The Baking Sheet - Issue #189

Enter Oxford: The 15th Tezos Protocol Upgrade

Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin our descent into Oxford, please ensure your seat belts are fastened and your bakers ready.

Enter Oxford

The moment has arrived, after 6 long months, the Tezos blockchain, known for its innovative on-chain governance mechanism, is implementing its 15th upgrade, known as Oxford 2. The upgrade went live on Friday, February 9th, at around 1 PM UTC at block #5,070,849, this upgrade marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Tezos. It is the culmination of a meticulous governance process, showcasing the blockchain's commitment to continuous improvement and community-driven development.

The Journey to Oxford 2

Oxford 2 comes on the heels of the original Oxford protocol upgrade proposal, which, despite not achieving the required supermajority of affirmative votes in its promotion period, paved the way for a revised action plan. This plan focuses on enhancing the staking user experience for bakers (validators in the Tezos ecosystem), advancing the development of Smart Rollups, and introducing other critical features to bolster the Tezos protocol, such as Timelocks.

The Tezos community, including bakers, infrastructure, and application developers, has played a pivotal role in shaping this upgrade. Their feedback, especially regarding proposed changes in slashing and automated staked funds management, has been instrumental in refining the features of Oxford 2.

History of Tezos Upgrades

The strength of Tezos is its on-chain governance that enables alignment across the ecosystem to seamlessly upgrade the protocol.

Athens: Marked the beginning with an increased gas limit per block and a reduction in the roll size from 10,000 ꜩ to 8,000 ꜩ.

Babylon: Brought a more robust consensus algorithm (Emmy+), simplified smart contract development, and refined the delegation process.

Carthage: Increased the gas limit per block and per operation, and improved the formula for calculating baking and endorsing rewards.

Delphi: Focused on optimizing gas costs and reducing storage costs by a factor of 4, reflecting improvements in the storage layer.

Edo: Added privacy-preserving features with Sapling and BLS12-381, and updated the amendment process for greater efficiency.

Florence: Doubled the maximum size of operations, enabling larger smart contracts, and further optimized gas usage.

Granada: Introduced Liquidity Baking to incentivize decentralized liquidity, reduced block times from 1 minute to 30 seconds, and made several improvements to reduce gas consumption significantly.

Hangzhou: Brought in smart contract views, timelock encryption, caching for faster access, and a global table of constants.

Ithaca: Launched Tenderbake, a new consensus algorithm for fast finality and scalability, along with improvements to the baking experience.

Jakarta: Experimented with Transaction Optimistic Rollups (TORUs) for increased throughput and privacy, and improvements to tickets and sapling.

Kathmandu: Prepared for smart contract optimistic rollups, introduced pipelined block validation, and implemented various other enhancements.

Lima: Separated validation from the application of operations for higher throughput and introduced consensus keys for bakers.

Mumbai: Halved block times to 15 seconds with improved block validation pipelining, fully activated Smart Rollups, and introduced the transfer of tickets between user accounts.

Nairobi: Boosted transactions per second (TPS) and added new rollup features, pushing the boundaries of scalability and functionality.

What's Cooking with Oxford 2?

Adaptive Issuance and Staking Mechanism: On Hold

First off, Oxford 2 is taking a cautious step back from Adaptive Issuance and extending the Staking mechanism to delegators. It's a move that speaks volumes about Tezos' careful approach to change, ensuring that every step forward is measured and in the best interest of the ecosystem's stability and growth.

PoS Just Got Smoother

The Oxford 2 upgrade brings some much-needed refinements to Tezos' Proof of Stake (PoS) system. We're talking about a sleeker slashing protocol and an automated staking mechanism for bakers. This is a game-changer, folks! It means bakers can say goodbye to the headache of manual bookkeeping to manage over-delegation and hello to a smoother, more streamlined process.

Timelocks Are Back and Better

Security is a big deal, and Oxford 2 addresses past concerns by reintroducing Timelocks with an upgraded design and implementation. It's like giving the system a stronger shield, ensuring the integrity and safety of transactions and operations on the blockchain.

Smart Rollups Evolve

And let's not forget the Smart Rollups! Oxford 2 is setting the stage for private Smart Rollups, giving developers the power to choose between permissioned or permissionless deployments. Plus, deploying rollups across various networks just got easier, which is a big win for developers looking to innovate and expand on the Tezos platform.

What Oxford 2 Means

The Oxford 2 upgrade represents Tezos' resilience, innovation, and the power of a community-driven approach to blockchain development. As the countdown to the upgrade ticks away, the excitement within the Tezos community is undeniable. This upgrade symbolizes Tezos' thriving journey, showcasing its capability to push the boundaries of blockchain technology.

So, what's your take? Are you as thrilled about Oxford 2 as we are? Being part of the Tezos ecosystem at this juncture reminds us of how far Tezos has come along and we're eager to witness the new heights Oxford 2 will help Tezos achieve.

For those hungry for more details on Oxford 2 and its impact, Tezos Agora remains your prime destination for deep dives into community discussions and proposal insights.

Never. Stop. Evolving.

As the Tezos community gears up for the exciting Oxford 2 upgrade, the wheels of innovation continue to turn. Developers within the Tezos ecosystem are not resting on their laurels; instead, they're already laying the groundwork for the next leap forward: Proposal P. Operating in an open-source environment not only fosters transparency and collaboration but also allows us a sneak peek into the future of Tezos development.

Peering Into Proposal P: The Next Frontier for Tezos

The upcoming Proposal P is shaping up to be a significant update, with several key features already being developed that promise to further enhance the Tezos blockchain's performance and user experience. Let's dive into what's on the horizon:

Back To The Future Film GIF

Accelerated Block Times

One of the headline features of Proposal P is the reduction of block times to just 10 seconds. This enhancement aims to significantly speed up transaction processing and overall network responsiveness. For users and developers alike, this means quicker confirmations and a smoother experience on the Tezos blockchain, making it more competitive with leading blockchain platforms.

A New Take on Endorsements

The proposal introduces a novel approach to endorsements, which are crucial for the blockchain's consensus mechanism. By renaming and possibly reworking the endorsement process, Proposal P seeks to optimize network efficiency and security. This change could enhance the way validators (bakers) participate in securing the network and validating transactions.

Innovations in Data Availability

With a focus on the data-availability layer (DAL), Proposal P is set to introduce changes that could significantly impact how data is stored, accessed, and utilized on the Tezos blockchain. Enhancements in this area are crucial for scaling the network, improving the efficiency of smart contracts, and potentially opening up new use cases for decentralized applications.

Embracing Adaptive Features

Perhaps the most intriguing aspects of Proposal P are the introductions of Adaptive Issuance, Staking, and Adaptive Slashing. These features signal a move towards a more dynamic and responsive protocol that can adjust to changing network conditions and requirements. Adaptive Issuance could alter how new tokens are created, aligning the rate of issuance with the network's needs. Similarly, adaptive staking and slashing mechanisms could make the process of securing the network and participating in consensus more flexible and efficient, potentially leading to a more robust and secure network.

Looking Ahead

The details emerging from the Proposal P development underscore Tezos' commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. By focusing on speed, efficiency, and adaptability, Tezos developers are ensuring that the blockchain remains at the forefront of technology, ready to meet the evolving needs of its users and developers.

As the Tezos ecosystem awaits the activation of Oxford 2, the anticipation for Proposal P builds. This next proposal encapsulates the spirit of Tezos: a platform that never stands still, always pushing the boundaries of what's possible in blockchain technology. Stay tuned for more updates as Proposal P progresses from concept to reality, marking yet another milestone in the Tezos journey.

This Week in the Tezos Ecosystem

What You Need to Know About Fortify Labs by TZ APAC

Enter Fortify Labs by TZ APAC, a startup studio designed to propel the growth of innovative startups built on Tezos and the forthcoming Etherlink. This initiative is a comprehensive support system for startups ready to make their mark in the Web3 space.

Who Should Be Interested? Fortify Labs is on the lookout for ambitious teams that are past the ideation phase and have moved on to product development. The ideal candidates are teams gearing up to launch their products by Q3 2024, with the vision and drive to reach profitability shortly thereafter. If your team fits this description, Fortify Labs could be the catalyst you need.

Why Fortify Labs? Here’s what makes Fortify Labs stand out:

  1. Dedicated Support for Startups: Understanding that each startup has unique needs, TZ APAC pledges to work intimately with each team. The aim is to provide tailored support that ensures not just a successful market entry but a thriving presence in the competitive Web3 ecosystem.

  2. ‘Plug and Play’ System: Fortify Labs emphasizes a hands-on approach to support. This means startups get assistance across various critical areas, including community building, product testing, and business development, among others. The goal is to create a seamless and efficient pathway to market success.

  3. Advisory and Mentorship: Perhaps one of the most invaluable aspects of Fortify Labs is access to TZ APAC's panel of industry experts. These leaders, with proven track records in both Web2 and Web3 realms, offer guidance on building robust businesses, effective pitching to investors and clients, and strategizing for market entry and growth.

How to Apply If you’re leading a startup that’s ready to soar in the Web3 domain, and you're poised to launch your product with an eye on swift profitability, it's time to take action. Fortify Labs by TZ APAC presents a not-to-be-missed opportunity to accelerate your journey.

Interested teams can apply now by visiting the application link here.

This Week in Tezos Development

The advent of a new whitelisting feature in Smart Rollups offers builders the choice to tailor the level of decentralization to their needs. This innovation addresses the critical challenge of transaction privacy in blockchain operations, particularly within the Tezos ecosystem, where transactions are inherently public and traceable.

Key Details:

  • Privacy Challenge in Blockchains: By default, blockchains like Tezos lack transaction privacy, making all transactions public and potentially traceable back to real identities.

  • Privacy Solutions: Privacy can be achieved through complex methods like zero-knowledge proofs and multi-party computation, but these solutions are often resource-intensive and complicated to implement.

  • Simpler Privacy through Decentralization Trade-off: Nomadic Labs has developed a simpler solution for privacy in Smart Rollups by allowing a trade-off in decentralization. This involves not publicly posting transaction data and using a non-public Data-Availability Committee (DAC) to maintain privacy.

  • Whitelisting for Privacy and Control: The Oxford 2 protocol proposal introduces a whitelisting feature allowing Smart Rollup developers to specify allowed operators, making rollups private (permissioned) or public (permissionless) based on deployment choices.

  • Flexibility in Rollup Deployment: The whitelisting feature provides builders with the flexibility to deploy rollups as private (with a whitelist) or public, with the option for private rollups to become public but not vice versa.

The introduction of a whitelisting feature in the Tezos Smart Rollup protocol marks a significant step towards offering builders and developers the flexibility to choose their desired level of decentralization and privacy. This feature not only caters to the need for transaction privacy in specific use cases but also allows for a controlled and secure deployment of rollups. With this, Tezos continues to evolve, reinforcing its position as a versatile and builder-friendly blockchain platform, inviting feedback and collaborations to enhance its offerings for the blockchain community.

Nomadic Labs has announced the release of Octez version 19.1, a minor update that brings significant security and functionality improvements. This version is particularly important for operators of public RPC nodes and Smart Rollups node operators, following a recent security alert for public-facing infrastructures.

Key Details:

  • Enhanced Security: The update hardens the default ACL endpoint whitelist for the RPC server, improving security for public RPC node operators.

  • Configurable RPC Connection Limit: Version 19.1 introduces a new feature allowing operators to set a limit on the number of active RPC connections per server, with a default setting of 100 connections.

  • Important for Smart Rollup Node Operators: If Smart Rollup nodes are operated remotely or on a different network interface than the Octez node, configuration changes will be required to ensure compatibility with v19.1.

  • Graceful Shutdown on Error: The new version adds a mechanism to shut down the node gracefully in case of an "unknown key" error by Irmin, preventing the node from running in a degraded state indefinitely.

  • Critical Bug Fix: Fixes a critical bug affecting Smart Rollup nodes in full history-mode, which could result in data loss during Layer 2 chain reorganizations coinciding with garbage collection. With v19.1, full history mode is now safer to use.

  • Update Instructions and Changelog: Detailed update instructions and a full changelog are available on the version 19 release page.

  • Git Tag and Commit Hash: The release is tagged as v19.1 in Git, with the commit hash dd3a30f89106383821fa6392e789fbd5ba886470.

  • Oxford 2 Protocol Activation Reminder: The activation of the Oxford 2 protocol is scheduled for February 9th, with v19.0 being the minimal compatible version for the Oxford 2 activation. Operators, especially Tezos bakers, are reminded to ensure their systems are updated accordingly.

The release of Octez v19.1 by Nomadic Labs addresses critical security and operational concerns for the Tezos network, especially for public RPC and Smart Rollups node operators. By introducing enhanced security measures, configurable RPC connection limits, and critical bug fixes, this version aims to fortify the network's infrastructure against potential vulnerabilities. Operators are encouraged to review the update instructions and changelog carefully to ensure a smooth transition to the new version, keeping in mind the upcoming Oxford 2 protocol activation.

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