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Cardano: IOHK releases metadata server ‘Smash’

  • The publication of the metadata server ‘Smash’ serves to enhance the decentralization of the Cardano blockchain. 
  • Smash is initially hosted by IOHK, but can be adopted by the community.

Via a new blog post, IOHK, the development company behind Cardano, has introduced the new component of the ecosystem called “Smash”. Smash is a metadata server that ensures that the information about each stake pool is relevant and valid. The goal of IOHK is to ensure as far as possible that the influence of bad actors, such as potential attackers, spoof pools and trolls, on the system is minimized.

According to IOHK, the decentralization of the nodes is a key element in Cardano’s success. However, in order to keep track of the information of the stake pools and to simplify the choice of a pool for the delegates, it is crucial that the data is valid. Therefore, Smash was developed, a server that supports operators and ADA owners by validating information about stake pools and storing it as metadata.

In concrete terms, Smash works in such a way that each stake pool is registered together with the meta-data required for the calculation of the rewards. This includes owner data, the name of the pool, pool ticker, homepage and a short description that is not stored in the blockchain. “It is therefore important to make this information visible and accessible,” says IOHK. Smash also has the following tasks:

As well as ensuring that registered stake pools are valid, Smash metadata server helps to avoid duplicated ticker names or trademarks, and ensure that they do not feature content that Cardano users are likely to find offensive. Given that scams, trolls, and abusive behavior are an unfortunate part of life online, we had to find a way of filtering potentially problematic actors out of the playing field.

If bad players are detected, they are removed from the Daedalus. The reasons that are taken into account “include illegal or malicious metadata content, impersonation, the use of ticker names that were previously registered on the Incentivized Testnet (when this is not the same stake pool/operator), intellectual property rights violations, or stake pools that are no longer active.”

What is Cardano’s Smash?

A Smash server can aggregate, retrieve and store Stake Pool metadata. The first generation of Smash is provided and hosted by IOHK. Smash’s information serves the Daedalus wallet and was previously collected off-chain and retrieved from each stake pool individually, “which required a lot of network connections and affected performance”.

Although Smash will initially be centralized at IOHK, it will not be able to provide a centralized solution. However, the code of the Smash server is open source so that it can be used by anyone. In this sense IOHK hopes:

So we hope that in the future, the Smash approach will be adopted by the community for decentralized metadata. Daedalus will allow users to configure any server of their choice and browse custom stake pool lists – for example, charity pools, bare metal pools, or pools from a certain region for ada holders who would prefer to support stake pool businesses with a particular focus.

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