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Dogecoin Core Development Interview

Op-ed - Dogecoin Core Development Interview

Dogecoin, born in jest, is now serious business. A major payment processor already supports Dogecoin payments. This has opened up the coin to a huge selection of international merchants.

One such merchant is Hustler Magazine, which recently confirmed it would start accepting payments in Dogecoin.

Dogecoin is also being embraced by new exchanges, including those in the lucrative Chinese market.

Most importantly, the community seems as vibrant and passionate as ever. This is important. However, it matters little if there is no one maintaining the protocol and ensuring both the integrity and security of the network.

Fortunately for Dogecoin the core development team is equally as passionate. They are increasingly becoming recognised as one of the most active and productive core development teams in the space.

All eyes are on Dogecoin core development at the moment. Many thought leaders have directly challenged the ability of the coin to survive. Most notably, Litecoin creator ‘Coblee’ said Dogecoin was never meant to last. Also, Tim Swanson has been very analytical and critical of the economic model Dogecoin pursued and its implications for network strength and integrity.

We decided to give the Dogecoin core developers an opportunity to bite back (pun intended). We caught up with Dogecoin’s lead developer ‘langerhans’, to talk about the direction of this successful young coin.

1. What is your position in Dogecoin core development? How did you get into that position?

My position is lead developer. Basically this means I am responsible for advancing the development of the Dogecoin network and the Dogecoin Core reference client.

Doing that I try to keep a balance between the management part of it and actually working on it myself.

Lots of work is done by the team I am part of, for which I’m really thankful. The role was appointed to me already a few months ago by the founders of the coin. We got to know each other through reddit where I once pointed out a needed change for the client. From there I started working on it more and eventually I was made lead developer.

2. What is your training, experience and background?

I mainly work with Android, this is what caught my interest early on and is also what I do for a living. I did programming before as hobby and my education was mostly focused on CS. My experience with cryptocurrencies actually mainly comes from my work with Dogecoin, which I started by porting the Android wallet. I learned a lot while working on several Dogecoin related projects.

3. How many active contributors are there to the core Dogecoin code?

In the core development team, including me, we have currently four people from which three are the most active at this point of time. There is also the so called extended development team consisting of roughly 110 people. Not all of them contribute to the core client, but many are contributing either in code or in knowledge and advice.

4. What do you enjoy most about your work on Dogecoin core development?

If we are talking about the Dogecoin Core client, then it is the learning. As I said, I gained a lot of experience not only in programming, but also in managing the surrounding tasks of such an open source project – for example, managing the releases and the repository.

If we extend it a bit further I also enjoy the community very much. It was what got me started with it and it is what keeps me going. I got to meet many nice people and found new friends which I greatly enjoy.

5. Dogecoin started life in jest, but it now has significant momentum behind it. With the rapid expansion of the community, brand and coin, also the hope, real investment and sunk costs, are you feeling the pressure?

Well, there is pressure, not only by service providers, but also the community. They all depend on a stable platform for their currency and their services. This is what we are trying to build and maintain and I think we did a good job with that so far.

Our Core client is the most current one in terms of adoption of fixes from the Bitcoin codebase and we are overall very active developers. So yes, I can see the pressure, but it’s not affecting me in a bad way.

6. The Dogecoin community is passionate and active. After all the debate is done, who ultimately decides if any implementations or amendments to the coin are done? Who has the keys, so to speak?

We of course do continuously check what the community thinks. We then narrow it down through the development community to the core devs and ultimately it will be me as lead developer who “turns the key”. That is also the reason why this seems to be such a lengthy process. [There are] many options to be considered and analyzed.

7. Do you consider Dogecoin’s recent declining hashrate a threat to the longevity of the coin? What proposals are currently on the table, if any, for addressing this issue? What, if any, is the time frame for implementing a solution?

A low hashrate is a threat for every Proof of Work based coin that doesn’t implement special measures to mitigate possible attacks.

Dogecoin was brought to the market with an “expiration date” as the block reward schedule was made for about one year. That is basically the reason why we were already looking for solutions for quite some time.

The problem is that many of the solutions are either still highly theoretical or are deemed to be in an “Alpha” or “Beta” state. Some have technological issues, some have “political” issues.

After the venture of Litecoin’s creator into the Dogecoin subreddit, it seems that the implementation of the so called auxiliary proof of work is the most discussed one right now. While my recent reddit post about this may have seemingly implied differently, I’m not against this concept from the technical perspective.

Yet, we still want to make sure that if this is considered to be the option to go with, there are no oversights of any concerns with it.

8. Do you consider a 51 attack an imminent threat? Is securing the network a primary concern of your team?

It is a threat yes, but I don’t know the timescale in which it becomes feasible for an attack. The whole discussion currently happening is about the security of the coin. So yes, this is a primary, if not the primary concern.

9. Will Dogecoin merge mine with Litecoin?

I think the question is wrongly worded. The implementation of auxiliary proof of work does not mean “merging” the two coins.

It just happens that Litecoin is the coin with the highest hashrate on the scrypt algorithm. That means the Dogecoin network can accept blocks coming from their network, while securing it that way. Therefore I think the phrase “merged mining” is to be taken with a grain of salt.

Implementing AuxPoW is still on the table, yes.

The decision will be made sooner rather than later. Then it will be about finding the time to implement the chosen solution.

10. Where do you see Dogecoin in 1 year and 5 years?

Alive & kickin’ just like it did the last months. In one year I hope to see a stable currency that is is highly accepted and used by merchants and I still see the awesome community around it.

Five years is really hard to look forward to, as this is a whole lot of time in the cryptocurrency business. Every guess I’d take would be exactly that, just guessing. I do believe in Dogecoin and I hope to see it still around until then, maybe established as the currency of the internet which it aimed to become.