The first Agoric Community Call of 2023 hit on January 12. It made sense to go over things we're working on right now — and also some of what’s ahead. One of the biggest of these is mainnet-2, which will see the release of permission smart contracts, meaning we’ll really start to see projects launch on Agoric. There’s a wide variety of projects being actively built right now, and we have an overview of upcoming dapps on our blog, and an overview of 2022’s biggest Agoric milestones.
Read on — and listen in full on YouTube. As always, this blog post is a distillation of the call, with some points added or clarified during the editorial process.
Vaults & Mainnet-2
Dean Tribble, Agoric CEO
At a high level, 2023 has two big things coming. The first is going to be our Vaults release, and the second is mainnet-2.
Vaults should have a significant positive impact on the Cosmoverse, and on the interchain. People will be able to bring their Atom — or whatever tokens that community decides on — and mint IST. IST has already been deployed in a bunch of different places, and with mainnet-2 coming out, there will be a bunch of applications on the Agoric chain itself that will directly use IST.
That kind of fine-grain upgradeability — with fine-grain objects and relationships between contracts — is astonishing. It's been one of the biggest technical challenges we’ve faced. We already have our own contracts using it. Now we're getting robust general support deployed so that third-party contracts can use it. With this implemented, individual contracts can be individually upgraded without need for a chain overhaul. Each individual contract opts into what governance decides: it can decide that it's the BLDer DAO that votes to upgrade it like we do with Vaults, or it could be that a particular third-party contract has their own token that would vote to upgrade it, or a committee is elected that can control whether upgrades happen. That's the kind of stuff that people have wanted in a wide variety of smart contract platforms, and Agoric is positioned to deliver it.
Vaults will be the second step of mainnet-1, which also includes the expansion of smart wallet capability. Previously, it was just enough so you could bring your USDC over, bring your Atom over, do trades in the PSM, that sort of thing. But, again, with the next generation of contracts, it's not only that you do instantaneous trades — where I offer some USDC and I get back some IST, or I do a swap with someone — but it supports the long-running engagement with the contract (i.e., Vaults), and it could be order books, or the NFT infrastructure that several of our mainnet-2 folks are bringing. The possibilities are wide and varied.
Those extensions to the wallet — not only the wallet contract but also the wallet user interface — are part of this new functionality. Of course, it will also have all the additional components, durable governance, and the mechanisms for IST — and Vaults interface with a refreshed UI. People have seen a user interface MVP in our various testnets last year. That's been revamped with help from some friends at a company called Ekko.
There’s the first oracle chain, which Simply Staking and other validators and oracle node operators have been driving forward. We will have oracles for Vaults for liquidation, and those will also be available in the future for additional smart contracts.
There will be an auction-based liquidation mechanism. Previously, we had all the implementation to liquidate against the local AMM, but we are not rolling out an AMM in this timeframe. We work closely with Osmosis and Crescent and others. And so, the liquidation mechanism will be auction-based liquidation and all those contracts are going out.
We learned a lot about performance scaling, working with the community, getting releases out, and that sort of thing in the Inter Protocol rollout. We expect to learn more in the coming months. We're now able to support more transactions, larger user sets, etc.
We're very excited about this release that's coming up that we're working on for this first quarter. Mainnet-2 follows after that. All of this infrastructure is required for mainnet-2. All of these elements that we're rolling out are things that the mainnet-2 folks are building on top of and are starting to update their applications to make use of.
That will be rolling out, starting in Q2, where we will be helping them finish up their integration into the new APIs. We're in the process of refreshing all of the documentation for all of the additional people who would like to build for mainnet-2, or for permissionless releases following mainnet-2. And we will be starting to, after the Vaults release, spin up our developer program for not just the mainnet-2 developers, but the much broader spectrum of developers out there, both in the Cosmoverse and in the mainstream world.
Jessy Irwin, Agoric Director of Security
Most of what we're going to be working on in 2023 is a continuation of the risk management work that we kicked off a year and a half ago with the first audits of the platform.
We have a pretty complex system and we have a wider ecosystem that's also complex and interconnected, and this amazing platform that we need to do a lot of reasoning about. We're on course to continue with security reviews and vulnerability assessments. This year we're going to have quite a bit more threat modeling integrated into our design process so that we've really enumerated risk on a granular level, and we're going to keep investing in the work we've been doing with Moddable on automated fuzzing of XS because that work helps us out down the road for mainnet-3.
There are a few places where our security team has also stepped back to look at the bigger picture and said, "Well, hey, wait a second. There's some other folks who could benefit from knowing more about incident response, who might want a little bit of guidance about how they should be thinking about security, and where to invest" So we also are going to contribute more to the wider Interchain, especially around some of the strategic security priorities that core Cosmos source code that needs additional support for. We're going to pitch in on the emergency coordination and incident response front, especially because having 70 or 80 chains operating on top of the same chain source code creates quite a process and scaling challenge when vulnerabilities need patching or exploitation occurs.
In the immediate term, we're planning for the Vaults launch, which means that we are heads down on audits and all of the other things that support production readiness. We want to do more work on the testing side in DevNet to help qualify the software and challenge some of the security assumptions baked into the code. When a release candidate is available, we may have an adversarial testing program where interested parties examine the new Vaults liquidation mechanism. We may also come up with a few MEV challenges just to see what's possible. We definitely want to do more in terms of connecting with other folks and pitching in to help in our ecosystem, and in our wider community.
On the community front, we do have some pretty big goals for 2023. A lot of them have to do with building a strong foundation for our community and making it easier to find information and solve some of the problems or get good answers to questions that come up. A big part of that will be investing more in Discourse as our main public square, our forum where we have community conversations. We've talked about investing in that a bit more, in the interest of transparency — maybe sharing some of our development meeting updates on a weekly basis, and making sure that we're kicking off community threads about some of the more pressing issues both in our industry and maybe in our ecosystem or the interchain.
A strong community is really important for strong security. Our validators have done such a fantastic job in getting us hooked up to other networks, and helping us out when we've had ridiculous bugs we needed to squish, and that's really helped us think about operational baselines. We’re thinking about some of the areas where we can support our node operators. Maybe we have some automated response that helps if the chain goes down or quits producing blocks. Or we have run books, so that everyone knows what to do — we can write any potential hiccups that arise in day-to-day chain ops.
The other thing that we're working on for 2023 is preparing for the delegation program security reviews. As many of you know, there is quite a long form that comes with it. It may be longer this year. I have more questions to ask, but the protocol doesn't really give us a way to manage risk and to see into some of the finer-grain choices that our operators make. When we get this information, it really is important for us because we're able to put it to use in terms of thinking about, "Well, is there a project that could be funded by the community pool that a validator could be encouraged to take on?"
One of our other big goals for mainnet overall is to get into a regular cadence with our network upgrades for the chain. We want to make sure that for our most important dependencies, we can get in the habit of updating the chain regularly enough that patching security bugs is routine and does not require pulling in all the troops. That means we'll get to hang out with validators more, which is fine by me because they've got pretty good jokes and I like good jokes. I'm super excited about what we have coming up this year and just watching things continue to grow and flourish and be amazing.
As always, if you think you might have found a security bug, check out agoric.com/security. There's always someone on rotation at [email protected] or our HackerOne account if you think you found a bug. We are happy to work with anyone who wants to help make our platform stronger and more resilient by squishing the bugs out of it.
Decentralized Cooperation Foundation
Ric Shreves, DCF President
Looking forward to 2023, I think probably the best place to start is to provide context and to calibrate a bit. In 2022, the foundation just got started. We didn't spin up active operations until Q1 of last year. The process of getting a Caymans Islands foundation into traditional business mechanisms has taken more time than we expected. Basic things like bank accounts and insurance have been time-consuming. Now we've got all of those gears in motion, and a lot of the foundational work is over with. We’re looking forward to 2023 as the year that DCF starts to act as a flywheel for the ecosystem. Not only for Agoric and Inter Protocol, but also more broadly across Cosmos and IBC where we’re helping support some of the really interesting stuff that Jessy is doing on the security side of things and strengthening the relationships with our validators.
For those of you who tracked DCF across this past year, you'll know that we have a substantial portion of our treasury currently staked with Agoric delegators. We're going to be reviewing those relationships this next quarter. We're going to participate in that delegation program security review that Jessy mentioned. And we certainly welcome that and we appreciate the support everyone has been giving us.
In early 2023 we’re also looking to launch a grants program. The exact nature of that grants program is being defined at this time and we are looking to hire against that. We're also looking at hackathon opportunities to support the Agoric ecosystem. We'll probably do those in partnership with Agoric.
DCF will also be more visible at Cosmos ecosystem events this year. If Agoric is there, you're likely to see DCF and Inter Protocol there as well. Look for us and say hi, please.
In 2023 we also plan to really beef up support for Inter Protocol. Up to this point in time, we've really focused our efforts on getting the economic committee up and running, and that group has been exceeding expectations. In response to the community request, we are also providing the compensation and the budget for the economic committee. Let's see how that works out for us across the next year. We'll also be working with the economic committee around security protocols and getting things tightened up over there so that everyone is comfortable with the fail-safes and the systems that we have in place.
To support this expanding work stream, we are about to engage in some strategic hires at DCF to give us more resources and to allow us to engage more fully on specific critical projects, like Inter Protocol.
I'm really excited about 2023. I think it's going to be incredibly busy. I think a lot of things are going to jump forward.
Validator Delegation Program
Jeet Raut, Agoric Partner Programs Manager
We will be doing a couple things coming up soon for the Validator Delegation Program. We’ll be sending out an additional amount of BLD to validators who have met certain security criteria that we've established. More importantly, we'll be opening up applications for another round for anyone who wants to join the Validator Delegation Program. Please keep an eye out on the different channels we have on our Discord. As well, just reach out to me if you have any questions about this.
Dean will be speaking at Interop in Denver, which happens on February 27th and 28th, in coordination with ETHDenver. Inter Protocol is likely to be there, too.
We’re working on a program that's going to help folks who want to do meetups internationally around Agoric
Thanks for subscribing and sharing. Please feel free to forward. You can join the Agoric community on Discourse, Discord, Twitter, Telegram, and LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter, and catch us at upcoming events.