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What is Saturn? A deep dive into Wanchain’s fifth major hard fork upgrade

Wanchain’s Saturn hard fork is here. With the network’s block height hitting 21,454,700, the time has come to share details about all the network improvements that Wanchain’s fifth major hard fork upgrade introduces. So sit back, relax, and let the Wanchain team take you to Saturn and back.

“Our passion for learning … is our tool for survival.”

The world of blockchains is like a vast universe. It is an extremely complex system with countless shining stars, yet it runs predictably according to a set of explicit rules. The engine underlying the Wanchain blockchain is its consensus mechanism, called Galaxy Consensus. Galaxy Consensus is a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm that leverages a variety of cryptographic schemes, including distributed secret sharing and threshold signatures, to improve random number generation and block production mechanisms. Developed by world-class researchers and academics, Galaxy Consensus is a continuation of Cardano’s Ouroboros.

Against this backdrop, Wanchain’s GWAN EVM has undergone several iterations and upgrades.

The journey so far: From Mercury to Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn 🪐

Mercury (2019)

  • Provided dapps with true random numbers based on Galaxy Consensus;
  • Raised Gas Limit per block from 4.7 million to 10 million, which facilitated the deployment of complex smart contracts;

Venus (2020)

  • Reduced the Gas Price from 180 Gwin to 1Gwin, which reduced the cost of transactions on Wanchain;

Mars (2020)

  • Launched the multichain WanBridge, which enabled crosschain DeFi applications;
  • Removed the PoS whitelist to achieve complete decentralisation of Galaxy Consensus;

Jupiter (2021)

  • Added compatibility with Ethereum’s EVM;
  • Supported EIP-155;
  • Adapted tools from Ethereum;

Saturn 🪐 (2022)

  • Full compatibility with Ethereum’s London EVM;
  • Support for EIP-1559;
  • Support for SHA3;
  • Support for the latest EVM opcodes;
  • Support for the Gas Limit up to 50 million per block;
  • Support for the seamless migration of new DApps.

Trajectory: Full EVM Compatibility

Like most cutting edge technology, progress in blockchain is defined by extended periods of incremental improvement marked with transformational leaps. A few years ago, the entire industry experienced an explosion in the number of public blockchains. Thousands of new networks emerged, seemingly overnight. Each promised a revolution defined by increased tps, larger block capacity, lower transaction costs, greater universal crosschain mechanisms, and easier scalability. Progress was made if many directions and, soon, a pattern emerged in which EVM and non-EVMs competed for hegemony.

But the development of cutting edge technology, especially something as innovative as blockchain, is often a cruel undertaking. After an initial wave of optimism, most of the low-hanging fruit was picked and development of most (not all) non-EVMs stalled. The Ethereum Foundation, with its rich ecosystem of developer tools and applications, established the EVM as the industry’s leading virtual machine. Today, the number of EVM-compatible public blockchains accounts for nearly 70% of all publick networks.This number continues to rise.

Predicting this trend, the Wanchain team decided to prioritise full EVM compatiblity. In early 2020, the first steps were made to make Wanchain EVM compatible. Wanchain’s Jupiter hard fork in 2021 was the first to introduce compatibility with Ethereum’s Byzantine EVM. Now, with Saturn 🪐, Wanchain’s EVM becomes fully compatible with Ethereum’s London EVM.

But we’re not stopping here. Wanchain is taking things further by introducing several network improvements and completely overhauling the Wanchain network’s fee market, which moves $WAN closer to becoming deflationary.

Wanchain’s Saturn 🪐 hard fork, in brief

Ultrasound $WAN: EIP-1559

The Saturn 🪐 hard fork introduces the EIP-1559 protocol, which makes major adjustments to the Wanchain network’s fee market and serves as a sustainable $WAN burning mechanism.

Before the Saturn 🪐 hard fork, the actual fee required for a transaction on the Wanchain network was calculated as follows:

Actual fee = Gas Price * Gas Used

These fees were collected and distributed to the Wanchain PoS Validator Nodes selected in the next Epoch.

The Saturn 🪐 hard fork changes this calculation. The Gas Price parameter is now replaced by three parameters: Base Fee, Max Priority Fee and Max Fee. This change impacts all levels of the network, including how PoS Validator Nodes are compensated. The relationship between these three new parameters is as follows:

Max Fee (a.k.a. Max Fee per gas)

The Max Fee is the absolute maximum you are willing to pay per unit of gas to get your transaction included in a block.

Base Fee (a.k.a. the burn)

The Wanchain network now specifies a Base Fee. Each and every transaction will burn an amount of $WAN, calculated as follows:

$WAN Burn = Base Fee * Gas Used

The current Base Fee on Wanchain is 1 Gwin. If the gas used in the previous block exceeds 50% of the Gas Limit, then the Base Fee of the next block will be increased by 12.5%. Similarly, if the gas used in the previous block is less than 50% of the Gas Limit, then the Base Fee of the next block will be reduced by 12.5%.The minimum value of Base Fee on Wanchain will never be lower than 1Gwin.

Max Priority Fee (a.k.a. the tip)

The Saturn 🪐 hard fork introduces the concept of a tip. Users can set a Max Priority Fee if they want their transactions to be prioritised by the Wanchain network. This tip is given to the PoS Validator Nodes as a reward, and is calculated as follows:

Tip = Max Priority Fee * Gas Used

In transactions where the Max Fee > Base Fee + Max Priority Fee, the unused portion will be returned to the user. In transactions where the Base Fee + Max Priority Fee > Max Fee and Max Fee > Base Fee, your Max Priority Fee will be reduced in order to maintain the upper bound of the Max Fee. In this case, the PoS Validator Nodes will only receive a portion of your tip and your transaction will be less attractive.

Example: EIP-1559

To clarify the above description, let’s examine the impact of the EIP-1559 protocol on two ordinary transactions.

TX 1: Send 100 $WAN. The current Base Fee on the Wanchain network is 1 Gwin, and the user sets the Max Fee to 2.7 Gwin and the Max Priority Fee to 1.5 Gwin. In this case, the Max Fee > Base Fee + Max Priority Fee (2.7 Gwin is greater than the sum of 1 Gwin and 1.5 Gwin). In this transaction, the actual cost is 0.0000525 $WAN, where 0.000021 $WAN is burnt and the rest (0.0000315 $WAN) is given to the PoS Validator Nodes as a tip/reward. The unused $WAN is returned to the user as Savings.

TX 1 on wanscan.org

TX 2: Send 100 $WAN. The current base fee on the Wanchain network is 1 Gwin, and the user sets the Max Fee to 2.2 Gwin and the Max Priority Fee to 1.5 Gwin. In this case, the Base Fee + Max Priority Fee > Max Fee and the Max Fee > Base Fee. In this transaction, the actual Gas Fee is 0.0000462 $WAN, where 0.000021 $WAN is burnt. PoS Validator Nodes will only receive a portion of your tip, in this case 0.0000252 $WAN. TX 2 is less attractive than TX 1 to PoS Validator Nodes as they receive fewer rewards.

TX 2 on wanscan.org

Benefits of Integrating EIP-1559 on Wanchain

The introduction of EIP-1559 into Wanchain effectively introduces a sustainable $WAN burning mechanism, resulting in deflationary pressure on $WAN. Following the Saturn 🪐 hard fork, every transaction will slightly reduce $WAN’s circulating supply. Additionally, since $WAN is nearing max supply, the deflationary rate of $WAN will only increase.

Additionally, since the network’s Base Fee can be dynamically increased, EIP-1559 doubles as a security layer protecting the Wanchain network against certain kinds of attacks.

Finally, the improved fee market improves the overall experience of using $WAN for transactions. The Saturn 🪐 hard fork — and EIP-1559 in particular — presents a major breakthrough for Wanchain as it maintains full compatibility with Ethereum’s latest EVM.

London Calling: Full London EVM compatibility

Maintaining compatibility with Ethereum London EVM was one of the primary motivations for the Wanchain Saturn 🪐 hard fork. Achieving compatibility with the London EVM also means that Wanchain is now compatible with various previous versions of EVM, including but not limited to Constantinople, Petersburg, Istanbul, Muir Glacier and Berlin.

Advantages of Wanchain’s new GWAN EVM

Besides the advantages that come from supporting EIP-1559, outlined above, Wanchain’s new GWAN EVM benefits from the latest EVM opcodes. Before the Saturn 🪐 hard fork, some Solidity statements used by certain new smart contracts on Ethereum could not easily be supported on Wanchain (such as create2). When compiling smart contracts on Wanchain, developers had to choose an earlier version of EVM (e.g., Byzantium). This is no longer the case.

Now, as a direct result of Wanchain’s full compatibility with Ethereum’s London EVM, developers can smoothly and seamlessly migrate existing Solidity smart contracts and Dapps from Ethereum to Wanchain in a low-cost, efficient manner. At the same time, Wanchain has fully adopted the use of classic Ethereum-based tools such as MetaMask, Remix and Truffle. As these tools continue to iterate in the future, there will be little lag in migrating improvements to Wanchain.

Finally, Wanchain’s new GWAN EVM greatly reduces the cost of learning DeFi applications on Wanchain for ordinary users. New users do not neet to learn new behaviours to engage with Wanchain’s ecosystem. Any habits cultivated on Ethereum are completely applicable to Wanchain. Some users may even prefer the Wanchain experience as it is many orders of magnitude faster and more affordable than Ethereum.

🪐 Saturn’s rings: Other unique features and improvements

In addition to the EIP-1559, $WAN burning mechanisms, full compatibility with Ethereum’s London EVM, new EVM opcodes, and support for the seamless migration of EVM Dapps, Wanchain’s Saturn 🪐 hard fork has several unique improvements and advantages not found in Ethereum.

Seamless Migration of PoS Galaxy Consensus

The Saturn 🪐 hard fork preserves Wanchain’s PoS Galaxy Consensus. Wanchain’s Galaxy Consensus has been running uninterrupted since early 2019. This is a major key differentiator as Ethereum still uses a PoW consensus protocol. Wanchain now combines Ethereum’s most advanced EVM with the benefits of a sustainable PoS consensus mechanism.

Cost, Speed and Capacity

Wanchain’s low transaction fees have been well documented. After the Saturn 🪐 hard fork, Base Fee baseline will be 1 Gwin. The result is that a normal transaction on Wanchain will be approximately 1/100,000th the cost of a similar transaction on Ethereum. Additionally, Wanchain’s block speed will remain 5 seconds per block. It only takes a few seconds for a normal transaction to reach finality on-chain. Finally, the Gas Limit per block will be adjusted to 50 million, which influences the number of transactions that can fit in a block. Wanchain’s gas limit per block is now higher than Ethereum’s, which is set to 30 million.

As a sustainable PoS network, Wanchain achieves this without sacrificing the network’s high transaction speed and low transaction fees.

Privacy

Wanchains Saturn 🪐 hard fork preserves it’s unique private transaction functions.

Decentralised crosschain interoperability

Wanchain has long been committed to driving blockchain adoption through interoperability by bridging the world’s many siloed blockchain networks. Wanchain’s wide area network of blockchains now connects more than 15 different layer 1 and layer 2 networks, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Arbitrum, Avalanche C-Chain, BNB Chain, Dogecoin, Fantom, Litecoin, Moonbeam, Moonriver, Polkadot Relay Chain, Polygon, Wanchain, XDC Network and XRP Ledger.

To this end, Wanchain will continue to innovate. Not only will more and more networks be added to Wanchain’s wide are network of blockchains, but Wanchain will continue to collaborate with industry powerhouses like Cardano and Polygon and roll-out groundbreaking solutions like decentralised crosschain NFT bridges.

Anyone who shares Wanchain’s vision for a truly interoperable future can deploy, or delegate their $WAN to, either a PoS Validator Node or a Bridge Node.

We are all connected.

About Wanchain

We are all connected — Wanchain, the Wide Area Network chain, is the world’s premier decentralised blockchain interoperability solution. Our mission is to drive blockchain adoption through interoperability by building fully decentralised bridges that connect the world’s many siloed blockchain networks. This crosschain infrastructure empowers developers to build truly decentralised crosschain applications to power the future of Web3.

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