Komodo Ecosystem Spotlight: KMDLabs, A Blockchain Incubator

DanielNovember 7, 2019

As the Komodo open source ecosystem continues to evolve and grow, projects within it continue to develop and advance the technology itself. With multiple teams working in parallel, the entire ecosystem has access to a multitude of new technologies.

In this Ecosystem Spotlight post, the Komodo team would like to showcase KMDLabs, a blockchain technology incubator and test bed for developing Komodo-based Smart Chains and custom Antara modules.


An Experienced Team Of Blockchain Experts

KMDLabs started as an internal Komodo test group called STAKED. In the beginning, the purpose of STAKED was to conduct testing on the PoS64 staking algorithm created by Komodo Lead Dev jl777 for implementing Proof of Stake consensus rules on Smart Chains. The algorithm was tested and improved by jl777 with help from the members of the STAKED test group. Through this process, the need for a state-of-the-art, dedicated testing platform became very clear.

This dedicated testing platform was created with the founding of KMDLabs. KMDLabs is an infinitely scalable and fully customizable test bed for trialing and debugging new blockchain solutions. In particular, KMDLabs helps anyone to test new parameters on Komodo-based Smart Chains and experiment with new Antara Modules, innovative implementations of existing modules, and develop decentralized applications (dApps) built with the Antara Framework

The KMDLabs team is a group of developers, engineers, testers, and support specialists that collectively have dozens of years of experience with blockchain technology. 

Opportunities are readily available for those interested in gaining knowledge and practical experience in the rapidly-growing blockchain space. Anyone who can contribute is welcome. Developers will certainly find worthy challenges to overcome. Relative newcomers will have ample opportunity to learn and break things in the process. 

Become A KMDLabs Notary Node Operator

Every two months, new positions open up for KMDLabs Notary Node operators. (Please note that this network is not related to the primary Komodo Notary Node network. KMDLabs operates an independent notary node network for testing purposes and for notarizing KMDLabs Smart Chains to the KMD blockchain for security purposes.)

Running a KMDLabs Notary Node is a great way to get started with blockchain development, as it forces you to learn in order to fulfill your responsibilities as a Notary Node operator.

To be eligible to receive an open KMDLabs Notary Node position, all you need to do is enter a blockchain-based, provably fair lottery. Entry is free. 

New Notary Node operators are selected at random from those that enter the lottery. So there’s no need to worry if your development skills are limited or if you’re new to blockchain technology! The only thing you need is a desire to learn about blockchain and a willingness to try to run your node diligently. 

To enter the lottery for the next KMDLabs Notary Node drawing, follow these steps:

  • Follow the directions and install the dependencies listed here.
  • Clone and sync KMDLabs fully, starting the daemon with your personal pubkey.
  • Fund your node with a very small amount of LABS (1 LABS is more than enough).
  • Run the command /NNvote.py
  • Select 1 | NN lottery
  • Select 1 | How to participate 

If you have questions or need some help, please ask in the #kmdlabs channel in Komodo’s Discord community.

The KMDLabs Smart Chain Cluster

KMDLabs can host fungible Smart Chain clusters, the first of its kind within the Komodo ecosystem. A Smart Chain cluster is a group of interconnected chains that function as one, with a single coin supply across all chains. The value of one coin in the cluster is equal to that of any other. 

1 LABS is always equal to 1 LABS, regardless of which chain in the cluster it exists on. The total coin supply is balanced across the cluster with a burn protocol. Adding a new chain to the cluster requires the provable burning of an amount of LABS equal to the amount of coins added. Therefore, a coin created through cryptocurrency mining or staking on any chain in the cluster is evenly exchangeable for 1 LABS and vice versa. 

Chains other than KMDLabs will have not have any block rewards. This is enforced by a consensus rule in the KMDLabs software, which prevents any chain launched in the main cluster from having any block reward past block 1, no matter what combination of Smart Chain parameters are used. 

As such, additional fungible and non-fungible Smart Chains can be added as needed for more customized or private development. It is possible for these additional test chains to receive Bitcoin-level security through Komodo’s Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) security mechanism. 

It’s important to emphasize that testing on the KMDLabs cluster is free for all third-party projects. To add your own chain(s) to the KMDLabs cluster, only notarization fees are required. These fees are decided by the notaries and, at this early stage of the project, very low introductory rates are available. 

For incentivised test participation, those testing new technologies are encouraged to gamify testing operations such as stress testing and to allocate bounties to reward testes who find bugs.

A Test Network With Incentives & Rewards

The KMDLabs provides an incentivized testing environment. In other words, bounties are paid out in KMDLabs coins (LABS) for breaking test chains and finding bugs, as well as for finding solutions. This allows those interested in blockchain to earn compensation for their time and efforts while they learn about the technology.

This innovative model incentivizes students, testers, and developers to put their skills to use while also benefiting third-party projects that need to thoroughly test and debug new solutions before they’re production ready. It’s a win-win situation for both individuals and businesses.

KMDLabs is looking to grow its community to the broader blockchain ecosystem and create a space where anyone can learn, test, and launch independent, secure, and cutting-edge blockchain projects. To this end, the KMDLabs team provides technical services and an in-depth support knowledge base designed to help beginners get familiar with blockchain.

Check out the KMDLabs Github page and the KMDLabs website to learn more and get involved.

KMDLabs Notary Node Network

A unique and key feature of KMDLabs is that the project runs an independent Notary Node network, separate from the primary Komodo Notary Node network responsible for Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) notarizations to the Bitcoin ledger. In the same way that KMD notarizes to the BTC blockchain, LABS notarizes onto the KMD blockchain, benefiting from the security of both chains.

Beyond dPoW security, the KMDLabs Notary Node network serves two primary purposes. First, it ensures that Smart Chains in the KMDLabs cluster are eligible for delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) security through notarizations to the Komodo blockchain. Second, the KMDLabs Notary Nodes also enable the cross-chain communications and multi-chain scaling mechanisms via Platform Synchronizations

The majority of test chains in the KMDLabs cluster use a combination of both Proof of Stake and Proof of Work consensus rules. The PoS component prevents these test chains from stalling due to a difficulty stranding attack. A new solution to diff stand attacks, called Adaptive Proof of Work, is also in development within the KMDLabs test environment.

The PoW component of the Smart Chains on the KMDLabs cluster will move the chain forward and allow the transfer of staking funds back into the chain in a case where all staking coins are (accidentally) inactive for a short period of time.

However, apart from transaction fees, which miners and stakers get to keep when they generate a block, Smart Chains in the KMDLabs cluster have no block rewards. Consequently, there is not much incentive for other nodes to join the network as a staker or miner. It is imperative to use the dPoW security mechanism to protect against double spends. That’s why the KMDLabs Notary Node network plays such a crucial role.

In KMDLabs, the number of Notary Nodes is dynamic, up to a maximum of 64 nodes. Every two months up to two additional Notary Nodes can be added until the maximum of 64 is reached. 

KMDLabs developed a pay-per-notarization (-ac_notarypay) system where a special coinbase is created for any block that contains a notarization. This means that KMDLabs Notary Nodes are paid directly for each notarization they complete. This creates an incentive for Notary Node operators to participate and ensure that their node is active. 

Get Involved & Learn More About KMDLabs

As mentioned above, several new positions for KMDLabs Notary Node operators become available approximately every two months. The new Notary Node operators are chosen at random from a provably fair, blockchain-enforced lottery. To be entered into the next KMDLabs lottery, the first step is to follow these instructions and install the dependencies listed here.

After that, follow these additional steps:

  • Clone and sync KMDLabs fully, starting the daemon with your personal pubkey.
  • Fund your node with a very small amount of LABS (1 LABS is more than enough).
  • Run the command /NNvote.py
  • Select 1 | NN lottery
  • Select 1 | How to participate 

If you have questions or need some help, please ask in the #kmdlabs channel in Komodo’s Discord community. The KMDLabs team is happy to help anyone, even those with no prior development experience, to get through this process and enter the KMDLabs Lottery.

To learn more about KMDLabs, visit the official KMDLabs website and check out the KMDLabs Github repo. You can ask questions to the KMDLabs team in this Discord channel or email them directly at [email protected]