With the release of The Burst Dymaxion white paper on the 27th of December, the PoC Consortium clearly set the tone for 2018. The Dymaxion will allow Burst to be a truly global, scalable, fair and green cryptocurrency by using tangle-based lightning networks as payment channels on top of the PoC blockchain.
We already explained on a previous article the basic functioning of the Dymaxion. As it is stated in the white paper, we already left the concept phase – the Dymaxion uses technologies that already exist and integrates them into a new framework with significant synergistic gains. A prototype has been built and the results are detailed in the whitepaper.
All building blocks for our proposal are already in place, not only as theoretical concepts, but well developed and even tested in real-world application use. These are solved problems.
However, the Dymaxion isn’t the only thing detailed in the white paper. A few months ago, the PoC Consortium introduced a new way of “proposing a new feature for Burst or its processes or environment”: the Capability Improvement Proposals (CIPs). Several CIPs are announced in the white paper; they are going to substantially change the Burst architecture. The PoC Consortium already stated multiple times that several forks will happen in 2018, but they will happen in a controlled manner through the CIP process.
So what exactly is the plan the PoC Consortium developers are proposing?
Burst Capability Improvement Proposals (CIPs)
The Burst Dymaxion white paper is broken down into several different Capability Improvement proposals that I am going to detail here. This is merely a simplified explanation of these concepts, please refer to the white paper for an in-depth analysis.
Dynamic node capabilities
The PoC Consortium doesn’t want to implement distinction between masternodes (“super-nodes”) and regular nodes, as some cryptocurrencies do. Instead, as hardware capabilities of the nodes in the Burst network will always differ, a fine-grained configurability of nodes extending on current principles will be implemented. The mempool size will be configurable to better adjust to node capacities. Other parameters will define policies for nodes, e.g. which transactions to relay and which not.
“We believe a structure in the network will evolve from these parameters, better adapted to the underlying node capabilities – or what node operators are willing to provide – forming naturally a hierarchy of nodes with backbones and super-backbones emerging from that.”
Dynamic transaction fees
Currently, the minimum tx fee is 1 Burst, which works well only for a narrow range of Burst value. On one hand, hard-capping the lower bound of tx cost to 1 Burst effectively dismisses possible Burst microtransactions. On the other hand, simply lowering transactional cost could lead to spam attacks on the network.
The answer the PoC Consortium proposed comes in the form of dynamic transaction fees: the cost of a transaction would depend on network load – in other words the fill state of forged blocks. In order to be included in the next block a transaction currently in mempool must provide a higher tx fee than the currently free slot in the block requires. If the transaction can fulfill this requirement, it is included in the block, if it can’t it will wait in mempool for the next block, where this process repeats. Micro-transactions should be possible and under high-load conditions miner profit would be a multiple of what it is now.
Dynamic block size
Currently, the maximum number of transactions that can go into a block is 255. The PoC Consortium proposes to make block size a dynamic value to be better able to cope with varying transactional load on the Burst blockchain, together with the dynamic transaction fees.
Instead of limiting the maximum number of transactions to 255, we could theoretically have an open limit and solve much of the scalability issues blockchains have per se. Instead, a conservative extension of the maximum number of transactions per block to 1020 (4-fold) is proposed. Together, the linear-progressive fees and the maximum of 1020 tx/block would ensure miner earnings will remain the same under the same network load.
The current Proof-of-Capacity algorithm is showing a weakness called “time-memory tradeoffs” mentioned in the SpaceMint paper that theoretically allows dishonest miners to exploit up to 2% of all mining capacity. The PoC2 proposal is a minimally invasive way to achieve time-memory tradeoff resistance, while keeping the currently used plots functional. Software used for the mining process can operate on both PoC1 as well as PoC2 format, where PoC1 requires twice the reads compared to PoC2 and works on both optimized as well as unoptimized PoC1 plots. In consequence, replotting is not a necessity.
The Dymaxion is a tangle-based lightning network on top of the Burst blockchain, explained in another article: The Dymaxion Explained in Layman’s Terms. As stated in the white paper, the implementation needs to be done in an incremental process, split up into several separate CIPs: adding ring signatures library / adding zk-SNARKs library / adding parts of the IOTA iri / adding ACCT (ACTT) templates.
While PoC and PoC2 are energy efficient and fair, critics have pointed out that the disk space used for Burst is “lost” or “wasted” as plots are not really usable for anything else than to perform mining and transaction validation for the Burst blockchain. The PoC3 protocol is going to be the answer to those critics and will exist in parallel to PoC2. It will be based on dual-use data instead of the Burst mining-only plots of PoC and PoC2. Dual-use means real-world data, like movies, audio, Wikipedia archive files, OpenStreetMap GIS data and more. In general, large immutable files of permanent interest to all, voted on by nodes for validation inclusion.
“The Burst blockchain will thus not only form the fundamental layer for a truly global transaction network, it can also take over a custodian role in globally distributed redundant storage. This means it can be used for the safe preservation of all information that has been acquired by our civilization and that is of permanent interest.”
The PoC Consortium is working hard to implement everything to the BRS (Burst Reference Software) as soon as possible. The developers believe that by the end of the first half of 2018 all the CIPs described in the whitepaper can be part of the Burst Reference Software, depending on factors stated below.
For starters, the PoC Consortium will release the version 2.0.0 of the wallet – probably by the end of January. This is intended to be a bug and vulnerability free wallet, extremely well tested, with cruft removed. It will be supporting a plethora of database backends, from small ones (like H2) up to really enterprise (Oracle, etc.), as well as the Dynamic Node Capabilities described above. This BRS 2.0.0 is going to be the solid foundation needed to build upon – yet it will be fully compatible with old wallet, and thus released without any fork.
The adoption of 2.0.0 is going to determine the date of deployment of the forks listed in the roadmap. A high adoption rate (more than 80% of nodes running the 2.0.0 wallet), including exchanges, will be needed to go any further. In the ideal situation we have 80% on the first week of February: “this would be a signal the community and exchanges want to go for the roadmap we propose”, according to rico666.
Once the network shows its support for hard forks, they will be planned according to a certain block height, following this roadmap:
- First hard fork: includes dynamic block size and transaction fees, the PoC2 protocol and some of the Dymaxion code, but inactive. The fork is planned to happen around block 470 000 – probably not before March.
- Second hard fork: implementation and activation of the remaining Dymaxion code. Users should be able to play with it on the TestNet before that.
- Third hard fork: Implementation of the PoC3 protocol.
This roadmap will be achieved before the end of 2018. However, the most important bottleneck remains the community – we urge everybody to update to the latest wallet version, currently 1.3.6cg but most importantly 2.0.0 once it is released. If you are still using the AIO client, please use Qbundle instead. We need everybody onboard to make the Burst Dymaxion happen as fast as possible – we are counting on you.
To conclude, I would like to remind everyone that as big as the Dymaxion may be, it is everything but the final destination for Burst. We are witnessing the beginning of a process: a lot more is planned for 2018 and beyond.
All estimates about dates and milestones are best guesses of the PoC Consortium, but depending on several factors, outside reach of the PoCC, such as adoption rate, acceptance by exchanges (their review time) etc. and can therefore not be warranted.
Also published on Medium.