Aleph Zero Blog

Aleph Zero Monthly Update: Community Validators and Liminal

Dec 23, 2022

AI Summary

Here's your AI summary of Aleph Zero Monthly Update: Community Validators and Liminal on Aleph Zero blog

Top 10 key takeaways:

  1. Community Validators Live on Mainnet: Aleph Zero introduced 96 active community validator nodes to the Mainnet, enhancing decentralization and requiring adjustments in reward distribution.

  2. Nomination Pools Introduced: To improve scalability, Aleph Zero launched nomination pools, allowing multiple users to act as one nominator, reducing the entry barrier to 10 AZERO.

  3. Liminal Hackathon: The first Liminal hackathon at Next Block Expo resulted in innovative projects like zkVote, Azero Curations, Staking Operator Governance, and Beta Zero One.

  4. Automatic Payouts: A new feature for automatic payouts for validators and nominators was introduced, improving user experience by automating the reward claiming process.

  5. Commission Schedule: A detailed schedule for increasing the commission of Foundation nodes was outlined to encourage the use of community validators, aiming for at least 50% of total funds staked to them.

  6. NextBlock Expo Participation: Aleph Zero was the main sponsor at Next Block Expo in Berlin, showcasing Liminal, hosting a hackathon, and conducting workshops and keynote speeches.

  7. Istanbul Blockchain Week: Aleph Zero participated in Istanbul Blockchain Week, represented by community managers, engaging with over 3,000 crypto enthusiasts.

  8. IEEE Blockchain Forum: Damian Straszak presented "The DAG Framework for Classical BFT Consensus" at the IEEE 1st Global Emerging Technology Blockchain Forum.

  9. Sub0 Conference: Developer Piotr Mikołajczyk presented on testing strategies for FRAME developers at the Polkadot developer conference Sub0 in Lisbon.

  10. New Website Launch: Aleph Zero unveiled a redesigned website, reflecting modern design standards and improved user experience.

AI Summary

During November, Aleph Zero made huge strides towards decentralization as we introduced community validators to the Mainnet and nomination pools to improve scalability. Additionally, our privacy framework Liminal underwent its first hackathon. Read on to learn more! 

Community Validators Are Live on the Mainnet

The biggest event to occur on the Aleph Zero blockchain in recent months is the introduction of community validators to the Mainnet, a milestone achievement for the decentralization of the ecosystem. Currently, there are 96 active community validator nodes, and the number is growing rapidly. Such a massive change requires fine-tuning the distribution of rewards for validators and nominators to incentivize the continued decentralization of the network. The following changes have been made to the economy: 

  • The minimal validator commission will grow from the current 2% to 5% until February 2023. Note that while it means 250% higher rewards for validators, it will not affect nominators nearly to the same extent—for example, if someone is currently enjoying 12.2% APR, it will be reduced to 11.6% (for the sake of this example it excludes other factors like changes in the total staking percentage)
  • In order to incentivize nominators to nominate community validators instead of Foundation nodes, the Foundation’s commission will continue to grow until at least 50% of the nominators will switch to community validator nodes. We see this move as an important step in the process of decentralizing the Aleph Zero chain and giving away the privileged position that the Aleph Zero Foundation currently occupies. 
  • For those wishing to learn more about the schedule of the aforementioned changes, please read a short blog article that can be found on Discord

Introducing Nomination Pools

To further enhance Aleph Zero’s scalability, we have opted to introduce nomination pools allowing the number of nominators on the Aleph Zero chain to grow indefinitely. This concept of pooled nomination differs from direct nomination in that it allows multiple users to band together and act as one nominator. No security is compromised through this method. Pooling nominators together also has the added benefit of allowing us to greatly reduce the barrier of entry for nominating. You can now begin your journey as an Aleph Zero nominator with as little as 10 AZERO. 

Progress on Liminal & Common

During the Next Block Expo crypto conference, we had the pleasure of inaugurating our first Liminal hackathon! This unique event gave us the opportunity to unleash upon the world our take on a privacy-enhancing framework and observe what several talented teams could do with it! What occurred exceeded our wildest expectations resulting in the following ideas taking root:

  • zkVote: a DAO based on anonymous voting that uses Liminal to protect voters’ privacy. Notably, zkVote garnered the main prize of the Hackathon; 
  • Azero Curations: an anonymous public messaging board that allows users to share posts and hand out likes; 
  • Staking Operator Governance: a dashboard that nominators can use to vote for validators and to bond funds for proof-of-stake mechanisms; 
  • Beta Zero One: a tool that allows employees to give feedback anonymously to businesses they work for.  

The Aleph Zero team is keenly interested in cooperating with the winning teams to develop these products further. 

Aleph Zero’s Reward Claiming Bot 

The last month has also seen the debut of a frequently requested feature: automatic payouts for validators and nominators! This is possible through an automated service that triggers payouts on all of the validators (both Community and Foundation) once an era ends. This results in the following: 

1. Neither nominators nor validators need to trigger the payouts themselves;

2. Nomination pool users still need to claim their rewards but will not be blocked by waiting for their validator to make the payout.

We are sure that this feature will result in a better experience for both nominators and validators. 

Schedule for Increasing Commission

Now that Community Validators have made their way to the Mainnet, we wish to continue decentralizing and democratizing the Aleph Zero network. We intend to do this by slightly raising the minimum validator commission to reward validators fairly and by raising the commission of the Foundation Nodes to encourage nominating Community Validators. 

The implementation of these measures has been done after much research to guarantee that all stakeholders are both aware of the new practices and that the process is fair to all involved. The bullet points found below describe the changes in the Foundation nodes commission that will occur over the next few months. Ultimately, we wish to have at least 50% of the total funds staked to community validators. If we do not manage to achieve this goal, we will reevaluate our plan and introduce adjustments. 

The schedule will look as follows:

  • Dec 16th, 2022: Foundation nodes — 3.5%,
  • Dec 30th, 2022: Foundation nodes — 5%,
  • Jan 13th, 2023: Foundation nodes — 6.5% (minimum community commission — 3%),
  • Jan 27th 2023: Foundation nodes — 8%(minimum community commission — 4%),
  • Feb 10th, 2023: Foundation nodes — 9.5% (minimum community commission — 5%),
  • Feb 24th, 2023: Foundation nodes — 11%,
  • Mar 10th, 2023: Foundation nodes — 12.5%,
  • Mar 24th, 2023: Foundation nodes — 14%. 

Aleph Zero at NextBlock Expo  

Between the 23rd and 24th of November, the Aleph Zero team visited Berlin, Germany, to participate in the Next Block Expo Web3. Notably, Aleph Zero was the main sponsor of the event! 

Over the course of these two days, we managed to debut our multichain privacy framework Liminal, host a hackathon (with zkVote winning the main prize), workshops, and keynote speeches. Adam Gągol and Piotr Moczurad represented the team as our chosen speakers. Adam presented a keynote speech on blockchain privacy and actively participated in a panel discussion. Piotr conducted a workshop on smart contracts and ink!  

NextBlock Expo was also a fantastic opportunity to network at the intersection of technology and business, where we met both familiar faces with whom we are strengthening our relationship, as well as new ones. This resulted in huge strides being conducted in finding support for the use cases being developed on Aleph Zero. 

Aleph Zero at Istanbul Blockchain Week

Between the 14th and 17th of November, the Aleph Zero team participated in the largest event of its kind in Turkey, Istanbul Blockchain Week. This unique opportunity draws over 3,000 crypto enthusiasts interested in the rapidly changing Turkish Web3 scene. The organizers invited over 100 keynote speakers, an exhibition area boasting some of the most exciting projects in the industry, workshops, and numerous networking opportunities. The Aleph Zero team was represented by our community managers, namely Daniel Ozluer and Rafael Lourenco.

Damian Straszak at the 2022 IEEE 1st Global Emerging Technology Blockchain Forum 

Damian Straszak delivered a talk on November 11th as part of the 2022 IEEE 1st Global Emerging Technology Blockchain Forum. The talk was titled “The DAG Framework for Classical BFT Consensus” and was part of their broader series “Four Generations of Distributed Ledgers.”   

Piotr Mikołajczyk Delivers Tech Talk at Sub0

Aleph Zero developer Piotr Mikołajczyk ventured to Lisbon, Portugal, to participate in the Polkadot developer conference Sub0. Geared specifically towards developers, this event attracted teams that are building everything from custom layer-1 blockchains, dapps, smart contracts, infrastructure, tooling, cross-chain interoperability solutions, and more. During the conference, Aleph Zero’s Piotr Mikołajczyk led a talk titled “How To Sleep At Night As A FRAME Developer: Ultimate Testing Strategies.” We are confident that the wisdom he incorporated into the presentation changed a few lives! 

Aleph Zero Listed on KuCoin

Aleph Zero’s native coin AZERO became available to trade on KuCoin as of November 15th, 2022. The supported trading pair is AZERO/USDT. We are proud of this achievement as we become more and more available to crypto enthusiasts worldwide. 

Cardinal Cryptography and Nethermind to Collaborate on Liminal

Nethermind and Cardinal Cryptography are partnering to expedite the development of Liminal, Aleph Zero’s state-of-the-art privacy layer, built around a unique combination of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) and secure multi-party computation (sMPC) technology. Nethermind has vast experience in these fields, having previously worked with the Ethereum Foundation, Starkware, Aave, and more. Besides aiming to finalize Liminal’s architecture, the joint cooperation also intends to improve formalism and provide security proofs for the critical parts of the system. 

Aleph Zero’s Matt Niemerg, Featured in CoinDesk 

Recently, Aleph Zero co-founder Matt Niemerg published an op-ed for the crypto news site CoinDesk. The title of the editorial, “What Will It Look Like When Taxation and Privacy Collide?” explores the potential for cooperation between regulators, governments, and the average citizen, where blockchain technology serves not as a measure to evade taxation but rather to streamline the process. 

Aleph Zero Reveals New Website

After much work and sleepless nights, we are proud to present our new, redesigned website. Aleph Zero is ready for both this century and the next thanks to the fantastic work of our design team, which consisted of Mateusz Górecki, Mateusz Bryk, Magdalena Migas, Paweł Sikora, and Mateusz Pęczkowski.