Edo Update Is Now Approved, and Here’s What It Brings to the Table

Edo Update Is Now Approved, and Here’s What It Brings to the Table

February 14th, 2021, the Tezos network saw yet another historical event.

The fourth phase of baker voting for protocol updates has come to a close, and the Edo update is now officially approved by the network!

Tezos updates’ backstory

Edo is the fifth update of the Tezos protocol, though technically there have been ten phases instead of five, as some inquiring users of TzKT explorer by Baking Bad might have discovered.

Athens was the first Tezos update. It shrunk the roll size from 10,000 XTZ to 8,000 XTZ, increased the gas limit per operation and per block, changed the minimum transaction fee, and altered the procedure for delegate reactivation.

Babylon, the next major update, made improvements to the consensus protocol Emmy and the smart contract language Michelson. Also, a 5% quorum was established for protocol update proposals: unless at least 5% of the network’s full stake supports a proposal, it doesn’t move to the next voting period.

The year 2020 was packed with Tezos updates. Bakers have approved Carthage and Delphi and started voting for Edo.

Carthage included several improvements for Michelson, a modification to the formula for baking/endorsing rewards that made it more resilient against certain attack types, and a 30% increase of gas limit per block and per operation.

Delphi did not change the gas limit yet substantially increased the number of calculations per single gas unit while reducing the data storage fee four-fold, from 1 XTZ to 0.25 XTZ. This has further boosted Tezos’s appeal to DeFi.

The timeline of the first four major Tezos updates looks as follows:

  • Athens (blocks 458 753 to 655 360). Duration of 196 625 blocks.
  • Babylon (blocks 655 361 to 851 968). Duration of 196 607 blocks.
  • Carthage (blocks 851 969 to 1 212 416). Duration of 360 447 blocks.
  • Delphi (blocks 1 212 417 to 1 343 488). Duration of 131 071 blocks.

And so, with block 1 343 489, it was Edo’s time to step into the limelight.

Main features in Edo

There are three most important updates in Edo.

  • The Sapling protocol that enables private transactions.
  • Tickets that make it easier for the developers to write secure and composable contracts.
  • The fifth period of the voting procedure that streamlines the process of protocol updating.

Let’s take a closer look at them.

Sapling

The Sapling protocol enables private transactions in fungible tokens. The amount of a shielded transaction along with its sender and recipient are concealed from everyone but the involved parties who have special viewing keys. Those keys also enable users to provide transaction data access to selected outsiders such as government officials.

The protocol was initially developed by Electric Coin for the private cryptocurrency ZCash. Now Sapling is integrated as an instruction in the smart contract language Michelson. This enables one to send coins to an anonymous pool or withdraw them right within the smart contract.

Sapling is applicable in the priority areas of Tezos’s industrial deployment as described by the Tezos Foundation: digital securities, payments, central bank digital currencies, and decentralized finance. Thus, Sapling enables private STOs.

Tickets

Tickets are a general composable mechanism designed for the authentication of smart contract data, permission governance, and asset representation. In a word, tickets allow one to create transferable permissions and issue tokens.

Tickets are different from the existing FA1.2 and FA2 tokens on Tezos as their transfer does not require calling for the smart contract, unlike traditional tokens. The difference between them is much like the difference between cash and bank account money. The former is transferable in a p2p fashion, while the latter requires an intermediary. In the case of tokens, a centralized smart contract bears said functionality.

A ticket cannot be copied and has verifiable uniqueness, which makes the solution suitable for NFTs. For instance, check out a Dutch auction for NFTs with tickets. Tickets have other use cases, such as multisig substitution, smart contract functionality access management, gaming, and voting.

Speaking of voting, here’s the third major update in Edo.

Voting

The most important governance mechanism in Tezos is the possibility to update the protocol without hardforks. What Edo does update the very mechanism of introducing updates to the protocol.

In earlier versions, the process of introducing amendments to the protocol included four consecutive periods: proposal, exploration, testing, and promotion. Each phase lasted eight cycles or around 23 days.

Edo adds a fifth period known as adoption. The proposal to add it was on the grounds that an immediate implementation of amendments after the promotion period brings about additional risks and expenses for developers, bakers, and other stakeholders. The addition of an adoption period makes the entire process smoother.

That being said, Edo shortens each voting period from 8 to 5 cycles, i.e. from around 23 days to around 14 days. Even with the addition of one more period this actually shrinks the overall approval time from around 92 days to around 71 days.

This ends our brief description of Edo. If you want to know more about it, check out the new edition of Tezos Town Hall featuring Arthur Breitman and other Tezos developers, as well as our course, workshop, and hackathon.

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