Reinforced Concrete, PLONKup & Sharding - Dusk Development Update #33
By Toghrul Maharramov

Aug 06, 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:

  • Our new hash function Reinforced Concrete and PLONKup proving system make the Dusk Network a whole lot faster.
  • It is all about constraints. With the successful integration of PLONK and PLookup functionality in PLONKup, we can finally open up ZK technology to a whole new class of use cases not possible before.
  • We investigate the possibility for a non-sharded mainnet to be converted into a sharded protocol later on, without substantially impacting the live protocol.


E2E RC releases - Stake Contract

After the public release of the DUSK Contract, it was time to share the library of the Stake Contract. The Stake Contract ensures that interested parties can successfully act as Provisioners for the network. It also manages their locked stakes. Together, the Provisioners are responsible for the agreement and finalization of the candidate blocks set to be added to the chain.

💡 Did you know? Dusk’s consensus mechanism actually treats every single DUSK staked by the pool of Provisioners as a separate node. A single consensus participant can be elected more than once during the same agreement step.

You can read more on our library releases in their respective articles or find the complete Dusk Network Release Candidate Schedule here.

Reinforced Concrete

This month the team has been working on converting Dusk Network’s Lead Cryptographer Dmitry Khovratovich’s latest hashing innovation Reinforced Concrete into functioning code. This implementation meant that the new hash function runs as fast as possible, while also ensuring that no attack vectors arise from the implementation.

The field of zero-knowledge-friendly hash functions is still under development, and when such a major new improvement comes along, it makes total sense to integrate it into the Dusk Network stack prior to mainnet. Even more so if not only our Lead Cryptographer, but the entire cryptography team has contributed to this revolutionary hashing upgrade. While we leave the final benchmarks for the corresponding academic paper, we can safely say that it is fast. Extremely fast.

For Dusk Network it would mean the difference between an acceptable waiting time for users to generate proofs, and a streamlined user experience. Together with PLONKup (PLONK and PLookup), we can finally open up zero-knowledge technology to use cases that were not viable before due to circuit size restrictions.


To speed up in-circuit hashing, we came up with a solution to use lookup tables to enforce algebraic constraints, rather than have certain in-circuit permutations calculated. This way, we are not only able to make very efficient use of lookup tables for hash function for faster creation of proofs, but doing so while keeping strong security parameters.

💡 Did you know? Hash functions are used in various contracts. By securely implementing lookup tables, we have made it possible to create proofs in a much shorter time span. How does this work? Lookup tables reduce the constraint count in circuits, and fewer constraints means ‘cheaper’ circuits, and less time needed to generate the proofs.

Dark Mode

The Dusk UI Kit has been given an update for improved UX, with several style updates shipping a more professional look and feel. Minor user experience issues on the block explorer and wallet have been solved, and the UI/UX team has started experimenting with a dark mode to cater to the preferences of the nocturnally inclined among us.



This month, following the consensus protocol optimization for improved network throughput, the research team continued their efforts in the field of scalability: Sharding. Where the consensus protocol optimization has a direct impact on network performance, sharding is a viable option to further improve the overall throughput of the protocol in the near future.

Such a solution would be to parallelize the execution and the storage of the protocol into heterogeneous interconnected shards. Each shard would have its own unique purpose. While this sharding solution is still in its infancy and would require further research, the main point of such a design would be to make the sharded protocol composable. Composability would mean that a single transaction can interact with contracts on multiple shards.

Eagle Eye View - Roadmap

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


In the next month, we can expect the release of the Reinforced Concrete Paper, as well its library release, and the publication of our PLONKup library and paper. We’ll also move forward with the gradual public release of our libraries.

In addition, our cryptographers are thinking about defining the state transition function inside the circuit, which enables you to attest to the validity of execution of arbitrary programmes. In this next stage, we’ll have an integrated proving system that is sufficiently advanced to make proofs about any computer programme in an acceptable time frame, allowing users the freedom to create proofs as they wish. While this field is very bleeding edge, it is a fascinating development with a lot of potential.

The research department will continue its efforts in sharding, slashing, staking derivatives, while also making strong contributions to documentation.


Since the first original team photo made its way into the community, we’ve had quite a few questions revolving around the mythical purple Dusk Network hoodie. The single most asked question being: “Where can I get one?”

Keep a watchful eye on our Dusk Portal, as, in the coming weeks, we will offer the possibility to get your hands on your very own limited edition Dusk Hoodie collectible. You can choose any color you want, as long as it's purple.

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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