May 11, 2021
May 2021: SKALE Community Update
Hi all! Hope everyone is doing well. There are a lot of moving parts right now with regards to SKALE chain upgrades, dApps going live, business development, and community growth. I’ll try to clarify the status and address all frequently asked questions in this post. We have a lot of exciting progress to share.
We are very close to pushing the first dApps live onto the SKALE Mainnet. With nearly 4 years of technical work we are now in the very last steps of launch. It is imperative to finish strong and with the same level of effort, precision, and rigor that’s been applied from the beginning. Which means we must push ourselves to test and ensure that all components are in place and that recovery mechanisms are functional should there be any issues. It is absolutely critical for the success of the SKALE Network to have a positive launch of the first dApps.
This can be hard to do in a bull market with a highly visible project with immense pressure to deliver results immediately. I can assure everyone that the core team and validators are working with a great sense of urgency and are putting in long hours during the weeks and weekends. Still though, it takes time to deliver and ensure it’s not just happening, but happening in the right way. Thankfully we keep making great progress and have another major milestone to celebrate.
SKALE Technology Update
Most of you are aware that the SKALE Network was upgraded earlier this month. It was another major milestone in that the latest performance upgrades and security additions have now been added to the mainnet. You can read about it here. Shortly thereafter the first SKALE Chain launched. Read more here.
Someday we plan to have tens of thousands of SKALE Chains running. All of these chains must be able to operate under adverse conditions and then heal when they lose nodes or rotate nodes. Prior to last week this was only tested in a Test Environment, not on Mainnet.
As of today, it is my pleasure to announce that the first SKALE Chain successfully passed resiliency and liveliness testing and it successfully recovered.
What this Means
As a reminder, the SKALE Network is a blockchain network of the future. It is not a single blockchain or a sidechain. This means the network operations are dramatically more complex than traditional blockchains. The reason for this complexity and architecture is that it provides security and decentralization to the network. Therefore the added complexity is worth it. This also means that network chain operations must be tested in addition to individual chain performance.
In order to maintain liveliness for each SKALE Chain, it must always be able to process a ⅔ consensus and threshold approval. For a 16 node chain this means that 12 nodes must always be running. If a node is not live, then the validator operator must fix the issues with their node. Once the node is back in compliance then in an autonomous fashion it “catches up” to the pack via the SKALE Catch up protocol, which is a feature of SKALE Consensus. This is a critical feature for maintaining the decentralization of the network.
We were able to successfully perform this procedure on Mainnet last week. The first SKALE Chain was able to maintain liveliness with only 12 of 16 nodes running. They successfully operated for almost one week without any loss of liveliness and then the chain healed itself. The nodes then successfully re-joined consensus via the catch up protocol. This was a major test of one of the most important technical components of the network.
Additional Performance Upgrade
There is a constant effort to continue to improve and optimize the chains. A handful of small issues were targeted for improvement and these updates will be put into production later this week via a network patch upgrade. You can track this activity on Github to see the latest pull request and network improvements. Immediately following this upgrade, the network will undergo more testing and upon a positive quality assurance approval the first dApp will go live.
SKALE IMA Upgrade and ZeroMQ
There is a newer and improved version of the SKALE IMA Bridge that will be complete the first week of June. Many dApps will not need this feature and should be able to go live without this upgrade, either by not using a bridge or using an alternative bridge. We are incredibly excited about SKALE IMA as it will be, to our knowledge, the only fully decentralized bridge in production. Most bridges rely on some element of centralization for processing. dApps in the SKALE Network that need this functionality will wait until mid to late June to go live.
A transfer to the messaging library ZeroMQ will take place in a June upgrade. This will bring about even more optimized messaging performance within the Mainnet environment. See more on that library here.
Gas Fee Optimization
Engineering efforts to optimize gas consumption for dApp usage were highly successful. Gas fees required to enter and exit SKALE Chains were cut dramatically. This will make SKALE competitive with any bridging solution on gas fees. And as a reminder, once the user is in the SKALE chain they pay no fees, so this initial cost will be very quickly amortized by the gasless nature of the network.
Gas fees for staking and claiming staking rewards are the next target for smart contract engineers once SKALE chains and IMA are fully live. I highly advise everyone to wait til the weekend when gas fees are lower (especially now that Ethereum has jumped so dramatically in price). Current dynamics with network overload and high price of $ETH are making claiming incredibly expensive during weekdays. Also, as a reminder, you can wait as long as you would like to claim awards and they will automatically continue to aggregate. This offsets the cost of claiming if you do it less frequently.
Go To Market Update
Business Development Efforts have been moving at full speed with a huge success. Each week many new partnerships are signed. We are excited to start announcing the new partners as they go live. Strategy is in place to optimize the announcements for both SKALE and partners at an ideal time, rather than announce them live as they are signed. This is how all partnership announcements work in every industry. I’ve personally been incredibly proud of the efforts of the core team from a BD and solutions engineering perspective. We are looking forward to making this public!
Marketing has been making a huge impact and we continue to grow the community. There has been special effort placed on awareness and education of the protocol. Some very large pieces of work will be launching very soon which show this effort and progress. Please stay tuned.
The Scaling Ethereum Hackathon was a major success. SKALE had 23 submissions making it one of the most used scaling solutions at the hackathon. Please stay tuned to the overview of the projects that built on SKALE. Many of these teams will also be launching dApps on the SKALE Mainnet soon!
In closing, I want to remind everyone that this is a long journey. It has taken a long time and an unreal amount of work to get to where we are and we are now so close to getting dApps live. The SKALE community will keep pushing and giving it our best effort. I could not ask for a better group of people in the validator community, core team, open source contributors to be working on this initiative. I also understand the importance of time to market and first mover advantages. It is hard to be patient and strategic in these environments. I can assure all of you that if we keep focused and keep working hard, we will achieve our goals. This is a long journey and we are just at the beginning.
For more information
Dapp Developers interested in utilizing SKALE for a project, please apply to the SKALE innovator program.
Documentation on deploying a Dapp to SKALE can be found in the Developer Portal.
To learn more about the SKALE $SKL token, please visit our SKL Token page