The 23rd Agoric Community Call on Wednesday, August 10, connected our community efforts with our engineering progress. We reported from HackATOM, BUIDL Asia, and ZCon3 and brought folks up to speed on our mainnet-1 development. And those are just the tip of the Agoric activity iceberg. Read on, and listen to the Twitter Spaces event on YouTube. As always, this blog post is a distillation of the call, with some points added or clarified during the editorial process.

Conference Highlights

CEO Dean Tribble reported from Korea and Las Vegas.

Back in our Belmont headquarters after his recent travels, Dean joked that he has newfound sympathy, following his trip to Korea, with people in APAC time zones who are trying to align with North American and European calendars. He attended both HackATOM and BUIDL Asia. HackATOM had a large audience that was new to crypto and Cosmos, despite which 90 projects came together over a weekend. Dean was one of the hackathon judges. We started to see real interchain DeFi building on the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC). 

BUIDL Asia, though it was a small conference, had Vitalik Buterin talking about “The Merge,” and other participants included Eli Ben-Sasson of StarkWare and Illia Polosykhin of NEAR Protocol. Jason Potts talked about the unique characteristics — from UI to economics — of cryptocurrencies. There was great momentum, even in this down market. One highlight, says Dean, was talking with Nick Kunkel from MakerDAO about IST, and how making “grease” for the economy is more important than value extraction. For more about Korean jazz houses, karaoke, and a lot of blockchain networking, check out the full recording

Dean went straight from Korea to Las Vegas for Zcon3, run by the Zcash Foundation. Zcash was our first investor, and they hold a fair amount of BLD. Now that these tokens can be used for governance and bridge from Zcash to Agoric, there is a lot of interest in things like the programming model we bring to the table. Zcon is a great reminder about how this isn’t just about economics or finance; it’s about freedom and privacy, and how to enable humans to cooperate safely. 

Validator Activity

Jeet Raut, Partner Programs Manager, discussed the validator program.

We rely on our validators to help operate the network, and staking is a major part of that to secure consensus with both the new blocks and maintaining uptime. The point of our validator program is to make sure we have high-quality validators that can support our secure and diverse decentralized network. First phase of delegation was 500,000 BLD.

  • The phase 1 questionnaire assessed the following:
    • Operational capacity
    • Security standards
    • Interest in community involvement
  • Once validators were selected to receive delegation, they pledge to maintain standards on the following:
    • Hardware requirements
    • Uptime
    • Reasonable commission rate
    • Actively participating in governance proposals
    • Participation in an infrastructure task
    • Participation in a community building task
  • The phase 2 application was sent to those validators who were selected to receive the phase 1 delegation. Make sure everyone’s up to security standards. Those who meet the requirements for phase 2 will receive an additional 250,000 BLD delegation. 
    • The deadline has now passed (midnight August 10, 2022)

Engineering Updates

Rowland Graus, Director of Product Management, had the engineering news:

I’m happy to go through engineering updates for you all. Note that we have a lot of threads going on simultaneously and sometimes our updates on these calls can be hard to track. For this month and going forward, I’ll focus on one specific narrative to give context to our work.  However, I’d like to emphasize that we build out in the open, and anyone who wants to dig in deeper can see our issue list on GitHub. We have a project management layer that isn’t visible, but all the comments, design, and work are there. 

We’re targeting the next release around launching an end-to-end test for Inter Protocol. In particular, this requires an upgrade to our wallet experience so that users can easily access a wallet running on-chain. This wallet will allow you to sign transactions with Keplr and other third-party signers, but will make Agoric-specific transactions. Once our dapps are ready for this wallet experience, the end-to-end test is a go. So ongoing work includes completion of the wallet backend and upgrades to our dapp front ends to use it.

Security Updates

Jessy Irwin, Director of Security, reported on … security.

During the previous Community Call, I spoke about the work we did to remediate a Cumulative Gas issue that impacted validator node restarts. Now that mainnet is stable, it is time for an upgrade that will bring it in line with later versions of cosmos-sdk, Tendermint, and Gaia. These updates will enable the community to safely introduce IBC to the network in the future. Validators have been working on exercising the agoric-upgrade-7 release in a testnet environment, and though they’ve hit a few hiccups in the form of a bug, they are pushing forward. The community can follow along with the upgrade milestones here. In addition to this, we have:

  • Invested in improving coordination and cooperation with validators on several fronts. Most recently, we hosted a Validator Office Hour with the DCF.
  • Continued security reviews to evaluate supply chain risk for the ecosystem.
  • Kicked off validator reviews for the OpCo delegation program.
  • Focused on readiness for upcoming security assessments of the Agoric Smart Wallet, Cosmic Swingset, and Oracle Network for Inter Protocol. 

Decentralized Cooperation Foundation

Ric Shreves, who leads the DCF, reported in.

  • Delegation program
    • Proceeding without custody provider being setup
    • Legal documents are completed
    • Can now legally fund the foundation treasury 
    • Delegation fund announcements coming soon 
  • A lot of good Discord and Commonwealth discussion — please join in
  • Community Fund 
    • Proposed process guidelines received feedback
    • Signaling proposal due for a vote by end of week
    • Soon there will be a process for governing the Community Fund

Marketing

Santiago Semino, Marketing Director, shared what his team is up to.

  • Upcoming events
    • Messari — Sep 21-23 (New York City)
      • Dean speaking
      • We’ll have a booth
      • Inter Protocol will host its first event
    • Cosmoverse — Sep 26-28 (Medellín, Colombia)
      • Dean and Zaki speaking
      • Developer workshops
      • The interchain in full force
  • Upcoming Virtual Community Calls
    • Inter Protocol #3 — Thursday, August 18 @ 9am PDT
    • Agoric Community Call #24 — Thursday, Sept 1 @ 9am PDT
    • From now on, all Community Calls will be on Thursdays
      • Agoric – First Thursday of the month
      • Inter – Third Thursday of the month

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