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. The release notes for the 0.13.0-alpha version are at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/releases . This has all the block merge code, but the team is currently working to complete the finalization code. A new 0.13.0-alpha2 has been released yesterday and Gurinder is currently testing it before updating the testnet with this new version. This alpha2 version fixes the memory issues reported with 0.13.0-alpha version.
Gurinder has set up the RPC main net hardware. They are currently testing the new version of the code before launching the actual main net with the approved wallets file.
The team is progressing smoothly with the code changes necessary for finalization using the simple protocol (i.e. ignoring any potential network partition where a part of the network is too slow to respond). As part of the implementation, they are simplifying the code base to make it more maintainable and performant. All the code changes are being tested against the simulator. In about two weeks, we hope to possibly demo how the finalization process works and how the different conditions are addressed.
Once the finalization with the simple protocol is in place, the team will address the changes necessary for correct finalization through epoch change. Initial design for this is discussed and will be finalized and implemented after the core finalization work is complete. (Note: 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) .
After the epoch change is addressed, the team will work on the next version of the finalization protocol to address the scenario where there's a partition in the network.
Will is documenting the use/operation of the multisig vault.The code has been completed.
In addition, Will has been working on completing the task to allow soft updating of the registry. So far Will has studied the code and identified the areas that need to be addressed for correct update of the registry. Tomislav and Will are doing the design work necessary.
Stas has implemented BlockStore as KeyValueTypedStore https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pull/3655. This is one of the improvements and refactorings for finalization mentioned above. He and nutzipper will be working with more changes as part of the finalization code.
Denis is continuing with his work to measure and understand the performance data, contributors to exponential delays and potential remedies.
Max has implemented alternative serialization for RadixHistory https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pull/3657 and the PR is being reviewed. He created preliminary performance measurements for comparison with the previous versions.
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