Your Basic Guide to the Leap Upgrade for Antelope (Previously EOSIO)
What is the Leap Upgrade?
The Leap Upgrade is the first implementation of Antelope, the new community-driven codebase that will replace the EOSIO codebase.
Ok, now let’s break that sentence down.
First of all, what’s a codebase?
A blockchain’s codebase is what allows it to function, and it can also provide certain features to developers, operators, and users. You can think of it like your computer’s operating system: if you never updated your version of Windows or MacOS, things would eventually start to break. But keep it updated, and you’ll see operating improvements.
You may also see a codebase being referred to as a protocol, or a framework, but these words all describe the same underlying code that powers a blockchain.
What was the EOSIO codebase? Why do we need a new one?
The EOSIO codebase was the original codebase for the EOS Network, and was developed and maintained by Block.one (the nominal founders of EOS). All EOSIO-based blockchains, such as WAX, Telos, and the UX Network, used this same codebase.
But in 2021, Block.one stopped supporting the EOSIO codebase, leaving all the blockchains that used it stranded. They could keep functioning, but there was no way to improve their underlying technology — to go back to our operating system analogy, it’s like they were told they could never update their computers again.
What is Antelope?
Several of the EOSIO-based blockchains came together after Block.one said they would stop supporting the EOSIO codebase, and realized they needed to create their own version of the codebase if they wanted to keep their chains healthy in the future. They created a formal group called the EOSIO Coalition (now the Antelope Coalition).
Antelope is important because it’s both developed and maintained by a broad community of blockchains, so it takes the needs of those chains into consideration when updates happen (whereas Block.one was a private business with stakeholders, so they generally updated the codebase in ways that would benefit their business model — not the public blockchains using the codebase).
What is the Leap Upgrade?
“Leap” is the name for the C++ edition of the Antelope codebase. Leap 3.1 is the first version of the codebase that will go live, and as the C++ codebase is updated, the number will go up.
The reason why the C++ edition of the codebase needs a distinct name is because there will likely be editions of the Antelope codebase in other coding languages in the future, like Rust or Go. When these new editions are released, they will probably have Antelope-inspired names that differentiate them from the C++ codebase. So we might see Bound, Charge, Sprint, or Graze implementations in the future.
But back to Leap — the Leap Upgrade includes multiple updates to the codebase, including the ability to estimate the resource costs of a transaction, and multiple ways to try and make sure that transactions don’t fail. If you’re curious about the details, the ENF has a whole post on Leap’s new features and additional tools.
Now that we’ve established what the Leap Upgrade is, let’s dive into some other questions!
When is the Leap Upgrade?
All blockchains using the new Antelope codebase will need to switch over to Leap 3.1 by September 21st. This is most important for block producers, API providers, exchanges, and app developers that run their own infrastructure. If you fall into one of these categories and aren’t sure what to do, check out the Leap 3.1 Upgrade Guide provided by the ENF.
Do users need to do anything to prepare for the Leap Upgrade?
Nope! In fact, if anyone tells you that you need to do something, then it’s probably a scam. You can always check with EOS Support if you’re not sure.
As a user, the Leap Upgrade shouldn’t be something that you notice right away. Instead, it’s something that will give app developers and operators more tools to make your life easier. So if you notice that transactions fail less often, or that some apps can predict the cost of resource fees for you, or that there are other subjective billing improvements, then you’ll have the Leap Upgrade to thank!
But on the 21st, all you should have to do is sit back, relax, and reap the benefits of an updated blockchain. No need to move any tokens or update any apps.
How is Greymass preparing for the Leap Upgrade?
As a block producer and as infrastructure providers for things like APIs and the Fuel resource service, we’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to update all of our servers to Leap 3.1, so that we’re ready for the switch on the 21st. In practice, this means that every server and API node needed to be taken offline, rebuilt, and then brought back online strategically to prevent any service disruptions. Certain projects like Fuel, our History API, and the Snapshots servers required additional effort to get them fully updated and compatible with the new features that Leap 3.1 makes available to developers.
So if you’re a developer that relies on Greymass resources and you want to take advantage of Leap’s new features, we’re ready for you! Everything’s updated and ready to go, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on Discord.
But it’s also worth noting for developers that we didn’t need to update our products — Anchor and Unicove — for the Leap Upgrade. The new codebase is backwards-compatible with the old one, so if you’re a dApp developer on an EOSIO-based chain and you don’t have any infrastructure to worry about, then the Leap Upgrade won’t require any effort from you (although you may want to consider using the new codebase features to update your dApp in the future!).
Is the Leap Upgrade a hard fork?
It depends who you ask. This is a major upgrade to the codebase, and it will be different from what the EOSIO-based blockchains were running on before, so in that sense it is a hard fork.
But since everyone is going to be switching to the Antelope codebase at the same time, and because the changes are backwards-compatible with the previous codebase, you could also call it a soft fork.
Soft fork: Think of a soft fork as a software upgrade for the blockchain. As long as it’s adopted by all users, it becomes a currency’s new set of standards. Soft forks have been used to bring new features or functions, typically at the programming level, to both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Because the end result is a single blockchain, the changes are backward-compatible with the pre-fork blocks.
This is why the EOSIO community more commonly refers to codebase changes as “upgrades” or “updates,” because there won’t be a stark difference between the old chain and the new chain, like when Bitcoin forked to create Bitcoin Cash. EOS will still be EOS, for instance.
Will the Leap Upgrade cause the price of tokens to go up?
Like with most things in crypto: maybe, maybe not.
Nothing in the Leap Upgrade is going to directly impact tokens, so there’s not anything like ETH being taken out of the system in the Ethereum Merge. But the Leap Upgrade does introduce changes to the codebase that will improve the lives of developers and operators on EOSIO-based (now Antelope-based) chains, and that will filter down to the users and improve their day-to-day transactions on the blockchains as well.
Antelope is aiming to be one of the fastest, most secure, and most user-friendly blockchain codebases out there. If they manage to do that, then we can expect Antelope-based blockchains to attract high-quality developer talent, which will in turn lead to exciting products and more users who are attracted to the products.
More users = more demand for tokens = price of tokens will (probably) go up.
But, just to cover our butts: this is not financial advice. Crypto is a topsy-turvy land where prices are never guaranteed, so we’d suggest focusing on the technical improvements that the Leap Upgrade will bring, rather than any potential price changes.
Want to learn more about the Leap Upgrade?
Then we recommend checking out the latest episode of Coffee With Greymass, where we interviewed Aaron Cox about the Leap Upgrade. You’ll get to hear what part of the Leap Upgrade Aaron is most excited for, a closer look at the ways the Leap Upgrade will benefit the blockchains, ways to get involved if you’re a developer who’s excited about the Upgrade, and more!