Testnet 0.13.0 has been running Since about March the 10th. This is the Single parent block merge version. All block merge code is now on the testnet, but finalization needs to be worked on and that is the current focus of the team. Any issues identified are being fixed by the team.
There were two planned hard forks: Hard Fork 2 for block merge (release versioning will be 0.13.x) and Hard Fork 3 for PoS changes (release versioning will be either 0.14.x or 1.x.x) to eventually enable a fully decentralized node with external validators. Most of the Hard fork 3 changes are now likely to be included in Hard Fork 2. We will do a Hard Fork 3 only if needed.
Main Focus is to prepare the leaderless block merge Hard fork (hf2), specifically (a) complete the finalization feature for multi-parent block merge for release to Test net (b) a lot of testing + bug fixing and (c) performance improvements (d) Completed - Adding shardId inside the signatures, to enable multi-shard operation and prevent reusing of deploys from one shard in another shard (e) sdk project to make the code more modular and serve as a base for RNode domain logic with corresponding data types.
The test net has been running the 0.13.0-alpha version beginning about March the 10th. This has all the block merge code, but the team is currently working to complete the finalization code. The release notes for the 0.13.0-alpha version are at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/releases
Tomislav and Greg have completed their sessions to verify design for finalization using the simple protocol for finalization. Nutzipper and Tomislav are working on implementing the necessary changes and testing them on a new testnet and the simulator. The simulator has been modified to work with any of the potential implementation paths. The code base is now more modular and abstracted in such a way that underlying specific implementations can be changed easily without harm to the overall validation and consensus flow. Issues around epoch change need further work - at epoch change, there is more variety in the inconsistency of state across validators, so we need to resolve these properly to move the finalization fringe.
Denis has re-started the performance improvement work of rholang primitives. He is generating more detailed performance data to understand the exact operations that are causing exponential delays. Once we identify these, we can examine whether the implementation and/or use of these operations is appropriate or needs to be fixed.
Max has implemented alternative serialization for RadixHistory and is getting to ready to measure the relative performance.
External validators are getting familiar with running nodes on the testnet.
Substantial market engagement is underway with enterprise customers, systems integrators and others that want to develop and deploy solutions on the RChain platform.
Reminder: It's important for all Wallet makers to update their code to match the new implementation where minimum phlo price is a parameter. Please communicate this to any wallets you are using. Wallets will have to call /api/status to get min phlo price accepted by the validator and put that value in deploy data instead of the currently used constant 1.Tomislav has updated the wiki at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/wiki/Cost-accounting-in-RChain#phlopriceWe will start communications with exchanges also for HF2.
Development Plans for the rest of the year and beyond - for reference
Near term plans and releases are as below:
Block merge release hard fork 2 plus any configuration changes that do not need extensive work - Leaderful and Leaderless block merge
Potentially one or more releases for Configuration changes and/or performance improvements,
Hard Fork 3 with PoS changes and other items,
External validators process validation with trusted community validators (aka Friends & Family) on the test net
Friends & Family + trusted third parties validation on the main net
External validators among extended ecosystem (e.g. exchanges, if they're willing)
External validators in the wild
Feature releases driven by external market engagement
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 four. 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