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buzzkillb

How to Browse Through Github for Cryptocurrencies

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A guide on how to browse through github and find out more information on a cryptocurrency. I will be using Denarius Coin as an example since development is very active.

First go to your favorite coins repository (repo). In this case Denarius is located on Carsen Klocks personal github. https://github.com/carsenk/

Once we go to the person or coins repo, we want to look for the main wallet. Generally the main wallet will be under a name of the coin. Most of the time the person's repo will also have coin at the homepage, as the homepage on github allows for 6 repos to be pinned. Under this picture I will show the other way to find this.

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The other way to find the coin's repo is by clicking Repositories. From here we can see a list of original code and forks the user has created.

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The last touched repo will be listed at the top of the repository list. You can also generally type in the name of the coin in the search bar at the top left corner. Examples below to get the feel for this.

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Now lets look at the main page of the Denarius repository. Because I have a github account, which I suggest creating, I like to click on watch and star, which once clicked will say Unwatch and Unstar. Think of this as getting the feed for updates, and also liking someones work. The other useful button is Fork. If you click the word Fork you will make an exact copy of the Repo and place this on your own account. If you click the number to the right you can see all of the people who have forked the particular repo.

Two other important areas are below these buttons. You are looking for the latest commit which is on the right side, and a description which is on the left side.

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Another important area is the Branch dropdown box. Master is where you generally will start when browsing on your own. The master is typically the main stable branch to use and look through. When a developer is working on their code, they separate out into another branch as to not touch the stable code, and when that other branches code is done testing this gets merged back into the master branch. When multiple developers are working together, they could merge into a version branch, and when all of that is working, the entire kitchen sink of branches then gets merged into the master branch. Hint: most of the coding and commits take place outside of the master branch.

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Lets look for something useful, since I am a spec miner and like to solo mine a wallet. So how do we find the rpcport on those coins that ninja release and give no details? Lets try searching the term "rpcport". Denarius thankfully has a nice search to find things, some coins do not. But we can learn something useful anyways. Notice in src/bitcoin.cpp we get a hit for rpcpport? For a moment we can basically not read any code and know its 1 of 2 ports listed. You can then put into your solo miner the port, if that doesn't work you can change to the other number, until one of the ports works. Or you can just name the port in your coin.conf, but that's not what this guide is for. This guide is for searching out something in the repo, finding it and trying something new. Denarius is a fork of an early version of bitcoin, if you do this a few times you will remember generally what bitcoin fork files hold certain information to scan for.

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The next thing I look at is the README.md file. The file automatically posts the text and images from this  file, or you can click the README.md file itself. Either way is going to work. We are looking for specs of the coins and any other information that might be useful. Maybe we want to compile the coin? A lot of the time the how to compile is somewhere here. We will get into this in more detail later after doing some more searching through the repo.

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Because there is a thing about active development on a cryptocurrency. Lets look at who contributes outside of the coin name itself or the main repo owner. Click Insights at the top of the page.

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The Insights page can give us a ton of information for activity, along with frequency of commits, contributors and how all the code ties back together.

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Lets look at Contributors. This would be useful as when this article was written, Litecoin was being called out for no activity. Most cryptocurrencies have more than one person writing the code and contributing. In this case we can see that @enkayz has a lot of code himself with ++ and --. What we can see here is that @Carsen is not the only contributor to Denarius. What happens here is that many people contribute into a version of a branch, and then that all gets merged together into a master branch after testing. Was Litecoin active or not? Is Satoshi Lite the only contributor to LTC? Maybe you can go to the Litecoin github and use this guide as a hint book and come to your own conclusion on what's really going on in this space.

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Lets check out if Enkayz contributed anything useful. Click commits under his name to go to his work on the project.

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We can quickly scan the list of commits to see basic descriptions on what was done. Lets look at his last commit.

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The left side is the old code, and the right side is the new code. Red is code removed, and Green is code added. What some coins do to get more commits on cryptomiso is they delete a space and add a space, daily, so the commit count goes up. Randomly putting nonsense into a cryptocurrency is questionable, so try looking through commits to see if more than just spacing of characters is being changed.
https://github.com/carsenk/denarius/commit/d2892124d997c1e15f87a2bdf2dfeff63f1f31fe

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