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Subnets Are Ready for Mainnet

Two months after subnets alpha, code and documentation for subnets are ready for mainnet. In this post we’ll talk about what comes next.

Type
Product update
Topic(s)
Ecosystem
Stacks
Product
Published
July 12, 2023
Author(s)
Director of Engineering
Start building with subnets today.
Contents

Subnets Primer

Subnets are a scaling solution for Stacks designed to handle high throughput, low latency workloads. While the next major upgrade for Stacks, the Nakamoto release, will include faster block times and a faster experience on the Stacks mainchain, there is still a need for scaling infrastructure to meet the demands of onboarding the next million users to Bitcoin and a wide range of distinct use cases.

For a more detailed explanation on subnets, check out our earlier posts or read an overview on our docs. 

The Story So Far

We first began work on subnets in 2022 and made steady progress throughout the year, launching a subnets MVP on testnet in Q4 2022. Unfortunately, work on subnets then got delayed for several months as our blockchain team made several open source contributions to the ecosystem-wide 2.1 upgrade, which then quickly led to the 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 upgrades. This was an all-hands-on-deck moment for engineers across many different entities in the Stacks ecosystem, and work on subnets took a backseat. But we’ve now arrived at the finish line.

The subnets alpha implementation we shared earlier this year included key features such as Stacks 2.1 compatibility, improved throughput and block confirmation times, and multi-miner support. We also shared a demo app to illustrate the full end-to-end experience for developers building and using a subnet.

Since April, we have made improvements to handling microblocks and better contract versioning and have squashed a number of bugs. We updated the microblock mining strategy on Subnets, resulting in a lower latency for transaction processing by maximizing our microblock creation time without having to modify the p2p network. 

This alpha implementation is LIVE on testnet, and you can view subnet activity here and access the API here: https://api.subnets.testnet.hiro.so/v2/info

What Happens Now?

With this week’s latest release v0.8.0, subnets are mainnet ready. If you are interested in running a subnet, we recommend you refer to these resources to get started:

  • Subnet participants: This page outlines the participants required to run a subnet. These participants need to agree on trust parameters and incentives in order to launch a subnet.

  • Miner resource recommendations: These resources detail considerations and resource recommendations for anyone interested in running a subnet miner.

  • Subnets documentation: Technical documentation for running a subnet.

We consider our work on subnets complete, and we are excited to see what the Stacks ecosystem builds with them! As always, we are here to provide ongoing support for bug fixes and feature requests from developers building with subnets.

Get Started With Subnets

If you’d like to get started with subnets, check out the documentation, specifically this getting started guide, as well as the subnets GitHub and the resources above. We’re excited to see what you build with subnets! If you have any feature requests or encounter any issues or bug reports, please submit them on GitHub

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