Glow of the Canopy #2 🌱: Launching Forest into the Skyr 🌲

Glow of the Canopy #2 🌱: Launching Forest into the Skyr 🌲

Authored by Timothy Hao Chi Ho

An update from the Forest team on our progress from Q2 2022

Forest is ChainSafe's Rust implementation of the Filecoin protocol, an open-source blockchain-based decentralized storage network.

Rust provides a foundation for building blockchains with memory safety and performance as a priority. As such, a Rust client for Filecoin will bring diversity and resilience to a network currently largely run on Lotus - Filecoin's reference implementation in Go.

Check out this primer to learn more about Forest. Also, be sure to check out Lee Raj's high-level overview of Forest at Filecoin Orbit, 2021! Finally, dig into the code here and jump into our Discord to get in touch.

Finishing touches on milestone one for the Filecoin Virtual Machine

"Don't mistake the trees for the forest."

If you blinked, you would have missed the most important development of the Filecoin ecosystem: the Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM). As we mentioned in our previous update, the entire Forest team has been dedicated to this effort. Adding programmability to Filecoin will unlock the ecosystem in unimaginable ways. The importance of this imperative is evidenced by the number of collaborators being brought in to advise and help develop the WASM-based FVM.

With our expertise in Rust and our canonical implementation of built-in actors written in rustlang, the ChainSafe team has been relied upon heavily by our collaborating partners on work for the FVM. We were paramount to the latest round of testing efforts, including contributing to over 400 tests to the built-in actors repo!

This means progress on the Forest Rust implementation has been halted for a large portion of the past two months. However, we are delighted to share that we are almost at the finish line for the current iteration of FVM work!

Back into the thick of the Forest

With Forest dev resources freed up from testing on FVM, we are beginning to move on Forest again. Our implementation can sync fully up to OhSnap! Network v15, and we are expected to join the upcoming deployment of actors to the network for Skyr Network v16.

To emphasize: Skyr is one of the biggest Filecoin mainnet upgrades ever.

The major milestone for Network v16 is the introduction of the non-programmable version of the FVM. Upon completing this upgrade, Milestone 1 for the FVM deliverable would be considered finished 🎇🎆 . v16 implements five FIPs, and they are detailed in the latest weekly governance update.

Notably, Forest has already completely switched over to using the FVM (all Filecoin implementations have to make the switch to support custom smart contracts). This lands us in a great spot for Network v16 compatibility!

Up next for Forest and the FVM is Milestones 2.1 and 2.2, which will introduce programmability and smart contracts into the Filecoin ecosystem for the first time ever! The biggest role the Forest team can play here is in design validation and testing, particularly as a client that is completely separate from the reference Lotus implementation. We will continue to lead the testing efforts for the built-in actors repo and working with Filecoin Governance to streamline the FVM/Network v16 upgrades for all Filecoin node implementations.

Introducing the new Forest team

The Forest team has come a long way since its first iteration as a team. Back when we first took on the project, we barely had any knowledge of the Filecoin network - much less developing in the Rust language. We have since cemented our status as core contributors to the protocol, and are regularly relied upon for our Rust expertise. Our reputation in the Rust ecosystem continues to rapidly ascend!

We really couldn't have done it without all team members, past and present. You are acknowledged. We would, however, like to take a moment to officially introduce the current iteration of the Filecoin Forest team and how you can get in touch with them if you have any open source/fil-repo questions:

  • David [Team Lead]

  • Hubert [Software Engineer]

  • Guillaume [Software Engineer]

  • Rostyslav [Software Engineer]

  • Josh [Software Engineer]

  • Connor [Software Engineer]

  • Lee [Project Manager]

  • Afri [Head of Protocol Engineering]

Upcoming appearances at events

With COVID seemingly officially past us, ChainSafe has been back at it with our involvement on the web3 conference scene. We have already participated in Liscon, ETHDenver, DevConnect, BlockSplit, ETHPrague, and Consensus2022 in the past year alone, plus countless other satellite events!

So it is with absolute pleasure we announce our participation in FIL-Toronto on July 4th-6th, 2022. Toronto is practically crypto ground zero for many - most of all for ChainSafe - because it is where our company was founded. With home-court advantage and some core Forest team members based out of Toronto, we are looking to contribute by having PM Lee Raj and ChainSafe VPE David Ansermino speak at the event. lil eth, former Forest Engineering Lead, will also be doing a workshop, showing everyone how to download, run, and interact with Forest via the CLI.

We are also delighted to officially announce our first appearance at an in-person Asia conference! We will have a small presence at the FIL-Singapore Summit on Aug 16th-19th, 2022. Protocol engineer Josh Jones will be speaking on our work with Forest. At the same conference, ChainSafe's Redwan Meslem, who has been leading efforts on the Filecoin-Substrate Bridge (FSB), will present this grant-funded work.

Be on the lookout for our team shirts in Toronto and Singapore! We love meeting new friends :)

About ChainSafe

ChainSafe is a leading blockchain research and development firm specializing in infrastructure solutions for the decentralized web. Alongside client implementations for Ethereum, Polkadot, Filecoin, and Mina, we're building a portfolio of web3 products - Files, Storage, the Gaming SDK, and ChainBridge. As part of our mission to build innovative products for users and better tooling for developers, ChainSafe embodies an open source and community-oriented ethos. To learn more, click here.

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Thanks to Lee Raj and David Himmelstrup for their contributions to this article.