Q4 2023 - Product & Eng Goals

Hi Agoric Community!

I wanted to start a tradition of sharing (on a quarterly basis to start) a bunch of the planning we’re doing from Agoric OpCo’s product and engineering side. I’m a bit late here as it’s mid-November, and with holidays the number of working weeks remaining in the quarter is minimal, but view this as the Q4 update with maybe a peek into Q1. For next time, I’ll hope to get the Q1 update done before mid-January.

In a separate post, we’ll provide an end of year look back on the progress in 2023, so I’ll stay focused here on what’s coming up. With that, here are a few critical Product & Engineering Q4 goals:

GOAL01. Ship at least one new application to mainnet
There are a few applications in the deployment process (i.e., completing the Mainnet Deployment Checklist). If there are no unexpected hiccups, we expect one of them to be live by mid-December. I look forward to sharing more details alongside the team(s).

GOAL02. Prepare for cross-chain capability launch
Ongoing will lead us to the launch of a to-be-branded set of cross chain capabilities for Agoric smart contracts in Q1. Builders will be able to orchestrate actions via Interchain Accounts on IBC-connected chains as well as send messages to Ethereum through Axelar GMP directly from JavaScript smart contracts.Calypso will be the first application that uses these capabilities - and in fact the Calypso team has driven quite a bit of their development on the Agoric side.

To prepare for this, we need our communications and network vats productionized and audited, along with dynamic IBC and Pegasus. This work will complete in Q4 and third party security audits of these features will be published in Q1. Agoric works with fantastic auditors who have developed a deep knowledge of the platform through extensive audit of Inter features, Zoe, & the Agoric JavaScript VM.

This effort will position Agoric as the best place to build and deploy interchain contracts in the IBC ecosystem. And soon every ecosystem will be the IBC ecosystem.

GOAL03. Tooling for Performance & Observability
As adoption of the Agoric chain continues to increase, we foresee a need in the near future for the mainnet chain to run as much as 100x more transactions daily. We’re building custom Agoric VM performance monitoring tools including a VM-aware benchmarking testing framework, VM-aware flame graph profiling for JavaScript smart contract developers, and we’re beginning to probe clones of mainnet to determine the limits of current transaction throughput.

GOAL04. Ship a meaningful developer experience upgrade
There are several issues developers struggle with at live training events. This quarter we’ll get the Agoric SDK installable through NPM and simultaneously shift from building on a simulated chain to building on a local chain only to harmonize the development experience as builders progress to mainnet.

GOAL05. Ship a meaningful end user experience upgrade
There are a bunch of opportunities to give end users significantly better experiences and first impressions in coming to the Agoric chain. A common point of friction that drives user confusion is the need to provision a smart wallet. This effort will make the provisioning process simpler - and hopefully transparent to users - which will greatly improve onboarding flows for any applications deployed here.

GOAL06. Deploy a Zoe upgrade
We’ve got a backlog of Zoe improvements we’ve been waiting years to work on (just ask Mark Miller!). The goal of this item is to unlock the flow of enhancements to Zoe by exercising the ability to upgrade Zoe running in production.

That’s a lot to complete. Realistically, something might slip to the new year, but each item is in-progress and we’re feeling good about delivering.

Moving into Q1, I expect our cross-chain launch will become a big focus as we launch that capability alongside Calypso and related developer tooling and examples. We also will take on long-planned features to prepare for permissionless mainnet. This will include continued performance work, threat modeling to prepare for many new deployed contracts, and metering work to protect chain and contract resources.

We’d love to hear from you - which areas are you excited about coming into 2024 that you feel Agoric should prioritize? Reply here or reach out to us in Discord or on Twitter!


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