All Main net nodes are running Hard fork 1 version of RNode version 0.12.1 https://github.com/rchain/rchain/releases/tag/v0.12.1 This version includes the block merge code that does not require a hard fork, but block merge is currently disabled until we have the block merge version coming up in hard fork 2, aka block merge hard fork.
There will be two more hard forks after this, one for block merge (release versioning will be 0.13.x) and one for PoS changes (release versioning will be either 0.14.x or 1.x.x) to eventually enable a fully decentralized node.
A preliminary block merge test net is available for the community now. As we complete the remaining block merge work outlined below, we will continue to update this test net. We expect the performance of this network to improve as we complete these tasks.
Sprint 93 in progress
Main Focus is to prepare the block merge Hard fork (hf2), specifically (a) merging REV balances aka per deploy vault (b) Attestation messages (c) a lot of testing + bug fixing and (d) performance improvements. Other work items include resolving any identified bugs, improving performance, hardening the network. Hard fork 3 changes - PoS contract and other. Current PR list is at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pulls .
Block merge Hard Fork (hf2)
What we described previously as per deploy vault had been redesigned to be really just directly merging the REV balances. This is seen as a simpler solution. Work on this is proceeding.
There's a new draft PR for attestation messages https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pull/3506 . The failing tests need to be resolved and additional changes are needed before this is ready. Since attestation messages is a new construct, such impact assessment across the code base is expected. For example, we need to resolve how this impacts Last finalized state, etc. Reminder: Attestation messages were invented to make finalization proceed in the absence of new regular (paid) transactions on the network.
In the recent testing and benchmark work, nutzipper identified that refunding at the end of each block is slow. We are looking at delaying refunds so that they can be bunched up, perhaps as late as Epoch change.
Denis has completed initial analysis of performance improvements work in the history/Merkle tree. He will be running some proof of concept improvements and measure performance. There is a separate activity to optimize for storage, but we will tackle that after we complete optimizations for performance.
Community contribution Shout-Out: Tobi has updated his Rholang SDK https://rchain-community.github.io/dapps/setup-sdk/ packaging and documentation. If you follow his instructions, you should be able to get the necessary pieces for development on the Rchain platform very easily installed on your machine. We will probably provide a link to this from somewhere on rchain.coop.
Release Plan for the rest of the year and beyond - for reference, no change
Currently planned near term releases are
Block merge release hard fork 2 plus any configuration changes that do not need extensive work,
Configuration changes release,
Performance improvements releases (one or more),
Hard Fork 3 with PoS changes and other items,
External validators process validation with trusted community validators
External validators among extended ecosystem (e.g. exchanges, if they're willing)
External validators in the wild.
Explanation of the different Hard Forks (for reference)
Proceeding further with block merge requires changes to the per validator vault to make it a per deploy vault/purse etc. We are currently finalizing the design for this. Actual code and test will take some time. We are potentially looking at this scenario: 1. First hard fork for balances and removing the slashed validator 2. Second hard fork for block merge - This is the fastest way to get block merge on the main net without holding it until the third hard fork. This includes REV balance merging (aka per deploy vault), attestation messages and the Tree depth being increased to 4. 3. Third hard fork with all other changes. Third hard fork includes implementation of a lot of changes including the PoS contract changes, Soft fork process etc. Design for soft fork process is complete and is being reviewed by the team.
(Hard Fork) TEST NET 2 ADVISORY: (for reference)
To test the version of block merge with data changes that need a hard fork, we are creating a separate feature branch and a TEST NET 2 as the testbed for this feature branch. This content will be left here until we are close to Hard Fork 2 implementation on the main net. TestNet 2 is now available for the community to test their contracts on.
There will be no guarantees of data storage format compatibility on Test Net 2, as the data storage format changes are incrementally implemented. The anticipated changes are mostly storage level format changes visible only to node operators. We encourage the community to start using Test Net 2 in addition to the current test net, so that we can quickly identify and resolve any issues with the upcoming hard forks. All new development should be targeted to TEST NET 2 and all current code MUST BE tested against TEST NET 2 to ensure future compatibility.
On all the hard forks on the main net, we will be starting from an empty state, with REV balances only. On Test Net 2, this 'loosing the state' will be repeated multiple times.
Tech-Governance meetings on Fridays 9:30 AM Eastern, 6:30 Am Pacific