Summer Sigyn — March 26th Loki Mandatory Upgrade

Well, it’s that time again folks! Just 3 months after our last hardfork, we’re back again with another upgrade. Summer Sigyn is the name of this new release (even though it’s not even Summer here in Melbourne anymore.. Oh well!), and there are a number of great upgrades to the network included in it:

  • Infinite Staking
  • New GUI
  • Removed Staking requirement tail increase
  • Change of PoW to combat Nicehash, FPGAs and possible ASICs
  • Rotation of Governance Keys

We expect the trend of hardforking every quarter to continue into 2020. There are so many features coming to Loki that require hardforks which we plan on doing one by one so that we aren’t dumping several major changes on users and the network at once. Overall, Loki will be a better coin because of it.

We’ll get into the details of the upgrades soon, but we would also like to flag that there is likely to be another hardfork shortly after this one to bring in Service Node Checkpointing and Lokinet/Messenger — but that’s a separate discussion. For now we’re just talking about Summer Sigyn.

Infinite Staking

We’ve made changes to the way staking works in Loki to make it easier for Service Node operators to keep their nodes alive indefinitely rather than having to reset them every month. We expect this will make running a service node less painful, and will also keep the network more stable and make the node count higher over time. This means we can also do away with autostaking, which is nice, because autostaking is actually a pretty poor security model and is very hard to monitor.

If you want to read more about Infinite Staking, you can read the primer on the upcoming changes. Service Node operators will not need to do anything to prepare for this fork except upgrade their nodes. Their Service Nodes will remain online and expire as per usual. However, when they go to restake, they will have to do so using the new system. Autostaking will no longer function.

We strongly encourage you to test out these new features on the brand new testnet, which you can join by running the –testnet flags using the new daemon which will be out shortly.

New GUI

We’re pleased to announce that we’re replacing the current monero-gui fork with a new, Electron RPC based GUI wallet that is faster and less buggy. Because it relies on core code to run, and is essentially just a pretty face for the core software, it makes maintaining this bad boy easier, and it’s much faster to run for users. We hope you’ll enjoy it.

After this hardfork, the loki-gui repository will be deprecated and the new GUI will be available for download. Please note that if you use the GUI to store notes and other such information, they will NOT be ported over to the new wallet. I would suggest writing them down elsewhere.

Thanks to the RYO team for creating the bones of this new wallet:

  • mosu-forge (gui wallet dev)
  • fireice_uk (core dev)
  • psychocrypt (core dev)

Removed Staking Requirement Tail Increase

This one is necessary for Infinite Staking. We can’t have the staking requirement increase anymore otherwise there would be incentive to stake at a lower requirement and never restake, so instead we’re making the staking requirement decrease stop at 15,000 rather than 10,000, and never increase. https://github.com/loki-project/loki/issues/358

Change of PoW to combat Nicehash, FPGAs and possible ASICs

As some of the community have pointed out, there is a large amount of hashrate that has come out of nowhere in the last few days that doesn’t appear to belong to a public pool. This is concerning, and to combat these problems (amongst others), we’re moving away from CN-Heavy.

There have been rumours floating around about ASICs that can compute CN Heavy hashes. Just how valid these claims are is unknown, however there certainly has been a big jump in hashrate recently, and it’s likely that this increase has been caused by some smart cookie with FPGAs rather than ASICs. We’re also the only reasonably large network left on CN Heavy, and it is still available on Nicehash, which isn’t great. There is no evidence that Loki has been attacked so far, but we would like to minimise the possibility of this occurring as soon as possible.

When Service Node Checkpointing comes in next hardfork, we effectively mitigate the risk of 51% attacks. However, given that Checkpointing is still a while off from being integrated, we need to do something now. So we’re moving to CN Turtle.

No, that’s not a typo, there is such an algorithm, which was developed by the TurtleCoin team. Unlike CN Heavy, CN Turtle could be described as an ultra-light variant, with a reduction in the scratchpad size from 4mb to 256kb. The number of iterations in each cycle of hashing is also greatly reduced. Miners on the new algorithm can expect reasonably large improvements in comparable CPU performance to GPUs.

Pools will need to upgrade to the new algorithm, and miners will need to reconfigure their setups to adapt to the new algorithm. We are working on a guide on how to switch over. We will reach out to the relevant pools to make sure they are aware of this change.

It is not our intention to continue to use CN-Turtle in the long term. Once Checkpointing has been hardforked into our network, we can switch over to the Monero variants of CryptoNote like Cryptonote-R (which now have randomisation features to mitigate ASICs) without consequence.

Rotation of Governance Keys

Finally, the address to which the governance reward is sent will change. This is for two reasons, the first being that there is a new board of directors after the last Loki Foundation annual general meeting, and so the old keys are now no longer held by the right people. The second reason is to reduce the risk of long term key exposure.

The Foundation will validate this change with a blog post containing their signatures alongside relevant pubkeys.

Upgrade Period

We have not released binaries for Summer Sigyn yet. There are still some things to be tested, but the mandatory upgrade period will start on the 16th of March, and the actual hardfork date will be the 26th of March. This is a tight turnaround, giving 10 days for miners, users, and exchanges to switch over, but given the threat of hash attacks, we need to act fast. We will announce the release of production binaries as soon as they are available.

Thanks for your understanding, and we hope you enjoy the new features!

Simon Harman & Kee Jefferys


Originally published at loki.network on March 1, 2019.