Polychain Labs is voting yay in support of the Tezos Delphi amendment. While we’re eagerly awaiting the more ambitious changes under development like stateful baking accounts and Sapling support and new opcodes we believe upgrades should be broken into small, very well tested units. Delphi does just that, while delivering immediate value to Tezos users.

The Road to Delphi

Protocol upgrade 007 was set to be the beginning of a new era for Tezos — one where Tezos begins utilizing its upgradability as an innovative tool that pushes the bounds of the protocol and places Tezos on par or even better than leading layer-1 chains in terms of usability, privacy, scalability, etc. The first step to this was slated to be the addition of stateful baking accounts and the integration of the Sapling Protocol. After launching the Dalphanet, the initial testnet for the 007 upgrade, it became clear that the testing and fine tuning needed to get the protocol upgrade into final format could take a few months.

In an effort to continue moving Tezos forward, Nomadic Labs, Metastate and Gabriel Alfour have submitted the Delphi Proposal, an interim proposal aimed at bridging the gap between the current protocol and the next major upgrade. The Delphi Proposal serves two major purposes:

1. More Capable, Secure Contracts — As discussed in our post on the Carthage upgrade, gas limitations have been an impediment to building major contracts on Tezos. Increasing the computational ability of Michelson contracts is important to continue enabling DeFi and other decentralized applications that leverage all of Tezos’ best-of-class secure scripting capabilities. In the Carthage upgrade, the gas limit was increased. In Delphi, though the gas limit stays the same, optimizations in the Michelson interpreter allow for signifcantly improved execution efficiency. Delphi gives you more bang for your gas, which Nomadic Labs expertly details here.

2. Smaller, Faster Upgrades — Babylon represented a major protocol overhaul with many changes piled into one upgrade. We supported Babylon to aggressively keep a new network moving forward, but complexity brings risk which we should avoid where possible.

Fewer, more complex upgrades are more difficult for the community to digest, test and reduce the likelihood that the baking community will be prepared to safely operate. Additionally, too many changes in one upgrade complicates the governance process and can lead to suboptimal outcomes (e.g. indecision and/or adoption of a change most of the community opposes). Delphi sets a positive precedent for Tezos — where possible upgrades should be small, solve immediate user pain points, and iterative. By breaking up the original 007 into multiple upgrades, Tezos can continue moving forward without delay.

3. More Testing for 007 - While we won’t get stateful baking accounts or Sapling integration now, we don’t think we’re losing anything with this upgrade. Both of these major upgrades require significant testing, which are proceeding in earnest alongside Delphi. This testing will take time — and we believe we’re getting the best of both worlds with immediate upgrades now, and major upgrades as soon as testing is complete.

Our Vote

Barring any other notable issues or objections between now and promotion, Polychian labs will continue to vote yay on Delphi.

Delphi contains minor bug fixes and uncontroversial protocol tweaks. We view the continued gas improvements as a key step toward enabling the implementation of high-value smart contracts (especially DeFi applications) on Tezos, and we are supportive of the precedent set by the size and scope of this upgrade, which we hope to see again in future upgrades.

Polychain Labs encourages all bakers to support this proposal and to continue voicing their thoughts and concerns (which we review regularly!) on the Tezos Agora Forum as we continue to pave the way for the future of the self-amending ledger.