January 21, 2013, 06:36:18 AM
Weekly Update #22
Testing continued with 0.3 protocol and revealed some bugs with the new code. I expect testnet testing on protocol switch to be initiated some time this week, when the core code is considered reasonably stabilized.
The 0.3 protocol upgrade involves changing the way hash is computed to generate stake transactions (known as coinstake). The transition for users should have minimal impact as there is no effect on existing wallet balance, transactions and minting related protocols of the network. The new protocol replaces the current proof-of-stake difficulty in the role of stake modifier inside the proof-of-stake hashing computation (not to be confused with proof-of-work hashing, which remains unchanged). The stake modifier is a part of the hash inputs to scramble the computation so nodes cannot compute the future stake from a coin when the coin is first confirmed into block chain. The new protocol generates the stake modifier from roughly 10 days of future blocks from when the coin is first confirmed into block chain. This should reasonably resolve all currently known vulnerabilities regarding stake generation.
Due to the technical nature of implementing and switching a core part of the protocol, we feel it's prudent to thoroughly test it before 0.3 release, lest critical bugs hitting block chain. Meanwhile, I am also contemplating releasing an unpolished gui build with 0.3 release, to help current gui wallet users with the upgrade. The final 0.3 release date would likely be determined in the next two weeks depending on the progress of testnet testing.
Have a fun week!