The Binance-operated BNB Beacon Chain mainnet is preparing for an upcoming hard fork incorporating a unique “panic” mechanism feature. This new addition will enable the blockchain to halt the production of new blocks under specific conditions. It ensures enhanced security and protects users’ assets.
The BNB Chain team recently announced that the “ZhangHeng” upgrade is scheduled to occur at block height 328,088,888, anticipated to take place on July 19. One of the key components of this hard fork is the implementation of Binance Evolution Proposal BEP-255, aimed at introducing “on-chain asset reconciliation.”
This proactive measure aims to mitigate potential damage from cross-chain bridge exploits. The Binance Smart Chain saw an example of such an exploit on October 7, 2022.
BNB Beacon Chain: Strengthening Security Measures
Acknowledging the importance of safeguarding assets within the BNB Beacon Chain, Binance emphasized the necessity of additional security measures. Despite existing improvements in cross-chain security, including implementing BEP171, the team recognizes the need for robust protection. This is especially important following bridge-related exploits.
In each block, the BEP-255 proposal will meticulously track user balance changes and subsequently reconcile them to identify any discrepancies or irregularities. The blockchain will activate the panic feature in cases where it detects reconciliation errors. This promptly ceases the production of new blocks.
This drastic action will impact downstream services like bridges, deposits, and withdrawals on exchanges. However, it is essential to safeguard the integrity of the chain and its users.
Reinstating the functioning of the blockchain will necessitate a hard fork and resolving the reconciliation error. Binance clarified that related accounts should be either blacklisted or corrected if exploitation is identified. Once the blockchain resumes operations, we can restore downstream services accordingly.
In addition to the panic feature, the upcoming hard fork addresses other security concerns, such as preventing “Rogue Key Attacks.” This vulnerability involves an attacker generating a valid aggregate signature for a transaction, misleading others into believing they possess true ownership of private keys.
To counter this issue, the hard fork will clear all existing vote addresses upon reaching the specified block height. Validators will subsequently need to add their vote addresses once again.
Additionally, the hard fork aims to enhance the capability of the BNB Beacon Chain to handle more complex business rules and logic. The intention of this upgrade is to ensure smoother operations and improve scalability.
To ensure a seamless transition, Binance requires two-thirds of validators to upgrade their software version to v0.10.16 ahead of the hard fork. Failure to comply may result in complications. According to BNB Chain, once the hard fork block height is reached, full nodes that do not undergo the necessary upgrade will be unable to execute further blocks.
While node operators have been provided comprehensive instructions to adhere to the hard fork upgrade. Therefore, BNB token holders who utilize Binance.com, other centralized exchanges, or cold wallets are currently exempt from taking any action.
On June 19, BNB Chain launched opBNB, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible layer-2 scaling solution based on Optimism’s OP Stack, further expanding its ecosystem and capabilities.
However, by implementing the panic feature and other security enhancements, the BNB Beacon Chain fortifies its blockchain against potential threats. This boosts user confidence and contributes to the ecosystem’s security and resilience.