Block.one Publishes 'Release Candidate' for EOS, Includes Enhanced 'Security Features'

Block.one, a Cayman Islands-registered open-source software publisher which helped develop EOS, one of the largest platforms for building decentralized applications (dApps), has launched “a release candidate” for EOSIO, the suite of software products powering the zero-fee smart contract platform.

As noted in an official blog post, published on April 30th, 2019 by Block.one, this latest “release candidate marks a major update for the EOSIO software platform.” As described by the blockchain-based software developer, the new candidate release for EOSIO is “a consensus protocol upgrade, which implements a change to the protocol rules and requires alignment.”

Current Version Is Only “A Release Candidate,” Seeking Feedback From Community

Block.one’s blog further noted that “block producing” or transaction validating nodes must install the release so that the upgrade can be “successfully deployed.” The software publisher clarified that “this is a Release Candidate for feedback, [and that] the official release will be marked stable in the coming weeks once we have finished vetting and testing the update with the community.”

After successfully completing the various phases of testing, the current release may be “promoted to stable,” Block.one’s management explained. Moreover, the stable release will introduce “foundational mechanisms [in order] to facilitate the activation of the consensus protocol upgrade.”

“Two-Thirds Of Active Majority BPs” Must Agree On “Activating Features"

According to Block.one, these particular mechanisms will “allow a two-thirds majority of active block producers (BP) of EOSIO blockchains to activate individual features of the consensus protocol upgrade to modify the protocol rules.”

Configuration of the new consensus protocol will require that “all [EOS network] nodes be locally [updated] to accept these upgrades,” a process which involves “installing a new version of the nodeos software.”

New Release Features Can Be “Activated Independently Of One Another”

As explained by Block.one: 

Each feature is for the most part designed to be à la carte, i.e. each feature can be activated independently of one another, however, some features may have dependencies on other features as noted in each issue.

The open-source software publisher added that “this feature is actually part of the foundational mechanisms to facilitate activation of consensus protocol upgrades and will, therefore, need to be the first feature that is activated.” Block.one’s blog also mentioned that “some features will be configured to require pre-activation on the blockchain.”

According to the EOS platform developer, this “enables replacing the subjective block producer policy of when to activate a particular feature with an objective on-chain policy carried out via smart contracts.”

Implementing Features With “An Objective On-Chain Policy”

In most cases, Block.one noted that “this objective on-chain policy will be in the form of requiring more than two-thirds of active block producers to approve an on-chain multisig transaction proposal.”

Once approved, the multisig transaction will “execute a special system contract action to pre-activate the particular feature.” As detailed in Block.one's blog, the “PREACTIVATE_FEATURE feature must be activated before the new version of the system contract with that special action can be deployed.” That’s because “the action implementation will require a privileged intrinsic function only made available after PREACTIVATE_FEATURE is activated.”

As mentioned in Block.one’s documentation, there are “detailed recommendations” available for EOS users that are running a full-node. These are intended to guide block producers by providing instructions (and suggestions) on how to “test and update their systems for each feature to be implemented.”

All Node Operators, Not Just BPs, Must Carefully “Review Suggested Instructions”

Furthermore, Block.one noted that “all [full-node] operators (including non block-producing nodes) should review the suggested instructions as soon as possible because updating to EOSIO v1.8.0 will require a replay from genesis which can take some time.”

Other notable technical upgrades to EOSIO are as follows:

  • “(#6105) Modify restrictions on RAM billing; Codename: RAM_RESTRICTIONS,”
  • “(#6103) Fix problems associated with replacing deferred transaction; Codename: REPLACE_DEFERRED,”
  • “(#6115) Avoid transaction ID collision of deferred transactions; Codename: NO_DUPLICATE_DEFERRED_ID,”
  • “(#6333) Disallow linking to non-existing permission; Codename: ONLY_LINK_TO_EXISTING_PERMISSION,”
  • “(#6458) Disallow proposing an empty producer schedule,”
  • “(#6672) Fix excessive restrictions of eosio::linkauth; Codename: FIX_LINKAUTH_RESTRICTION,”
  • “(#6705) Restrict authorization checking when sending actions to self; Codename: RESTRICT_ACTION_TO_SELF”

HTC Says Its Latest Cryptophone Puts 'A Metaphorical Swiss Bank in Your Pocket'

On Saturday (October 19), Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC launched the Exodus 1s, which it says is "the first ever mobile device with Bitcoin Full Node support."

A Brief History of HTC's Experience With Building Crypto-Friendly Phones

On 15 May 2018, at the Consensus 2018 blockchain summit in New York City, Phil Chen, the "Decentralized Chief Officer" (DCO) for HTC announced the firm's plan to create HTC Exodus, "the world's first native blockchain phone."

The first Exodus model to launch was the Exodus 1, which went on sale in Europe and the U.S. late last year. It initially cost 0.15 BTC (though later, it became possible to buy it for $699). HTC's reason for calling this a "blockchain phone" was that it came with a built-in hardware wallet and a pre-installed Decentralized Apps (DApps) browser that was integrated with this hardware.

HTC says that its wallet app, Zion Vault, "uses the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to protect your private keys and sensitive data," and that it supports storing, sending, and receiving organize over 100 types of cryptocurrencies."

The HTC Exodus 1 is a dual-sim Android-powered phone with the following specs:

  • 6.0” Quad HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 845 processor
  • 3500mAh battery
  • Android Oreo (i.e. Android version 8.x)
  • 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM

What happened next is that HTC used its experience with the Exodus 1 and feedback from developers and the market to build a more budget-friendly device: the Exodus 1s. This is the device that HTC introduced yesterday at the two-day Lightning Conference in Berlin. In fact, HTC started selling some of the first production units at this event, and was even accepting payments via Bitcoin's Lightning Network. Other cryptocurrencies that HTC accepts as means of payment are Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), and Bitcoin Cash.

The HTC Exodus 1s

So now know that HTC has two crypto-friendly phones, the Exodus 1 and the Exodus 1s. These days, HTC has a new term to describe its crypto-friendly Exodus phones; on the Exodus website, it says  "SMARTPHONE + HARDWARE WALLET = CRYPTOPHONE". This means that HTC is currently selling two cryptophones.

What is special about the HTC Exodus 1 is not just its lower price (EUR 210, which is approximately USD 235), but the fact that, according to HTC, it is the first mobile phone that supports running a Bitcoin full node (with the blockchain data to be stored on a 400GB microSD card that needs to be purchased separately).

HTC says that running a Bitcoin full node on your phone "not only grows the Bitcoin network, but also help secure it." HTC also believes that it is better not to "wait for others to verify your transactions", and that with this phone, you can "verify yourself, anytime, anywhere."

Here is Chen (HTC's DCO) explaining to Forbes the significance of running your Bitcoin full node:

It plays a really important role in the whole bitcoin ecosystem. It allows you to relay transactions, confirm transactions, validate transactions, and it’s basically one of the best ways for anybody to contribute to the whole security of the network.

According to Techcrunch, Chen believes that with the Exodus 1s, you can essentially have a "a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket":

We gave users the ability to own their own keys, and now we’ve gone one step further to allow users to run their own full Bitcoin node. We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket.

Chen also told Forbes that HTC is considering adding support for other major blockchains:

We’ll certainly learn a lot of how people will interact with bitcoin, what they do with a full node, and we want to apply those learnings to future other public blockchains.

 These are the specs for the HTC Exodus 1s:

  • 5.7” HD+ 18:9 display
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 435 processor
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android Oreo 8.1
  • 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM

The HTC Exodus 1s will be initially available in Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (but HTC plans to offer the phone at some future date in other countries).

In case you are wondering why HTC is so interested in crypto, this is what Chen told CNBC:

Initially considered a gimmick by some, crypto technology is the next frontier of smartphone innovation. For the smartphone category to grow again, we need more adoption of cryptophones.

HTC's CEO said in an interview with Techcrunch that although we don't yet have mainstream adoption of cryptophones, the Exodus 1s gives consumers "an inexpensive way to see what the technology provides today."

 

Featured Image Courtesy of HTC