Community Update 157


  • Release
    • We are in epoch 3.
    • All main net nodes (validators as well as observer nodes) are running the Last Finalized State version 0.10.0.
    • All test net nodes (validators as well as observer nodes) are running the Last Finalized State version 0.10.0
    • Main net has 30 nodes, with a few large configuration machines running 5 nodes each. 
    • We're noticing a slower daily degradation in deploys per day on the main net - we are investigating this issue. Restarting the nodes alleviates the issue, we suspect some incomplete garbage collection or such.
    • Main difference between testing on Observer nodes vs. Validator nodes: When we test on the observer node, a large part of the code base is executed. The Block creation code runs only on the validator nodes. As a part of that, the portion of the Runtime Manager that plays the deploy is run on the validator node but not on the observer node.
  • Sprint 77 in progress
    • Main Focus is to continue Block merge work, resolve any identified bugs, update dependencies, harden the main net, improve performance.  Current PR list is at .
    • Current Work In Progress
      • Good progress on block merge - The full team is focused on block merge.  The first few PRs for the first version of block merge are in. The team is reviewing the PRs and Will is merging the dev branch and the block merge branch. There was substantial work done in both branches. So the merging and conflict resolution will take several days. Nutzipper has started testing on devnet and continues to complete the block merge implementation, with the necessary indices, caches etc. The team is working on resolving the failing tests, understanding and resolving suspected bugs in the previous code.  Once all of this is working, we will be able to measure the degree of horizontal scaling - i.e. Does the network throughput increase as we add nodes to the network ?
      • There's a lot more work to be done in block merge, (a) to increase the number of non-conflicting cases identified and resolved, (b) optimizations, as well as (c) making it operational for the main net, which includes identifying and resolving any bugs discovered in the earlier code - Casper etc.  There will be further testing, optimization, fixing bugs and creating necessary enhancements after that. 
      • This is a partial list of what needs to be fixed as part of the block merge delivery  We will add more issues as we discover them.
      • Plan is to deliver block merge in small releases, into the feature branch. We will demo once the block merge branch is ready. 
      • SRE : Gurinder is analyzing the slow degradation issue on the main net. Also we will see if the issue is resolved or gets better with the openjdk 15.0.2 version, now that it is available in GA (General Availability). Openjdk 15.x also seems to have resolved some vulnerability issues relative to openjdk 11. Migrating to openjdk 15.x now should prepare us for openjdk 17, which is supposed to be an LTS version.
      • We're looking at for security and other free application performance monitoring tools to quickly understand performance bottlenecks and/or get a different view from our current tools and methodology.
      • Planning for a couple of hard forks after block-merge is on the main net: One fork is to clear the main net of the slashed validator, update bonds file and carry over the balances from the current main net to the new fork. This will be looked at as a practice/trial run of a hard fork. Second fork is to correct some bugs and other configuration items. An initial partial list of issues to be addressed in this fork is at . This list is likely to grow. Together, these should prepare us for the POS update and external validators. The rholang v1.1 update of system contracts and enabling rholang v1.1 broadly will likely be separate events, even though it is currently on that list. Rholang v1.1 should be a soft fork however. The forking has implications for data migration for for all apps, especially for data intensive ones like dAppy. We will discuss the methods to enable such data migration as well as other hard fork changes as part of the Tech Governance/RCHIP process.
      • Dependencies: Nothing new to report this week. We continue to work on more dependencies updates as they are available, with the eventual goal of making the code base and dependencies compatible with migration to Scala 2.13. Next on the list are the dependencies needed to prepare us to improve the monitoring framework - kamon, zipkin, influxdb, jaeger etc. Once we run well on Scala 2.13 for a few months, we should be ready to use the new reflection and other features in Scala 3.0. 
      • Rholang v1.1 (complete for now) : Joe has completed the implementation of the full source to source translation of the Rholang v1.1 syntax into current Rholang. He's resolving the last few review comments. He added tests and they're passing. The feature branch is at  I encourage the community to test these releases early and often so that Joe gets the necessary testing feedback and we can move it towards deployment sooner than later. You can run a version of the node locally with this.  dckc pointed out that this can be a neat developer tool meanwhile - i.e. write your contracts in rholang v1.1 to generate the rholang v1.0 code.  rholang v1.1 is much more compact and is the future. So this should be practiced by the community and developers as much as possible. 
      • Quite a lot of work needs to be done before we get Rholang v1.1 into production. We are currently planning the steps and will have some milestone updates after this planning process is complete. A fuzzer to substantially increase the testing and identify performance optimization areas is one of the immediate steps. 
      • Rholang v1.1 spec is at   Most of these changes will need extensive testing when the system contracts etc. are re-written using the Rholang1.1 syntax. These changes will be in a separate feature branch and we will likely run a separate network eventually, to thoroughly test this implementation. We also need to create documentation to help end users verify their existing code and/or how to modify it to use the new syntax. The expectation is that the new syntax will make the learning curve a lot easier for people familiar with other languages. Separately, we need to update the IDE level tools to work with the new syntax.  We will run much of this through the RCHIP and Tech Governance process.
      • Ongoing - Fix additional identified bugs
      • API and usability improvements (no change this week) - in conjunction with the community
        • In Process - Will has mostly completed the OpenAPI/Swagger documentation of the RNode API  He's will try to resolve the reviewer comments after he's done with block merge work or as time permits. Familiarity with Swagger and the available swagger tools should make it easy for developers to use our API.
        • Future - Also in the thinking stage is an improvement to or elsewhere, a graph representation of payments / transfers on the network, with perhaps date+time and amount on the arcs.
      • Release 0.11.0 - Block merge
      • Release 0.12.0 and beyond
        • Tentative Near term road map is
          • 2021Q1 - block merge,
          • 2021Q2 - updating PoS contract to enable external validators,
          • 2021Q3 - Rholang v1.1 operationalization,
          • 2021Q4 - sharding and name spaces, in that order.
        • Milestone dates have been revised based on our current estimates. There will be further updates as we revise the plans.
        • Creating a design spec and the code for how to update contracts on the main net.  This will enable addressing some of the pressing issues such as faster epoch times, and other issues listed below
        • Ongoing: Finish dependency updates and plugin updates
        • To Do: Improve error logging, debugging and monitoring infrastructure. This will help improve developer productivity, both on the core team as well as dApp developers
        • Completed for now - Rholang v1.1, Refactor Run Time Manager. We may need more refactoring in future, but we want to do this incrementally, as needed. 
        • Protection from 'too much free work' attack, policy to reject deploys when user doesn't provide sufficient phlo or does not have sufficient REV in the wallet to cover the phlo etc -  and 
        • Implement On-chain configuration and Shard configuration
      • Explanation for last finalized state (released in 0.10.0): The scope of this work enables (a) faster catchup by new nodes - you can start from the last finalized state - this is a differentiator for RChain (b) offloading older data, differentiated storage and retrieval strategies for the same (c) allows for a leaner / less bloated node. This change touches most parts of the code base. Having to pick between refactoring and work-arounds in various parts. Tomislav implemented a mostly modular and future-beneficial approach.
      • Developer and Researcher engagement and Hackathon 
        • Greg, Steve Ross-Talbot and the Dev team will be participating in half-day workshops with some Process Algebra folks in UK on Feb 4 and Feb 11, 2021
        • Next hackathon tentatively scheduled for some time in March. 
        • We need to make building the developer ecosystem an ongoing task, just like development.  Ian, Steve Henley and team are actively reaching out to as many universities and groups as possible. Please promote the much improved hackathon page at to all the groups you are part of. 
          • Ongoing - We need to further increase and properly size the Problem Statements, brief sessions on tips and tricks during the hackathon, and office hours during the hackathon. We will keep adding to the problem statements.
          • Ongoing - Learning examples,  links  to and improvement of documentation.  Dan (dckc) has substantially improved the Rholang learning resources. Current plan is to make the hub of all learning materials. dckc has been making substantial improvements to the learning materials as well as the API tools.  The community is requested to contribute to any or all of these.
      • CI/CD:
        • Ongoing - We are slowly moving from Jira to Github for the development team, started publishing release notes in Github with release 0.9.25.  New issues are entered only in github. For a while, we will maintain in both Jira and Github. Looking to open up Github discussions and project management in the next few months.
      • TechGovernance:
        • Thursday 10 AM Eastern. Meets alternate weeks.  Last meeting focused on how to implement and manage shard configuration. Meeting notes are at  Discussions and work on a model of economics to ensure network security is proceeding. Most recent discussion was about ensuring some amount of stake beyond a 4 month window, spreading out stake over a longer time and how to incentivize that, while ensuring that everyone pays for network security.
        • ToDo - There were questions from the community regarding enabling privacy and zero knowledge proofs on the chain - this is in active discussion. Greg will create a position statement on this and likely discuss the current state of the art, use cases and potential approaches in an RCast session.  Same with sharding and cross-chain operation. 
      • In progress - Excel Model for 'economics of sustainable network security and decentralization' to enable community understanding of the inter-relationships and community conversation around these issues.  Will be releasing the initial version soon. May have multiple releases.
      • dApp Development:
        • Looking for developers to help make progress on the RChat effort using zulip.  SRT and possibly Will to add 'Rchain to zulip' functionality. Invite any community members with the expertise to help in this.
      • Current Backlog (partial)
        • Improve merging in system deploys
        • Improve Casper by enabling more tests and resolving identified code issues
        • Improve BlockMerge 
        • Improve multi-parent Casper enablement
        • Resolve slashing bugs, including additional refactoring of RunTimeManager
        • Implement sharding capabilities
        • Improve logging to be able to learn what API calls are being used, so they can be related to resource use and performance etc
        • Operationalize Rholang 1.1 on the main net to improve syntax and user experience / learning curve
      • Tuesday TeachOuts by Tomislav (Tuesday 10 AM Eastern, 7 Am pacific) in Jimscarver's zoom room 

Tech-Governance meetings on Thursdays 10 AM Eastern, 7 Am Pacific 

Mercury requirements and acceptance criteria

Details on the acceptance criteria: Mercury acceptance criteria

Please see the documentation at

Testnet status

Please see RChain public testnet information to learn more about public testnet as well as a FAQ.

Tech Governance + Community testing

Thursdays at 14:00 UTC. Please see RChain community RNode testing for more information.

Blockers to Mainnet


Risks to code completion for Mercury

Developer website