Connecting the dots: An overview of various dev working groups

The Marlin protocol is blockchain agnostic and attracts a range of different applications - caches, MEV trades, marketplaces to name a few. This requires cross-community open-source contributions and collaboration to drive shared innovation and awareness while preserving objectivity and neutrality. Amidst the different feature updates and releases, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. 

This post aims to provide developers clarity on the various working groups that contribute to the Marlin protocol to have a better understanding of the relationship between them, understand each group’s priorities and engage with the least amount of hurdles.

There are primarily six working groups at Marlin which are as follows:

  1. The clusters group focuses on validator networking infrastructure 
  2. The gateways group maintains user clients to communicate with the network 
  3. The oyster group focuses on the network’s programmability aspect
  4. The monitoring group develops to tools to convey performance, uptime, availability along with associated user-interfaces and frontends 
  5. The applications group develops user-friendly products that leverage the protocol
  6. The commons groups designs libraries, toolkits and frameworks that can be used by the other groups

In order to get developers across interests in various working groups in sync, upcoming priorities of each group are listed below. They are accompanied with a rough quarterly timeline to determine interdependence of each group’s feature set on the other.

Clusters group

- Oyster merge - Q2
- Support for other blockchains - Q3 (Code, Docs)
- Enabling isolated relay nodes to join the network - Q4 (Code, Specs - TBD)
- Cheaper settlement layer (L3 on Arbitrum?) - In research

Gateways group

- Receiver staking - Q1 (Code, Docs)
- New payment models (subscriptions etc) - Q2 (Specs - TBD) 
- Support for other blockchains - Q3 (Code, Docs)
- Introducing slashing (for spam, delivery) - Q4 (Code, Specs - TBD) 
- Erasure coding - In research

Oyster group

- Oyster API access - Q1 (Code)
- On-chain attestation verification - Q2 (Specs)
- TLS support - Q2 (Code, Specs - TBD)
- Serverless - Q3 (Code, Specs - TBD)
- Persistent storage - Q3 (Code, Docs)
- Diversifying hardware and cloud vendors: Azure/GCP/SGX/SEV - Q4 (Specs - TBD)
- Staking and slashing criteria - In research

Applications group

- SDKs in multiple languages - Q2 (Code, Code)
- Monitoring and autoscaling - Q3 (Specs - TBD)
- Cache: Deployment on Oyster - Q3 (Code, Docs)
- Reproducible builds - Q4 (Specs - TBD)
- ZK prover marketplace - in research 
- mev relay: Deployment on Oyster - wait till ETH implements stateless clients and witness

Monitoring and visualizations group

- mev-inspect - ongoing (open to addition of new strategies and protocols) (Code, Docs, Dashboard)
- bridge rewrite - Q2 (Code, Docs)
- Oyster marketplace frontend - Q2 (Code)
- Oyster availability/uptime monitoring - Q3 (Specs - TBD)
- arb/app.marlin frontend rewrite - Q3 (TBD)

As can be seen, each group complements the other. They aren’t always exclusive and developers can contribute across groups. Developers with relevant experience interested in contributing to the above initiatives are encouraged to participate in discord discussions and make pull requests on associated GitHub repositories. 

It is to be noted that priorities may change at any given moment of time without prior intimation. Thus, developers should refer to the latest git branches to assess the status of any feature by themselves (don’t trust but verify!). Users should similarly be mindful of not relying on this information for future planning. Members in the working groups do not make any promises of being able to finish research and/or development of the aforementioned features. The Marlin protocol is run by a permissionless and open group of validators. There’s no guarantee that the validators shall update their clients to incorporate any new releases or features. The protocol and any associated software is available on an as-is basis.

Reach out on Discord in case you have queries/require assistance and follow our official social media channels to get the latest updates as and when they come out!!

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