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Cosmos Hub upgrade and associated migration risks

By Inkarias - 2019-12-07

From the recent news shared , the team is expecting to launch the Cosmos Hub 3 around December 11, 2019. More specifically, the core team will attempt to launch at precisely 60 minutes after Cosmos Hub 2 reaches Block Height 2,902,000, according to the passed proposal. Cosmos is also very excited to welcome up to 25 new Cosmos Hub validator operators during this operation. As validator operators, migrating from Cosmos Hub 2 to Cosmos Hub 3 will expose users and the delegators to a heightened slashing risk, since there is a higher-than-normal chance of accidentally committing equivocation (aka “double-signing”). Currently, if slashed for equivocation, the user and the associated validator will irrevocably lose 5% of earned stake.

Underlying risks of migration and how to mitigate them ?

The group has shared a quick guide for mitigating these different risks: https://github.com/cosmos/gaia/blob/master/docs/migration/cosmoshub-2.md
The most important parts of the migration procedure will be, in short:
The verification of the software version and the verification of the correct genesis file hash before starting the validator. Users must take note that the riskiest thing that a validator operator can do during this procedure is to discover a mistake and then repeat the upgrade procedure. While checking, sharing, and comparing the hash of the validator’s genesis file is critical, sometimes the checked genesis and actual genesis file are different, since each file can turn out to be located in different directories. The genesis file to be checked should be the one in the gaiad home directory. However, this home directory can be different for each validator operator (depending on their setup preferences). Also, the state file should never be deleted under any circumstances.
According to Hyung (B-Harvest), a halted chain can elevate the possibility of double-signing. If a validator operator deletes the entire data directory, including state file, a double-sign (equivocation) violation will then occur upon resync.
More details at https://cosmos.network/