BNB Chain hard fork to improve security and compatibility with EVM chains

Cryptocurrency

Binance’s proprietary BNB Smart Chain (BSC) is set to undergo two hard forks through August 2023 that are aimed at reducing the possibility of a malicious blockchain reorganization and increasing the compatibility with other EVM blockchain networks.

The Plato and Hertz upgrades are scheduled for Aug. 10 and Aug. 30 respectively, following extensive testing. The Plato upgrade, which has already taken place, introduces BEP-126. The latest evolution proposal implements a fast finality mechanism that is expected to rule out the ability for blocks to be reverted.

The Plato upgrade and hard fork was carried out Aug. 10 at block height 30724096. Source: bscscan.com

Arno Bauer, Senior Solution Architect at BNB Chain, unpacked the specifics of the network upgrades in conversation with Cointelegraph. The fast finality mechanism is expected to reduce the chance of chain reogranization and stabilize block production, while allowing users to access accurate information from the latest finalized block instantly.

“Overall, BEP-126 aims to enhance blockchain security and efficiency on the BNB Smart Chain by introducing a fast finality mechanism.”

Bauer added that finality is a core concept of blockchain technology, referring to the point at which a transaction or block of transactions can no longer be altered or reversed. Finality remains a crucial component in maintaining trust and preventing double-spending in blockchain systems.

BEP-126 introduces fast finality through a series of steps. Validators begin by proposing a block to the network which is propagated to other validators. Validators then sign for the block using their private key, creating a vote message. Voting aggregation then takes place, with validator votes gathered into a pool and aggregated if the direct parent block has enough votes.

Related: Binance Smart Chain and Binance Chain become BNB Chain

Validators must follow specific rules when voting for blocks, an example being not publishing two distinct votes for the same height. The finality rules also stipulate that a block is ‘justified’ if there’s an attestation in the child block’s header, while it’s finalized if it’s justified and its direct child is justified.

The fork including the highest justified block is considered the longest chain, even if other chain forks have a higher difficulty sum. Producing blocks and finalizing blocks also have different requirements in terms of the number of validators needed.

Lastly, BNB Chain validators are rewarded for voting, and those who violate the vote rules are slashed in a similar manner to Ethereum’s proof of stake protocol.

The Hertz hard fork is earmarked for Aug. 30 and is aimed at keeping the BNB Chain up to date with the latest development of Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchains. As Bauer explains, the BSC needs to keep its block and transaction structures as well as its base EVM updated to match Ethereum’s recently implemented Berlin and London forks.

“Therefore, for compatibility reasons it is important that those EIPs are also enabled on BSC to ensure a smooth development and ecosystem growth.”

Bauer said that the fast finality mechanism should provide a more secure environment for decentralized applications (DApps), while faster transaction finality should improve responsiveness and efficiency of DApps running on BSC.

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