Hi all! Quite a few days for the SKALE Community! Congrats to everyone in this community and Telegram group as it has truly been a team effort to educate the world and drive awareness of the SKALE Network. Keep in mind that we are just getting started. We are trying to bring the power of Ethereum to billions of users and it is going to take time, effort, persistence, and belief in order to make that happen. Let's keep up the great work!
At the time of this writing SKALE is now a top 10 Proof of Stake Network! Congrats!
Here is the Community Update on Product and Feature Timelines
TL/DR UPDATE - The upgrade is ready to ship now! Woohooo!!! However, in addition to the upgrade there is a gas fee optimization taking place which is being prioritized in this release rather than the next release. This means a handful of more engineering days for what should save SKALE chain users tens of millions of dollars in gas fees in 2021. Deployment target date is now pushed back one week but in return for a big win for the community, dApp developers, and SKALE as a whole.
The SKALE dev and validator community has been working HARD. Amazing progress has been made in the last few weeks.
SKALE Chain functionality has been available for a very long time, however, an upgrade is required to run the IMA bridge between Ethereum and SKALE. This upgrade has now been audited and is complete. SKALE Chains are ready for use! However, we have an opportunity to optimize and we need to do it. The one remaining piece is optimization of gas costs for end users. In light of recent increases in gas fees, teams building on Ethereum cannot focus only on their platforms, but must also focus on optimizing the gas fees.
In the last week, devs have made incredible strides and have already reduced the gas fees for IMA by over 50%. We believe this fee can be lowered by half again with just 3-5 more days of engineering effort. The SKALE dev community has made the decision to make the change now and integrate it in this release rather than wait for the next release. The results of this change are meaningful. An additional 50% improvement will yield roughly $15,000,000 USD in savings for 1,000,000 IMA transactions.
The decision was made for a few reasons. One, upgrades are difficult in a decentralized network with 153 nodes and 46 validator orgs. The other is that upgrading IMA would require a second version be deployed which causes versioning issues and change management impact for Dapps.
Overall this is a big win for SKALE!! Nice work by the core devs who unlocked the gas savings.
Please see the github repo for all updates. SKALE is open source, community run, and decentralized.
There are two other major updates I wanted to inform everyone about.
Staking Rewards Claims
Most of us have felt the pain of gas fees paid to stake and claim rewards. The good news about claiming rewards is that you can do it over long intervals, which means greater accrual of rewards in comparison to gas fees required to pull rewards. This still stings no matter the amount. To offset this issue, you can now claim your rewards to a new address (not the staking address) which will dramatically drop the fees. We are asking ConsenSys, Figment, and other staking interface providers to include the option to pull to a new address in their UX which will make fees MUCH lower. You can also do this directly through Etherscan (we'll write a blog post about this). Additionally, we are targeting another optimization for an April/May release to lower these fees.
Node Memory Symmetry
Nodes in the SKALE Network are not required to have a specific amount of disk storage. There is a minimum viable quantity required, but not a set amount for a node. Variance in storage can create instability during some network functions. A collective decision was made in the community to fix the problem with software not hardware. A node could have X amount of storage, but is required to have Y amount of storage. Any excess in X over Y is now not utilized. This creates a uniform storage capacity amongst all nodes (assuming minimums are met) while not requiring the validator community to change any hardware specs. All while increasing stability and performance of the network and SKALE Chains.... ie this was a big Win!! You can see the code implemented here: https://github.com/skalenetwork/docker-lvmpy
Assuming the gas optimization is completed quickly and there are no issues in QA and TestNet, we hope to see this implemented the week of March 22nd. This will require coordination of the validator community and will be dependent on their ability to move quickly prior to the dead period where no upgrades can be performed (Mar 25-Apr 2). If this deadline is missed the upgrade will happen the fist week of April. As a reminder, the core team and open source dev contributors cannot control this part of the timeline. We will support the validators to the best of our ability and hope to have a speedy upgrade so IMA can start roaring!
We will release the demo next week in order to gain more synergy with the Coinbase listing. We'll be adding tens of thousands of new SKL holders and community members with the CB listing. A live demo showing .45 second blocktimes is going to have a major impact with the larger community we'll have on board next week.
Your Captain Jack