Welcome to our meanwhile series, the ongoing story of Nomadic Labs’ amazing adventures in the Tezos blockchain space. This post is a recap of our activities in the third quarter of 2021, following on from our 2020 recap and our 2021 Q2 Meanwhile. As always, you can find out more about us here: Twitter @LabosNomades ~ Website ~ LinkedIn ~ Technical blog ~ GitLab repo.
- Protocol upgrade: Granada activated, Hangzhou proposed and testnet launched
- Adoption and Support
- Technical documentation
- PhD student, Intern, and apprentice interviews
- Media Interviews and Academic Papers
- NL research seminars and blog posts
- Contract calls
- À la prochaine
The Octez team were active in Q3 2021, releasing Version 9.4 (3 July), 9.5 (29 July), 9.6 (6 August), and 9.7 (7 August); then 10.0~rc3 (10 August), 10.0 (19 August) and then Version 10.1 (26 August). Changelogs are here. To top this off, we released the release candidate Octez 11.0~rc1 on 22 September.
We are proud to announce that Mi-Cho-Coq version 1.0 was released on 2 July.
Mi-Cho-Coq is a free and open-source library for verifying the correctness of Michelson smart contracts in Coq using weakest-precondition calculus. It is a Coq library which models all aspects of the Michelson language: its syntax, its type system, and its semantics.1
For concrete applications of this powerful tool, see for example verification of a spending-limit contract, of the FA1.2 token standard (see also an associated paper in FMBC‘21), and of several versions of the Dexter decentralised exchange (Dexter v2 and Liquidity Baking).
The Umami wallet was released in April 2021 and is an all-in-one Tezos cryptocurrency wallet for both beginner and advanced users. At time of writing the current version is version 0.5.3, available for macOS, Linux, and Windows.
We are pleased to announce that during Q3 2021
- Beacon SDK v2.3.0 supports the Umami wallet, and
- Umami wallet hardware wallet integration was released for Ledger devices.
Umami was built by OCaml developers for OCaml developers using Reason (formerly ReasonML) and supports all the native features of the Tezos protocol, including multiple accounts, tokens, batch transactions, and delegation — with more features in the pipeline. For more information see a Umami Wallet page on Medium, a short essay on the purpose of Umami, and the Umami GitLab repo.
The Tezos economic protocol enjoys regular upgrades. How this happens concretely is that a self-amendment mechanism is activated to propose an upgrade to the protocol — and because Tezos is an open community, protocol upgrades are approved by community vote. This means that upgrades can only happen when you, the Tezos community, vote that it be so; which is why you’ll notice we only ever talk about us making upgrade proposals.
Recall from Q2 2021 that:
- Florence was activated on 11 May 2021 (block height 1,466,368; cycle 357; changelog), and
- Granada was proposed (ongoing election; changelog) — and approved on 20 July.
We are pleased to announce of 2021 Quarter 3 that:
- Granada went live on 6 August (vote details).
- The Hangzhou protocol upgrade proposal was released on 21 September (changelog; vote details).
- The Hangzhou testnet (Hangzhounet, of course) was released on 24 September. Joining instructions are here.
For more information on Granada, you can see:
- A detailed blogpost on the Granada upgrade.
- The summary in Meanwhile Q2.
- Our analysis blog post on network updates from the Granada protocol amendment, which is an analysis of the first complete cycle under Granada.
Our adoption team have been hard at work developing relationships, and thanks to their dilligence we are proud to report that during Q3 2021:
- Our adoption team supported Ipocamp, a start-up specialising in creating solutions to protect creations, in choosing Tezos for its intellectual property solution (also in French).
- On 28 July Smartlink (a decentralised escrow smart contract platform built on Tezos) became a corporate Tezos baker. See also the announcement here.2 You can view Smartlink’s baking activity at their baker address.
- On 22 September Block0 (a blockchain consulting and development company with an emphasis on supply chain traceability and transparency) became a corporate Tezos baker.2 It is also the first Tezos corporate baker in Belgium.
- 9 July. Baking: creating blocks on Tezos (also in French).
- 12 July. Nodes on the Tezos blockchain (also in French).
- 21 July. NFTs on Tezos
- 27 July. Tickets on Tezos (also in French).
- 4 August. Tezos Amendment Process (also in French).
- 18 August. Sapling demo of confidential transactions (also in French).
- 25 August. Formal verification of smart contracts (also in French).
- 23 September. DeFi on the Tezos blockchain
See also the list of Tezos-related research publications.
Training is a good thing in itself, and also a key complement to adoption and support.
Training in Q3 2021 proceeded apace, and we are pleased to report that we ran half-a-dozen courses training roughly a hundred people in total from countries all over the world — in European countries like Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium of course; but also India, the USA, Canada, and Vietnam — and together with the Tezos in Africa foundation we trained Tezos developers from Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria (see tweet 1 and tweet 2).
Our Technical Documentation team have laboured mightily to annotate and enrich the lives of Tezos developers everywhere by expanding the online documentation for Tezos developers. This includes the following new content:
- A tutorial explains GADTs (Generalised Algebraic Data Types) in the context of Tezos. GADTs are a hugely powerful, but complex, OCaml mechanism. The tutorial illustrates example applications of GADTs within Tezos — especially as applied to the Michelson interpreter for ensuring the absence of certain classes of smart contract runtime errors.
- A tutorial helps developers add unit tests to legacy code modules, by providing schemes for increasing the testability of existing code.
- A series of pages explains the consensus algorithm, customised for each protocol version. As part of this revamp, existing pages on Proof of Stake have been restructured to describe the proof-of-stake mechanism and the associated concept of delegation, independently of the consensus algorithm.
- We have enriched and documented event-based logging. This existing feature generalises the classic logging API (which will be deprecated in due course, though not just yet!). The documentation includes a page for developers and a page for users.
- We have written structured documentation on releasing a new protocol proposal.
- The main page is a checklist detailing all the steps of this process, including both technical steps and public-relation steps. Two other pages (linked to from the main page) describe specific sub-procedures:
- Protocol freezing provides a guide for removing dead code from older protocols.
- Adding a new environment handles the case when a protocol proposal needs new features from the shell. In this case, a new protocol environment must be created. This page details all the steps involved.
- A new tutorial guides developers in writing and executing long-running tests in the Tezt framework. This presents infrastructure for storing results in an InfluxDB database; for visualising the results with Grafana; and for sending alerts when test results differ significantly from the previous tests. Long live tests!
- Finally, a new page in the User sections of the documentation gives an overview of the versioning schemes in use in the Tezos ecosystem: including Octez releases, protocol releases, protocol environment numbering, and RPC versions; and we explain which schemes are orthogonal and which are related. We hope you will find this useful.
We are extremely pleased at Nomadic Labs to host interns (stagiaires) and apprentices (apprentis), and to supervise some PhD students in collaboration with the local universities in Paris. In Q2 we introduced a ‘people’ category in our blog, to host interviews with our valued guests.
We are delighted by the variety of interesting and special people with whom we have been able to work. Interviewees in Q3 include:
- Killian Delarue, an apprentice working with the Node and Tooling team on a clean, easy and flexible way to run and monitor a Tezos node on your terminal.
- Daniel Jean, an apprentice working with the Support team to help corporate users experiment, test, and build on the Tezos blockchain.
- Julien Coolen, an intern working with the Shell team on implementing a super-scalable distributed hash table using the Octez peer-to-peer library.
- Valentin Chaboche, an intern working with the Verification and Testing teams on lightweight property-based testing through type annotations, for the Octez codebase.
- Étienne Marais, an intern working with the Shell team on energy profiling of the Tezos node, with an emphasis on green computing and sustainability.
- Mathis Gontier Delaunay, an intern working with the Umami team on new features for the Umami wallet.
- Antonio Locascio, an intern working with the Privacy team on automatic extraction of property-based tests from F* specifications.
- Tianchi Yu, an intern working with the Michelson team on superoptimisation for the Michelson language.
- Corentin Calmels, an intern working with the Adoption team on new business solutions.
- Paul Laforgue, a PhD student working with the Verification team on specification and verification of message-passing distributed systems using choreographies.
We are delighted to report that:
- On 7 July our adoption manager Alexia Martinel was interviewed by BlockStart about Tezos and what it means for France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
- On 9 July the Blockchain Game Alliace interviewed Alexia Martinel, our senior support engineer Florian Pautot, and others on creating a gaming industry on blockchain.
- On 23 September Alexia Martinel spoke during the European Blockchain Week (EBCW 2021) in the Workshop 4 on Decentralized Digital Identity. You can view the video here.
- On 13 August our CEO Michel Mauny was interviewed for the 21Millions newsletter (newsletter link).
- On 15 September our head of adoption Hadrien Zerah was interviewed in a Taleo Consulting webinar on The impact of Blockchain on the Fund Industry.
- On August 11 Daniel Jean and Charles Dehlinger of Nomadic Labs gave an Intoduction to Tezos in the Tezasia hackathon.
- Our support engineer Florian Pautot was a judge in the Tezasia hackathon, which ran from 10 August to 6 September.
- On 24 September our apprentice Daniel Jean gave a talk on Day 5 of Blockchain Month Malaysia 2021.
We are also delighted to announce that:
- Gabbay, Jakobsson, and Sojakova’s paper on the the formal FA1.2 ledger standard was accepted to the FMBC 2021 workshop. Well done team GJS!
- Conchon, Korneva, Bozman, Iguernlala, and Mebsout’s paper on Formally Documenting Tenderbake was also accepted to the FMBC 2021 workshop. Well done team CKBIM!
Finally, we are pleased to report on two AMAs, and on a video which we released for World Youth Skills Day on 15 July:
- An AMA on /r/Tezos on 13 July.
- An AMA on /r/Tezos on 25 August.
- We produced 30s of life advice for World Youth Skills Day (15 July) on tips for the next generation of software engineers. The question was: “What are the most important skills to build a career in the Blockchain field?”. The answers included: understanding decentralisation, persistence, rigourous development practices, communication skills, abstract critical thinking, good sense of humour, rigour, strong taste for technology, humble, hard worker, and to be passionate about blockchain technology. It does seem theoretically possible for a single human being to combine all of these skills — and if you do … then please see our careers page!
The following two talks by Arthur Breitman, the co-founder of Tezos, are not part of Nomadic Labs’ activities — but if you are reading this far then they well be of interest:
- On 5 July Arthur Breitman discussed Tezos: Approaches to Scalability.
- On 2 August the Paul Barron network interviewed Arthur Breitman about upgradeable blockchain.
Our series of Nomadic Labs research seminars saw the following talks in Q3:
- Prototype of a Typical Smart Contract Agency (6 July 2021).
- Specifying a Concurrent Queue in Multicore OCaml (17 August 2021).
- Then we paused for the summer. We’re French; it’s cultural. The seminars re-start in October and you can click here for full and up-to-date list of talks.
Our series of blog posts has been particularly active and you can check out our in-depth articles for a growing list of detailed articles on our work.
Nomadic Labs releases all of its software and research freely and openly. Consistent with this philosophy, we play our part in promoting an ecosystem of academic research, by contributing to the organisation of academic conferences and workshops. In particular:
- We sponsored the very extensive QONFEST 2021 federation of conferences in Paris (online) in August 2021. QONFEST included four well-known conferences (CONCUR 2021, FMICS 2021, FORMATS 2021, and QEST 2021) and also four satellite workshops (Express/SOS 2021, PM 2021, SNR 2021, and TRENDS 2021). Feel free to browse the conference website to see if there are any publications that might interest you.
- We sponsored FMBC 2021, the 3rd International Workshop on Formal Methods for Blockchains in July 2021. You can download the FMBC 2021 preproceedings here (permalink).
Nomadic Labs is part of the Tezos ecosystem, and on this topic it may be worth noting that the number of smart contract calls on Tezos has displayed a striking exponential increase in Q3 2021.
Here are the figures in brief: Tezos turned three years old on 30 June 2021 (see the genesis block, baked on 30 June 2018). In those first three years we had 5 million contract calls. Then we saw another 5 million contract calls in July and August — and then another 5 million contract calls just in September. This means that Tezos saw twice as much smart contract activity in Q3 2021, as it saw in the entire first three years of its existence, so this quarter does appear to have witnessed a step change in activity.
You can view summary bar charts here. Nomadic Labs is pleased to have played its part in these encouraging and excellent developments.
Before you go, we’d like to advertise:
- The Infrachain summit on 18 November in Luxembourg, in Italy, and Online. Infrachain aims to support and foster the European blockchain industry and the Summit is about supporting real business with a gathering dedicated to blockchain topics.
- Nomadic Labs will have a booth at the Digital Finance Summit 2021 in Brussels, with an overarching theme of Sustaining the Economic Recovery.
We hope to see you there.
Thanks for reading what we’ve been up to in Quarter 3 of 2021: three months of Nomadic Labs building and testing software and extending public understanding and adoption of blockchain technology. Do check in again for the next Meanwhile for Quarter 4 of 2021.