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April 29, 2019 . 5 min read

Storecoin Q1 Engineering Updates

Q1 2019 was extremely productive for Storecoin on the engineering front. Here are a few of the key highlight activities.

Blockchain Simulation to prove correctness in the presence of adversaries

The simulation was designed to demonstrate messagenodes coming to leaderless agreement on the same set of transactions for the same block. The simulation incorporated adversaries who exhibit malicious behaviors such as dropping (not delivering) messages, delaying messages arbitrarily, and corrupting messages during consensus rounds. Importantly, we demonstrated that honest nodes reach agreement even in the presence of these malicious actors. Finally, the simulation modeled network latency by introducing arbitrary delays for every message delivered in consensus rounds; a demonstration of the asynchronous nature of the underlying communication channel. Together, these simulations were captured in a video demonstrating the correctness of the core consensus algorithm. In Q2, we will extend this simulation to demonstration the behavior of validators, showcasing end-to-end block construction and validation flow. Additionally, we will incorporate secure communications through encrypted p2p channels between the nodes, as well as incorporate signature schemes demonstrating how nodes authenticate each other before accepting messages from peers.

Developed proof-of-concept for secure p2p communication between nodes

We prototyped encrypted messaging between peers using the Noise protocol. Additionally, we prototyped peer discover so that messagenodes and validators can find peers and connect to them securely. In Q2, we’ll be integrating these concepts into the BlockFin simulation.

Created the spec for the Storecoin address format

We developed the first specification for the wallet address format for Storecoin transactions, with our address following Bitcoin’s address format with some minor changes.

Created the spec for how Rate limiting and DDoS prevention works in Storecoin

The Storecoin blockchain consists of a two-tier network of Validators and Messagenodes, each of which is vulnerable to DDoS. The document argues that DDoS attacks can never be fully avoided and that the strategy must be to leverage multiple strategies to mitigate those types of attacks. We talk about the strengths and weaknesses of various strategies in the Storecoin context.

Created draft spec for Storecoin’s database schema

We developed a draft specification for the database schema of the Storecoin blockchain. A relational database is assumed for strict schema enforcement. Since blockchain is immutable, we use append-only design pattern for database tables also. Almost all the tables in the database are immutable — the records once inserted can never be modified or deleted. The immutability ensures simple design, both at the database and application layers.

Created draft spec for Storecoin Platform

We’ve started to publicly discuss how we transform Storecoin from a zero fee p2p payments platform to a truly peer-to-peer compute platform. This spec represents the first draft explaining the technical architecture of that platform.

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