From Bakers to Makers

In July 2018, Cryptium Labs became a Tezos baker. Besides baking rolls from the Swiss Alps, some of you might know us from the multiple articles we have published, the purpose of which was to explain the Tezos protocol in an easy-to-understand way. Last week, Nomadic Labs (@LabosNomades) released an article on upcoming improvements in consensus and formal verification — with a subtle hint to what some of Cryptium Labs’ plans are.

Towards Protocol Development

Ever since the formation of the team, our research and discussions have aimed to answer the question: How can we contribute to the Tezos project?

Back in summer 2018, becoming a security-focused baker was one easy answer. Shortly after, helping to educate a diverse, global community became another option. Around December 2018, after seeing the rapid growth in the number of bakers and community educators, we realised that the ecosystem had changed — we discovered that we could provide more value at the protocol development level.

And so, over the past months, we have been diving into the Tezos codebase, researching and specifying potential evolutions of the Tezos protocol and ecosystem. With the help of the Nomadic Labs developers, who implemented the first versions of Tezos along with others, we slowly crafted a roadmap or bucket of ideas on how we could improve the protocol.

Some of these ideas may look familiar: Arthur Breitman wrote about some of them back in October 2018. And some are inspired from our (Adrian, Chris, me) involvement with other open-source projects in the blockchain space including, but not limited to, the Cosmos project — the team that designed, implemented, and launched a protocol that used Tendermint Consensus, more specifically Tendermint Core (Tendermint GitHub).

Christopher Goes (@cwgoes) Presenting à chez Nomadic: https://twitter.com/LabosNomades/status/1088808635311030275

Our Vision as a Blockchain Agnostic Company

Cryptium Labs is a blockchain-agnostic company. From the beginning, we had two theses: First, protocols will leverage alternatives to Proof-of-Work (PoW) to avoid tradeoffs between security and negative externalities, such as wasting resources and environmental impact. In order to find alternatives, we need to further research in consensus and economic models, such as Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Second, we believe there will be many blockchains, each more optimal for a specific use case. Yet there will be the ability to transfer assets across heterogeneous networks.

Taking our vision into account, we think Tezos’ implementation of on-chain governance was designed to enable the steady adoption of novel ideas and/or the latest proven research. In fact, Tezos is at the moment the best platform to try out ideas that have been presented by academic efforts, as well as concepts that we learned from our professional and personal experiences with other projects.

Our Goal with On-chain Governance

Tezos was designed in 2014. Since then, theoretical and practical advancements have been made across many realms, such as consensus algorithms and economic mechanisms, and namely in the field of Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Although the Tezos of today does not (yet) incorporate the latest advancements in this field, experiencing the process of Nomadic’s Athens proposal so far reaffirmed our thoughts: the biggest opportunity for Tezos is on-chain governance and we should leverage it so that the protocol evolves faster than all others.

Vincent Danos, Adrian Brink (@adrian_brink, Cryptium Labs), Benjamin Canou (@KlakPlok, Nomadic Labs), and Jacob Arluck (@JacobArluck, TQ) on a governance panel at the Tezos Meetup in Paris (https://youtu.be/LCZqPpUbMU4?t=1906)

Nonetheless, for Tezos to evolve fast, sustainably, and in a decentralised manner, we must bootstrap the protocol development ecosystem: we need more independent teams, more roadmaps, more proposals to be pushed at the same time through the governance process, and so on. This way, we can ensure that the protocol evolves swiftly and sustainably.

Baby Steps

As announced yesterday by the Tezos Foundation, we are working on a protocol upgrade to overhaul the current account system for Tezos bakers, which we briefly presented at TezTalks (recording TBA), an event organised by Tezos Commons.

In parallel, we are working in collaboration with Nomadic Labs, the French research center (CEA), and Arthur Breitman to implement a variant of Tendermint consensus to add deterministic finality to Tezos. In upcoming articles, we will publish more details on this upgrade, the Burebrot Upgrade, as well as informative pieces on Nomadic’s consensus upgrade.

Presenting (@awasunyin) our roadmap at TezTalks in San Mateo

What Happens to Our Bakery and Community Efforts?

Our baking activities will continue as usual. We will keep writing and publishing educational content for the broader community in a similar fashion as we have done so far, with a slightly higher focus on upcoming protocol upgrades in accordance, but not limited to, our on-chain governance policy, as well as exploring other topics which we think lack sufficient coverage, such as smart contract development in Michelson or Liquidity.

As a team, we want to thank once again the entire Tezos community for the stellar support we have received from the beginning, and the Tezos Foundation for their continued support. We look forward to witnessing the Tezos ecosystem’s evolution and further contributing in the best of our capacity.

Adrian, Chris, Awa