Hello Secret community!
Welcome to another Secret Network development update blog from the core devs at SCRT Labs. In this post we'll be sharing the latest updates on everything we're working on - our research, our development, our strategic planning, and more. Keep reading to learn about our next upgrade (Shockwave Delta, scheduled for September 20th, 2022) and the exciting new features coming to Secret!
We've previously announced some plans for L1 improvements to Secret Network as part of our Shockwave growth initiative. Shockwave Alpha launched in May and brought major upgrades to the network, including 500-600x speed boosts for certain network events (like NFT mints and airdrops), state sync for the CosmWasm directory, and foundational work to support interchain accounts!
We've identified a lot more work that we want to do in order to secure Secret's position as the privacy hub for all of Web3. So we've decided that on our journey to Shockwave Omega - the last planned upgrade of the Shockwave cycle - we'll be adding plans for another major upgrade: Shockwave Delta, currently scheduled for September 20th, 2022!
Before we talk about what's specifically planned for inclusion in Shockwave Delta, let's walk through many of the features we're currently implementing and researching.
CosmWasm is a smart contracting platform built for the Cosmos ecosystem. Essentially, it's the component of a Cosmos blockchain that enables smart contracts. Secret Network is currently running CosmWasm version 0.10, which was released in August of 2020, shortly before Secret went live on mainnet. Secret and Terra were very early adopters of this technology, pioneering the way for many more Cosmos blockchains to come. Since that time CosmWasm has been greatly improved upon, with the most recent version of CosmWasm 1.0 being released in May of 2022. We're excited to share that support for Cosmwasm 1.0 will be coming to Secret very soon!
CosmWasm 1.0 will bring some very exciting new features to Secret. One of the most noteworthy is the ability for smart contracts to communicate with contracts on other blockchains via IBC. Some examples of what this could unlock:
- A DAO contract on Juno could communicate with a vote-counting contract on Secret in order to perform private tallying of governance votes, enabling users on Juno to vote without revealing their personal decision to the public.
- A DEX aggregator on Secret could include swap routes from DEXs on multiple blockchains in its results, providing a user with the best possible trade outcome across the entire Cosmos ecosystem.
- A contract on a gaming app-chain could communicate with a random number generation contract on Secret to receive a truly random number, without the user being able to see how the number was derived.
Another amazing new feature of CosmWasm 1.0 is the ability to send custom tokens (CW20, SNIP20, etc.) across IBC. This will allow secret tokens such as SHD to be listed on DEXs on other blockchains such as Osmosis, and potentially even CEXs such as Binance! It will also enable Secret to provide private versions of CW20 tokens such as NETA, RAW, and ION for the first time.
As a reminder, Secret will maintain backward compatibility with Cosmwasm v0.10 contracts, so you can continue to use and deploy legacy contracts – though we recommend developing new v1.0 contracts in the latest version to take advantage of the new features!
Query performance is something we're continuing to focus on. To that end, we've been working on porting Mantlemint from Terra to Secret Network. Mantlemint is a special kind of node which has been specifically tuned to handle user queries. This is achieved by removing the IAVL, which is inefficient at scale. This work complements the optimizations we've previously done at the enclave (or, smart contract) level by introducing optimizations to the blockchain infrastructure itself. From initial testing, we've seen improvements of up to 4x that of standard query nodes!
WebAssembly Engine Upgrades
In the past, we've talked about how we want to replace our current WebAssembly engine, wasmi. This is the component of Secret Network that handles running the secret contracts, but there's a lot of room for improvement on performance.
We've scoped out the work to upgrade to Wasmer (the engine used by other Cosmwasm chains). We were concerned that it would not be possible due to the limitations of system calls in SGX. The good news is that we found a way in which Wasmer could be supported inside SGX. This method would involve using Gramine (formerly known as Graphene), which has matured to a point where we would feel comfortable using it. This change will require a significant effort, overhauling a lot of code paths. However, we think this needs to be done to bring Secret Network to where it provides a best-in-class user experience.
We also want to find solutions in the short term. This is why we're trying to integrate the wasm3 engine in parallel, and we're already seeing significant performance improvement. This engine is interpreter-based (similar to our current engine); however, it is expected to be much more performant. Since both engines are interpreter-based, the replacement should be much simpler, and we are hopeful it will provide a performance boost for both new and existing contracts on the network!
Dev Team Growth
What bear market? Since the beginning of 2022, we have welcomed four new developers to the SCRT Labs team! As Secret Network grows, so does the complexity of each new feature we want to add. In addition, IBC and the cross-chain ecosystem continues to create new opportunities for privacy-focused applications. A larger dev team will allow us to continue delivering new and exciting features for Secret Network and contribute more to the interchain cosmos ecosystem.
For clarification, we have always been conscious of market volatility and responsible fiscal planning. This is one of the reasons why SCRT Labs has always been (and are still) a comparatively small team. That said, our comparatively small team is incredibly effective, and we look forward to developers around our ecosystem and the entire Cosmos getting to know the new recruits!
We'd also like to take a moment to highlight our new and improved documentation site, now hosted on GitBook. Over the past several months, network documentation has been updated through contributions from many valuable community members: Gino, Schultzie, Lumi, Norfmenn, Ertemann, Srdtrk, DannyM, and Taariq.
With these improvements made, we're now feeling more confident in pursuing developer opportunities more aggressively, such as hackathons and learning pathways (such as the recent successful funding of Secret University). Stay tuned for more on this, including a Secret Workshop coming soon at Cosmoverse!
You too can become a contributor to the docs and help drive Secret dev adoption! Check out the full documentation at docs.scrt.network.
Upcoming Network Upgrades
In this blog post we've covered several new features that will be coming to Secret soon, but how will these be organized into upcoming network upgrades?
As mentioned we are currently in the Shockwave cycle of upgrades focused on network performance and growth. Our last network upgrade, Shockwave Alpha, occurred in May. Originally, we had intended to have just one more network upgrade in this phase, which would be called Shockwave Omega. Now, we're planning to split this into two network upgrades.
Shockwave Delta is planned for September 20th, 2022, and will include CosmWasm 1.0. Shockwave Omega is planned for later this year and will include the WebAssembly engine upgrade, as well as other features yet to be announced.
Thanks for reading through this SCRT Labs development update!
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