Voting Over the Blockchain

Voting Over the Blockchain

 

How One Tezos-Based App is Democratizing Elections

Elections, historically have often been questioned for their accuracy and transparency and now one blockchain-based platform has created arguably one of the most secure and reliable platforms for elections to be conducted digitally. Electis, a voting platform that has been used by over 20,000 voters since its launch, has aligned itself with one of the most “green” and environmentally friendly blockchain providers Tezos. It is perhaps for this reason that Electis has been most popular among government agencies and nonprofit organizations that are focused on the realms of sustainability, climate change and carbon footprints.

Organizations using Electis for democratic voting

Electis has grown in popularity since its inception and is now regularly used to conduct fair and open-source elections among a wide network of parties. The most recent of which include the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This nonprofit, part of the UN, is comprised of a global network of both children and youth activists as well as youth NGOs, who are working on developing policies on climate change. Their votes see the future trajectory of this organization take shape as they contribute their voices to the policies of the UNFCCC. Another UN organization that has chosen the Electis platform for democratic voting is the SDG7 Youth Constituency, a means for youth to have their voices heard in the energy sector, more specifically on renewable energy sources.  According to a member of the global support team at SDG7 Youth constituency “Electis is our trusted partner for this year’s election campaign – and hopefully for all future elections”. The  Women and Gender Constituency is one of nine official observers for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which holds member states accountable for keeping warming beneath 1.5 degrees Celcius, while practicing respect for human rights and  Women’s and Gender Issues, has also used Electis. Electis bases its app on secure and transparent e-voting, which places confidentiality and verifiability at the heart of its product.  It does this through the use of blockchain technology, which due to its architecture is tamperproof from the outside. This makes both the process and outcome of voting fair, and due to its digital nature allows voters to participate in votes no matter where they are in the world. Electis chose Tezos blockchain to build its application due to its environmentally friendly nature, as well as its speed and security of transactions.

A collector’s guide to the blockchain

A collector’s guide to the blockchain

On a technical level, NFTs are assets that can be exchanged on a blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions. ‘The NFT market is huge and open to everyone, the audience is wider and there is a potential collector for every media, every style, and all participants are enthusiastic to discover new artists,’ says Aleksandra Jovanić, an artist who mints NFTs on the open-source blockchain Tezos.

It’s worth noting that NFTs can be used for a number of things, from creating a digital provenance to visually representing an asset. The latter is how most of the art world currently understands the term NFT – as synonymous with ‘digital work of art’ – but it’s important to note that ‘NFT’ simply refers to the underlying technology that allows a digital asset to be traded. NFTs are not inherently digital art, but they offer artists an entirely new medium. Put simply: NFTs should not always be thought of as works of art, whereas works of art can be NFTs.

As Jovanić implies, NFTs are relatively accessible for technological reasons: Rather than going through a gallery or auction house, collectors can mint NFTs directly from artists. As creators of NFTs, artists are also entitled to royalties any time the asset is put up for resale, thanks to the way they are coded. This is in stark contrast to what happens in the traditional art market, where artists are most often left out of the resale process entirely. Collectors benefit from blockchain technology too, because NFTs are impossible to fake. There’s no way to copy an NFT, and collectors can be sure of their ownership and the work’s authorship.

 

Tezos’ 11th protocol upgrade proposal, “Kathmandu”

Tezos’ 11th protocol upgrade proposal, “Kathmandu”

Protocol testing on Kathmandunet

Nomadic labs is happy to see Beacon and Taquito having already added support for Kathmandunet. It is critical to have as many bakers and builders as possible participating in this testnet, by running nodes, producing blocks and deploying apps and infrastructure. Nomadic Labs will publish a release candidate for a new Octez suite version, v14.0~rc1, within a few days. It will include the daemon binaries that enable participation in the Kathmandunet test network. Should the Kathmandu protocol proposal be accepted by the community, v14 of Octez (or later) will be required to participate in consensus due to necessary changes introduced to the protocol environment.

Smart contract rollup testing on bleeding edge testnets

The smart contract optimistic rollups core business logic and Wasm PVM are in a mature enough state for the community to start developing and testing applications and infrastructure on testnets. As mentioned in our Kathmandu preview post, smart contract rollups will not be enabled on Tezos mainnet by the Kathmandu protocol proposal. This is to give the community extra time to develop and test infrastructure and Layer 2 applications. Given that Kathmandunet is meant to mirror the current protocol proposal, it will not have support for smart contract rollups enabled. Instead, we encourage the community to start building and testing on the bleeding edge Mondaynet and Dailynet testnets.

Continuous dApp testing on Ghostnet

Ghostnet is live! It’s a permanent testnet that follows Mainnet upgrades, meaning dApp developers will no longer have to redeploy to a new testnet after each upgrade. It was activated with a User Activated Upgrade (Ithacanet -> Jakarta), and another UAU will be necessary to migrate to Kathamandu. After that, further evolution of Ghostnet will happen via a new upgrade mechanism managed by Oxhead Alpha. Further details are available in the TZIP advocating for this feature. The implementation is a contribution of G.-B. Fefe, a community member not affiliated with the core developing teams behind this protocol proposal. For this work, an invoice of 3000 XTZ is included in the proposal. Nomadic labs is interested in the communty’s input on the optimal date for testing migration of Ghostnet to the next Mainnet protocol. The migration from Ithaca to Jakarta was performed a few hours before Mainnet activation. For Kathmandu, Nomadic labs is considering to do Ghostnet migration 72 hours prior to Mainnet activation, should the proposal be adopted. However, we would like to empirically figure out the best time (during the Adoption period) to perform the migration. The community’s participation in the test network and feedback will be most welcome in this process.

Jakarta 2.0

Announcing “Jakarta 2”

Changes in Jakarta 2

The changes in Jakarta 2 with regard to the previous Jakarta proposal concern only fixing the reported bugs. In this section we shed more light into these issues, and detail how they were corrected for the new protocol proposal.

Bugfix for uncraftable rejection operations

The first bug concerns rejection operations, that is the Layer 1 operation which allows a honest node to refute an erroneous or malicious commitment in a TORU. A flaw in its implementation ultimately made it possible for an attacker to publish commitments whose refutation proofs would not fit within the maximal allowed size for Tezos’ manager1 operations batches — 32 KiB.
This limit underpins a design decision in the current implementation of TORUs: there is an upper-bound on the number of Layer 2 transaction batches from the same rollup which can be (ahem!) rolled up within a given Tezos Layer 1 block. For each of these batches, operators of the client rollup are required to include the batch’s hash in their respective commitment operation on Layer 1. Inserting too many batches from the same rollup in the same block would make it impossible to insert a valid commitment for it in a subsequent block, which would result in the incriminated rollup being stuck forever.
Rejection operations denounce a specific rollup commitment, which contains one hash per batch of Layer 2 transactions. Honest rollup accusers can trivially find the first hash that they disagree with, and craft a rejection operation to refute said batch. The rejection operations requires two key pieces of data: (1) the target batch itself, and (2) a collection of Merkle proofs which allow to replay said message. This raises an immediate concern. What if the provided Merkle proofs are just too large to fit within the size boundaries a Tezos Layer 1 manager operation? If the batch is large enough (that is, it contains enough transactions), this can definitely happen.
To tackle this risk, TORUs relies on two design choices. First, TORUs encode Merkle proofs using a format that allows to send truncated proofs. Second, a batch for which one can exhibit a valid, “large enough” truncated proof has to be considered a no-op.
In the first Jakarta proposal, the size boundary for Layer 2 operations batches was 5 KB, and a truncated proof larger than 30 KB was required, in order to prove that a batch should be considered a no-op. So, in order for an honest rollup node to prove that a batch of size 5KB was to be ignored, it needed to produce a refutation whose size was at least 35 KB (~36 KiB)… which does not fit within the 32 KiB limit on Layer 1.
The fix is straightforward: accept a truncated proof of 30KiB – sizeof(batch). In this way, rejection operations are guaranteed to fit within a single Tezos manager operation. The curious reader can have a look at the diff of the MR implementing this bugfix.

Bugfix for forged zero-valued Tickets

The second bug concerns Tezos Tickets. The latter are an abstract representation of tokenized assets, and in TORUs, they are used to represent the assets deposited and transacted within the rollup.
Tickets can be seen as a tuple consisting of: (1) its (typed) payload, (2) the address of the smart contract which has minted it — a.k.a its ticketer — , and (3) a quantity. A ticket can be split into two (and eventually more parts), assuming that the total sum of the quantities associated to each of the two resulting half-tickets is equal to the amount of the original one. Dually, two tickets with the same payload and issued by the same ticketer, can also be joined, adding up the quantities.
TezTok

TezTok

TezTok is an NFT data indexing tool that comes with its own easily accessible GraphQL API.

On TezTok the ‘…indexer aggregates and stores an event history for all tokens. Every time a new event occurs on a token, the indexer processes the event history and re-creates a token model along with listings, offers, tags, and holdings.’

TezTok

In essence, the tool can index and normalize NFT-related data on the Tezos blockchain.

This means that the data concerning various Tezos marketplaces and NFTs on the Tezos blockchain can be easily fed through to the API, via the indexer, with a normalized output.

This allows developers to create external apps utilizing this more normalized output via the TezTok API, enabling savings on complexity and time.

The tool can be used for a variety of NFT data use-cases and developers in the ecosystem are free to use the service to create their own applications through the API.

Developers interested in using the tool can browse the documentation here, which features a GraphiQL Playground and some use-case examples to work with.

The TezTok team has created the live feed Beta tool, but has also created tools for various past Tezos art events like #TezosArtWeek, #Fear4Tez, #Tezos4Tezos, and more.

It is expected a #1of1 tool / TezTok tool will be available for the big Tezos one-of-one event starting in the first week of July.

 

The TezTok Live Feed Beta Tool

In order to show the capabilities of TezTok, the team has been creating tools that feature various use-cases for the Tezos ecosystem.

On June 26th, TezTok announced that they had launched their new Beta live tool for Tezos art NFTs, enabling users to seamlessly track new NFT drops in general, and also track NFT drops from their favorite artists via the ‘Watchlist’ feature.

Some might say the TezTok live feed works in a similar way to how Tweetdeck does with Twitter, however, the tool is specific to Tezos NFT art.

On Twitter, Tweetdeck allows users to create unique tweet feeds from the accounts that matter most to them, segmenting topics by filters and letting the user view multiple timelines of specific accounts in one easy interface.

This helps to keep topics organized and can help to keep monitoring Twitter efficiently. 

On TezTok Live feed, users can create an NFT feed, using the filters that matter most to them, whilst also choosing specific artists/collectors to monitor, saving time, but also enabling opportunities.

It can help make the search for NFTs more efficient, especially when users have to scour many Tezos NFT platforms to find the right piece. 

It can also help with the visibility of all artists, as they will appear in the main TezTok default feed.

Collectors have the opportunity to spot something on the live feed that suits exactly what they are looking for visually, without having to be on every platform at the same time.

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