Development Update — 29th March, 2018
Its been over a month since our last, but for very good reason, we’ve been extremely busy! 2018 began with the launch of the Casper testnet, a much welcomed event that saw the next generation of Ethereum’s new Proof of Stake consensus protocol rolled out for testing. While the testnet has had its share of networking problems due to the issues with Pythereum (an internal client used primarily for R&D testing by the Ethereum Foundation), we have nontheless been busy preparing Rocket Pool for its future beta release.
Rocket Pool — Wait, what, who?
If you’re not familiar with Rocket Pool, here’s a quick run down before we get into the meat and potatoes of the latest development updates.
Rocket Pool is a next generation pool designed to work with Casper, the new consensus protocol that Ethereum will transition to in 2018. It was the first working implementation of a Proof of Stake pool and features several first to market features; such as load balancing across multiple cloud hosting providers using smart contracts, minipools, widow addresses and deposit tokens. Rocket Pool isn’t just a whitepaper, it’s actual code.
At the very essence of it, Rocket Pool will work to allow your everyday user and business, the ability to earn interest on their ether holdings over a fixed term, whether that be for just a few months or even up to a year. Be sure to read the Rocket Pool 101 — FAQ for more information.
Beta User Interface
Rocket Pool is designed to be used for everyday users wishing to stake their ether and also 3rd Party businesses who want to provide staking services for their clients without any of the hassle of setting up a staking network.
For your everyday users, we’ll be providing a sleek, minimal and easy to use interface which is currently undergoing heavy work while we reach for our next milestone, the beta release of Rocket Pool. Below is a video that shows the current UI feel and features, it’s very much a work in progress and as you’ll see from the screenshots below, some elements have already been updated from the video.
More screenshots below show some of the updated UI sections, from managing your connected Ethereum accounts to notifications of your deposit events with Rocket Pool.
Rocket Pool will detect all current connected Ethereum accounts. If you’re using MetaMask or a local node such as Parity / Geth, these will be automatically detected and you can choose which one you wish to use with Rocket Pool. Future support for hardware wallets such as Ledgers is planned.
Making deposits into Rocket Pool will be a quick and easy process for users. Simply click the deposit icon, enter the amount of ether you wish to deposit and select the staking duration you wish to use (3/6/9/12 months).
When you deposit ether into Rocket Pool, it is placed into a Minipool, this is essentially a smart contract that contains a group of users pooling their ether together in order to meet the minimum staking amount required by Casper. These Minipools go through various stages, the progress of which can be visually tracked here. When you first deposit ether, it is placed into a Minipool that is ‘accepting deposits’. When enough ether is received to begin staking, the Minipool enters a new status of ‘countdown’. This stage is a short period where users can withdraw their deposit if they change their mind before it is locked in with Casper for the selected staking duration. All statuses and their progress can be easily viewed here and additional user options for each status are available below each one.
Staking with Casper will be a process that occurs over several months at a minimum. To allow users the ability to keep track of changes to their deposits and other aspects of Rocket Pool, we will be implementing an easy to use notification system that will give quick, easy to digest notifications of recent events relating to your current account as shown above.
With the recent developer additions of Darren and Jake to the Rocket Pool team, work on the smart contracts has increased significantly. While Rocket Pool is currently in alpha, work towards the beta milestone has been coming thick and fast with some new significant smart contracts being built and integrated into the Rocket Pool ecosystem.
While Rocket Pool has featured an upgradable contract system for a while now, the process of upgrading a contract was done manually. With the addition of the Rocket Upgrade smart contract, the upgrade process is now automated to some degree and new checks are in place to prevent any contracts being upgraded that may contain balances of ether or tokens.
Rocket Pool will hold various token balances of RPL, RPD and also some balances of ETH. Rather than have these balances spread out over several contracts, we’ve created the Rocket Vault, a new contract whose job it will be to hold and securely store various balances that Rocket Pool will hold. New accounts inside the vault can be created for new purposes and existing accounts can be locked down or disabled in an instant. This new vault will gradually be implemented across Rocket Pool in the future. Note that the contract has not been audited yet, so if you plan to use it for your own Dapp, please use with caution.
A new contract which will contain various utility functions for Rocket Pool. Currently the contract contains some new methods to help with verifying signatures. These are primarily used to ensure any new smart nodes being registered with Rocket Pool are legit and we can trust them.
Following up on the previous development update, more work has been done on the smart node service scripts. Rocket Pool isn’t only made of smart contracts, but also a network of nodes that can listen to the main smart contracts and receive instructions from those contracts. These scripts also allow the smart nodes to check in with the main contract on a regular basis to report on their server load which helps with load balancing users who stake with Rocket Pool + more.
These smart node services run as a background daemon on our smart nodes. They are in the process of getting a fairly big overhaul to integrate state management into them using Redux and another new and quite unique new feature directly aimed at Casper integration. Currently any node that wishes to talk to Casper will require a validation daemon running on it, this only exists in the Pythereum client implementation running on the Casper testnet. Our new smart node daemon process will feature a new validation daemon built specially for pools and will allow any client such as Parity/Geth to integrate with Casper, as long as it is a node in the Rocket Pool network. This enables the Rocket Pool network to not only be distributed in its smart node locations around the world, but to also be diverse in the node client software we run on each, be it Parity, Geth or any new node software that is release in the future.
In the last month Rocket Pool has expanded with the new talented additions of senior blockchain developers, Darren Langley and Jake Pospischil. With this new dev firepower, expect to see even more new developments from Rocket Pool in the near future.
Rocket Pool Analysis by DDC
The Divergence Digital Currency Fund is a hedge fund that invests in crypto assets and associated early-stage projects leveraging distributed ledger and related technologies. They recently did a huge amount of research on Rocket Pool and released an extremely comprehensive analysis of us. For anyone wishing to know more about Rocket Pool, this is a great place to start.
RPL Token Exchanges
Now that the crowdsale has concluded, a common question for those that missed out, is where to acquire it. Currently RPL is listed on several decentralised exchanges and work is underway to get it listed on several other exchanges. More updates on these in the future.
Current exchanges that support RPL are:
Drop by for a chat!
We’re a friendly bunch and love talking about not only Rocket Pool, but all crypto related subjects, so swing by for a chat and say Gday! We have a Discord chat room anyone can join, so what are you waiting for?
From May 3rd — 5th, Edcon, a very large Ethereum developer conference will be happening in Toronto, Canada and Rocket Pool will be there. So if you want to catch up with us in person, keep an eye out for some snappy dressers wearing Rocket Pool t-shirts ;)