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26.03.2021

The Main Points of the Florence Amendment

Less than a month after the approval of Edo, the Tezos network started voting on the new update called Florence. The quorum has been already reached.

Here’s what it is all about.

Florence: in the beginning

The Florence update was first published on March 4th, 2021, as a joint amendment proposed by Nomadic Labs, Marigold, DaiLambda, and Tardies. The authors follow the principle of submitting a proposal every few months to synchronize the process with the on-chain voting cycles on Tezos.

Florence includes some bug fixes, Merkle sub-trees, and a series of minor improvements. Still, the most important features in the proposal are as follows.

  1. Maximum operation size increased from 16 kB to 32 kB. This would allow doubling the size of smart contracts to enable developers to create more complex decentralized apps.
  2. Gas consumption optimized. Complex functionality in certain smart contracts might make their use economically infeasible. This optimization is set to rectify that problem.
  3. Depth First Execution Order. Earlier, the calls between contracts used breadth-first order. This changes it to the depth-first order, which is set to make things easier for developers who design inter-contract operations.
  4. Cooldown period instead of testing. The third phase of on-chain voting had a test chain deployed so that the update could be checked for normal operation. Nobody actually used it for said purposes yet the mechanism caused major operational problems to node operators. Florence removes the testnet from the third phase, thus changing its name to “cooldown period.” Testing will now be carried out in test chains not related to the voting process on the mainnet.
  5. Baking accounts. Delegating tez to a baker basically means associating the delegated coins to his or her public key. This causes inconvenience as the baker is, in fact, unable to change their public keys. To tackle the problem, Florence offers a new type of accounts called baking accounts. They are smart contracts governed by a multisignature allowing bakers to change their keys without changing the address. Bakers, therefore, won’t have to ask users to delegate their tez every single time there is a need to change their public key.

There are two versions of Florence: one features baking accounts, and the other doesn’t. Offering two alternative versions is justified by the need to change client libraries, wallets, and indexers should the new type of contract is deployed, so there is a chance that the community might consider such work inappropriate and unnecessary at the moment. Both versions are available for on-chain voting.

Florence: the current state

Four days after the proposal, the Nomadic Labs team has asked for the postponement of baking accounts. Testing and looking closer at said accounts made the team discover certain problems undocumented before that can seriously impact the operation of existing and future smart contracts.

Nomadic Labs have stressed that it is still possible to develop baking accounts without impacting the existing contracts and keeping important invariants. Nonetheless, they believe, implementing such accounts as is might pose a serious challenge because of the need to introduce major code changes and a crucial impact on the delegation system. This effectively could impact the way the entire Tezos blockchain operates. If the community doesn’t want to face such problems down the road, it should pay more attention to the process of TZIP development, of which the Baking Accounts TZIP is an example, they say at Nomadic Labs.

As a result of this call, the first voting phase saw bakers preferring Florence without any baking accounts. Right now, this version of Florence is in the second phase. You can keep your finger on the voting process at Tezos Agora. The full list of changes featured in Florence is available on the update’s official page.

If the voting process carries on normally, it would take around 71 days to approve Florence rather than nearly 92 days as it would have been before Edo. We will keep you posted about the progress with Florence as well as about other Tezos news.

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