This newsletter is supported by Chorus One, an operator of validating nodes and staking services on Proof-of-Stake networks.

News & Updates

Loom Staking Launch

The Ethereum Layer-2 scaling effort Loom has officially launched its staking feature on the 16th of February and since then 17 million LOOM have been delegate to stake to secure the network's PlasmaChain (an additional 24 million tokens have been deposited by validators). In total 41,091,064 LOOM tokens (at the time of writing valued at $2,200,344), or 6.18% of the total circulating supply, are currently at stake.

Development of the Balance in Loom's Delegation Contract on Ethereum.

5 of the validator set that will in the medium term be limited to 21 have been onboarded. Chorus One is one of those. We have published staking-relevant material, as well as other content around the Loom Network on our blog. This includes our investment thesis on Loom, on which we also recorded a short discussion on our YouTube channel.

Cosmos Staking Incoming

I know this is a re-occuring theme, but this time it finally seems as if the Cosmos Network launch will actually happen within the coming weeks. Read the launch announcement on the final steps and to find out how to claim your Atoms. Note that transfer of Atom tokens will only be enabled after a governance vote. Also, since the official Cosmos wallet Voyager won't be audited at launch, the Cosmos team is recommending to claim and delegate through the CLI at first. You can test this process out on testnets, read the written guide or watch the tutorial to learn how.

Coinciding with the launch, two large projects have acknowledged their usage of the Cosmos SDK (Binance Chain and Terra), additionally hinting at possible integration with the Cosmos Network. Additionally, the first external hub to the Cosmos Hub, IRISnet hub launched their Betanet and Nomic announced the development of a PoS Bitcoin peg zone on Cosmos.

Finally, Game of Stakes closing ceremonies were released. While the testnet was a great success in testing software, its usefulness to validators and delegators when considering mainnet was limited, read Figment's post-mortem on learnings and questions emerging from the game. We also released a rundown of how we tested and improved on our infrastructure during this period to be ready to secure real monetary value on mainnet.

TEZOS AMENDMENTS - The Tezos community is voting on the first two governance proposals. Both introduce minor updates and aim to test the proposal process. Find a detailed rundown here and a graphical illustration of the proposal process here.

STAKER - A preview of a tool that simplifies the staking UX and lets stakers track their portfolio, starting with Tezos and planning to add further stakable assets like Atoms (Cosmos), DCR (Decred) and NU (NuCypher). Watch the preview demonstration here.

CASPERLABS ANNOUNCEMENT - A sharded PoS blockchain utilizing the Casper CBC protocol. Fork of RChain following financial mismanagement of the RChain Coop. Set to launch in Q1 2020, developed by CasperLabs with many ex-RChain developers and Vlad Zamfir as the lead architect.

CONTENT IS NEAR - The productive team at NEAR blessed the blockchain community with lots of content, specifically further whiteboarding sessions with core developers of Proof-of-Stake protocols like Ethereum 2.0, Harmony, Loom Network, etc.

VALIDATOR BRIEFS - Cosmos community member Jesse Livermore published a series of interviews with prominent validator teams in the Cosmos ecosystem (including one with Chorus One CEO Brian Fabian Crain).

A NEW INTERNET - Polkadot's Jack Platts breaks down the project's vision. Core to it is the idea of a polychain blockchain universe with a shared security model. According to the post, Polkadot is set to launch supporting 100 parachains (blockchains) in Q1 2020. Each of these parachains is expected to stake DOT tokens to secure (lease) their slot.

GRASSFED - Two crypto funds known for their interest in network participation, CoinFund and Placeholder, have announced the launch of their joint staking pool for the Decred network. This is the first project of CoinFund's initiative Grassfed Network, which will provide services like validation in decentralized networks.

LEAPDAO MAINNET - Another (More Viable) Plasma implementation out in the wild. LeapDAO aims to create a layer-2 execution environment as a global public utility letting users deploy and operate smart contracts trustlessly and without requiring permission. The launch of a Proof-of-Stake chain to introduce censorship resistance into the Plasma environment is on LeapDAO's roadmap.

STAKING PARTICIPATION - Staked starting a series on staking incentive best practices. The first article is exploring the differences in staked supply in EOS and Tezos.

PODCASTS & PRESENTATIONS - Danny Ryan (ETH2.0) on Zero Knowledge, Jack Platts (Polkadot) on Chain Reaction, Sunny Aggarwal (Cosmos) presenting the Cosmos vision and associated tools.

Opinions & Observations

Validator Architecture

The most important topic in the validator community is how to minimize the risk of double-signing while maintaining high uptime. Some teams have devised unique approaches on how to handle cryptographic keys and proprietary infrastructure solutions to ensure delegator funds aren't at risk to be slashed. We (Chorus One) published a post explaining the high-level design of our system. Important components of our unique high availability solution will soon be open-sourced. Cryptium Labs also published and open-sourced their approach. We will soon share more of our thoughts on these topics, as they are the most critical pieces to ensure a stable and secure decentralized network.

Validators Introduce Attack Vectors

An article on Coindesk introducing the validator role and the risks a stake-based consensus protocol introduces in decentralized networks. Covering technical attack vectors like long-range attacks, stake grinding and the nothing at stake problem. Newer PoS protocols largely devised solutions for these: security deposits and slashings, capital lockup periods, and advanced cryptography to create unbiasable and unpredictable randomness.

While the notion of weak subjectivity will persist in any PoS network, the more interesting considerations touched upon in this article are those of misaligned incentives that may result in network centralization and other issues like front-running validators. PoS protocol incentives need to be designed with all these things in mind. Specifically, censorship attacks and other behaviors in which validators diverging from the protocol rules may profit them need to be considered.

Opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chorus One. All content is for informational purposes only and not intended as investment advice.

Follow Staking Economy on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you don't miss any issue.