The Baking Sheet - Issue #123

Bakers -- now is the time to vote on Lima

Welcome to this week's issue of The Baking Sheet! There are 8 days remaining for 12th Tezos protocol upgrade, Lima, which means now is the time for Bakers to vote and delegates to contact their bakers to vote on the proposal. For this week, Let’s learn more about Protocol Lima and what it will potentially bring to the Tezos ecosystem.

Enter Lima

The Lima era is now upon us.

With the recent introduction of Protocol Lima, we’ve been met with another wide array of new and exciting features for the Tezos network.

Continuing ongoing developments for privacy and scaling applications such as Zero Knowledge Rollups and SCORUs, Lima introduces the following features:

  • Pipelining

  • Consensus keys

  • Improvements to Tickets

  • Ghostnet fixes

  • Liquidity Baking sunset removed

  • Temporary Time-lock deprecation

Let’s quickly go over some highlights of these features. We’ll describe pipelining a bit more in depth later on in this article, so let’s start with consensus keys. Consensus keys is an interesting development. It has been requested for quite some time now by the baking community. This feature will enable bakers to change their key used for signing blocks and consensus operations without having to change their public address.

Tickets are also are getting some improvements. For those not aware of what tickets are, they are fungible tokens that are created on-chain and cannot be duplicated. Protocol Lima will deprecate the creation, storage and transfer of zero amount tickets. Additionally, support is being added to trace ownership to transaction receipts.

For Ghostnet fixes, a few problems arose in the migration of Jakarta to Kathmandu on Ghostnet. Nomadic Labs describes these and how Lima fixes them here.

As for the other changes, the liquidity baking sunset will be removed along with the introduction of a safer timelock mechanism. A vulnerability was found and announced relating to the the timelock feature and Lima will disable the timelock feature for the time being while a safer mechanism is currently being developed.

It’s important to note that of these proposed changes, there are still efforts being made to further development of SCORUs and Zero Knowledge Rollups.

With Jakarta, we were introduced to Transaction Optimistic Rollups (TORUs). Likewise, Kathmandu brought us SCORUs which have gone live on testnet following Kathmandu’s activation.

More testing needs to happen before SCORUs and other next generation rollups can be activated to Tezos mainnet, so if helping on that front is of interest to you please reach out to [email protected].

That said, Nomadic Labs detailed some desirable properties for optimistic rollups in a blog post.

  • Trust minimized: You don’t have to trust that a majority of the rollup nodes are honest to always be able to withdraw your funds from the rollup. One honest node is enough.

  • Permissionless: Anyone can submit operations to a rollup since all the rollup block data is posted on the main chain.

  • Capital efficient: Unlike with state channels (e.g., Lightning Network), rollup users are not required to lock up a bond upfront. Only rollup node providers are.

While optimistic rollups are an experimental feature, they will be implemented not as smart contracts but rather natively within the economic protocol. Thus, we can call both these types of rollups “enshrined rollups” because their protocols are enshrined to the Tezos protocol.

Layer-2 scaling is still happening and occurring at a rapid pace.

What’s most interesting with Protocol Lima revolves around the continued work being done towards increasing throughput with pipelining.

Why Pipelining is a Big Deal

Imagine if there was a way to get a “free gain” in throughput (TPS) from a Layer 1 optimization. That’s essentially what’s happening with pipelining on Tezos.

Gabriel Alfour shared some insight on how Tezos is moving towards pipelined block validation in our blog post.

The basic idea with pipelining is that right now, block producers send blocks in their entirety. Then, when consensus nodes receive these blocks, these nodes execute the blocks in their entirety. The reason behind this is that right now, nodes have to agree on the state of Tezos literally after processing each block, and so you need to execute the blocks to know the resulting state hash.

The problem with that is it slows consensus a lot. There is no reason to wait for the block to be executed before performing consensus operations (spreading blocks, voting on a block, etc.). You can and should be able to do both in parallel. So, that’s the main idea of pipelining. The goal is to have block verification done in parallel with consensus. In the best case, this can result in blocks that are 2 times faster.

In the real world, I’m not sure how much this will help but it will reduce the loads of the nodes on the network. Basically, it’s a free gain. It’s an optimization for Layer-1 and it doesn’t sacrifice anything.

This work will continue into protocol L as well, where we’ll see most of the benefits from the speedups.

As we can glean, this is a pretty ingenious way to speed up consensus and reduce the loads of nodes on the network without significant tradeoffs like decentralization.

With Protocol Kathmandu, we saw the meat of the work being done on reducing the number of times operations are applied to a node before propagating through the network.

Lima takes it a step further, per Nomadic Labs blog post.

The Lima protocol proposal extends pipelined validation to all remaining classes of operations, and to blocks themselves. When receiving a new block from its peers, a node will only check the validity of the block before forwarding it to other peers, speeding up block propagation on the network. Afterwards, the node will then apply the block.

The upcoming step will be to extend pipelined validation to block production itself, reducing the effort (and hence time) required for bakers to propose new blocks. Along with further upcoming optimizations, this opens the door to reduced block times.

While this development may not be the most exciting comparative to OR’s and privacy applications, it’s an important one in increasing Layer-1 throughput on Tezos, which after all, who doesn’t love faster TPS and block times?

I for one, think that’s a pretty big deal.

Looking Forward

As Tezos continues to march forward with its scalability roadmap, the remainder of the year is heavily influenced on getting closer towards increased scalability. We’ve witnessed the introduction of Layer 2 scaling solutions like OR’s and side chains, with more work continuing on them. In conjunction with that work, we’re seeing throughput take a priority through pipelining.

Drawing closer towards mass scalability for Tezos, its paramount to take place and participate in voting for protocol upgrades like Lima. Make sure to get out there, vote and start the discussion in the Tezos Agora forum!

Last Call for Tezos CRP Nominations

This is the final week for submissions on who you think deserves recognition and tez for their contributions to the Tezos ecosystem.

There is up to 5000 XTZ available for the Tezos community with all different ranges of skills and contributions.

Two ways to nominate:

📝 Submit through Typeform (takes 30 seconds)

#️⃣ Tag #TezosCRP on Twitter, Telegram, Reddit, and Discord

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Join us for next Tuesday/Tezday episode featuring co-founder of the popular PFP project on Tezos, wwwombats. We'll learn all about their project and the upcoming Ottez evolution!

After the success of our first meet up, come and join us for our second Tezos Meetup in Austin Texas.

It will be a lot of fun discussing Tezos Blockchain Evolution, the main on-going projects, the future Blockchain upgrades, but also general chat about Cryptocurrency & how Tezos is making a difference.

Everyone is welcome from General Public, to developers, technology fans, or simply anyone who wants to learn about Tezos and having a good time.

The event will be held in a very cool Austin place Brewery (Austin beer Works ) where drinks / Pizzas will be provided for the registered participants.