project's development fund. Already these funds are being used to pay for development work. The most important team members are supported financially and socially, by our community, as we encourage them to devote as much time and energy as possible to finish everything up.
Join us on Slack to follow the Shadow Project and its Umbra Platform. Definitely keep tabs on all the exciting updates that are coming soon! An additional blog post will hopefully be forthcoming, as it is still on my todo list to publish a more detailed report on the marketplace's progress.
Any additional fixes/modifications to the GUI are expected to roll out in small weekly updates, as needed. Please report any problems you may experience in the new release, so the team can patch them up.