Every Thursday, just like in the ‘old’ days, we will be publishing a brief update as to what the team is up to. Full dev updates will be reserved for new testnet releases, but between releases we think it would be helpful to the community to shine a light on progress and what the team trying to achieve without getting too deep into the weeds.
Each week we’ll also try to add a bit of explanation about a particular area - this week it’s DBCs.
We’re pleased to welcome back DevOps Engineer Chris O’Neil (@Chriso), who was part of the QA team here at MaidSafe until 2019. Chris’s appointment beefs up a team already strengthened by the addition of engineers Anselme Grumbach @Anselme and Chris Connelly @Chris.Connelly who are already pretty well up to speed.
Here’s a bit of background from the man himself:
I’m currently based in the south side of Glasgow and have been in the software industry for 14 years. I began my career as a developer and worked on product development for about 7/8 years. Then I moved more into the DevOps space, and that’s where my main focus has been for the past 5 or 6 years. I’m delighted to rejoin Maidsafe and be part of the project again. While I will be happy to help with any DevOps requirements, this time I also have the ambition to be part of the network development too.
@Chriso’s ARM builds of
sn_node are now merged, although more testing and bug fixes may be needed before it’s ready for prime time. (
aarch64 builds will be following shortly, @chriso is working on the implementation there just now )
An updated self-encryption API is in the works, to allow parallelisation of the SE process in order to speed file uploads. Planning stage at the moment, but we’ll let you know when there’s something to see.
Logging and linting (automatic flagging of syntax errors) are being reviewed to make it quicker and easier to find bugs and inconsistencies.
Messaging: for optimum performance, communications between nodes should be kept to the absolute minimum required. The number of messages has already been significantly reduced as a result of testnet analyses but there is more to do here, particularly to allow support for offline signing. To this end, we’ve just merged a major messaging overhaul which aims to simplify the messaging protocol.
DBCs: Testnet 7 will include a basic implementation of Digital Bearer Certificates (DBCs). The implementation design is moving on nicely, and we’re investigating the best way to ensure absolute privacy.
A DBC is a unique digital token that has value by virtue of the fact it has been provably issued by a trusted mint as part of an economic system. To spend a DBC you need to get it reissued by a mint. The mint can take your DBC and reissue it as two or more new DBCs if you wish (e.g. payment to a shop, the remainder as change to you), and multiple DBCs can be reissued as a single DBC.
The important thing for us is that DBCs provide a quick, safe, flexible way to make payments that is compatible with multisig/threshold signature cryptography and can be used online and offline. They simplify many aspects of the Safe Network economy.
DBCs actually date back to 1997, but they have not gained much traction to date, largely because of the difficulty of securing a centralised mint which is a single point of failure.
The sharded nature of the Safe Network removes this vulnerability, with each section having its own mint and with DBCs randomly scattered across sections. In addition, a mint on Safe can be trusted because it is hosted by section Elders, nodes that have already gained the trust of the network. This is vital in providing protection against Sybil attacks.
Currently, the team is working on ways to ensure that a compromised section could not possibly publish transactions passing through its mint. More about that in a future update.