Nomadic Labs
Nomadic Labs
Meanwhile at Nomadic Labs #2


The last few weeks have been pretty intense at Nomadic with the preparation of the first community voted upgrade! The team has been working hard on some special future improvements to Tezos…

Improvements to the consensus layer

Tezos has the unique ability to amend itself which allows us to propose state of the art research to the network at any time. This is not a far fetched ideal and will happen sooner rather than later in a series of new efforts spawned at Nomadic dedicated to improving the underlying technology powering the network.

Two of the most prominent paths we are currently exploring relate to consensus.

The first is a refinement of the current protocol, Emmy, by changing the way endorsements are included in a block. This improvement reduces block and endorsement misses, provides expeditious confirmation times and better metrics relating to block confirmation. It is our hope that this particular update will make it into our proposal for the next voting cycle.

The second and more hardcore route is a complete rework of the consensus layer in order to achieve faster finality in a more decisive fashion. We are currently studying the adaptation of classical BFT consensus algorithms to the liquid proof-of-stake system inherent in Tezos.

The Nomadic team is working on a prototype of this new protocol based on Tendermint in collaboration with the French research center (CEA), Cryptium Labs and Arthur Breitman.

Introducing Mi-Cho-Coq

A large subset of the Nomadic Labs team have a strong background in programming language theory and formal verification. Until now most of our efforts have been focused on maturing the node and its infrastructure but this month we have kickstarted a team dedicated solely to formal verification.

Their first product is Mi-Cho-Coq: a framework for the Coq proof assistant to specify Michelson smart contracts and prove properties about them.

Another goal of this effort is to build a repository of simple and idiomatic Michelson contracts for common use cases, with associated proofs. The first one we studied is a multi-signature Michelson contract written by Arthur Breitman. An upcoming post will provide an in-depth review of its proof.

Upcoming in-depth articles

Topics for the next in-depth technical articles include:

  • Proving a Multisig contract using Mi-Cho-Coq
  • How to Implement Your Own Protocol
  • Benchmarking Michelson to Get Accurate Gas Accounting

Athens: Second Voting Period

As we approach the completion of the first active voting period, the proposal period, we would like to describe what’s to come during the second voting period. The first voting period saw the Athens protocols injection and bakers upvoted Athens A and/or Athens B, with Athens A, the most popular proposal, promoted for the second voting phase: the test voting period. In this new period, participants are asked to vote on whether to advance Athens A to the next stage: the...

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Athens: Proposals Injected!

Today marks an important milestone for Tezos. We just triggered the beginning of the first on-chain vote for self amendment. This process could end in the successful migration from current protocol alpha to Athens in about three months, if the participants decide so. As advertised in the last meanwhile at Nomadic and as detailed in our previous post, we injected the hashes of two proposals. Both include the same enhancements except for one: the decreased amount in the number of tokens needed to...

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Athens: Our Proposals for the First Voted Amendment

This blog post is a preview of Athens: our protocol proposal for the first voted upgrade of Tezos. As announced in the last meanwhile at Nomadic, we shall propose two upgrades: one lowers the roll size to 8,000 tez, the other leaves it unchanged at 10,000 tez. Both alternatives will include an increase of the gas limit. The hashes of both versions will be proposed on mainnet later this week, now that a new proposal period has begun. Later this week, we will publish a...

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Amendments at Work in Tezos

We are now on the verge of submitting a protocol upgrade to a vote, and it seems like a good opportunity to explain in details the way in which Tezos node handles amendment in practice. Brace yourselves, this article is quite technical, as are all articles in our in-depth category. Still, as we did in the previous one on snapshots, we’ll try to explain the stakes and announcements and give a brief summary in a short foreword understandable even by non-programmers. The original whitepaper...

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Introducing Snapshots and History Modes for the Tezos Node

In this article, we introduce two new features for the Tezos node: snapshots and history modes. A snapshot is a file that contains everything necessary to restore the state of a node at a given block. A node restored via a snapshot can synchronise and help other nodes synchronise in the existing network. The only difference is that you cannot query the chain context (balances, baking rights, etc.) before the restoration point, but you can still get the full chain history. In conjunction, we also...

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Nomadic Labs at Fosdem 2019

Fosdem is of the largest gatherings of Free and Open Source Developers in Europe. It’s held every year in Brussels during the first weekend of February. This year Nomadic Labs is involved in the organization of the “Blockchain and Crypto-currencies devroom”, a one day workshop to present Blockchain projects to the FOSS community. We strongly believe in open source and we want to share our work with the FOSS community at large. We will also present our work on the Tezos project,...

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Meanwhile at Nomadic Labs #1

This post is the first of a series covering the on-going work at Nomadic Labs. In these posts, we focus on our current top priorities, but of course we have many more projects in the works. Preparing Our First Amendment Proposals Tezos is capable, by design, of automatically amending its economic protocol without the need for a manual update or hard-fork. The current protocol is designed to amend itself only after a successful voting procedure, ensuring that there is awareness and consensus in...

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Study, Learn and Work with Nomadic Labs

Nomadic Labs is opening its doors to students from all around the world to join our internship program. We are interested in many research and practical projects ranging from parallel programming using hardware accelerators, to verification of Michelson contracts, creation of ReasonML/Michelson decentralized applications and privacy analysis of the Tezos network. Internships are tailored to Master’s students. Some proposals have already been submitted to a few European universities. They will typically run for a maximum of six months. We will happily receive and evaluate applications from...

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Nomadic Labs at Popl 2019

POPL is one of the most prominent conferences in Programming Languages, this year held in Portugal. Programming Language Theory is at the core of the Tezos project as demonstrated by the sponsoring of the Tezos Foundation for the conference. Nomadic Labs is happy to attend the conference and looking forward to meeting researchers and industrial partners interested in advancing the state of the art in blockchain technology. The program is available on the POPL website....

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