Babylon Alphanet Release + Roadmap Update
It’s the end of Q3 and that means another milestone delivered for Radix. The Babylon Alphanet is now live, bringing a fully functional DeFi ecosystem on Radix one step closer.
The release of Alphanet is accompanied by a Babylon roadmap update: Betanet is still on track for the end of 2022, an additional release candidate testing phase is being added to Q1 2023, and the Radix mainnet upgrade to Babylon will occur in Q2 2023.
Now, let’s dive into the details.
Babylon Alphanet Released!
Alphanet is now merrily ticking along. This is a key milestone on the road to Babylon, and the long-awaited step of marrying up consensus with Scrypto and Radix Engine v2, running the revolutionary Babylon transaction model on a distributed network. A network where every transaction is a “DeFi-style” transaction with a single unified pipeline of execution and no special treatment for “basic” transactions like account-to-account transfers.
If you’re a developer, Alphanet replaces the Public Test Environment, and you’ll use it in much the same way, except now all your requests will be processed by the running network instead of a simulated ledger. Similar to the PTE, off-ledger querying of data is still in a primitive state. You’ll get your first crack at the full stack which includes the Wallet and a real Gateway (and full SDKs for dealing with both) at Betanet.
Developers will need to download a new browser extension to replace the PTE extension; please see the Alphanet documentation for details, or jump right in to an example.
Alphanet Lightning Q&A
Does Alphanet have “real” tokens and applications on it that will become part of mainnet?
No, Alphanet is strictly a test network, and everything on it will eventually vanish.
Will there be multiple releases/versions of Alphanet?
Yes, it is likely that Alphanet will have additional releases in the coming months.
Will Alphanet experience ledger resets during operation? Can my data on it be wiped?
Yes and yes. Any new Alphanet release will cause a reset of the ledger.
Is the MetaMask-like browser extension an early form of the upcoming Babylon Wallet?
Not at all. The Alphanet browser extension is a dead-end code path that exists to give developers a primitive way to sign and submit transactions from a web site. It’s crude, it’s ugly, and it will be going away after Alphanet.
How can I run an Alphanet node?
Community node-running won’t be available until Betanet.
What version of Scrypto does Alphanet run?
Initially, Scrypto v0.6, which has some minor changes from v0.5.1. Alphanet will keep pace with any new Scrypto releases that occur prior to Betanet.
The road to Alphanet involved a stupefying amount of implementation of the core systems designed in late 2021 and early 2022, and saw multiple iterations of key components like the state manager, the Radix Engine kernel, and the execution model. The good news is that the end result has greatly exceeded expectations in producing an elegant, flexible, upgradable foundation upon which everything rests. The bad news is that it has consumed the majority of the slack time in the Babylon roadmap, as work on some of the downstream systems had to be delayed while the team wrestled that foundation into place. There’s little remaining wiggle room to address any community feedback or deal with difficult-to-control delays such as Apple App Store approval for the Wallet.
So, with that in mind, the schedule is changing to insert an additional release after Betanet, and now looks as follows:
- Alphanet released in Q3 2022, as scheduled.
- Betanet will release in Q4 2022, as scheduled. It will no longer be the “starting gun” for third-party integrators, but rather a chance to gather developer, node-runner, and integrator feedback on how the various interfaces to the network are meeting their needs. Betanet will include a public preview release of the Babylon Wallet.
- RCnet (“release candidate network”) will go live in Q1 2023, and will mark the point where integrators can confidently commence work for Babylon and know that the ground won’t be moving under their feet.
- Radix Public Network (“mainnet”) upgrade to Babylon will happen in Q2 2023.
Roadmap Lighting Q&A
Does “Q1” really just mean March and “Q2” really just mean June?
No. It’s certainly possible, but until feedback from Betanet has been taken onboard and decided upon, any exact release dates given would be inaccurate.
I’m building an app for Babylon, should I hold off development work until RCnet?
You can build your on-ledger backend now, and plan to build the frontend pieces atop Betanet. Just be prepared for some degree of tweaking in response to API changes before release.
Why not just shoot for a Q1 2023 release and hope nothing new crops up to jeopardize it?
Various ecosystem partners need a fair picture of when they can expect to start and successfully complete Babylon integration. Partners such as exchanges tend to have a very low tolerance for the words “this interface may change,” and those interfaces won’t be nicely settled at Betanet release.
Radically Better DeFi is Coming, and People are Taking Note
It’s often said that bear markets are for builders. So it’s no surprise that major milestones such as the Alphanet release are paired with increased activity within the Radix ecosystem. Monthly transactions on the network have grown by 7x since last year, active addresses have now surpassed 80k, over 3Bn XRD is staked, developer enthusiasm continues to accelerate, and there is an ever-growing number of press mentions, exchanges, and integrations for XRD.
Progress takes time, and everyone working on the Radix network and ecosystem knows that building a radically better global financial system is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, an opportunity that has to be done right. That means solving the real problems standing in the way of mass adoption for DeFi.
When tackling such large and complex problems on an aggressive timeline, bumps are inevitable. Success isn’t dependent on never encountering issues, but rather on how they are dealt with. That’s why the focus is always on doing the right thing, not the easy thing. After all, delivery of a successful ecosystem on Babylon is about more than just Radix, it’s about the Scrypto developers, third-party integrators, and of course a thriving community. Doing the right thing to earn and maintain their trust, and to facilitate their success, is key.
Over the coming months, there is a lot more to share about Babylon, and how Radix is uniquely positioned to take DeFi mainstream. Be ready, because Radix will be.