Although it’s been a while since the DEDIS lab’s last blog post, we have been making a lot of progress behind the scenes. Let’s walk through one of our currently most active projects. With nearly 7k commits, 345 stars, and 85 forks at this time of writing, I mention of course the Cothority repository. In particular let’s talk about its core element: the DEDIS blockchain, a.k.a. Byzcoin.
The DEDIS blockchain, Byzcoin, is implemented in the Cothority
repository. This repository holds a set of
distributed protocols and services, which is a tool chest of protocols that
can be integrated into a
conode, a node in a network of servers
which collectively witness facts, events, state changes, etc. Using these
tools, we can construct a blockchain, a distributed state machine, or
even a smart contract execution system.
Byzcoin was introduced in version 3 of Cothority (we talked about it previously). Since then is has seen numerous improvements, bug fixes and new features, like a new BDN signature scheme, new client command-line interface (CLI) or the ability to use Ethereum contracts. Since its first v3.0.0 release in March 2019, Byzcoin has seen no less than 18 releases, with the current version being v3.4.4.
Aside from the development and improvement of Byzcoin, we also maintain a running production blockchain that is operated by 7 nodes. It is mainly used by the C4DT, which does a wonderful job in ensuring that the chain keeps going on. The actual chain can be visualized with the skipchain explorer, or via the ongoing Columbus project.
In March 3 2020, Byzcoin (and more globally Cothority) took a major step in transferring the development and maintenance responsibility to C4DT. This step was necessary to allow the C4DT Factory to develop Cothority towards a more industrial/production use and free the lab from maturing this project beyond the Byzcoin and Omniledger research papers it was launched from. It allows the lab to invest in other research projects, while still working with C4DT to help providing security fixes and improvements on Byzcoin.
The lab is currently implementing its next generation system, which is a rebirth of Byzcoin. This new project aims to provide a modular framework that captures the essential interfaces for maintaining and performing distributed-ledger operations. It will allow the lab to test and implement its new ideas and should also be an interesting tool for researchers who want to experiment with decentralised protocols. This tool is still in active development and you’ll find out more about it in a new post with its first release.
If you want a broader view of the current DEDIS development activity feel free to visit the Github DEDIS page, which always reflects our current development activity: https://github.com/dedis
Stay safe, by continuing to work from home!