Gemini 3h and The Mini Space Race

Breaking down the launch of Gemini 3h

As we have explained previously, Gemini 3 is our last testnet before Mainnet Beta. The incentivized part of the testnet has run through various network iterations - starting with 3f, gathering momentum into 3g which we ran Stake Wars on and now, as we approach being feature complete, into the new frontier which is Gemini 3h.

Each version has introduced new functionality and 3h is no different. It includes a more complete implementation of fraud proofs which adds to security, a host of DSN fixes, improvements to the staking protocol which allow for greater scale and it paves the way for our fees and rewards specification as we close in on our tokenomics. XDM or “Cross Domain Messaging” is still being worked on while some security concerns are being addressed so will not be in the initial release.

Previously we ran both 3f and 3g at the same time for a while giving farmers a dilemma to contend with on where they should allocate their resources in preparation for incentives being ended on the old network and started on the new network. This worked well and our plan is to ratchet things up a notch or two with this (potentially last) network transition before Mainnet Beta. The detailed plan will be something of a dress rehearsal for mainnet launch and an opportunity for us to test all the moving parts it will consist of on a smaller scale. Introducing our Mini Space Race!

Mini Space Race

Bootstrapping a decentralized, permissionless protocol like Subspace is difficult. There are a number of attack vectors on a PoAS network as it gathers initial space pledged and before it has a strong, varied set of farmers providing secure consensus. To mitigate the risk involved, the plan is to only incentivize the network (activate rewards) once a comfortable level of space has been pledged and plotted. A “Space Race” to start rewards if you will.

Our mini Space Race will have three distinct phases

  1. Launchpad
  2. Liftoff
  3. Escape Velocity

Let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.

Phase 1 - Launchpad

  • The Gemini 3h chainspec will be built but no-one will be able to start on the new network just yet.
  • There will be a proof of time seed ceremony using a particular Bitcoin block height to inject randomness into the Proof of Time feature which protects the protocol from long range attacks by forcing malicious actors to expend an equivalent amount of time rather than just compute or storage. This is very important and if you want to read more on how PoT works under the hood please check out our excellent Subnomicon resource.
    • Everyone will be able to download and prepare the software, but they will have to wait for the Bitcoin blockheight to pass and the PoT seed to be determined. Once it is available, farmers can provide it to their nodes specified as a CLI option.
    • At some point after the seed ceremony, the Gemini 3h chainspec will be updated so that the PoT seed no longer has to be provided on the command line.
  • The network will start with a genesis farmer once we have the PoT seed. This sole farmer will be run by the team and allows us to add seed data to the network. The seed data will be the initial blockchain history and those of you reading who have been with us through previous phases will understand the relationship between blockchain history growth and replotting. Our aim here is to hit a balance between acceptable initial sync times and sensible replotting schedules. Remember replotting is how new data enters the network and is core to the protocol.
  • At this point farmers will be able to sync their nodes but farming will not yet be enabled for anyone but the genesis farmer. Plotting will be subject to constant replotting as the seed data continuously grows the blockchain history and triggers sector expiry. We don’t know exactly how long the seeding will take but we do invite altruistic farmers to start plotting as it will help the health of the network when we hit the next phase. Building plots this early will require a lot of replotting but, while painful, is the optimal way to approach the new network from a rewards perspective.
  • Essentially, farmers will have a head start if they join us on the bumpy road while we are seeding the data.
  • And while on the subject of altruistic farmers we would love to see those who are able to do so running timekeepers on 3h. This is not currently incentivized but you would hold a special place in our hearts and minds if you can spare a fast core for the health of the network.
    • I would like to make an extra special appeal for timekeepers - especially those who have access to the fastest cores available on the market and can spare us one. Starting a timekeeper with the network genesis is our ideal scenario. If anyone wants help doing this please reach out to us in Discord - we will be very grateful.
  • Participation in Phase 1 is optional for farmers and we want to make it clear that it will tie up resources while there are no incentives available.

Phase 2 - Liftoff

  • This is the start of our mini Space Race. A target amount of storage pledged to the network which will mark the finish line will be announced. Remember it is a dress rehearsal for our current mainnet launch plans.
  • With that in mind, and to mimic the initial stages of mainnet we will be pausing the 0.1% per week incentivized testnet reward accrual during Phase 2.
    • This means that the reward pot for the incentivized testnet will not grow from the start of Phase 2 until we hit our target space pledged. Thus starting the Space Race to reactivate incentivized testnet rewards.
    • We will aim to set the target to something attainable in 5-7 days, though obviously the exact duration of the pause will be in the hands of our farmer community.
    • Again, we will bootstrap mainnet in a similar way to ensure that consensus is secure as quickly as possible and this dynamic has been decided on as a way to introduce the same urgency we will be aiming for and encouraging at Mainnet Beta launch.
  • There will be a community event planned to kick this phase off in which we will:
    • Cease rewards on Gemini 3g at a particular block.
    • Set an initial solution range.
    • Enable block authoring by any farmer.
    • Celebrate the journey we have been on so far with a number of initiatives we are planning in the lead up to and during Phase 2.
  • At this point it will make sense for any farmer who has not already done so to start plotting as fast as their rigs will allow them to. Remember that having the first sectors plotted on a new network is a great opportunity to build up your amount of incentivized block and vote rewards. And, as we know, they will be converted into mainnet rewards a little further down the road.
  • We will all be watching the space pledged growing anxiously as it gets us closer and closer to…

Phase 3 - Escape Velocity

  • For those of you who experienced the Ethereum merge when the network transitioned from PoW to PoS there will be a familiar vibe to this phase.
    • As the community will be responsible for hitting the target space pledged we will not be able to accurately specify a time up-front for when we reach escape velocity. It could happen at any point in time and at any time of day.
    • The team will keep the community informed regularly on the progress towards our goal and as we approach the final few TiBs and GiBs there will be another, async community event in Discord where we hope as many of our wonderful members as possible will join us for the final countdown.
  • Once we hit the specified space pledged, which we calculate by measuring the solution range, rewards will automatically be activated and farmers will start to see TSSC accruing in their accounts. The specific block will be marked as the point at which we start counting incentivized testnet block and vote rewards again. It will also trigger the continuation of the reward pot accrual of 0.1% of token supply per week.
    • The Space Race is over!
  • Phase 3 will be ongoing as we digest how the Space Race went, test the new features of Gemini 3h and finalize our plans for launching Mainnet Beta where things will get really exciting!

Summing Up

We continue to be transparent that our exact schedule will always depend on how the network behaves. So far we have not had any major problems but we’re keen to re-iterate our original statement:

We anticipate that challenges will arise, things will break and unforeseen issues will come to light. We ask that you judge us on the transparency and fairness of our response to those events when they happen rather than the fact that they have occurred on our testnet.

We are approaching the end of our Mainnet Beta feature implementation roadmap and are aiming for Gemini 3h to be the last network reset but cannot be absolutely certain that this will be the case. The fact that we’ve not had any real mis-steps or had to make an unscheduled network reset is testament to our excellent core contributor engineers. We hope this trend continues!

We also hope that everyone will join us on this exciting, never-been-tried-before network transition. Onwards Subspacers! To the next frontier!