Tech and Research Update: August

The Web3 Foundation nurtures and stewards technologies and applications in the fields of decentralized web software protocols. One way the foundation does this through its Research and Technical teams. We’ve collected the most recent updates from all members of the team so you can know what we’ve been up to!

Research

  • Web3 Foundation organized a Polkadot Networking Workshop in Berlin on 5 & 6 of August with industrial and academic collaborators, where Polkadot’s current networking challenges and corresponding solutions were discussed.
  • Researcher Jeff Burdges has stabilized the Schnorrkel crate. This crate provides Schnorr signatures, Schnorr multi-signatures, hierarchical deterministic key derivation (HDKD), and a fast Schnorr DLEQ proof based VRF. Schnorrkel strikes an optimal balance between security concerns, including defense-in-depth and miss-use resistance, and the flexibility and diverse functionality wanted from signature schemes in blockchain protocols.
  • Sergey Vasilyev has started to explore ZEXE-style two-layered SNARK constructions that aims to yield succinct block validity proofs for zero-knowledge parachains.
  • Fatemeh Shirazi was a program committee member of international workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology (CBT’19).
  • Syed Hosseini Lavasani and Alfonso Cevallos Manzano will hold an exercise session for Polkadot’s bridge design in Copenhagen Blockchain Summer School. In addition, Alfonso will be giving a talk at the Nordic Blockchain Summit 2019.
  • Alistair Stewart gave a number of talks focusing on Polkadot’s Validity and Avalibility scheme in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Chengzhu during Polkadot China tour in July.
  • Handan Kilinc Alper wrote a paper describing the relevant time technique used in Polkadot’s block production protocol BABE with the title: “Ouroboros Clepsydra: Ouroboros Praos in Universally Composable Relative Time Model”. Read more: https://eprint.iacr.org/2019/942.pdf
  • In NPoS, validators are elected at the start of each era by an algorithm whose objective is to maximize the minimum stake across the elected validators. Alfonso proved that this optimization problem (called maximin support) is NP-hard to approximate within a factor better than 1.2. This shows why implementing algorithms with a constant-factor approximation guarantee, as we intend to do in Polkadot, is best possible.
  • This summer saw the addition of three interns: Derek Ding, Zsófia Molnár, and Balint Lerch.
  • Derek is working on making the erasure coding algorithm used in the availability scheme more efficient.
  • Zsofia is working on the design and analysis of parachain allocation auctions.
  • Balint is working on a set of simulations to find the optimized parameters for the NPoS system.
  • An RFP for bridge design and implementation is being worked on and will shortly be published. Keep a look out if you’re interested in submitting a proposal.

Technical Education

  • Anson Lau Tsz Hing, Bill Laboon, and Logan Saether have given validator and staking workshops around the globe in cities like Pittsburgh, Berlin (Slides), Shenzhen, and online. Don’t worry if you missed any of these — we will be giving an updated version at DOTCon.
  • Bill has also created and given a governance workshop.
  • The team has been pushing updates to both the Polkadot wiki and the Kusama user guide. Including a detailed write-up on secure validators.
  • Anson is working on a new version of the faucet to allow a frictioned drip for Kusama.
  • Logan is working on a script to scrape the state from the Claims contract on Ethereum to generate a Polkadot chain specification.
  • The team has also been putting together new RFPs to engage the developer community — keep an eye out for these as they will be published soon.

DevOps

  • Federico Gimenez has been making updates to the Polkadot Deployer to make it now work on multi-cloud environments along with many more improvements. The deployer is a command line tool that allows full deployments of Polkadot chains to be spun up and managed in the cloud with just one command.

Security

The Polkadot Claims smart contract that allows holders of the DOT indicator token on Ethereum to claim a Polkadot public key has completed a security audit with ChainSecurity.

Stay up to date with Web3 Foundations research by visiting Web3 Foundation’s wiki or Polkadot’s wiki.

Web3 Foundation

Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation nurtures and stewards technologies and applications in the fields of decentralised web software protocols.

Web3 Foundation Team

Written by

Web3 Foundation is building an internet where users are in control of their own data, identity and destiny. Our primary project is @polkadotnetwork.

Web3 Foundation

Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation nurtures and stewards technologies and applications in the fields of decentralised web software protocols.

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