Filecoin roadmap update June 2020

Our June 2020 roadmap update covers progress made since the last roadmap update and a peek into what’s next for the Filecoin project as we enter the homestretch to the mainnet launch.

Where we are now

The last two months have seen significant progress across the project. There is a lot happening in the ecosystem — thank you to everyone contributing to the implementations, participating in the testnet, developing applications, building tools and services, applying to devgrants, and more!

Here are a few highlights:

  • 💾 Testnet Highlights
    • 2️⃣ Testnet Phase 2. We launched Phase 2 of the Filecoin Testnet on May 14th — in accordance with the “Option 2” timing selected by core implementers & recommended by the community. This major milestone includes two interoperable Filecoin implementations (go-filecoin and lotus), implementations of WinningPoSt and WindowPoSt (the two flavors of Filecoin Proofs-of-Spacetime we use in the protocol), and Drand (a distributed randomness beacon network) as an external source of randomness for consensus. Testnet Phase 2 also included large improvements to our actors and storage market implementations, and refined cryptoeconomic structures. For how to get started on the testnet, check out our new documentation site.
    • Filecoin Testnet Phase 2 reached 9PB. The Phase 2 testnet reached 9PB of proved data within ~1 month, nearly 2x our previous high watermark. Last week, we reset our testnet to take advantage of the latest Lotus and Proofs optimizations. Since then, we’ve already seen over 6 PB of data onboarded with the network growing by 15 GB/sec, or around 1.2 PB/day. See the up-to-date stats on our dashboard. Testnet Stats
    • 💸Incentivized testnet. Earlier this month, we announced the rules and hardware recommendations for incentivized testnet, our 3 week collaborative competition intended to stress-test the network, encourage participation all over the world, and provide miners with an opportunity to test-drive Filecoin in advance of the mainnet launch. Miners will need to successfully complete real storage and retrieval deals and execute the full sector life cycle — creating committed capacity sectors, upgrading them to store real data, and terminating them — to be eligible for rewards. Join us for a Filecoin Live Q&A this Thursday at filecoin.io/slack to learn more.
  • 🧬 Filecoin Implementation Highlights
    • 🏃‍♀️Performance and Reliability improvements. A major focus for our work since starting Testnet Phase 2 has been hardening and making efficiency improvements to our core implementation subsystems. We fixed issues related to sealing that were reported shortly after we launched Testnet Phase 2. We also improved sync time significantly by batching PoRep verifications, allowing them to be performed in parallel. Now, if sync is interrupted before reaching the target height, it picks up where it left off instead of restarting from genesis. Thank you to the many community members who have participated in finding bugs and helping fix them - special thanks @hayeah for the sync improvement!
    • 🔋Hardware specs & PoRep for Mainnet Launch. Filecoin will use the SDR Proof-of-Replication algorithm for our testnet incentives competition and for mainnet launch. Note: Miners should expect Filecoin to regularly upgrade its proofs after launch. While the Filecoin team does not recommend any specific hardware configuration, we did share some setups we’ve used for various types of testing. However, it is overwhelmingly likely that there are more efficient setups, and we strongly encourage miners to test and experiment to find the best combinations.
    • ⚖️ Filecoin’s cryptoeconomic constructions. We made significant progress on defining and solidifying Filecoin’s cryptoeconomic constructions to ensure that the network can support the long-term needs of its clients and provide a solid foundation for Filecoin’s mainnet launch. While we’re still conducting extensive modeling and testing to finalize parameters, this overview describes how the cryptoeconomic structure of Filecon will create a public blockchain powered by useful work, a reliable cloud storage service, and a thriving decentralized economy.
    • 🤝 Offline data transfers. For petabyte-scale datasets and larger, the most sensible solutions often involve shipping data on hard drives. Filecoin’s offline data transfer feature allows users with very large datasets to complete the data transfer step offline (e.g. by shipping hard drives from the client to the storage miner), and have the storage and retrieval deals work as intended on-chain.
    • 💇‍♀️Proof efficiency and memory utilization improvements. We’ve made changes to how we seal data that have significantly improved the memory usage and performance of sealing. Similarly, Neptune (our Rust implementation of the Poseidon hash function tuned for Filecoin) now allows us to build merkle trees on GPU. These performance improvements continue to make Filecoin more efficient and accessible to a wide community of miners.
    • 🔐 Phase 2 Trusted Setup. Phase 2 of our Trusted Setup Ceremony has begun on the first set of circuits, with more participants joining over the coming weeks. In preparation, we significantly reduced the memory required for our “large circuits”, which will allow much smaller participant hardware for our Phase 2 Trusted Setup Ceremony. Community participation begins on June 29th, so come sign up today to participate.
  • 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Ecosystem Highlights
    • 🔍 Filecoin Discover. The purpose of Filecoin Discover is to help seed Filecoin as the home for humanity’s most important datasets and make it accessible to others. Datasets include: ENCODE, 1000 Genomes, Project Gutenberg, Berkeley’s Self Driving Data, and more. Since May 7th, Filecoin miners have signed up to store dozens of petabytes worth of important data.
    • 🥳 Textile Powergate. With a number of hackathons coming up, Textile Powergate and Buckets are a great way to get started building on Filecoin. Last week’s tutorial explains how to create a Bucket and archive your data in the Filecoin network using Powergate under the hood. If you’d like to build an app on top of Powergate, you can also follow the JS client tutorial to learn more. Textile Hub, a collection of hosted IPFS, Filecoin, and ThreadsDB nodes that make it easy for developers to onboard on Textile, is also adding support for Filecoin in the next few weeks as well. Learn more about these great tools for developers in Textile’s recap from the IPFS Pinning Summit.
    • 🧠 Storage Devs Show & Tell. On June 23rd, members in the Filecoin community held our second Storage Developers’ “Show & Tell” call, where groups building in the Filecoin ecosystem got together, demoed their projects, and started cross-pollinating ideas. Presenting teams included Fleek, Starling, and Textile. It’s always awesome to see what these groups are building to make Filecoin easier to use!
    • 👫 Filecoin Virtual Community Meetup. On Tuesday, June 16th, the Filecoin team hosted our very first Filecoin Virtual Community Meetup! Our community meetups are an opportunity to meet the people behind the many tools and projects being built in the Filecoin ecosystem. If you missed it, you can find the recap blog post here which features the meetup recording. Hope to see you at our next virtual meetup on July 14th!
    • 📞 Mining Community Call. We hosted our second Filecoin Mining Community Call at the end of May - a big thank you to everyone who asked questions! The call included updates on our growing miner ecosystem, Verified Clients, Filecoin Discover, and Testnet Incentives. Check out the recap here and join our next Mining Community Call in Q3.
    • 🌟 Custody support. Token custodians Gemini, Coinbase, and Anchorage have all announced support for custodianship of Filecoin tokens at mainnet launch. Anchorage will also support unlocking contracts for Filecoin at launch. If you plan to hold Filecoin, check out these custodian options to learn more.
    • 🛳️ Filecoin DevGrants Wave 3. We received a tremendous response from community members to the Wave 3 RFPs including 44 proposals (an additional 48 proposals were received for the PB-scale miner testing RFP alone). Grant recipients are being notified and a full list will be published soon. Winning Wave 3 proposals included a MetaMask SNAP plugin for Filecoin, User Research with professional archivists at museums and similar orgs, a Data CID Status Checker and Storage Oracle, Filecoin Cloud Images, a Proxy Re-encryption service to support data forwarding use cases, and a Multichain API among a number of other projects. Wave 4 of the Filecoin DevGrants program closes on July 1st — apply here!
    • ✏️ Filecoin Community Highlights series. The Filecoin blog has been featuring Filecoin use cases and developers in the community who are building essential tools and services on the Filecoin network. We hope these stories inspire others to join us in our mission to build world-class tools for the distributed web. Our latest highlights feature Small Data Industries and Open Work Labs. More to come soon!
    • 🙋 May Q&A with Juan Benet. Following the launch of Testnet Phase 2, we held an online Q&A session with Juan Benet, founder of the Filecoin Project. During this 1-hour session, we fielded hundreds of questions from more than 1,400 community members all over the world. Questions ranged from roadmap and timing updates to details on verified clients, hardware requirements, and the latest on testnet incentives! You can read more about the event in our recap here. Our next Q&A is this Thursday, June 25th - join us in the #fil-ama channel on Slack to learn more.

What’s next

We are continuing to make fast progress towards our mainnet roadmap. See our public project roadmap (the Gantt chart) here. We would like to highlight some notable upcoming milestones.

(1) Go-Filecoin graduating to community maintenance. As we’ve explained in the past, having multiple independent implementations of the Filecoin protocol is important for the long-term security and resilience of the Filecoin Network. Each of the 4 Filecoin implementations have made huge strides in the past few months:

  • In April, we launched our first interop network with both lotus and go-filecoin nodes interoperating. Shortly after that, we launched Testnet Phase 2 including both interoperable implementations and updated Proofs-of-Spacetime.
  • Fuhon, the Filecoin C++ implementation by Soramitsu, has been working hard to add full interoperability. The team is making good progress and will be joining Testnet in the coming weeks.
  • Forest, the Rust Filecoin implementation by ChainSafe, has recently updated proofs and market actors and is actively working on chain sync and data propagation - including a Rust implementation of Bitswap, IPFS’s data sync algorithm.

Now, as we turn the corner towards mainnet launch, we’re excited to graduate go-filecoin to community maintenance. Having all 4 implementations of Filecoin be managed and improved by different teams gives each the focus and independence to meet our longstanding decentralization and security objectives for the wider Filecoin network.

To that end, we’re offering a Wave 4 DevGrant RFP for teams interested in taking on maintainership for go-filecoin going forward. go-filecoin is nearly feature-complete; taking it across the finish line for mainnet launch could create several future opportunities for teams that maintain the project. For example, if highly optimized to be a great product for miners, go-filecoin could become the implementation of choice for a large portion of the Filecoin community. Additionally, developing deep expertise in understanding and building Filecoin nodes can unlock other businesses, such as hosting nodes as a service and/or building second-layer products and solutions for the greater Filecoin ecosystem. Please get in touch via GitHub if you’re interested!

Each of the four implementations is getting closer to feature-complete for the Filecoin mainnet launch. Here’s a snapshot of their progress across the primary parts of the Filecoin protocol:

lotus go-filecoin forest fuhon
1. Node
2. Files & data 🔶 🔶
3. Virtual Machine 🔶 🔶
4. VM Actors 🔶 🔶 🔶 🔶
5. Blockchain
6. Token
7. Storage Mining 🔄 🔄 🔄 🔶
8. Market 🔄

✅ :fully featured implementation | 🔄 :reuses components from another implementation | 🔶 :partial implementation

(2) Filecoin Ignite. To help support the fast-growing Filecoin ecosystem, we’re excited to launch Filecoin Ignite to bring the community together for a series of hackathons and learning events. We currently have 6 main events lined up including: SpaceRace, a world-wide competition for Filecoin Miners, and HackFS, a 30 day virtual hackathon in collaboration with the ETHGlobal team starting on July 6th. We’re also participating in the Spark University Hackathon, an 8 week online competition bringing together developers from universities around the world to build on Filecoin.

Reach out and let us know if you’d like to host an Ignite event! With over 4 Million FIL and 250K USD in prizes spread out across events, now is a great time to start building on Filecoin. 🚀

(3) Trusted Setup. Phase 2 of our Trusted Setup Ceremony — where participants from all over the world contribute their resources to help generate secure parameters for the Filecoin network, along with public attestations for anyone to verify — has begun on the first set of circuits. More participants are joining over the coming weeks, with community participation beginning on June 29th. To participate: fill out this form and join the #fil-trustedsetup room on Slack where we’ll be coordinating with participants. Thanks for your support!

(4) Testnet Incentives Program. The Testnet Incentives Program (also known as SpaceRace) is a 3 week cooperative competition to encourage active participation in the Filecoin testnet. We’re aiming to start the competition on July 20th (pending final features, testing, and competition preparation)! Miners will need to successfully complete real storage and retrieval deals and execute the full sector life cycle to be eligible for global and regional pools totaling up to 4 million FIL in rewards (to be delivered after mainnet launch, subject to some vesting/time locks). Join us for a Filecoin Live Q&A this Thursday in the #fil-ama channel on Slack to learn more.

We’re in the homestretch.

Filecoin is getting closer to mainnet launch, and the whole project continues to pick up steam. Our roadmap currently places launch near the end of our mainnet launch window. As before, we will update the public project roadmap Gantt chart with the latest estimates for upcoming milestones – including Filecoin Ignite, SpaceRace (our testnet competition), and Trusted Setup. Please remember that these dates are still best-effort optimistic estimates based on the latest information available, as requested by the community. They are not promises, conservative estimates, or any kind of guarantee. If a security vulnerability or other major concern arises, we will make sure to take the requisite time and fully address the problem before our mainnet launch. We sincerely hope this isn’t required, but it is a necessary part of our commitment to launching a secure blockchain network.

We’re constantly reminded that building a blockchain is like building a software rocket — it is fundamentally hard, and we have to be extraordinarily careful to make sure that what we launch is secure and stable. We’re rolling full steam ahead, as fast as we responsibly can. Every day, the number of opportunities to participate in the ecosystem only grows, so please jump in to help and/or reach out to the community on our discussion forum or on Slack! As ever, we’re excited and grateful to be building alongside you. 🛠️

Onwards!

Filecoin is an open-source cloud storage marketplace, protocol, and incentive layer.
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