Once shilled as “the future of privacy”, Verge has seemingly decided to stay true to that moniker by flying under the community’s radar during the past couple of months. Its low profile coincided with its main developer, Justin Sunerok, also taking a hiatus from public appearances, both in social media and in real life. This clear unwillingness to engage with the public has been caused mostly by the backlash XVG received after suffering several 51% attacks back in 2018.
Some even suggested that Sunerok abandoned the project altogether; while that remained uncertain, what was obvious is that he left several self-professed “volunteers” in charge of bringing his $100 million cryptocurrency back on its feet.
After a prolonged period of inactivity, Sunerok’s online presence started ramping up in October 2018. Initially focused on casually retweeting crypto-related news, Verge’s main man first shared his personal thoughts on crypto in December, when he gave support to the developers of Vertcoin (project that was suffering from a 51% attack at the time). Sunerok blessed the project’s developers and saved some select words for the “haters” who dared question Vertcoin as the controversy raged on.
Sunerok’s increased activity, as well as frequent social media postings by Verge and its other developers, did suggest that the project left most of the criticism behind and focused on actually developing something. Naturally this brought a glimmer of hope to XVG owners, who had their trust in the project rattled by missed deadlines and underwhelming development many times in the past.
The glimmer grew into a shine once Sunerok informed the community that an actual update is coming on Friday the 18th. This Friday came and Verge did fulfill their promise, delivering project’s Development Update #14. We decided to take a quick gander at the update and determine what progress has actually been made on Verge.
Immediately the announcement greets us with good news: the looong-awaited Verge codebase has been released… but only in alpha. For now, the current 5.0 release is developer-only, with beta and stable releases of Verge Core requiring further fixes before they are announced. “Nice guy” Verge Core developer Manuel Cabras explains what this codebase means for the project:
- Substantial blockchain performance improvements
- Overall changed set of RPC commands (based on Bitcoins standard)
- Greatly enhanced chain security
- Greatly improved CPU & Memory performance
- Block indexing time reduced by 89%
He also informs us that SegWit and Lightning Network integration plans have been completely scraped, with Ring CT and RSK delayed once again. Cabras explains that the project wants to “publish a robust software” before focusing on the abovementioned features. Interestingly enough, these same words have been said several times in the past by the project’s development team. Cabras even cautiously admits the team learned from their past experiences and will avoid setting clear deadlines for the future. And while this definitely raises some red flags, at least Verge now has a working base blockchain core, communication between new/old nodes and Tor integration. Further work will be done on stealth addresses before Verge is actually capable of being an actual privacy coin, adds Cabras.
Cabras mentions that there have been new developments regarding the iOS wallet. The wallet has been in limited public beta since January 4th, with the team apparently sending out 200 invites to select individuals who got to test out the wallet’s features. “Bugs and problems” have been found and fixed, claims Cabras, but the wallet still isn’t ready to see its 1.0 version released.
According to the project’s Medium post on the matter, there will be several more beta releases and release candidates before the “gold master” 1.0 store ready version is published. Also, there is a small matter of getting Apple’s approval to publish the app on its store in the first place, something Verge apparently still doesn’t have a license for.
As a final update, Cabras mentions that project’s Blackpaper 5.0 has also been officially released. The paper contains a “ton of new content and updated definitions for the technology that is included on the Verge blockchain”. It is indeed a good document, explaining the technological concepts that are/will be included in Verge in a relatively simple manner. Though it does little to convince anyone that said concepts will eventually end up being properly implemented.
Overall, if you’re an average XVG holder who was hoping to be greeted with a Lambo as your new year’s present, this update might feel more like Santa dropped a 10 year-old used Fiat underneath your tree. Sure it looks good and stylish on the outside and Santa swears that the car is as good as new. However once you look closer, you’ll find that the undercarriage is very rusty, the engine won’t start, and each spare part you need is drawn up by the company’s main marketer and assembled by a bunch of volunteers spread out across the entire world.