Chainflip Development Update - December 10th 2021

With Tom under the pump, Simon takes the reins with dev update 16: Soundcheck deadline edition.

Chainflip Development Update - December 10th 2021

Welcome to another Chainflip Dev Update. As you may know, the Soundcheck testnet is supposed to be just around the corner. And this week, it’s Simon taking the reins. That’s because Tom Nash, CTO, said this today:


So, as his partner, I’ll carry out his wishes.


Progress Since Last Update:

Development

State Chain

Bug fixing (a bit).

Chainflip Engine

Bug fixing (a lot).

Ethereum

Not bug fixing (anymore).

Web

Polishing and deploying, also bug fixing.

Goals for the Next Fortnight

Fix the bugs and launch the testnet.

Development Goals

Make it all work nicely together

General Thoughts

Although this is what he wrote 2 weeks ago, I think the most appropriate response to this heading is still: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

An Update from Simon:

Ok, now that I’ve fulfilled Tom’s wishes, I figure I’d best give a bit of a situation report myself. We are all very excited for Soundcheck, but the deadline crept up fast and it’s only in the last few weeks that we’ve been able to run full-scale testing due to limitations in the p2p code, as mentioned in the last update. We've fixed the main problem, and have been able to fully scale the tests, but we're still having trouble on the networking end. We think this is something inside Substrate/libp2p, but can't be sure.

Now that we have been able to run it at full scale, it became apparent that keygen and signing broke at various times due to new changes introduced in the interim. We’ve had to take some time to improve our testing setup to speed up the development cycle for fixing these issues, as prior to this week, implementing a change and testing it would take hours by itself. Now that's in place, we're finding and squashing bugs much quicker.

We feel very close to hitting the deadline, but I would be lying if I said the code was immensely stable and ready for testing. It isn’t, and it’s not clear it will be ready for the full-scale Soundcheck program by Wednesday the 15th. I have a lot of faith in the team, who have been working their asses off for the last few weeks trying to push us over the line, but software engineering is an unpredictable process. Fixing one problem can reveal two more. That seems to have been the state of play these last few weeks - just as we think we’re done, a fix allows us to progress further, which brings to light previously unknown problems that then also must be addressed.

That being said, we are so much further than I’m making it sound. We have 150 validators successfully performing keygen ceremonies, completing auctions, adding each other in, removing old ones, withdrawals are working - bidding, witnessing, the web UI, Soundcheck leaderboard, the block explorer, running the statechain - they’re good to go. Using Tom’s description, it’s really just the multisig communication stuff that’s “a bit wonky.” Although we can get all 150 validators doing keygen, the peer connections start dropping over time for unknown reasons. It works great and is super stable with 50 nodes, but that's not good enough.

We are now very much at the end of the tunnel. The light is there. We just hope we can bring the people something before Christmas week, where much of the team will be taking a well-earned break. If not, as soon as we are back on the tools, we will ship the testnet to you.

We will keep all Soundcheck participants informed of changes to the testnet program schedule if and when they are decided upon. Until then, I would like to give a shoutout to DJ XO, DJ Govner, DJ McCoffee, and the entire rest of the development team who have been doing long, stressful, and often mentally draining hours to meet the project timeline. It truly warms my heart to be working with you all.

Hopefully next time you read a dev update, it won’t be from me.

Yours,

Simon Harman - CEO