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April 17, 2020

Filecoin Roadmap Update April 2020

Filecoin Roadmap Update April 2020

Our April 2020 roadmap update covers progress made since the last roadmap update and a peek into what’s next for the Filecoin project as we get closer 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:

In short, the last two months demonstrated important progress across protocol, engineering, and ecosystem. It’s not easy to persevere in a more difficult global context, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done to date, our current velocity, and the acceleration of energy and efforts we are seeing in the ecosystem!

What’s next

We are continuing to make progress towards our mainnet roadmap, and updating estimates and milestones as we get better information (especially related to protocol and network security). See our public project roadmap (the Gantt chart) here. We would like to highlight some recent updates regarding our project roadmap.

(1) Hardware specs timing. As mentioned in the highlights above, we are working hard to optimize and improve the Proof-of-Replication (PoRep) we will be using for mainnet. We have a new version implemented, and ready to go. But we are trying hard with another new version, that is significantly faster and cheaper, but not yet certain to work. This second one would significantly decrease the cost of computation over storage, and likely change which computation hardware is optimal. We will know in May if this one will work or not. From that point, we can run all the benchmarks to make hardware recommendations. We recommend that miners do not purchase proving hardware at scale yet. Because our PoRep could change, this might yield different optimal hardware configurations in a few weeks.

(2) Testnet Phase 2 - Rewards. We will be offering some rewards for participating in specific tests during Testnet Phase 2. We are still working out the details, but it looks like we will be able to have over 1 million FIL in rewards across a wide variety of tests. (FIL will be delivered after mainnet launch and subject to some vesting/time locks). The tests will measure miners’ ability to store and transfer files, for example: total amount of storage capacity, storage deals made, files retrieved, data serving bandwidth, data serving latency, and more. The critical time period for these tests will most likely be 2-3 weeks within the month of June. We will publish more details in May, so that miners have enough time to prepare.

(3) Testnet Phase 2 - Timing Decision. All 4 implementation teams are pushing a lot of code right now implementing a number of hard protocol changes, ahead of Testnet Phase 2. We originally hoped to have the full code for mainnet ready in lotus and go-filecoin before starting Testnet Phase 2, but we are not there yet. Testing, optimization, internal protocol security audits, and cryptoeconomic analysis have resulted in several important changes being finalized and implemented now. This led us to a decision point regarding the timing of Testnet Phase 2.

For this decision, the dev teams wanted to gather input from a broader set of stakeholders before making the final call. We know that as time passes, the Filecoin community – especially Filecoin Miners – will need to make more and more decisions for the long-term good of the network, so this decision was a good opportunity to practice.

We conducted an informal information-gathering poll on our Filecoin community Slack, where our most engaged miners and other community members converse. We presented three timing options. In all three options, we included an adjustment to estimates for our mainnet launch window, pushing it out by 2 weeks to account for all of the work that needs to happen in that period, including testing and validation, security audits, network operations testing, testing Filecoin improvement proposals and network upgrades, and more. The three options were:

There were ~100 community members who expressed an opinion in the poll, with about equal support for Options 2 and 3, and little support for Option 1 (< 20%). When we considered the input weighted by impact and contribution to the network so far, Option 2 edged ahead of Option 3. Thank you to everyone who participated, and especially those who considered the long-term health of the network in their preferences!

Ultimately, the decision rests with the lotus, go-filecoin, and testnet developers, but the input gathered from the community was an important factor in their decisionmaking process. The dev teams have chosen Option 2, which leads to an estimated Testnet Phase 2 launch the week of May 11 and an estimated mainnet launch window from July 20 to August 21. We have updated the public project roadmap Gantt chart to reflect these new estimates. 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.

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, nor are they conservative estimates. These estimates are not at all any kind of guarantee. These are open estimates, for an open community, and for the broader teams of people working on Filecoin across a number of organizations. Having real-time best-effort information is best for all the developers and miners trying to coordinate across many different organizations – it is not an end-user consumer product date with overly conservative dates.

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 if you believe in the same vision of the world that we do, please keep an eye out for those opportunities 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. 🛠️


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