Avail's Kate Testnet Brings the Modular Base Layer a Step Closer to Mainnet Launch

This piece details the launch of Avail's Phase 2, the Kate Testnet, a step closer to the anticipated mainnet release. It focuses on the incorporation of cutting-edge features like light clients and KZG commitments for enhanced data availability and network resilience.

By Avail Team 4 min read
Avail's Kate Testnet Brings the Modular Base Layer a Step Closer to Mainnet Launch

Today, we at Avail are excited to announce the launch of the Kate Testnet, Phase 2, propelling us closer to the mainnet. With the successful conclusion of our testnet's Phase 1 where we've collected critical insights and metrics, Phase 2 will serve as the springboard to leverage our learnings and further fortify the foundation for future development.

Following our initial testnet launch in June of last year, we deployed a select group of internally-operated validators. This move was to demonstrate the system's operational readiness, allowing external parties to start testing the platform immediately, without the need for setting up a devnet.

As we transition into Phase 2 of our testnet - dubbed the Kate (pronounced: kah-tay) Testnet - our plan is to welcome up to 200 more external validators. This expansion will foster a more mature and robust testing environment for our blockchain network. At present, 400 prospective validators have expressed an interest in participation in the Kate Testnet. If you’d like to join the validator pool, we invite you to join us on this exciting journey of constructing the future of modular blockchains by indicating your interest using our validator interest form.

Marking the successful conclusion of Phase 1 of our testnet, we've gathered critical learnings and metrics that provide a solid foundation for future development. Our light clients have demonstrated their ability to sample effectively from both the peer-to-peer network (Distributed Hash Table) and RPC, confirming the viability of Avail's design. The Phase 1 testnet's soft launch enabled us to successfully perform chain execution, runtime upgrades, and governance-related operations on-chain, thereby solidifying a robust groundwork for future releases.

The unique design of the Avail network is linked to the integration of innovative elements like light clients, data availability sampling (DAS), erasure coding, and KZG commitments, all of which will undergo rigorous testing on our Kate Testnet in the subsequent phases. Our light clients, equipped with the ability to perform DAS, are crucial components of this infrastructure, allowing devices as small as mobile phones to verify data availability without the need to download full blocks. This equates to enhanced security for the chains using Avail and an enduring network resilience, especially crucial as we scale Avail’s block size.

Data availability itself is further safeguarded by our use of erasure coding, a technique that creates additional, duplicative data fragments. In the event of partial data loss, this method allows light clients in particular to reconstruct the original data, preserving availability even in the face of potential node failures or malicious activity.

Lastly, our utilization of KZG commitments, also referred to as “Kate commitments,” has played a central role in the construction of the Kate Testnet, and will form the technical basis of Avail’s construction going forward. The initialism KZG comes from the researchers Kate, Zaverucha and Goldberg that created the commitment scheme. Their contributions to the field of cryptography led us to name this testnet release the “Kate” release, in honor of these commitments and the researchers who devised them. These commitments not only fast-track block acceptance but also eliminate the usual waiting periods required in fraud-proof based data availability systems.

The cumulative effect of these distinct elements enables Avail to manage larger and larger block sizes without overwhelming our network, ensuring that our peer-to-peer network remains resilient and secure. This layered approach toward network resilience and security underlines our commitment to providing a seamless and efficient development experience, all while overcoming the limitations of traditional monolithic designs.

In addition to these robust features, we are thrilled to share several noteworthy enhancements in this Kate Testnet release:

  • Completed Migration from Polygon Infrastructure & Naming: We've fully migrated away from the Polygon infrastructure and branding, solidifying Avail's stance as a fully independent entity.
  • Boosted Network Performance of Light Clients: In this release, light clients will experience a significant boost in network performance, further strengthening our network resilience.
  • Versioning & Easy Updates: We've refined our software upgrade process. Any changes to the protocol, such as block header structure alterations, will be seamlessly integrated, ensuring that newer versions can accommodate previous ones. This change is particularly beneficial to validators.
  • Discord Faucet for Testnet Tokens: We’ve added a Discord faucet for easy access to testnet tokens, streamlining the process for new participants to join our testing environment.
  • Revamped Documentation: We've thoroughly updated our documentation to facilitate a smoother onboarding experience for validators.
  • Bug Fixes: Several bugs, including a fix for Commitment validation, have been addressed to improve overall system stability and performance.

These enhancements bring critical and quality of life improvements to the validators and developers who are integral to the Avail ecosystem. With these improvements in place, we now set our sights on the next chapter.

“Avail’s Kate Testnet is a huge step forward in our mission to make blockchain architecture modular,” said Anurag Arjun, Co-Founder of Avail. “We have come so far since our previous testnet, and this latest milestone is a testament to the learnings and progress we have made since then. We expect our unique features to attract a vibrant community of blockchain enthusiasts to collaborate with us, help shape the technology, and contribute to the future of blockchain.”

Moving forward, we anticipate a series of enhancements with a particular emphasis on growth of Avail’s throughput capacity, and network resilience. Our objectives for Phase 2 include exhaustive testing, iterative system enhancements, and the continued expansion of our validator network. We aim to manage a larger pool of validators, potentially reaching into the hundreds, and to rigorously benchmark network performance through intensive stress testing.

We're also set to roll out improved documentation. Over the past few weeks, we've made several advancements, and we invite you to explore our updated docs here.

As the evolution and improvement of the Avail testnet continues, our focus remains clear: to overcome the current limitations of monolithic designs, boost chain throughput, reduce fees, and provide every developer with a more seamless and efficient development experience.

For the latest updates on our journey, you can follow us on Twitter. And if you have any questions, or just want to connect with like-minded blockchain enthusiasts, join our vibrant community on Discord. Together, let's shape the future of blockchain technology!