Tomorrow the fourth upgrade for Tezos mainnet will go live: Delphi

Tomorrow the fourth upgrade for Tezos mainnet will go live: Delphi

By Allen Walters | Publish0x posts | 11 Nov 2020

Tomorrow the current voting cycle will conclude. The quorum for a super majority that is needed has been reached over a week ago. After this, the implementation of the upgraded protocol is automated once the cycle ends. This means that after the final voting phase has finished and a super majority is reached, the Tezos protocol calls for "activate". As a result, the nodes automatically download the code and they will start using the new protocol at the start of the next cycle. This will provide another forkless upgrade of the Tezos protocol. Read more about the importance and value of that forkless upgrades in this article: "Hard forks can be a risks for DeFI, NFT's and STO's. Here's how Tezos avoids this issue." 
Delphi will improve the amount of transactions per second (tps) Tezos can handle, it will improve gas costs, and reduce storage costs by a factor of 4.
Tps will be improved in several ways:
- A block may now include 3.5 times more simple tz* to tz* ops. (Transactions from a Tz address to another Tz address to transfer XTZ)
- A block may now include 4 times more FA2 transfers. (FA2 tokens are a certain type of tokens that are launched on Tezos.)
- A contract may perform 10 times more internal (smartcontract)calls.

Since the amount of transactions per second is limited by the amount of transactions that an be processed per block, we see that the tps is improved by a factor of 3.5. for tz* to tz* operations (Or a factor of 4, if a block will only contain FA2 transfers.)
It's important to understand though, that the size of transactions and the needs amount of gas per transaction can change, which influences the tps per individual block. Tezos is a smartcontract platform. So a percentage of the transactions that are handled by the Tezos blockchain will be more complex transactions compared to simple tz* to tz* operations. These transactions are larger in size and gas consumption and will fill a block up sooner. This means that blocks could contain lesser transactions if more complex transactions are part of a block. Key takeaway of this fact is that tps numbers are a metric that is often misunderstood: Smartcontract platforms like Ethereum and Tezos will have a variable tps, simply because blocks will contain multiple different size transactions. This is why a standard tps is not a metric that can be given for smartcontract platforms. Fact is that the tps amount will be improved by this upgrade, the gas costs are greatly improved.

TPS for tz* to tz* operations
Even though the metrics are limited to certain type of transactions, we can still make an estimate tz* to tz* operations. For Delphi, basic transactions need ~1427 in gas. Every block will have a 10,400,000 gas limit. This comes down to about 7288 transactions per block.  Every minute 1 block is produced, which means that the amount of transactions per minute comes down to 121 TPS. 

More complex and larger smartcontracts
The upgrade will allow more complex and larger smartcontracts to be deployed on Tezos. This was one of the main reasons to implement this upgrade now: the demand for these qualities to improve was articulated to the several teams that work on the Tezos Protocol improvements. The voiced demand for these improvements reveals some bigger projects are in the making on Tezos.
Gabriel Alfour explains in a joint statement with Nomadic Labs, Metastate: 

"The size and complexity of smart contracts is limited by gas constraints, and so people attempting to build contracts with rich functionality have needed improvements to those constraints for some time. Thus, such improvements are crucial to enable novel applications on Tezos that target areas like DeFi (“Decentralized Finance”), collectibles, and gaming. Luckily, in August, we finalized some long-standing work on improving the performance of the Michelson type checker and interpreter, and on refining the cost model, thus mitigating the gas problem."


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Allen Walters
Allen Walters

Fascinated by blockchain and future proofing cryptocurrency. Discover the tech before it gets relevant. Twitter: @IgnoranceIt

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