BNB Chain is introducing a new ‘panic’ feature to tackle blockchain exploits in its upcoming hard fork. The ‘ZhangHeng’ upgrade is named after the Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman who lived during the Han dynasty.
Set to go live at block height 328,088,888, the hard fork will bring in major security features for users. Based on the current block generation speed, it is forecasted to occur on 19 July 2023 at 6:00 (UTC).
In the BNB Beacon Chain, a hard fork requires 2⁄3 of validators to upgrade to make blocks successfully. Since it’s a permanent change in the way of working of the network, failing to upgrade will stop existing full nodes in the network from receiving and executing further blocks after the hard fork block height.
Along with new rules and logic changes, the hard fork will also introduce the Binance evolution proposal BEP-255, which would implement “on-chain asset reconciliation”. This is sought to introduce the “panic” feature where the blockchain would stop producing new blocks in case of a reconciliation error.
Developers explained the same on GitHub saying: “If a reconciliation error occurs, the blockchain will stop producing new blocks, impacting downstream services such as bridges, deposits, and withdrawals on exchanges. This drastic action is necessary to protect the chain and its users, so core developers and community members should investigate the issue as soon as possible.”
The feature is being introduced to avoid occurrences similar to past cross-chain bridge exploits like the BNB Smart Chain exploit of 7 October 2022. While the change would impact “downstream services such as bridges, deposits, and withdrawals on exchanges”, Binance said that the “drastic action” is necessary to protect the chain and its users.
At the time of writing, the BNB Chain Twitter page has teased a “big announcement” set for the day yet to be revealed or confirmed as the latest upgrade.