DigiByte v7.17.2 Odocrypt Algo Fork

DigiByte v7.17.2

The time has come for the seventh major version of the DigiByte blockchain core protocol to be released. DigiByte v7.17.2 is finally here. Instead of making a completely new blockchain DigiByte continues to reinvent itself. This version includes the release of the Odocrypt mining algo and Dandelion transaction privacy features. This is a mandatory, required upgrade for anyone who wants to continue participating in the current DigiByte blockchain ecosystem. Including exchanges, mining pools, people running full desktop nodes and other service providers. DGB developers from all over the world have helped contribute to this release and to help test it. From San Francisco to Texas and on to Australia, New Zealand & Europe. Thank you to everyone who helped us test it and especially to MentalCollatz who originated the idea and wrote the majority of the Odocrypt algo code. Thank you also to the Dandelion code team at the University of Illinois. 

In short, the Odocrypt mining algo will be swapped in and replace the existing myr-groestl mining algo which we have had numerous issues with since DGB first forked to multialgo mining in 2014. Odocrypt will become one of DGB’s five mining algos on or around July 19th at block 9,100,000. Odocrypt is named after the Star Trek character who is a shapeshifter. Just like Odo on Star Trek Odocrypt will change itself every 10 days. Thereby discouraging mining hardware manufacturers from building specialized ASICs leading to mining centralization. While in theory, it is possible to build an ASIC for Odocrypt, it would not make any economic or business sense to do so. It makes much more sense to mine it with FPGA’s.

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a developer or a designer to help prototype new ASICs or embedded devices for specific use cases.  Since Odocrypt changes itself every 10 days, FPGA miners will also need to be re-optimized every 10 days. Thereby leveling the playing field and allowing even the smallest of hobbyist miners to have a fair chance at mining DigiByte. It also makes for a great learning use case to study in universities and high schools for new people wanting to learn about integrated circuits and hardware design.  Beginner FPGAs can be bought for as little as $100. Such as the DE-10 Nano, Cyclone V or Artix-7.  

Here is how MentalCollatz described Odocrypt:
Regarding ASIC-resistance: Odo is a substitution-permutation network. Both the substitutions (s-boxes) and permutations (p-boxes) change every 10 days. If they didn't change, it would be easy to create an ASIC that significantly outperformed any other hardware, but because they change, the ASIC would need to be able to reconfigure itself. There's already hardware that specializes in being able to reconfigure itself - the FPGA. Additionally, FPGAs are really good at implementing small s-boxes, so while an ASIC could, in theory, be built, the advantage over FPGAs would be much smaller than for typical proof-of-work algorithms.

You can view the new Odocrypt algo code here: https://github.com/digibyte/digibyte/blob/7.17.2/src/crypto/odocrypt.cpp

So why are we making this change?  DigiByte originally forked to five mining algorithms in an effort to prevent mining centralization with the mass production of specialized ASICs.  It worked for a while, but since then ASICs have been developed sometimes in secret for all five current DigiByte mining algorithms. In fact, ASICs have now been developed for pretty much every other mining algorithm in the blockchain industry that is widely used. This has led to a decrease in home-based miners and has led to a decreasing global node count over the last 12 months.  These centralized mining farms tend to sell their DGB right away on the open market instead of holding as a long-term asset in order to pay bills and recoup their hardware investments. This does not help substantiate the DigiByte community or help grow it organically like a truer decentralized mining algorithm can.

So what are the steps necessary for you to mine?  We will help guide you through this process as well.  First, you need to get a beginner FPGA such as a  DE-10 Nano, Cyclone V or Artix-7.  Once you have that you need some software. MentalCollatz has been kind enough to also help us out with that as well. On the DigiByte-Core github, you will find odo-miner and instructions for how to get your Odocrypt FPGA miner running: https://github.com/DigiByte-Core/odo-miner

Feel free to get an FPGA miner and start mining on DigiByte testnet today. Testnet is up and running post Odocrypt activation as we speak. We have run through the transition and Odocrypt fork on testnet multiple times now to work out all the bugs. Several individuals have already successfully mined testnet Odocrypt blocks with their FPGAs.

So what is the rollout plan?  Starting today anyone can download version 7.17.2 and upgrade their existing core wallets. As always make sure you have fully backed up your private keys and make sure you do indeed upgrade prior to block 9,100,000.  We will be personally reaching out to every single exchange that has DigiByte listed as well as all major mining pools and other service providers. We will maintain a public list of who has all upgraded on the DigiByte wiki and we will make sure to warn everyone ahead of time if a major service provider has not upgraded prior to the algo fork block height.  Follow the main DigiByte twitter account for more real-time updates and news. You can find the wiki exchange list here: https://www.dgbwiki.com/index.php?title=Exchanges

Odocrypt turns on at block 9,100,000. We currently are at block 8,647,988. That leaves us 452,000 blocks to get everyone updated. Currently, we get 5,760 new blocks per day. So 78.47 days from now. On or around July 19th.

DigiByte v7.17.2 also includes Dandelion and several other minor changes to improve DGB overall. Dandelion is a huge step forward to improve privacy on the DigiByte blockchain. Dandelion acts somewhat like a built-in TOR layer helping to mask DigiByte users IP’s. Helping to prevent DGB addresses from being linked to specific IPs. Dandelion changes how a transaction is sent over the DGB blockchain. Instead of TX being broadcast right away it is sent over a series of random single node hops (called the “stem”) before “fluffing” to the entire network. More technical information can be found here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0156.mediawiki

In conclusion, DigiByte is yet again on the forefront of blockchain innovation and we are very excited for the opportunities that Odocrypt opens up to furthering DigiByte’s decentralization by allowing more people to mine than ever before.  DigiByte will also be the first major UTXO blockchain to begin using Dandelion. We will continue pushing the envelope and adhering to our proven track record and pioneering spirit of numerous innovations in blockchain technology.

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