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Stratis Sidechain Masternodes

The application process for the Cirrus Sidechain Masternodes has now come to an end. A great amount of interest has been received which has resulted in a significant number of Masternodes being assigned. The development of the Sidechain Masternodes is also drawing to a close, making this a great opportunity to offer a lower-level explanation as to how the network will operate and also what features to expect.

On-Chain Voting

An important development of the Stratis Sidechains solution is the inclusion of on-chain voting. This enables dynamic management of the chain. On-chain voting can and will be further extended to cater for a wide variety of functionality on a sidechain. Currently the functionality is limited to the below.
• Request of Addition Federated Membership
• Request of Removal from Federated Membership
• Approval of a Smart Contract
• Disapproval of a Smart Contract

Operation

Operating a Masternode consists of running and maintaining two nodes, one for each network. These nodes are a little different from the Stratis Full Node and include additional features that allow for bi-directional communication between the respective chain nodes.
To ensure consistency, we have utilized PowerShell Core to deliver a deployment script, due to the cross-platform support that PowerShell Core brings. The script will configure and launch the two nodes required for Masternode operation, requiring user intervention, ensuring that any sensitive information is not stored locally or entered into a browser. Upon the release of the Masternode’s for the Cirrus Sidechain, full documentation will be provided.
Day-to-Day operation of the node can be performed via the Sidechain Dashboard. The dashboard provides an informative page detailing the Masternode’s activity and status. Allowing a Masternode operator to act upon outstanding votes on the network, increase logging for troubleshooting and display wallet balances for transaction fees obtained.
As time progresses, we aim to deliver a fully functional user-interface that behaves similar to wallet, catered for the operation of a Masternode.

Collateral

Ensuring the security of both the Stratis Mainchain and Cirrus Sidechain whilst incentivising the operation of nodes is something that is very important for both Stratis and the operators of a Masternode. As a direct result of received feedback, we have successfully implemented an additional consensus rule that will validate the balance of a given collateral address on the Stratis Mainchain. This crucial development ensures that Masternode operators can continue to stake their collateral, inherently further securing the Stratis Mainchain whilst actively operating a Sidechain Masternode on the Sidechain.
During the registration process, you would have provided a STRAT address that contained the amount of collateral required for the relevant Masternode. This address will be tied to your public key, upon the production of a block, a check will be made ensuring that the balance remains above the set collateral amount. If the balance of the provided address does not meet the collateral requirement a block will not be produced. If this continues for subsequent blocks, the public key will be removed from the Federation. If this occurs, you will have to perform a new registration on-chain, this request is then approved by the remaining Federated Members. Once 51% of existing Federated Members vote for the addition, the public key will be included in the next cycle of block production.

How do I get Cirrus Tokens?

The Cirrus Sidechain is a Two-Way Federated Peg, meaning that it is connected with the Stratis Mainchain. Therefore, each Cirrus Token maintains a 1:1 ratio with the Stratis Token. Along with the release of the Sidechain Masternode’s there will be an update performed to Stratis Core, this update will introduce a new tab that will enable you to transfer STRAT from the Stratis Mainchain to the Cirrus Sidechain, crediting you with 1 CRS Token per each STRAT transferred.

Stratis Monthly #2

Another month has passed since our initial monthly update. This month the focus has primarily revolved around the development of the Sidechain Masternode.

Full Node Development

During the month of March, the Stratis Full Node team has delivered 2 releases. A total of 124 Pull Requests were merged into the codebase during this period.
Development for the most part continued to focus on stability and performance of the Full Node. In addition, attention has been drawn to RPC capabilities to ensure readiness of exchanges transitioning to the Full Node. This is a crucial step in moving to a network secured entirely by the Stratis Full Node.
The most notable changes and enhancements to the Full Node is listed below:

  • Addition of RPC methods for exchange support
  • Addition of various API endpoints
  • Denial-of-Service prevention
  • Improvements to the node’s Peer-to-Peer layer
  • On-going improvements to our unit and integration test suite
  • Reduced memory footprint

The latest version of the Stratis Core wallet contains the 3.0.3 version of the Full Node and can be obtained from our wallets page below.
Stratis Wallets

Sidechain Development

The development of Masternode features is nearing completion, including key developments to greatly improve the end-user experience.
Major developments during March can be found below:

  • Added functionality to Sidechain Dashboard
  • Creation of PowerShell Core setup script
  • Design of on-chain registration
  • Implementation of collateral management
  • Implementation of voting endpoints

A preview of the Sidechain Dashboard can be found below, the dashboard will be used to monitor and manage the Sidechain Masternode.

Privacy Protocol for STRAT

As mentioned in our community Discord last week, we are actively developing a Privacy Protocol solution for STRAT.
The further development of the Privacy Protocol will include a new version of the Breeze Wallet with enhanced security. In addition, we are working on bringing Segregated Witness support to the Stratis network to enable native Privacy Protocol support.
These are exciting developments that will bring further utility to the Stratis Token, offering the ability to improve the level of privacy with the STRAT token.

Full Node on Microsoft Azure

As a result of our relationship with Microsoft we received a Tweet from the Microsoft Azure twitter account highlighting the Stratis Full Node’s availablility on the Azure Marketplace.

London Blockchain Expo Global 2019

In less than four weeks, the Blockchain Expo Global 2019 will kick off. It’s an exciting time for us particularly as we will be arriving with several innovations under our belt. The Blockchain Expo Global is all about showcasing where blockchain is heading, and we have speakers scheduled to talk about two key Stratis technologies: Smart Contracts and DLT.

Stratis is once again a Platinum Sponsor for this event and will be showcasing our newly designed booth and can be found on stand 461.
Be sure you visit by obtaining a ticket from https://blockchain-expo.com/global/

Blockchain for Enterprise

The way enterprises store and process data doesn’t stay static. New technologies disrupt the status quo. Imagine 10 years from now. It is not far-fetched to predict that ideas currently in their infancy will, by then, have established dominance. Blockchain, with its inherent redefinition of how valuable assets are stored and accessed is one of those technologies.
Blockchain, as devised for Bitcoin, was used to store an abstract asset. The network was public, provided a level of anonymity, and was decentralized in a way that fitted Bitcoin’s philosophy. However, enterprise assets often exist in the real world in a situation where there is good reason to know who has the rights to access the data. A dogmatic approach won’t work; developing blockchain for the enterprise requires that you cherry-pick blockchain innovations, and adapt them, on a case-by-case basis.
Stratis is positioned at the heart of the blockchain industry and its focus is the enterprise. So, let’s explore some of the ways we see blockchain and the enterprise coming together over the next few years.

Moving forward with people you thought were your competitors

Who to trust with your data can be an issue for enterprises, and this issue has led to enterprises not cooperating with other entities. In these situations, data can be duplicated from organization to organization while, at the same time, the risk of being out-of-sync with other data sources remains. Blockchain has been described as “trustless” largely because one of Bitcoin’s innovations was to enable you to transact with a level of anonymity; when everybody has an immutable copy of the data, that’s all you need to know who has what before and after a transaction. Although anonymity is not usually desirable on a blockchain designed for enterprises, the design behind an enterprise blockchain is still unique in that it reduces the level of trust required by participating organizations. Providing an environment where an enterprise can share data with an organization they do not “trust” showcases one of blockchain’s revolutionary cornerstones in an enterprise setting.

Sharing can drive new value in a consortium

Enterprises need to work with official legislation. If the behaviour of the organization is called into question or in the case of a routine audit, it is fundamental that the data depicts the truth. The permissioned model often used by enterprise blockchain allows for a selective transparency. This enables regulatory bodies to hold and access sensitive data as and when required. However, transparency is not a blockchain’s only advantage here. The shared data approach can also help build towards a uniformed, standardized approach to regulation across an industry sector. Pioneering enterprises, who understand the need for regulation, can adopt a blockchain-based strategy which, for example, could receive widespread adoption relatively soon after 50% of the industry sector is signed up.

Not every blockchain solution needs a crypto token

Sometimes blockchain and cryptocurrency tokens are mentioned as if they are inseparable. This isn’t the case. For some business models there is no requirement for a token, and Stratis can implement a DLT solution on a private network to suit these models. However, some enterprises might benefit from some form of token. The token could potentially be listed on a cryptocurrency exchange, on the other hand, it could have a more limited distribution. Rethinking the token as a store of value for enterprises could involve loyalty point schemes and micro-payments, with an emphasis on value and convenience for customers rather than speculation.

Disruptive technologies require radical enablement

Blockchain innovations can also go hand-in-hand with other emergent technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT) is turning formerly dumb objects into sophisticated sensors capable of both streaming and processing data. Machine learning is being applied to these data flows to identify trends and discover previously hidden correlations and connections. A central question here is which method of data storage can facilitate this influx of data, which has such applicability to enterprises. The very fact the IoT opens so many possibilities makes the idea of holding it in traditional out-of-date data silos. Blockchain can, however, evolve with IoT.

You need to do things differently if you want a different result

Enterprises demand that technology serves them and brings visible benefits.
Adapting blockchain to create data solutions for enterprises requires a flexible mindset that takes the strengths of blockchain, as applicable to each case. Perhaps most importantly, blockchain also gives enterprises the opportunity to take another look at their data strategy in tandem with other players in their industry sector.

Stratis Full Node 3.0.2

The Stratis Full Node 3.0.2 is now available. A significant amount of work has gone into this release to ensure the stability of the node and includes a total of 475 individual commits from our initial production release.
A brief summary of the key items addressed in this release can be found below:

  • Reduced memory footprint
  • Denial-of-Service prevention
  • Improvement of Peer-to-Peer networking
  • Addition of  various API endpoints
  • Addition of RPC methods for exchange support

In addition to the release of the Stratis Full Node, an updated version of Stratis Core is also immediately available.
Stratis Core 1.1.0 focuses on improving the user-experience based on comments and issues raised by the community and is now the recommended wallet for staking on the Stratis mainchain. The ability to send to a sidechain has also been included in this release of Stratis Core, catering for Cirrus sidechain once Sidechain Masternodes have been deployed.
The adoption of Stratis Core will lead to the enablement of Cold-Staking on the Stratis mainchain, allowing holders of the Stratis Token to stake whilst their funds remain secure in an offline wallet. This release is a pivotal step towards becoming a blockchain entirely operated by nodes running on the .NET Framework.
A guide detailing how to migrate from StratisX to Stratis Core can be found below
https://www.stratisplatform.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Migrating-to-Stratis-Core.pdf

Resources

The Stratis Full Node 3.0.2 can be deployed on Azure via the Azure Marketplace
https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/stratis-group-ltd.stratis-csharp-fullnode
The branch for the Stratis Full Node 3.0.2 can be obtained on GitHub
https://github.com/stratisproject/StratisBitcoinFullNode/releases/tag/v3.0.2.0
Stratis Core 1.1.0 can be downloaded from our Wallets page
https://www.stratisplatform.com/wallets/

Stratis Monthly #1

This is the first of our monthly updates and will provide an overview of the development and testing progress at Stratis.

Full Node Development

The Full Node has seen a vast amount of enhancements over the last month, primarily focusing on stability. The most notable developments can be found below.

  • Substantial enhancements to bandwidth consumption
  • Spamming and denial-of-service attack tolerance has been greatly improved
  • Various improvements to combat syncing edge-case scenarios
  • Node fault reporting improvements
  • API can now be accessed on start-up
  • Improvements to our unit and integration test suite (of over 2600 tests)
  • Improved wallet balance reporting
  • Various connectivity updates to the node’s API and RPC method implementations

Sidechain Development

With the recent announcement of the Cirrus Masternodes, development has primarily focused on stability and user experience. Highlights of the development can be found below.

  • Improved testing of sidechain components
  • Refactoring of federation withdrawals
  • Re-design of leader selection functionality
  • Integration of latest Proof-of-Authority design

Smart Contracts Development

Smart Contracts development has continued since the production release. A highlight of the most recent items can be found below.

  • Optimal repository structure defined
  • Enhancements to Smart Contracts testing tool “MockChain” resulting in improved test stability
  • Improved user-experience via API documentation and returned messages in HTTP responses
  • Ability to verify contracts on a network
  • Network parameter adjustments to account for upcoming Sidechain Masternodes joining the network

Testing

The experience of the team at Stratis has resulted in the development of a suite of internal testing tools to assist with the functional testing of our products. These tools enable Stratis to push our products outside of normal use-cases, instilling confidence in stability and responsiveness.
The Stratis Full Node has been extensively tested, utilizing the internally developed NetworkViewer.

The NetworkViewer constantly monitors all nodes via API and RPC calls, TCP dumps, log hooks and produces statistics and charts at a per node level.
This rigorous test process ensures nodes can perform all basic network operations i.e. IBD, synchronization, transaction propagation, mining, fork recovery, etc. In addition, the environment is subjected to adverse network conditions not typically experienced on the mainchain i.e. broadcasting large number of transactions, long multichain reorg, etc.

Cirrus Sidechain Masternodes Applications

An application form to register interest in operating a Masternode on the Cirrus Sidechain whilst continuing to earn staking rewards from the Stratis Mainchain was announced. More information regarding how you can register can be found below.

Stratis Sidechain Application

James DeGale Sponsorship

Stratis had the pleasure of sponsoring former Two-Time IBF World Super-Middleweight Champion, James DeGale in his highly anticipated bout with Chris Eubank Jr.

Image result for james degale stratis

Stratis Brand Awareness

Our partner, MediConnect have received a significant amount of mainstream media attention with the announcement of their blockchain solution utilizing the Stratis Platform. This has seen Stratis mentioned in prime-time slots on TalkSport, the world’s biggest sports radio station and publications in major tabloids, including The Sun and The Mirror.
The MediConnect ICO Public Sale begun on the 20th February and will run through until 15th May. You can register to take part in the MediConnect ICO using the below link.
https://ico.mediconnect.io

Stratis Sidechain Application

As mentioned in our Stratis Sidechain Masternode announcement last week, to progress the allocation of Masternodes for the Cirrus Sidechain, an application form would be made available to begin the enrolment process.
You can now apply to become a Masternode operator on the Cirrus sidechain by completing the form on the below page.
https://www.stratisplatform.com/sidechain-application/
You will need to run the Stratis KeyGen utility that can be obtained via the below link.
Stratis Keygen Utility
The application process will be available until the 31st March 2019.
In addition to making the application form available, Stratis has incorporated design changes to the collateral requirement for both Masternode Tiers. We are happy to announce the collateral will now be held within a Stratis Mainchain wallet allowing token holders to continue staking whilst securing the Cirrus Sidechain.
This decision was made based on the feedback from the community on the original announcement and enables holders of the Stratis token to continue gaining staking rewards on the Stratis Mainchain whilst operating a Masternode.
Information regarding the hardware requirements for operating a Masternode and key dates will be announced after the imminent major release of Stratis Core.

Stratis Sidechain Masternodes

Stratis is pleased to announce the highly anticipated lower tier Masternodes that will support the Cirrus sidechain. The Cirrus sidechain is the first sidechain pegged to the Stratis mainchain where Smart Contracts in C# will be deployed.
The latest addition to Stratis Masternodes allows holders of the Stratis Token to operate as two different types nodes on the Cirrus sidechain. This in turn will result in operators obtaining fees for both transactions and smart contracts that execute on the chain.
Initially, there will be two tiers of Sidechain Masternodes that will maintain the Cirrus sidechain.
Cirrus Chain Federated Masternode
A Cirrus Chain Federated Masternode can produce blocks on the Cirrus chain, earning transactional fees and GAS costs for smart contracts executed on the chain.
There is a 10,000 STRAT collateral requirement in place to be eligible to become a Cirrus Chain Federated member.
Cirrus Chain Multi-Sig Masternode
Similar to a Cirrus Chain Federated Masternode, a Multi-Sig Masternode can also produce blocks on the Cirrus Chain. In addition, these Masternodes form the multi-signature address that secures the chain.
There is a 50,000 STRAT collateral requirement in place to be eligible to become a Cirrus Chain Multi-Sig MasterNode.
The number of Masternodes that can operate on the Cirrus sidechain is currently limited to 101 members to ensure a level of decentralization as multiple entities will be producing blocks on the chain. We will soon release dynamic federation membership allowing nodes to join and/or leave the Federation, further increasing the decentralisation of the Cirrus chain and allowing additional nodes.
The collateral amount for both Masternodes will need to be held within a wallet on the sidechain to meet the collateral requirements.
On the 6th of March, Stratis will be revealing a submission page where you can express your interest to become a Cirrus Masternode and provide your Cirrus public key. A simple command line tool will be released prior to this submission page becoming available.

What is PoA?

Proof-of-Authority is consensus algorithm that can be used instead of Proof-of-Work or Proof-of-Stake.
It does not depend on nodes solving arbitrarily difficult mathematical problems, but instead uses a set of “Masternodes” – that are explicitly allowed to create new blocks and secure the blockchain. This makes it easier to maintain a private chain and keep the block issuers accountable. Also, PoA is more predictable since blocks are issued at steady time intervals.

Stratis Smart Contracts in C# and Stratis Sidechains Release

Stratis is proud to announce the release of Stratis Sidechains and Smart Contracts in C#.
This combination of two of our technologies forms an ideal pairing and marks the production release of both sidechains and smart contracts. As part of this release, Stratis has launched the Cirrus sidechain that supports smart contracts.
Our new sidechain has its own tokens, CRS, which are used for transacting on the sidechain, and provide gas for running smart contracts. This sidechain builds on the previous sidechain release and utilizes a Two-Way Federated Peg solution, which allows STRAT to pass to and from the sidechain through a gateway controlled by a federation. CRS are pegged to STRAT at a 1:1 ratio.
To maintain chain integrity, STRAT deposits need to mature for 500 blocks before they are honored on the sidechain. Withdrawals from the sidechain only require a singular confirmation before becoming spendable.
The sidechain is secured using a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus algorithm, which requires a federation to be in place. The federation members have the rights to create blocks whereas non-federation sidechain nodes can transact and deploy smart contracts, but they cannot mine the blocks. On our smart contract sidechain, each federation member has a dual role, controlling the gateway with the mainchain and generating blocks.
A PoA algorithm is ideally suited to a smart contract sidechain. It is a resilient algorithm for blockchains and block creators are kept accountable as they are identifiable. PoA also enables our new sidechain to have a very small and predictable block time, blocks are issued on the network every 16 seconds.
As Cirrus is the first launched sidechain including smart contracts, the federated members of the Cirrus sidechain are comprised of nodes that are owned and maintained by Stratis. There will be an additional sidechain released in the new year, this will be comprised of STRAT holders who meet set collateral requirements. In addition, the federation will be further developed to offer further flexibility, allowing for the addition and removal of federated members.
Finally, an updated instance of Stratis Core will be released, this new version will enable users to seamlessly deploy smart contracts from the Stratis Core UI.
A preview of this can be found below.

Stratis ICO Platform Update


Stratis have continued to add features to the Stratis ICO Platform to ensure companies or individuals who utilize the platform remain compliant. The Stratis ICO Platform remains available via the Azure Marketplace, leveraging all the advantages that are associated with Microsoft Azure such as availability and scalability.
As an example, it has been ruled in certain countries that citizens are not permitted to invest in an ICO unless they meet specific requirements. In order to meet these sanctions that are in place, Stratis has integrated two key features into the ICO Platform.
Firstly, IPStack offers the ability to block access to the ICO Platform based upon an individual’s location and more importantly, can detect the usage of VPN’s and Tor. By utilizing the IPStack integration, you can ensure that users from blacklisted countries cannot easily circumvent the rules in place.
Secondly, Stratis has worked with Shufti Pro, a KYC and AML Provider who offer the ability to reject KYC/AML check applications based upon location. This acts as a final preventive step in blocking unwanted participants on your ICO.
In addition to the IPStack and Shufti Pro integrations, Stratis has also introduced a Private Sale feature. This feature enables administrators of the ICO to restrict who can register by whitelisting prospective users email addresses. This allows companies and individuals who are performing ICO’s to confidently announce and publish their ICO website address, without fear of unwanted registrations gaining pre-sale discounts.
Stratis will continue to further develop the Stratis ICO Platform to meet the needs of the market. These newly added features make the Stratis ICO Platform geared to cater for Security Token Offerings (STO’s).
The Stratis ICO Platform is available to deploy from the Azure Marketplace.

Stratis Academy Update


Stratis Academy has now been updated with extensive update on the existing Stratis Full Node documentation. We start off with a useful document that breaks down the output of the Full Node.
The next stop shows how you can customize the Full Node’s features; it’s a document both for someone who wants to create a custom Full Node build, by swapping out a couple of existing features, and for someone who wants to go further and create their own custom feature. The ‘feature’ document is also a great grounding for the later topics, which discuss some of the out-of-the-box features of the Full Node.
The Full Node supports Proof-of-Stake (PoS), Proof-of-Work (PoW), and Proof-of-Authority (PoA) algorithms. Although documentation on the PoW algorithm is widely available, we realised there was not much information on how PoW and PoA algorithms work. For developers, we take the explanation of PoS right down to the code level and look at the individual calculations involved. Those interested in our sidechain and DLT solution will find the discussion on PoA ideal for gaining a deeper understanding on why this algorithm is so well-suited to these technologies. More can be read here.
Following on with the customization theme, the possibilities provided by Full Node’s consensus feature are explored. First, consensus is viewed from the component level, and the route blocks and headers take through the code on their way to validation is explained. Next the validation rule sets and the individual rules for each consensus algorithm are looked at in detail; this comes from the perspective that you want to create and integrate your own existing rules. Although modifications might, in many cases, involve minor adjustments to existing consensus algorithms, you could, with the knowledge provided here, also create your own unique consensus algorithm.
Our implementation of proven headers provides an interesting discussion and shows (right down at the code level) how an existing Bitcoin feature has been adapted for a PoS blockchain. It is also a good example of how Stratis’ architecture can facilitate new feature development with, for example, the clean introduction of new consensus rules.
Another example of Stratis’ commitment to PoS was the release of the Cold Staking feature which is detailed in the following section.
Stratis’ DLT solution is given an illuminating overview showing how it can serve enterprise clients.
Numerous other updates have been made to the existing material, and the smart contracts documentation comes with a new piece on how to use the Account Abstraction Layer to more easily develop and interact with smart contracts.
This release is a precursor to a future Academy update which will cover the Smart Contract Sidechain. Importantly, the material here covers some of the theory, design, and code that make this innovation possible.
The Stratis Academy can be found from our Developers page.

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