New Testnet Milestones
By Mels Dees

Oct 22, 2021

GitHub now includes development milestones, timelines, and more.

Last week, Emanuele Francioni (Dusk Network’s Tech Lead) shared details on Telegram about our team’s recent planning sessions. These sessions were held to discuss the most important development challenges we face and to provide timelines of their resolution and our Testnet launch.

The main considerations were:

1. Opportunity For Accelerated Optimization

We are happy to report that the work on PLONKup and Zelbet has progressed at a much faster pace than anticipated. This significantly boosts performance and reduces proving times. As a result, we now have the opportunity to bring their integration forward; implementing them in time for our incentivized Testnet (ITN) launch. Having PLONKup lookup tables available also opens up use-cases that were previously impossible.

2. Slashing Gas Costs For Privacy Operations

Due to the way that Canonical (the serialization protocol we developed for Rusk) performs data encoding/decoding from WebAssembly to the host and vice-versa, some niche operations were found to require an excessive amount of gas. The gas cost penalty for zero-knowledge operations on Dusk Network, compared to transparent operations, should be negligible. Realizing this is one of the many goals we’ve set out for Dusk Network.

3. Web Wallet Engineering Challenges

For the Dusk Network Web Wallet to retain user-friendliness while adhering to privacy requirements, such as a scalable and secure method to use ‘prover keys’, changes need to be made to the Web Wallet’s back-end.

Solving These Challenges

After extensive discussion, it became clear that we’d be able to both resolve the issues and ensure Dusk Network’s Testnet is primed to make an even more spectacular first impression.

  • By bringing implementation of the new proof system PLONKup forward and adding it to the Release Candidate (as opposed to mainnet), we’ll benefit from the significant performance improvements of Zelbet, which replaces the Poseidon hashing algorithm.
  • In addition, the implementation of PLONKup and Zelbet helps to optimize the gas cost considerably. And because we are also complementing Canonical with RKYV (a zero-copy deserialization library), and swapping towards WASMer from WASMi, we’re now able to simultaneously boost performance of zero-knowledge smart contract execution, while severely bringing down the gas costs of all operations, including the formerly problematic ones. RKYV helps in that sense by performing perfect hashing with the compress, hash, and displace algorithm to use as little memory as possible. As a WASM compiler, WASMer has the edge over WASMi, which incurs the cost of being a WASM interpreter, by providing significantly faster execution of WASM logic.
  • By porting the peer-to-peer communication layer Kadcast to the RUST programming language, we’ll be able to speak natively with the Dusk Network Web Wallet, ensuring a higher level of user-friendliness and adherence to privacy requirements.

The Release Candidate webpage is updated to reflect the latest information. All pending RC libraries have been written into the development milestones of the coming sprints, and can be found on our public Github, at their respective repositories.

“When you look at the GitHub milestones, you can already see how close we are to delivering several of them. And once the community gets its chance to interact with the protocol during the incentivized Testnet (ITN) phase, the vast capabilities and complexity of Dusk Network will be undeniable.” - Emanuele Francioni, Tech Lead

The First-Ever Privacy Blockchain For Financial Assets

Dusk Network is operating at the forefront of blockchain privacy technology, and although the tech itself is built on mathematics, the development process is more organic. Remarkably, the decision to anticipate the migration of Dusk Network to the improved ZKP system and the new generation of Rusk VM is expected to have only a marginal impact on timelines. It will also shorten the subsequent testing cycle, due to releasing a better and faster Testnet that’s already equipped with features initially planned for future roadmap milestones.

The Dusk team is committed to launching our public Testnet on Tuesday, 1st of February. This date was jointly decided by every engineer on the Dusk Network team, and includes a healthy period buffer to account for internal testing and non-critical unforeseen challenges.

To keep you updated on our latest developments, we will share our bi-weekly milestones via GitHub, and we kindly invite you to follow our progress there.

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