BNB Beacon Chain Set to Introduce ‘Panic’ Feature Enabling Blockchain Halting

In an upcoming hard fork, the BNB Beacon Chain, operated by Binance, will introduce a new feature that enables the blockchain to halt block production under certain conditions. The upgrade, known as the “ZhangHeng” upgrade, is scheduled to occur at block height 328,088,888, estimated to take place on July 19.

As part of the hard fork, Binance Evolution Proposal BEP-255 will be implemented, aiming to introduce on-chain asset reconciliation. Binance believes this feature will help mitigate the impact of potential cross-chain bridge exploits, similar to the Binance Smart Chain exploit that occurred on October 7, 2022.

Under the BEP-255 proposal, user balance changes will be tracked in each block, and any discrepancies will be reconciled. In the event of reconciliation errors, the blockchain will enter a panic state and cease producing new blocks. This measure is considered necessary to safeguard the chain and its users, although it will affect downstream services such as bridges, deposits, and withdrawals on exchanges. Resuming blockchain operations will require a subsequent hard fork and addressing the reconciliation error, including blacklisting or correcting relevant accounts if an exploitation is detected.

The upcoming hard fork will also include bug fixes to prevent Rogue Key Attacks, a security vulnerability where an attacker produces a valid aggregate signature for a transaction without possessing the true owner’s private keys. To address this issue, existing vote addresses will be cleared, requiring validators to add them again.

Furthermore, the hard fork aims to enhance the chain’s capability to handle more complex business rules and logic. However, for the hard fork to proceed smoothly, it necessitates two-thirds of validators to switch to the v0.10.16 software version. Failure to upgrade full nodes will result in their inability to execute further blocks after the hard fork block height.

BNB Chain has provided detailed instructions for node operators to comply with the hard fork upgrade. However, BNB token holders who utilize Binance.com, other centralized exchanges, or cold wallets currently do not need to take any action.

Earlier in June, BNB Chain launched opBNB, a new Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible layer-2 scaling solution based on Optimism’s OP Stack.

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