Since my last update we have successfully released 0.9.6.3 and have acted on some of the learnings that gives me more confidence in our Release Management.
We have been working diligently to find a solution to finality. The inclusion of finality was a decision taken that will benefit Symbol in the long term and was agreed by the PMC, Core Devs and NEM Group management as a requirement given our strategic aims and functionality available on Public chains that Symbol directly compares too.
Finality is at the cutting edge of PoS Blockchain tech and finding a good solution that is consistent with our NEM philosophy and goals is not easy. It is something that very few projects have managed robustly so far and resolving it will position NEM and Symbol at the forefront of the next generation of blockchain development. Many of these solutions are still the subject of active study by senior researchers in the space.
We have boiled down our approach to two distinct options and we have been using external expertise to review and assist us in this process. Further reviews will now occur to enable a decision about which option to take forward.
That external review is expected to take 2 weeks and then the subsequent work to develop the solution can begin. Depending on the decision or comments this will require a further 2-6 weeks work.
The outcome of this design and implementation process has potential impacts on OptIn as well, as indicated previously. There is a risk if we launch OptIn too early in that process that the data models change and we need everyone to opt in again… Resolving the question around Finality means that we will start Optin 4-6 weeks from now and it does also mean that there will be a delay to the launch of TestNet.
We have been flagging on the Symbol Launch Reporting and Single Source of Information thread that this had the potential to impact dates for some time if not resolved. To confirm, resolution has taken longer than estimated and as a result Testnet launch will be delayed. We are working to find ways to avoid impact to Symbol Launch date but there is a strong risk it may be delayed as a result and i will provide further updates on this over the coming weeks.
Taking a shortcut on Finality now - not building a solution - is a compromise not in the best interest of the Symbol blockchain. The omission of Finality would result in less than 100% security at launch and would limit our ability to scale Symbol. Including Finality in the technology for launch ultimately helps to reap the reward in the long run and in the short run does not leave a known security risk.
Finality is something that has been worked on for the past quarter to reach a conclusion and difficult to estimate timings of, though we are close to the end of the process. This message will be a frustrating one and the Core Developers, PMC, NGL and external parties are all working to draw it to a conclusion. Once the review is complete I will provide a further update in 2 weeks, including any and all implications for the roadmap and timings.