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.
Block merge testnet is currently running the 0.12.2-rc1 version.
We expect the performance of the block merge testnet to improve as we complete the performance improvement tasks, which are additional to the above.
Sprint 95 in progress
Main Focus is to prepare the block merge Hard fork (hf2), specifically (a) merging REV balances aka per deploy vault (b) leaderless block merge - work ongoing (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 related items (No change in this hf3 section this week - personnel on vacation). Current PR list is at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pulls .
Block merge Hard Fork (hf2)
As of now, we expect the block merge work to be completed in September.
Work on directly merging REV balances is proceeding. https://github.com/rchain/rchain/issues/3513 describes the scope of work and the PR for the first part https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pull/3492 is in. Quantifier will be working on the necessary PoS changes (part 5 in the description) and Tomislav is working on the remaining parts. Once all of this is completed and tested with the rest of the code including attestation messages, leaderful block merge will be complete. Depending on the arrival of the leaderless block merge changes, the release may directly go to the leaderless version. In addition to help reduce REV transfer conflicts, this work also improves speed of REV transfers on the network, in any context.
Leaderless block merge work is proceeding. There are some Casper changes that need to be implemented to make it work in the leaderless scenario. The leaderless scenario is also forcing us to rethink the design in terms of merging of states rather than blocks, to accommodate multiple states that may have been finalized because each got 67% stake. We have to traverse to the full edge of such finalized states, to make merging, conflict and rejection decisions. This redesign is expected to be complete this week.
GSJ has run some performance scenarios on the leaderful block merge branch based on the performance test setup by Anton. The setup needs to be improved to allow for more concurrency. We will do that work over the next week or two and report the results. We will report these on the leaderless version also later.
No updates on Hard Fork 3 this week, Quantifier will work on these after completing the PoS changes for merging of REV balances.
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 - Leaderful and Leaderless block merge
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.
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