Tezos Babylon Protocol Upgrade Proposal For Dummies

Aug 29, 2019
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Tezos went through its first major hurdle to start the year and it was a success. Now, almost six months after the first on-chain upgrade proposal, the blockchain is ready for more.

Since the main selling point of the project was and still is its innovative on-chain governance system, Cryptium Labs has announced a new protocol upgrade proposal meant to help the smart contract programmers and further clarify the differences between regular & scripted accounts.

The development team has already ‘injected’ the proposal into the blockchain and if the voters reach consensus, it would mark the second upgrade of its kind on Tezos using an on-chain protocol.

Previous Protocol Upgrade Proposals: Athens 1 & 2

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Nomadic Labs proposed two upgrades, early in 2019 under the same name.

Since they suggested all protocols should be named after cities and in alphabetic order, it was only natural they use the famous Greek city Athens.

The upgrades didn’t bring anything major (code-wise) to the table, there were just glorified ‘proofs’ the on-chain governance system is working.

Indeed, it worked like a charm. While Athens Proposal 1 (B) was all about increasing the gas limit (basically doubling the computational power every block could support), Athens Proposal 2 (A) also reduced the baking limit from 10,000 XTZ to 8,000 XTZ necessary to participate in the Tezos baking consensus protocol, besides the gas limit increase.

Naturally, Athens A was the big winner at the end of the day, by a big margin, in the Proposal phase (71% for A vs 29% for B). In the Exploration phase, the results were even more straightforward: almost 87% of all stake voted & 99.96% agreed Athens A should advance into the Testing phase. The Promotion Phase was more of the same: 85.35% participation with 99.89% voting for Athens A implementation into the mainnet.

A New Tezos Upgrade Proposal Is Injected

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On August 2, 2019, Cryptium Labs injected a new Tezos upgrade proposal. The letter B was next in line, thus the development team chose Babylon 2.0 as the name of their proposal.

Why 2.0? According to a recent reddit AMA, a week before Cryptium Labs injected 2.0, they submitted the first version of Babylon (BABY5). The team received feedback from the Tezos community and reacted accordingly, integrating and upgrading some of the features. As a result, the Babylon 2.0 proposal was created and ‘injected’ into the blockchain.

Interestingly enough, the new proposal is actually a teamwork between Cryptium Labs and Marigold team. Cryptium Labs admitted there is still room for improvement in terms of coordinating two separate teams and find common ground. Nevertheless, it was a starting point towards a future when development teams around the world work together to improve the Tezos Core.

Most Important Changes Tezos Babylon Is Proposing

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The two most important changes the Tezos Babylon upgrade concern the utility of the Tezos smart contracts.

The first is directly related to the Michelson smart contract language. Michelson is a stack-based language which means the data is structured in stacks and programmers can only access the ‘upper layer.’ Tezos Babylon will make programmers’ life easier when they attempt to manipulate the stack of data. Furthermore, the changes in Tezos Babylon will make the smart contract language more adaptable and responsive, thus easier to deal with.

Cryptium Labs also wants to change the way Tezos accounts or addresses work. Currently, to delegate your XTZ funds to a baker, you need to create an originated or scripted account that starts with a KT1 instead of tz. Tezos Babylon will change that and allow regular accounts (tz1, tz2…) to delegate, therefore eliminate the extra step a user has to make at the time of this article.

This change will further clarify the role a scripted account has on the blockchain, that is dedicated to smart contracts only.

There are also some other changes concerning quorum and quorum caps, as well as changes in the Tezos consensus algorithm. We can read about them here.

If the bakers agree to the changes, Tezos Babylon upgrade could be implemented in about three months.


What’s your opinion about the Tezos upgrade proposal? Is it a step in the right direction? Be sure to comment on the matter below!


Images courtesy of Pxhere, Alpha Stock Images, Tezos.com & Cryptium.ch.

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