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Catapult Bison Update - Jan. 18, 2019

On November 2nd, the Bison update of Catapult (version 0.2) was released and committed onto the Catapult server Github repository. The Bison update follows the Alpaca update and preludes the Cow update. This update was an important step towards the release of the public blockchain Catapult update and demonstrates the hard work that the NEM core developers, gimre, BloodyRookie, and Jaguar0625 have put in. In particular, Bison introduces three key features that will keep NEM up to date on DLT (distributed ledger technology) innovations and set NEM apart from other public blockchains: account properties, Merkle state proofs, and cache state backing to NEM.

Now, what do these technical terms actually mean? Here’s a breakdown of each update, explaining how they work and what they accomplish for NEM and its users.

1) Account properties

Account properties may sound like a generic phrase, but it has a specific technical definition in the blockchain field. Like smart contracts, account properties are the set of `smart rules’ that dictate what an account on a blockchain can or cannot do. Users will be able to use account properties to allow or block transactions based on addresses, transaction type, or mosaic ID.

For example, suppose that your friend Susan wants to keep her crypto-asset trading organized across individual addresses for ease of record keeping. Among other assets, Susan is trading a hypothetical EGG mosaic on a Crazy Chicken Exchange. Through account properties, she can define an account on the NEM Catapult blockchain that solely permits a transaction if and only if the incoming transaction is a movement of EGG mosaic to her Crazy Chicken Exchange deposit address.

Account properties greatly expand the possibilities for on-chain logic and operations compared to the current public version of NEM. The presence of account properties thus gives NEM increased flexibility in addressing the evolving functionality that industries and us...

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