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NEAR Stake Wars IV: Attack of Transactions

NEAR Protocol is preparing a major update of the core protocol architecture that takes scalability to the next level. This update is called stateless validation, and it has ample impact on how the network operates internally. We invite everyone to join an early access network that runs on this new architecture, StatelessNet, and run a stateless validator node or test the network throughput and scalability. StatelessNet is separate from mainnet and testnet.

1. Timeline

The entire duration of NEAR Stake Wars IV will be approximately two months, from February untill April 2024. For more information see the detailed timeline here.

2. Participation

Anyone can participate in NEAR Stake Wars IV by joining StatelessNet to confirm successful execution of their use cases, poke arround, run a validator node, or simply to fulfill their curiosity. There is also the opportunity to earn NEAR tokens by participating in the reward programs.

The instruction for joining StatelessNet can be found here, and the technical details of the network are here.

More details about the reward programs can be found here.

3. Announcements

February 1st, 2024: StatelessNet was started and is currently running with 5 validator nodes, RPC and Archival nodes. Over the next few days we will gradually expand it and begin sending meaningful traffic to it.

As a quick overview of the network, you can use the following resources:

You can add /metrics after the RPC URLs to access a web page with RPC metrics.

4. StatelessNet status

April 3rd, 2024

Temporary suspension of StatelessNet

In light of recent challenges, it has become evident that the current state of StatelessNet does not meet the standards required to adequately serve our community. Both our members and our team have been dedicating considerable time and effort towards resolving issues rather than focusing on essential aspects such as feature development, stabilization, and optimization necessary for the success of our project.

After careful consideration, we have decided it would be more prudent to temporarily suspend operations on StatelessNet until our engineering team can ensure a more stable experience for all community participants. Therefore, we will be pausing StatelessNet effective April 3rd, 2024.

Regarding validator rewards, we will base them on participants’ runtime. Moreover, recognizing the inconvenience caused by the recent v84 release, we will consider all participants to have maintained 100% runtime from March 28th to April 3rd as compensation. Upon the resumption of StatelessNet, you will have the opportunity to rejoin the network and continue earning rewards. The engineering team is currently analyzing the reward amount calculations and will soon share the results with community participants to coordinate the payout process.

For the traffic generation program, we will continue coordinating tests with you. However, please anticipate a timeline extending from April to May instead of solely April.

Furthermore, this decision may extend the lifecycle of StatelessNet until May.

We will maintain this Telegram channel to answer any questions you may have and provide status updates. However, please note that no technical support will be available during the downtime of StatelessNet.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

March 29th, 2024

Introduced new statelessnet version enabling:

  • in-memory trie for significant execution speed up
  • chunk producer shard shuffling for better security testing

Unfortunately one of the fixes related to proper storage recording stalled the chain. Revert awaiting release.

March 22nd, 2024

  • Validator roles and rewards model was presented and waits for implementation.
  • Working on enabling in-memory trie in StatelessNet.
  • Found that StatelessNet issues during loadtests are related to poor network performance. Working on improving it.

March 14th, 2024

  • New statelessnet version is released with the following two features:
    • state witness soft limit
    • bypass resharding v3 in statelessnet
  • The team will temporarily stop accepting more traffic generation proposal after March 15th so we can focus on coordinating loadtests for the already approved ones. Once we have better understanding on the loadteset schedule, the team plans to reopen the window and accept additional proposals.

March 4th, 2024

  • Wallet support is added for StatelssNet: LINK
  • Evaluation for traffic generation program is starting on March 4th, 2024

February 28th, 2024

  • Improved orphan witnesses GC.
  • Fixed bug with banning the wrong peer if invalid state witness is received.
  • Fixed crash in Option::unwrap when spawning async tasks.
  • Removed obsolete flat storage creation triggers causing some nodes getting stuck.

February 23rd, 2024

  • Orphan state witnesses cache is merged. We can resume loadtests on statelessnet soon.
  • Security fix: properly validate first chunk after genesis.
  • Validator roles and rewards model - understood what the new hardware requirements should be. Analyzing historical data on missing chunks to determine chunk producer stake threshold. Plan to share complete view on the model next week.

February 22nd, 2024

We started onboarding community validators. The list of currently running validators, proposals, and other useful information could be found on the Epoch Info page.

February 21st, 2024

Continue working on major statelessnet features:

  • Orphan state witnesses cache - clarified condition to restrict size, PR will be moved to review stage soon.
  • Validator roles and rewards model - understood details of current model and discussed concern with increased network costs.
  • In-memory trie - realized the need to improve our TestLoop framework to properly test and enable it. Started working on it.

February 16th, 2024

  • With new release, every validator can track only one shard which they validate. This is a crucial feature allowing to reduce HW requirements and make NEAR more scalable.
  • Made progress on new validator rewards model.
  • Made progress on enabling in-memory trie which should make transaction processing 2x faster.

February 14th, 2024

Bug bounty program is now LIVE as of February 14th, 2024. To avoid dupilicate reports, participants are recommended to check out reported issues in stakewars-iv repository with reward-program-bug-bounty label and reported issues with stateless-validation label in nearcore repository.

Updates from the past few days:

  • made a new release (statelessnet-82.0) and updated statelessnet_latest to point to it.
  • Found that many missing chunks during loadtest were caused by state witnesses being orphaned. We planned to resolve it later but for now we started working on proper solution as this becomes a higher priority.
  • Reduced disk usage required to generate state proofs.
  • Found an insidious FlatStorage issue causing node startup time increase when shard has zero load. Made a temporary fix and working on the proper one.
  • Made progress with the discussion on what should be the validator roles distribution.
  • Made progress in setting up Explorer. The backend is compelted, the front-end requires a few more days of work
  • Begun looking at setting up a wallet. This effort is bigger and will likely take more time.

February 12th, 2024

  • Fixed issue related to 35% missed chunks for all validator. Now there are 0% missed chunks for zero tx load
  • Conducted loadtest. Achieved 300 RPS but some validator missed 80% chunks. Investigating
  • Keeping working on improving test coverage
  • Working on mitigating disk usage increase by 200 GB for state proofs
  • Working on enabling single shard tracking and in-memory trie

February 9th, 2024

Added instructions for read-only node and becoming a validator.

February 2nd, 2024

We added instructions on how to create an account on StatelessNet and how to use the network.

February 1st, 2024

StatelessNet was started, and nodes are running. We noticed an issue impacting block finality and we are currently investignating it and working on a fix. This issue causes blocks to be missed, kickin out validator nodes. During Stage 1 of Stake Wars IV we expect to find issues what were not previously reproduced, and to iterate quickly in fixing them and updating the nodes.

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