13 Questions: An interview with Pennykoin-Dev-Jerry ‘giving away privacy’
“I think cryptocurrency can be a GIANT force for good in the world, and I really want Pennykoin to be a part of that.”
“Philosophy of life: It’s short as hell, find people & things you love and keep them close.” — Jerry
he modestly named
is led by an equally modest and self-effacing guy. A guy called Jerry.I stumbled into Pennykoin (PK) after reading one of Jerry’s tweets, eyebrow raised.
Reading through many of Jerry's tweets it became clear that these likes weren’t ironic, and I soon realized that he had a loyal and eclectic following, including notsofast, cryptomocho and other crypto twitter notables. The quirkiness of it all got me curious, and I enjoyed the idea of an off-beat CryptoNote coin with a massive supply, and a slightly bizarre vibe to go with. Great leaders build great communities, and maybe this Pennykoin dev had something, I wondered. So I joined the discord to find out more. All I knew going in was that Pennykoin is a micro-cap ($200,000) CryptoNote coin with a fork coming in a few days and that I was looking for Jerry… Reading through comments in discord I saw Jerry was very active and posted regularly, mostly about development progress, but not always.
In one comment he mentioned his grandkids, and this provided strange comfort, while also adding to the coin’s enigma. Things in discord seemed quiet at first, but when I began typing Jerry immediately replied, and others
joined the conversation. There was a community here. I found Jerry at once friendly and engaging, and funny. His passion and sincerity soon came through. It is not often you find cryptocurrency developers being friendly, and
candid about their lives. It was becoming clear why he had a following on crypto twitter.
All I knew going in was that Pennykoin is a micro-cap ($200,000) CryptoNote coin with a fork coming in a few days and that I was looking for Jerry…
Reading through comments in discord I saw Jerry was very active and posted regularly, mostly about development progress, but not always. In one comment he mentioned his grandkids, and this provided strange comfort, while also
adding to the coin’s
enigma. Things in discord seemed quiet at first, but when I began typing Jerry immediately replied, and others joined the conversation. There was a community here. I found Jerry at once friendly and engaging, and funny. His passion and sincerity soon came through. It is not often you find cryptocurrency developers being friendly, and candid about their lives. It was becoming clear why he had a following on crypto twitter.
1. Firstly, what is Pennykoin, and why and when did you start it?
Pennykoin is a currency based on the cryptonote protocol, like monero or bytecoin. I felt that no coins were moving in the proper direction for mass adoption. People are expected to learn all these new terms & technology. There’s no reason it can’t be as easy to use as PayPal.
2. From our conversation in discord, I gather this isn’t your first foray in crypto development. Can you tell us about the other crypto projects you’ve worked on?
My first crypto coding projects were GUI miners for windows, much like wallets, mining programs are over-complicated for no good reason. I fulfilled a bounty for Aeon and submitted a few pull requests to ultranote before realizing I would not be able to influence coins with large dev teams in the direction I thought it should go.
3. In discord yesterday you mentioned that you got more serious about coding after some dramatic events in your life. Could you talk a little more about your background in coding and your past?
I’ve been coding as a hobby since the mid-to-late 90s. Around 2010 or so I made a web game that got a little over 100,000 plays. I was working 50–60-hour shifts though and didn’t have time to learn or pursue it much. In 2014 I became unable to work. I used the free time (and lack of income) to teach myself more coding, and I started a game dev company (a company with one employee lol) I released a few free games and one commercial game that was a flop, I worked on it for 9 months or so and made about $100 I threw in the towel, but when I discovered crypto I started coding again.
4. You mentioned Pennykoin is an XDN fork, not an XMR fork. Can you talk us through why you made that choice and the maturity of the XDN code?
You mentioned staking and “savings accounts”, which surprised me. Perhaps you could tell us more about that? Digitalnote and it’s forks have features not found in most cryptonote coins, primarily encrypted messaging & cold staking, or deposits. Digitalnote was launched shortly after Monero, but development crawled to a halt in late 2016. Needless to say, there were a lot of security fixes that needed to be applied. In the Pennykoin wallet, it’s referred to as “savings”, in crypto terms it’s more commonly called cold-staking. Cold meaning the wallet doesn’t need to be open. Basically, it’s a function that pays users for hodling. When you make a savings deposit, your funds are locked for 3 months, at the end of those 3 months they’re returned with an additional 1% interest. This lessens circulating supply and pays people to not dump immediately.
5. I can see on the website you have a woocommerce plugin and that from your roadmap you mention other merchant integration. Can you talk about PK and e-commerce?
Whereas we do have a Woocommerce plugin ( and a good one at that) and instructions for Shopify, the main focus of Pennykoin is commerce rather than e-commerce. Online crypto payments are a crowded field, in the real world, at the corner store is where crypto payments have the most room for growth. This year we are working on integration with 3 PoS systems. Verifone estimated to hold about 40% of the global CC reader market. Flutterwave, a payment processor doing a TON of business in Africa, and Vend, an iPad based PoS for small businesses
6. You said in discord that you follow CryptoNote news closely. Please tell us more about how you stay up to date and keep PK updated?
I am in most of Monero’s social media channels, I watch bitcointalk like a hawk, and I peek in on the cryptoknight.cc discord frequently. So far I have patched any vulnerabilities within 48 hours of the announcement.
7. You’re forking to a new mining algorithm in about 3 days. Its called CN -Lite (cryptonight lite) and isn’t used at the moment by any other crypto although you said Aeon had developed it, but stopped using it. Can you talk about the decision to use CN-Lite, what its advantages are, and why Aeon stopped using it?
We followed a lot of coins and forked to CNv7 in June, thinking to escape Asics. It almost killed PK. Nethash was under 100kh for over a month, the price was .5 sats, and interest/adoption was at an all-time low. I did the math and it would have cost $40 to 51% our network for 12 hours straight. About this time, Karbowanec & Lethean were 51 attacked & had chain rollbacks. I decided that security of the chain was more important than asic resistance and went back to original Cryptonight. This made the cost of a 51 higher, but it was still a possibility. CN lite has 3 types of Asics (not Bitmain) but is not listed on Cicehash or mining rig rentals. A 51 attack is possible but very unlikely and extremely hard for attackers to coordinate. Since our overall hash will fall, GPU & CPU miners will become a larger percentage of nethash. On top of that, the algorithm scales better for non-asics. Asics will get 2x the hash of CN, GPUs about 3x, and 4x for CPU miners. There is no true egalitarian mining, but CN lite may be as close as we can get. Aeon changed algorithms in an attempt to be asic resistant. Fast forward to December when 90% of all hash on aeon’s chain was asic or fpga. And these were NOT available to the general public. So trying to block asics, just means that secret asics will dominate & centralize the network.
8. Later in the year, you plan to integrate IPFS and PK. I haven’t heard of anyone doing what you described. Tell us more about these plans This circles back to 51% attacks, which are the biggest security risk to most coins.
There are two methods to profit from a 51% attack. 1. doublespend — Only as useful as the amount you can send to two places at once, so not very profitable. 2. rollback — this allows an attacker to rewrite the history of a blockchain, usually to give all mining rewards to themselves. If our nodes constantly update a copy of the chain onto IPFS, then a rollback can only go as far back as the 51% itself. For the most part, this will make it cost more than the profit, which makes it useless.
9. What other plans for the future of PK, and what about marketing/PR?
Our main focus this year is real-world usage & mobile wallets. Marketing & PR will hopefully be community driven. BTC and XMR don’t have advertising budgets.
10. What other devs are involved in Pennykoin?
Currently, I’m the only coin dev, I don’t handle the website or artwork anymore thankfully, and Bao helps with the mac ports
11. How can people contribute and get involved?
12. I see you have quite a following on twitter. Can you talk about that and your relationships in crypto?
I’d have to say it’s due to me being a person on twitter vs a company. I have been in crypto since summer of 2017, but until PK launch I never visited crypto twitter I love it, previously I was on game dev twitter, which is an entirely different world I’ve met people on crypto twitter that are closer friends than my neighbors. I talk to a lot of these guys multiple times a week
13. Finally, can you share your vision for Pennykoin, your philosophy of life, and any other thoughts you’d like to end with?
I think cryptocurrency can be a GIANT force for good in the world, and I really want Pennykoin to be a part of that. Invisible private money that can cross borders is amazing. Philosophy of life : It’s short as hell, find people & things you love and keep them close
Thank you, Jerry, for this interview. It’s been a great pleasure talking with you and I sincerely hope Pennykoin lives up to its name, and much more!
Thanks to crypto twitter and those that brought Pennykoin to my attention, and to Uncleden in discord for inspiring this interview.
If you’d like to thank me, now or in the future, for bringing $PK to your attention, then please tip some ether to this address, and I’ll use it to buy some Pennykoin! And if you already have Pennykoin you can tip to the address found at the end. Thanks!
Better yet, join the Pennykoin discord and tip its developer, support this great project, and Jerry’s total commitment to his vision. I doubt there are many more devoted, and more deserving.