Dot Leap 15

Win an NFT by spreading the Dot Leap word, first treasury proposals on Polkadot, sentries becoming deprecated, time-delay proxies, a guide on chilling your validator, and more!

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We cover Polkadot, Kusama, Substrate, and all related Web 3.0 projects!

The content in this newsletter is the author’s own opinion and not in any way endorsed by the Web3 Foundation. This is an independent and unaffiliated effort.


Looking for human-friendly explainers and tutorials on how to get started building tools and UIs for Substrate chains? Check out our parent site: DotLeap.com


Spread the Word

Follow @bitfalls and send out this tweet and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win one of 100 special edition Dot Leap NFTs deployed on Kusama (coming soon!) - the draw will happen on August 20th and the announcement and NFT distribution will happen in the next edition of Dot Leap!

NFT?

(design might change)

The NFT will allow you special access to swag, early releases of any media (Podcasts, tutorials), and voting power in some decisions Dot Leap (the newsletter) and DotLeap.com (the platform) will need to make in the future - more on that next time.

The NFTs are implemented on Kusama as remarks, so “hacks”, but they work well enough until we mature and replace them with the real thing™.


Polkadot (v 0.8.22)

🚨 The first liveness slashing!

26 validators have been reported as offline in a single session, and a slash has been triggered for a total of 5,265 DOT. Usually, a single validator being offline would just be chilled (lose nominations and set to inactive) but when multiple validators are offline the punishment is more severe. This event triggered such a punishment. Details below.

Twenty-five of this group were operated by Web3 Foundation. Almost all slashed DOT belonged to W3F and will be deposited in the Polkadot Treasury for use by the community in support of the protocol.

This slashing event was caused by validator unresponsiveness due to a previous deployment of development code that was not ready for production and not a part of Polkadot’s client software, which caused the reset of the validators, with session keys lost. The twenty-sixth validator - not operated by the Web3 Foundation - was slashed because it was offline when the slash occurred.

The Web3 Foundation is working on an improved open-source detection system that will alert operators by reporting problems before the offense occurs, preventing future slashes of this kind.

Vote for a better tomorrow!

I’m running for Council Member on both Polkadot and Kusama! Read more about why and what I can bring to the table in this post or click the banner below - the post also explains how to vote in screenshots. Remember, voting costs nothing but a transaction fee - and can be done with locked and staked funds - but has the potential to change the landscape forever!

Polkadot Governance

  • Polkadot’s first Treasury Proposal has appeared. The proposal has been clarified in a separate post, but the gist of it is that Patract labs, a company working with ink smart contracts, wants to develop helper tools around smart contract usage and debugging rivaling Truffle and Ganache from Ethereum.

  • Immediately after #0, proposal #1 and #2 have appeared, submitted by the Polkascan Foundation for maintenance and development of the Polkascan block explorer. The proposals are based on a social contract discussed during Kusama’s evolution. More details in the linked threads.


Kusama (v 0.8.22)

The performance impact of running at 500 validator slots is being discussed and analyzed in this Polkassembly thread. Early results seem to indicate we’ll be fine at 1000 validators even with the current implementations, but this might both improve with optimizations and deteriorate with parachains.

The metrics will be re-reviewed once we reach 600 validators through the auto-bump logic executed in Referendum 76.

⚠ Kusama Participation Lottery

  • A new proposal is up for discussion: implementing a Kusama participation lottery. It’s a lottery which would let you “wrap” your vote in governance or council voting in a lottery ticket for, say, 1 KSM. This would add to a lottery pool, from which a single winner would be selected post-vote. This should encourage turnout in democracy, even if it does misalign incentives somewhat. Discussion here.

🏛 Kusama Governance

Read the detailed digest of Kusama Governance week of August 3rd on Commonwealth.


🔩 Core Stack

( ͡✧ ͜ʖ ͡✧)

Sentries are becoming deprecated in October! Make sure you set up your infrastructure in a way that lets you work without them - that means secure firewalls, reverse proxies, monitoring and more. For a full discussion on why this is necessary, see this issue.

The Web3 Foundation will be updating the Secure Validator Guide to include this new setup!

( ͡✧ ͜ʖ ͡✧)

  • You can now subscribe to GRANDPA justifications and round state via RPC using the RPCs grandpa_roundState, grandpa_subscribeJustifications, grandpa_unsubscribeJustifications.

  • Time-delay proxies are coming. This allows a proxy to be set so that the delegated account is required to announce (a hash of) their action some period before they can actually do it. During this period, the proxied account can cancel the announcement and veto the action.

    Combined with wallet software that alerts when these announcements are made, it should allow hot keys or warm keys to be used practically on relatively large sums of funds.

  • The Rococo collator node can now run one of two runtimes - a basic one, and a contracts one (ink!). This means you can test being a collator for either chain type when playing with Rococo.

  • The Phragmen election was inefficient up until recently: submitted solutions were zero-padded which bloated the size on-chain. With a custom codec, this is now more expensive computation-wise, but much smaller.

  • Phala has claimed SS58 prefix 30.


Ethereum Compatibility

As Moonbeam and Parity’s Frontier mature, I believe it’s worth having a separate section discussing Ethereum compatibility with Substrate and Polkadot in general. The potential for collaboration between the two ecosystems is immense.


🛠 Tools


👨‍🎓 Education

  • Did you know that Substrate has manual seal functionality which lets you fully customize how and when blocks are produced via RPC calls? This also allows you to emulate the instant-block functionality seen in Ethereum’s Ganache.

    Here's a tutorial: https://substrate.dev/recipes/3-entrees/manual-seal.html

  • The Polkadot wiki now contains more information on HRMP - the precursor to XCMP, the messaging protocol parachains will use to talk to each other.

  • There is now a guide on how to chill in the wiki. Chilling is the act of leaving the validator or nominator set without unbonding your stake, so you can instantly re-stake when desired. This is particularly useful when you think you might experience downtime and want to avoid being punished for being offline.


🤝 Ecosystem


Don’t forget to vote!

Your vote only costs a TX fee (a few cents) but it can change the protocol (both Kusama and Polkadot - depending where you vote for me!) for ever - good governance is responsible governance! Click the banner to learn about my candidacy!

Note: your tokens will be locked in democracy, but are still usable for staking, referendum voting, etc. If you want to transfer them, just cancel the vote and they’re free, no strings attached.


That's it for this week - I hope this was as useful for you to read as it was for me to write!

The Dot Leap is put together by Bruno Škvorc. Got any links for me for the next edition? Find me on Riot at @bruno:web3.foundation, on Twitter, or via email at bruno@bitfalls.com.