Why we have a Staging Environment and sandbox version of Mainnet
Dear Dusk Community,
The coming weeks see important milestones for the Dusk Network. We release the first iteration of our Dusk Network Mainnet in sandbox mode that is used for partner integration. Using this post, we explain how that works, how we release new features and share them with the community, and what else we have in store for Mainnet. PLONK! (read below)
The four stages of tech releases
At Dusk Network we create bleeding-edge technology based on proven technical and mathematical concepts. Our code releases follow strict procedures.
New code is first tested extensively on our Devnet where it needs to pass strict criteria before it is moved to the Staging Environment (Testnet) (the term Staging Environment is common within tech development for financial applications). In short, the Staging Environment is a final public testing ground. Upon positive conclusion, components of the Staging Environment are released on Dusk Network’s Sandbox, before its turned public.
A separate explanation of the different stages can be found below. Bear in mind that the Sandbox Mainnet enables the Dusk Network business team to get well underway with partner integrations. It is important to speed up the adoption process in this manner, because after all, once we go public, it’s important we hit the ground running.
DEVNET | The DevNet is where internal testing takes place, and is used to improve components within a controlled-environment.
STAGING ENVIRONMENT (TESTNET)| In short, the Staging Environment is a final public testing ground. Firstly, the Staging Environment is great for public stress-testing and to involve the community. Secondly, the Staging Environment is a way to test the impact of new features on the entirety of the protocol, and therefore very common in tech development (i.e. Ropsten or Rinkeby for Ethereum).
P.S. One of the first new features being the replacement of Bulletproofs by PLONK (suggest to read more on that below!).
SANDBOX MAINNET | We have recently announced that the first version of the Dusk Network Mainnet will be put live for our integration partners prior to the end of Q4 2019. In our November Development Update we explained why we need to launch with a sandbox version of Mainnet:
“The Sandbox is a great way forward to achieve integration with the initial adopting partners of Dusk Network…[..].. and to rely on a controlled multi-stage period of opening up all of the features to the community.”
What else are we planning for Mainnet? PLONK!
We recently shared that we are working on the world’s first Rust-based implementation of PLONK, and other features that could potentially be transformed to future roadmap items.
PLONK is the new and most efficient proof system currently known. PLONK outperforms our currently implemented Bulletproofs in 99% of scenarios, and given the difficulty of updating zero-knowledge libraries whilst the Mainnet is public, we have already begun working on the world’s first Rust-based PLONK implementation a few weeks ago and scheduled it for launch.
Why PLONK now?
The cryptographic research space, specifically zero-knowledge proof schemes, has been gaining momentum at an exponential rate since the birth of blockchain. Just 18 months ago when the original Dusk Network whitepaper was created there weren’t many concrete choices for zero-knowledge based protocols. The generic trade off for these was SNARK — STARK — Bulletproofs; since then there have been countless proof system proposals, where the research has been inspired from various branches of maths to look for standardization. Now we’ve got countless spin-offs leaving us to choose between SNARK — STARK — Bulletproof — DARK — SHARK — Marlin — PLONK — Sonic — Aurora and many more (I think we’ll run out of ‘ARK’ rhyming words before we run out of zk proving schemes!).
PLONK is a particularly recent protocol, and since its release we have already compared it to other new alternatives such as Sonic, Super Sonic, and Aurora. Due to the impressive benchmarks and universal set-up, we have chosen PLONK as the zk scheme for the Dusk Network protocol.
Why is PLONK valuable?
Thanks to the combination of Poseidon hashing algorithm and PLONK, Dusk Network would avail of the most performant zero-knowledge stack currently known. It is our intention to adopt the technology in the next iterations of the Dusk Network architecture, in order to achieve unparalleled speed and scalability in producing and verifying confidential transactions with Dusk’s own breed of Confidential Security Contracts (XSC).
About Dusk Network
Dusk Network is an open-source and privacy-oriented blockchain based on years of academic research. You can use Dusk Network to create smart contracts that control digital assets and securities.
Dusk Network. DevNet. Staging Environment. Sandbox. Mainnet. was originally published in Dusk Network on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.