September 28, 2021

By Cayle Sharrock

Wen Mainnet?

“Wen mainnet, sir?”

The genuinely most frequently asked question in the Tari telegram group is “wen mainnet” or variations on that theme:

“I’ve been waiting since 2018!” (ed: That’s not even a question.)

“Why are you guys so slow?”

“Who does testnet for over a year?” (spoiler: we do).

Allow me to share my thoughts on why Tari is in no rush to launch mainnet. And why this approach is the right thing for the community.

The raison d’etre for Tari, excuse my French, is the Digital Assets Network (DAN). That’s not ready yet. There are many tough problems to solve in this realm before we can issue scalable, easy-to-use, performant assets on Tari. Solving these problems has us breaking new ground in one way or another, so progress is slow. Really slow. And we must get it right.

Today, Tari has a complete set of Layer 1 features.

The communications network is integrated into Tor so that Tari mobile wallets can participate as first-class citizens in the network.

The Tari overlay DHT network allows wallets and nodes to identify themselves with just their public keys or node IDs (no IP addresses!), increasing privacy.

When you rejoin the network, Tari’s store-and-forward feature makes it so that your kindly network neighbours deliver any messages that came for you while you were away.

TariScript brings Bitcoin-like scripting functionality into Mimblewimble.

TariScript is particularly neat because it enables you to send funds to offline recipients or “tip jars”, all possible with our one-sided payments feature. TariScript is also the foundation for atomic swaps, multi-sig and most importantly, scalable side chains.

If you’ve downloaded Aurora or built the console wallet, you already know that it’s a joyful experience. The UX is fantastic by any measure, but especially by cryptocurrency standards.

Could we launch mainnet with this set of features? Sure. But I must ask, why? What would we gain?

Tari’s mission is to be the digital assets platform on the internet.

A project only has one main net launch1. If we go live now, we lose out on the biggest single opportunity to bring attention to the project when we don’t have our star player ready to take the field. By the time the DAN is complete, any excitement from the broader crypto and mainstream audiences will have dissipated.

Staying in testnet offers our codebase a significantly undervalued long-term benefit. We can make substantial and fundamental changes to our consensus code with minimal risk. We can deploy these changes without worrying about backwards compatibility. We can implement new features and protocols that enable the DAN without lugging millions of lines of legacy code around for (literally) ever. We can simply rip up our testnet and start a new one with a clean, unencumbered code base.

If you’re as excited about Tari as we are, help us get to our ultimate goal and get involved! Comment on our RFCs, contribute code, docs, or answer questions in our Telegram group or our shiny new Discord server.

Tari Labs is a steward of the Tari project, and they are hiring! If you’re a Rust developer, designer, or front-end engineer and want to bring the future of digital assets into the present, they want to talk.

  1. Unless your name is Dan Larimer.