IOTA announces Nectar testnet ‘moving closer’ & new focus on data sharding

  • The IOTA Nectar testnet is “moving closer” to release and will make Coordicide available as beta software for public testing.
  • The IOTA Foundation will focus its attention on the development of data sharding.

As we reported yesterday, the release of Chrysalis is taking big steps towards launch. The first full (phase 2) implementation of Chrysalis aka IOTA 1.5 was released on a public testnet. In addition, an alpha version of the Rust-based node Bee was also released yesterday for anyone who wants to take a first look:

Incentivized IOTA Nectar testnet “moving closer”

In parallel, Coordicide aka IOTA 2.0 is also progressing well. In an update, Serguei Popov informed about the progress of his research department. The IOTA co-founder stated that “further progress” was made in the Pollen testnet last month, “as we move closer to the incentivized testnet.” Regarding the Pollen testnet, Popov said:

Last month we improved the security and reliability of our Pollen testnet by rolling out Pollen testnet v0.3.5. We are progressing with the integration and testing of the new data flow. The first experiments show an overall performance improvement thanks to a more efficient management of concurrency. The team has finalized the adaptive Proof of Work (aPoW) implementation.

As Popov elicited, Nectar will be beta software of Coordicide. To that extent, he expects that the software will have “some bugs,” but that the “core protocol contained within Nectar is sound from a theoretical perspective”

[…] so we look forward to the rigorous testing process which will take place in the months following its release. Broad community participation will be essential for two reasons: for uncovering bugs, and also for building confidence in the soundness of the implementation.

Furthermore, Popov reported that his research team has made significant progress in the area of merging the message and value tangles. This required refactoring the ledger state. As part of the “markers implementation and the branch-DAG refactoring, we are finalizing the new UTXO-DAG implementation,” which means the merge can now be completed. “After that, all the already implemented Mana functionalities will be integrated.” Popov added.

IOTA opts for “data sharding”

After exploring various sharding options for IOTA 3.0 over the past few months, the IOTA Foundation now has a decision to that effect, Popov revealed.

After much discussion, we have decided to focus our attention on developing data sharding.

As recently as October, Popov stated that IOTA 3.0 could combine both data sharding and fluid sharding. While fluid sharding has been studied as a first-layer scaling solution, data sharding is intended to provide a second-layer solution. However, Popov’s new statement indicates that data sharding will be the initial focus of the IOTA Foundation.

The first step in development will be to publish a white paper in April:

This will allow the community and our external partners to understand our data sharding proposal in some detail. We have already created an outline and assigned sections to various people in the sharding group. We hope to have the white paper completed in April.

You can find the full research update at this link.

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