GoZ Update #1: Build up to GoZ and first 24 hours of Phase 1

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Persistence Liquid Staking

We will be sharing regular updates for Game of Zones to keep the community posted on what’s happening and how things unfold.

Build up to GoZ

Last year in 2019, the world of Blockchain was introduced to incentivized testnets when Cosmos announced it’s Game of Stakes (testnet for Cosmos Hub). Game of Stakes (GoS) was a huge success and following Cosmos’ lead, other projects started coming up with their own Incentivized testnets as well which is now a standard practice.

This year, Cosmos announced another series of adversarial testnet challenges designed to prepare the Cosmos ecosystem for the upcoming launch of the IBC module. GoZ is one of the most exciting events of 2020 as it introduces Interoperability between Blockchains.

The GoZ team (Zaki ManianJack ZampolinJessy Irwin) and the IBC team meticulously designed the competition challenges and successfully pushed the IBC testnet. In the build up to the competition, the GoZ team released a series of informative blogs and webinars to help the Cosmos community get a hang of things.

GoZ officially launched on May 1 with an opening ceremony hosted by GoZ and the IBC team. The opening ceremony sparked enthusiasm among the validators, project owners and community members. The participating teams were given time to spin up their zones before the start of Phase 1 which was expected to start on 4th May. Due to issues with the GoZ Hub, Phase 1 of GoZ was delayed by just a couple of days but the GoZ team worked relentlessly to resolve the issue.

Jack Zampolin mentioned on one of the IBC channels — “Game of Zones was designed to stress test the IBC and such issues were expected”, and we can’t agree more. With few ups and downs the Phase 1 finally began on May 6 12:00 am PST.

GoZ Phase 1

The main objective for the first week of the competition is liveness, and each team’s competition rewards will depend on their ability to keep a connection alive. The Weekly Challenge Winner for Phase 1 will be the team that pushes the limits of packet connections by maintaining the longest lived connection with the fewest packets sent.

Problems and GoZ team’s response:

Soon after the start of Phase 1, participants started facing issues. Some of these issues were:

  • Teams were having trouble with the relayer which gave errors that weren’t easy to debug and fix
  • Fluctuating Gas prices
  • Hub lagging by approximately 10 minutes due to fewer nodes processing too many requests
  • Dropped connections due to fewer nodes on the GoZ hub

Some of these issues were resolved by the GoZ team by adding more sentries and increasing the gas prices (which is how Tendermint teams generally recover from DDOS). The gas prices on the Hub were increased in an attempt to mitigate a large number of incoming transactions.

We would like to appreciate the team for doing an amazing job to mitigate these issues and keeping phase 1 alive.

“We have not seen any significant software issues in the IBC or relayer code that are close to showstopping for this competition. What we are seeing today is some network congestion and confusion. We will clear up both and take this into account in the scoring” — Jack Zampolin

Community’s contribution to GoZ:

The start of GoZ wasn’t the smoothest, but the community has done a tremendous job in turning it around. One of the things that we love about Cosmos is the involvement and support of the community. Ever since GoZ was announced, community members have been working on explorers, leaderboards, and tools for GoZ. Some of them are:

Despite GoZ being an adversarial testnet, teams have been supportive of each other and are helping participants with all sorts of issues on all the channels.

Asmodat, CTO of Kira Core has published a blog that works as a tutorial for anyone who wants to set up a working relayer service that maintains a persistent connection with the Game of Zones Hub or any other Cosmos Zones of your choosing in under a minute (add link to the blog)

Our team published a script to auto-update the relayer clients. If you are participating in GoZ, try it out for yourselves.

Audit.One’s script:


It supports:

  • Error handling
  • Retry on failure
  • Handle failure — Calls you if it fails repeatedly

How have the participants performed so far:

Despite all the challenges that the participants have had to deal with, they have all done an amazing job so far. Sentinel and Responsible Chain are the only two zones that have maintained a persistent connection to the hub throughout the competition up until this point.

Source: P2P Validator GoZ Leaderboard
Source: Sentinel Twitter

Both our zones, Persistence and Audit.One have done a great job so far.

Moving ahead:

With most of the major issues observed in the first 24 hours of Phase 1 now resolved, participants seem to be in full control of their fate. We would like to wish all the participants good luck and look forward to the rest of the competition.