Ultra light clients, stability, and E2E Release Candidate - Dusk Development Update #29
By Toghrul Maharramov

Apr 07, 2021

A monthly development update series created to embrace the transparency and inclusivity that we strive for at Dusk Network

Dusk Network is developing the privacy blockchain for financial applications. A blockchain-based ecosystem of programmable digital assets that meet industry compliance standards. Companies use Dusk Network to secure capital, trade assets, and access a full spectrum of financial services.

Key takeaways:

  • The core blockchain team has been busy with stress testing, stability improvements, and bug fixes of the E2E Release Candidate.
  • Working on SNARKs, signature gadgets, embedded curves, depth-2 recursion, and aggregating circuits to implement the ability of attesting to the validity of the consensus epochs in a zero-knowledge environment, a prerequisite for ultra-light clients.
  • The Block Explorer has been undergoing performance enhancements and additional UX/UI improvements based on the valuable feedback of the newly instated Community Quality Assurance (QA) Task Force.


Ultra light client cryptography

We entered a long-term PLONK collaboration with Harmony to build the first industry-grade standardized zero-knowledge proof system. The first item on the list are ‘ultra-light clients’. Ultra-light clients will help to achieve mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, because they provide a tremendous speed-up of block synchronization times, and with it, enable support for mobile devices, efficient cross-chain bridges, and much more.

For ultra-light clients to be a reality, we need to implement the ability to hash entire blocks for proofs about the validity of the chain. Instead of hashing the entire history, which puts tremendous stress on the nodes of a scaling blockchain, we hash “epoch blocks”, which will act as checkpoints for the SNARK proofs. While epochs differ per protocol, in general, an epoch is nothing more than a predefined number of blocks (k) to be added to the chain. Using epoch blocks as checkpoints makes the syncing process of nodes k times faster, and in turn, suitable for a mobile setup.

Proving the validity of epochs in a zero-knowledge environment relies on all kinds of novel technologies. The team is working on SNARKs, signature gadgets, depth-2 recursion, aggregating circuits, and is currently experimenting with an embedded BLS12-381 outer curve, which we have created ourselves, and has yet to be named by the team.

💡 Canonical technical debt elimination

Now that the team has added Canonical annotations with MicroKelvin, we have ensured that developers can easily make use of zero-knowledge functionality. The annotations automatically attach information that describe how to store information in a zero-knowledge-friendly way. And now, with the release of canonical 0.6, the team has removed the technical debt from the platform. Technical debt, also known as code debt, was the expected cost of additional rework caused by moving forward with a working solution, rather than taking more time to come up with a better approach from the start. As we work on many cutting edge technologies simultaneously, technical debt is inevitable. Now that we have repaid this debt, it is a lot easier to implement possible changes later on.

Dusk blockchain stability

In the last weeks, the core blockchain team has been busy with stress testing, stability improvements, bug fixes, and removing other bottlenecks that could possibly cause protocol instabilities for the upcoming release candidate. All their efforts culminated in the release of v0.4 dusk-blockchain. Besides improved stability, the latest version also included the addition of connecting to the GQL server over secure transport (HTTPS).

Node stress testing

As the core blockchain team is set to continuously push improved functionality from the Devnet environment to the Dusk Network Testnet, certain stress tests have been implemented. With the transaction stress testing unit, they evaluate node throughput capabilities, and ensure network robustness on higher transaction loads.

Besides the stress testing units, the team introduces a Time to live (TTL) feature for the Cuckoo filter to prevent potential issues regarding the lifespan of data in a network, and enable a secure Websocket connection to allow for secure push messaging between the back-end and the Block Explorer.

Block Explorer V2

The Block Explorer has been undergoing performance enhancements and additional UX/UI improvements based on the valuable feedback of the newly instated Community Quality Assurance (QA) Task Force. This task force consists of community members with relevant field experience, and will be asked for their sign-off for the V2 release on Staging before public release.


Since the addition of our DUSK token to the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem, we have gained valuable experience in the existing world of unregulated DeFi applications. The biggest let-down of the most popular decentralized financial applications, is that at this moment, they provide no user privacy guarantees, whereas potential work-arounds seem to come at high costs. With the Confidential Token Standard in mind, our researchers are exploring the possibility of privacy-respecting DeFi applications on Dusk Network, spanning potential products such as Automated Market Makers (AMMs), Collateralized Lending, and Flash Loans.

Eagle Eye View - Roadmap

For a more thorough view of all the Dusk Network development components, please visit the Eagle Eye Roadmap.


The next sprint cycles, the dusk network development teams are either working on testing and stabilizing the components of the E2E Release Candidate, or implementing additions onto Devnet that will ship to the Dusk Network in the upcoming releases. The former means for Canonical an update across the wider codebase, preparing the nodes for the migration to Kadcast, and monitoring the stability of the Dusk Network blockchain.

The latter includes the implementation of Zedger and its infrastructure, both of which will act as the backbone of the Confidential Security Token Standard (XSC). In the PLONK department, the team will work on the required In Circuit Signature Schemes to make proofs about intermediary blocks a possibility on Dusk Network.


As we move closer to the first ever DuskCon on Friday April 9, we’ve unveiled speakers from Zcash, Anoma, Harmony, Ankr, Aztec, and LTO, all to be present, we are among excellent peers to celebrate the novelty of the Dusk tech in the release candidate. And it won’t stop here. We are working on Zero-knowledge powered ultra light clients with Harmony and a one-click set-up of nodes with Ankr. We are maturing the Dusk Governance process and are ready to enter the next phase and start testing the financial infrastructure of the future.

About Dusk Network

Dusk Network is the privacy blockchain for financial applications. A new standard for compliance, control and collaboration. Our mission is to enable any size enterprise to collaborate at scale, meet compliance requirements and ensure that personal and transaction data remains confidential.

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