Even though the scheduled talk about “Decentralised, Direct Democracy & Multidimensional Monetary System” didn’t take place, the January meetup at the Ethereum HQ in Berlin didn’t lack interesting topics and speakers. The night was comprised of four talks and went for almost three hours.

In my recap I want to skip the first talk about deckard.ai, because this development tool is not primarily focused on the crypto-space and therefore not really related to the topic of this blog. However you can watch a recording of the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgx56cpw-8U

Remix

Yann Levreau

The second talk was an update on the progress of the smart contract development enviroment Remix held by Ethereum’s own Yann Levreau. Remix was just last week merged with browser-solidity and focuses on giving fast feedback to developers while writing smart contracts in solidity.

The enviroment runs in the browser and lets you choose how to connect with an Ethereum node. The options are Javascript virtual machine (local and in memory), providers like Mist or Metamask and last but not least a node at localhost. A great strength of this tool is the ability to replay a contract execution and go through it step by step. Executed statements will be highlighted and state changes in the contract are displayed, which helps a lot in debugging smart contracts.

The developent enviroment doesn’t contain a testing framework and Yann Levreau recommends the use of either Embark or Truffle for this end. The speaker demoed how to use Remix when developing a frontend for dapps and hinted that project management tools might be on the roadmap for Remix in the future.

esPass

Ligi esPass

esPass stands for electronic smart pass and aims to bring the benefits of cryptographic tokens to the realm of tickets. Most tickets nowadays use QR- or barcodes. These codes just represent passwords that gains us access to concerts, conferences, airplanes, etc. They come with the big drawback that they can be copied. This constitutes a big problem when tickets need to be resold. There is no way for a potential buyer to verify that not other copies of the same ticket are in existence and that he will be the first person to try to enter with that given code. Luckily blockchains provide a solution for exactly this kind of problem. Presenter Ligi said that ticket systems therefore represent low-hanging fruit for the crypto community.

The creator of esPass put a lot of thought into the question of how to onboard users that don’t have experience in how to use public/private keypairs or digital currencies. His tenet is that the esPass tickets should gracefully degrade to the experience that users are already used to. That means that users who are not interested in the benefits of a blockchain-based ticket should just be able to print a PDF with a QR-code.

As the backend for esPass Ligi chose Ethereum. One of the reasons for this decision is ethereum’s determination to switch to POS in the not so distant future and thus become one of the most enviromentally friendly blockchains. However a problem with this is the lack of a proper light-client for ethereum, however progress on the light-client seems to be made and we can hope for a release sometime in the not too distant future.

Integrating ZCash with Ethereum

Dr. Christian Reitwiessner

As the last part of the evening Christian Reitwiessner gave a in promptu Q&A session about the effort to implement zkSnarks on the ethereum blockchain. However much better than any recap that I could write on this topic is his own blog post on the topic, which I highly recommend.

Videos of the talks are available on Adjy Leaks channel. However as of the time of writing there is no sound for the Remix and esPass talks, however Ryan indicated that he might reupload it later.