December Development Update and End of Year Roundup
The below represents the December development roundup for 2017. This will serve as a recap of 2017 and direction for Q1 2018. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for the end of year holiday period.
This year, 2017, saw the release of the 1st decentralized application for the vDapps section. That game is vSlots. A fully decentralized slot machine was the vision, processing bets directly on the Ethereum blockchain. That dream is realized in its earliest iteration, on the main network.
Blockchains are good for censorship resistance and transparency. It is the intention of the vDice brand to leverage those inherent strengths.
When faced with any number of engineering and implementation choices, developers we prefer to work with will always go with those that favor decentralization. We work with game development teams that favor these traits.
The response to the beta release of vSlots has been strong. There has been a lot of feedback. We continue to improve games user experience, according to that feedback.
The developers of the 0.2 release of vSlots inform us that it is due in early 2018 and will have the following:
- Solidity update:
- Blockchain re-orgs won’t cause the callback to fail completely and waste all gas.
- Allow attempted resend of the callback tx once the calling tx has been included in the new longest chain.
- If the proof verification fails for any reasons, the user is refunded.
- Redeploying the LedgerRandomProofVerifier with small fix of the verification of the randomDS proof included in the ethereumAPI.
Development Speed and Security
Developing secure solidity code for the main network is difficult. This year alone we have seen two large, critical hacks in the Ethereum space. Both were vulnerabilities in the Parity Multisig codebase, exploited by black-hat hackers, to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in Ether.
Some would say that if Parity, the most talented development team in the space, could fall victim to this, then Solidity itself is inadequate. We do not necessarily believe this is true.
Of course, development on formal verification and more suitable languages should continue. But we still believe it is possible to write good, secure gambling Dapps in Solidity. We believe games can exist on the Ethereum main network and process bets safely and securely. We remain committed to this.
Systems have been implemented to make sure that security is maintained. Security is so important. A hack can destroy a brand.
Once there is a serious hack, it calls into question all current and future code released under any brand. So, security is of the utmost importance for the longevity of any brand.
We have received dozens of code submissions from hopeful developers, for various games. Each is audited by 3 separate security teams before it is considered for the vDapps section. All these dapps are in various stages of audit and reworking.
What we can say is that the pool of truly competent Solidity developers is very small. At this time there are very limited numbers of people that can write secure and efficient Solidity code, worthy of vDapps.
Given how young Ethereum is, as a technology, this is to be expected. This will change over time. But rest assured we will never compromise or skimp on the security audit process for anything going onto vDapps.
Network load & transaction cost processing
Despite developers best efforts what has been learnt is that the current network capabilities aren’t conducive to launching a global gambling experience, not yet anyway.
To even process a few hundred thousand transactions would, and does, cause scalability issues for the network.
This has been known for some time. Now the network issues are real. We remain optimistic that this will force solutions.
No one is certain how long various scaling solutions will take to implement. It should also be noted that these issues are common to all decentralized blockchains. Scaling is a universal problem that requires all our best efforts and will take time.
Nevertheless, developers remain committed to producing secure code and releasing mainnet games that will deal best with the current state of Ethereum technology that we have, at any given time.
Once again, happy holidays everyone!