Led by Shunan Yu, the Gelaxy team is responsible for the development of Elastos’ Mainchain-sidechain architecture and multi-tiered consensus mechanism. The team has already accomplished a great deal in 2021, and many of its development milestones will be on display in upcoming code releases. Here’s what the Gelaxy team has set out to accomplish for the Elastos ecosystem in 2021:
1. Achieve Full CRC Supernode Autonomy
Since the establishment of CRC (Cyber Republic Consensus), all 12 CRC Supernodes were maintained by the Elastos Foundation in order to ensure the smooth operation of CRC in its early stages. However, as per Elastos’ broader ethos of decentralization and the model laid out in the Cyber Republic Whitepaper, it is in the best interest of the Elastos ecosystem that CR Council members maintain their own supernodes independently. This is an important initiative that will contribute to a more decentralized and robust consensus.
Status: Development and testing are complete, and this feature is active. For the Cyber Republic Council’s second term – slated to begin June 10 – CR Council members will be responsible for running their own nodes.
2. Activate illegal and inactive states for Supernode Status Updates
In light of the possibility that illegal and inactive states could be triggered by unforeseen circumstances in the initial stages of Elastos’ DPoS launch, the Gelaxy team disabled penalty functions for supernodes. Consequently, supernodes have not been financially penalized upon entering illegal and inactive states to this point. In order to better incentive supernodes to act in the best interests of the Elastos ecosystem and to inherently disincentivize collusion, penalty functions for illegal and inactive supernode states will be re-enabled.
Status: Development and testing have been completed, and penalty functions will be re-enabled in the upcoming release of the DPoS node program.
3. Complete 36-Supernodes Model for DPoS Consensus
At present, 12 DPoS supernodes provide the security for the cross-chain transactions between the Elastos Mainchain and all of its sidechains. In order to advance decentralization throughout the Elastos ecosystem, the Gelaxy team will be upgrading the consensus mechanism dedicated to cross-chain transactions to include a full 36 DPoS Supernodes.
Initial Status: Both development and testing have been completed. Before the 36-Supernode model is fully active, supernodes must run arbiter processes and configure sidechain nodes. In the upcoming May 2021 release of the Mainchain node program, a specified block height for activation will be provided.
Correction: The Gelaxy team will be shifting back the release date for this cross-chain transaction consensus upgrade. Although development and testing have been completed, existing DPoS nodes will be required to upgrade their hardware as well, which will increase operating costs. In consideration of the ecosystem’s current DPoS nodes count, it is in the best interest of decentralization to delay the activation of this upgrade so as to avoid DPoS nodes dropping out of DPoS consensus. Therefore, the cross-chain transaction consensus will not be upgraded in the May release of the Mainchain node program. The Gelaxy team will continue to keep the community posted, and will announce a release date when DPOS 2.0 is launched.
4. Implement Random Node Selection Function
In order to create additional incentives for unelected supernodes to be ready to perform their validator duties, a system of random selection will play a role in making for a more reliable and robust DPoS consensus. Failure on the part of a node to perform validation when selected will also be penalized by deducting part or all of the node’s staked ELA.
Status: Both development and testing have been completed. In the upcoming May 2021 release of Mainchain node program, a specified block height for activation will be provided.
5. Program Consensus to Revert back to PoW DPoS Block Generation is Disabled
Under normal circumstances, the Elastos Mainchain utilizes a hybrid consensus that employs both Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS). However, under extreme or unusual circumstances, such as when a large volume of Supernode servers are down, Elastos’ DPoS consensus may become unable to validate new blocks for an extended period of time. To prepare for such scenarios, it is critical to have an alternative consensus mechanism in place so as to enable DPoS consensus to be restored efficiently and securely.
The simplest and more secure alternative is to shift to a pure PoW consensus. During this period, only transactions that serve to restore DPoS and that support DPoS election processes can be published on-chain.
Status: Both development and testing have been completed. In the upcoming May 2021 release of the Mainchain node program, a specified block height for activation will be provided.
6. Decrease Cross-chain Transaction Time
Elastos cross-chain transfers depend on a final confirmation from both Mainchain and sidechain transactions. Based on DPoS’ multi-signature consensus, a cross-chain transfer can be theoretically completed and confirmed in a single block. However, in the early stages of cross-chain transfer implementations, the confirmation process was conservatively designed to be completed over 6 blocks for security considerations. After a period of prudent observation, the Gelaxy team is now prepared to restore the confirmation process to 1 block in order to reduce the average cross-chain transfer time to less than 3 minutes.
To further improve the speed of low-value cross-chain transfers, the team is also developing a model for cross-chain transactions that does not require block confirmation. In this model, cross-chain transactions (low-value only) are passed to the sidechain through a DPoS multi-signature consensus which is recognized immediately by the sidechain. Such a cross-chain transfer can be confirmed within 10 seconds – a tremendous improvement with major implications.
Status: Development is currently in progress, and an anticipated release date will be announced once the Gelaxy team determines an appropriate timeline.
7. Migrate DID Sidechain to a new Smart Contract Sidechain
At present, Elastos’ DID Sidechain utilizes a PoW consensus by merge-mining with the Elastos Mainchain, and thereby maintains a block time of approximately 2 minutes. In order to improve the processing speed of the DID Sidechain and expand its use case potential, the Gelaxy team is migrating the DID Sidechain to a new Smart Contract Sidechain (ETH). This migration will also equip the DID Sidechain with smart contract functionality.*
*During the DID Sidechain migration, all existing DIDs will migrate to the new Smart Contract Sidechain by default. However, existing assets stored on DID Sidechain will have to be transferred manually with bridging protocols. The Gelaxy team will provide more detailed information pertaining to this matter as the migration approaches.
Status: Development is complete, and testing is currently underway. Release is anticipated for June.
8. Implement Tokenomic Model from CRC Proposal #36
The Gelaxy team is presently implementing the tokenomic modifications outlined in Cyber Republic Proposal #36. Relevant details concerning these tokenomic modifications are available at the following link:
Status: Development is complete, and testing is currently underway. In the upcoming May 2021 release of the Mainchain node program, a specified block height for activation will be provided.
9. Implement Ethereum Layer 2 Solution for Smart Contract Sidechain
The Gelaxy team is currently investigating the various implementations of Ethereum Layer 2 solutions for the Elastos Smart Contract Sidechain. The team’s foremost objective is to upgrade the sidechain in order to enhance scalability for ecosystem applications – in particular, those DeFi applications – and improve ELA’s cross-chain transfer functions between the Mainchain and sidechains.
Status: Development is currently underway, and release is currently slated for August 2021.