We have come a long way since the inception of the idea behind the OriginTrail Decentralized Network and a successful first stage of its testnet, launched on June 29th. Four months after the Apollo release, our team is proud to introduce the newly born OriginTrail Vostok Mainnet — named after the iconic first human space flight by Yuri Gagarin — which will be launched on December 7th, 2018.
We are very proud to be able to announce this news and present the updated technical roadmap. There is a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it.
Updates from the Previous Months
In our latest comprehensive testnet update, we explained where our technology efforts have recognized the need for improvement, and, after months of ideation, development, and testing, we have come to great optimisations and simplifications.
Bidding Mechanism Update
First of all, we introduced an overhaul of the bidding mechanism — the mechanism is responsible for node negotiation regarding data replication in the network — which has significantly reduced the cost of running the system, as well as improved its scalability.
The replication process is now atomic: dataset fingerprinting and the publication of the corresponding offer on the blockchain is now done during the replication phase in a single transaction. The Data Holder (DH) nodes exclusively communicate off-chain with Data Creator (DC) nodes so they do not need to make any transactions on the blockchain during the replication process. This introduces significant cost reductions on the DH side and, indirectly, on the DC side as well, as DC nodes would ultimately need to cover this cost. During the offer replication negotiation phase, a number of n DH nodes are randomly picked (by a lightweight proof-of-work mechanism) to become “vault” nodes, committing to store the dataset for a determined period of time and make it available for retrieval. Note that this is not a proof-of-work mechanism in the “usual” blockchain sense, but rather a mechanism to achieve a necessary randomness in choosing the vault DH nodes (by solving a task which requires it to find a solution to a randomly generated problem, for which the input is an n-tuple of DH node identities. The DC node needs to “mine” this solution as there is no inverse function that would be able to find the n-tuple solution from the randomly generated problem).
The number n is calculated based on the algorithm and task difficulty, stemming from the network size. In order to complete the replication process (i.e. create and finalize the offer), the DC node needs to have n * offer_price tokens on its wallet balance, where it is in the discretion of the DC node operator to determine the offer_price in TRAC tokens. The DH nodes have the discretion to decide if they want to engage in the bidding game — by accepting to join the replication process, therefore qualifying to be eligible for becoming vault DH nodes — based on the offer_price offered by the DC node. This is how market conditions are achieved.
Once an offer is finalized and vault DH nodes are chosen, each of them puts up a stake in TRAC tokens, which is a linear function of the offer_price. Nodes that are not chosen, but have received replication data, can choose to either opportunistically store and provide the datasets or delete them if they do not find them “valuable.”
An additional change is that now each node also has to post an initial stake in order to participate in the network. This is to protect from the easy creation of a large number of nodes and potential Sybil attacks. To join the Vostok mainnet, a small amount of only 1000 TRAC is required for each node. Otherwise, the staking mechanism hasn’t changed.
Therefore, as part of the new bidding mechanism, only the DC nodes (the ones inputting data into the network) carry the cost burden in ETH and TRAC. The DH nodes are required to make transactions on the blockchain only when first starting their node (to obtain their identity and set the stake) and when they want to withdraw tokens they’ve received as compensation (which can be done as rarely or frequently as the node holder wants). In this way, the cost of the mechanism has been reduced for a whole order of magnitude.
More on the new mechanism will be explained in the documentation in the coming weeks.
Introducing the ERC-725 Identity Standard Support
The OriginTrail node now supports the emerging ERC-725 identity standard, joining a multitude of companies and developers that have already embraced it as a reliable solution for implementing identity within smart contracts on Ethereum (check out the ERC-725 Alliance).
This improvement ties in to the OriginTrail protocol nicely as onboarding companies involves the ability to verify their identity on the blockchain. It also vastly simplifies key management and allows for multiple wallets (and nodes) to be represented with one identity on the blockchain. Finally, using ERC-725 improves interoperability with other ETH based systems utilizing the same identity standard.
Increasing Node Resilience and Updates to the Data Layer
Over the last several months, we have finalized the implementation of the command sourcing pattern logic within our code and have tested out many scenarios to optimize the details of command operation within the node. Essentially, this means that the node is now able to recover from issues like a failed (or delayed) blockchain transaction or a node reset (because it saves state) and will attempt to retry certain operations if it detects failure at any step of the protocol communication. Apart from the command sourcing pattern, we collected a lot of data in the beta program that has helped us resolve a list of issues that were occuring in different environments that nodes were operating in. This has led to a simplified data layer structure and further optimized identifier lookups within the node and the network. These will be reflected in the documentation in detail in the coming period as well.
Stages of Mainnet Development
The ODN main network starts with Vostok, which is the first stage of its technological life. The Vostok stage will be the first contact of the network with real market conditions as TRAC gets to be used for network utility. In this stage, the network will gradually introduce the litigation mechanisms. This will also be the period for the bug bounty and audit processes that need to be completed in order to move to the next stage. Therefore, the network will launch in a controlled environment with initial node holders being onboarded via the application procedure here. An initial stake of 1000 TRAC tokens is needed for participation eligibility.
Soon following Vostok, the Freedom stage will kick in — targeted for Q1 2019 — with fully implemented litigation mechanisms in real market conditions, opening up the network for all participants. Onwards, the Gemini stage will introduce further data layer and privacy abilities, and will be focused on bridging different technology “worlds”, where it is important to ease the integration with other enterprise software. Finally, the Pioneer stage will kick in with further data tokenization abilities. More information on the mainnet roadmap will be published on the website roadmap page.
Node Applications Open Today
The OriginTrail Vostok Mainnet is another milestone in our story, which started years ago and shaped us to become a strong team that keeps on delivering. We are looking forward to continuing our journey with you. Starting today, you can apply for running a node on the OriginTrail Vostok Mainnet. You can find more information and the application form at the following link: https://origintrail.io/vostok-application