Dusk Network Testnet Shin Status Update I
By Emanuele Francioni

Sep 13, 2019 - Amsterdam

One-and-a-half months after the launch of the first iteration of the Dusk Network Testnet, we are here to inform the community about the progress that we’ve made.

Dusk Network Testnet Shin (殉星) Status Update I

Ever since the launch of the first iteration of the Dusk Network Testnet, called Shin (殉星), the team has gained priceless insights about the performance of the protocol in a public setting. Its incredibly important for us to use this period to hunt for bugs that would otherwise have possibly avoided our attention.

A small recap on nodes

Testnet Shin has been available since July 26 and reached a peak of 120 nodes last month, which were a mix of on average 40 community-run nodes and Dusk Network-deployed nodes. The amount of Dusk Network-deployed nodes ramped up in parallel with the community-run nodes to make sure that the network could be taken offline for an upgrade or to fix a bug. Without a majority number of nodes in our control, we would not be able to take the Testnet offline.

Protocol intricacies

With Dusk Network we run into unique situations not encountered before. Because the consensus mechanism has finality guarantees and should not fork, we had to design a new procedure that enables protocol upgrades without the possibility of a consensus stall.

The update will be deployed alongside the upcoming release of the second iteration of the Testnet. This will enable the team to change the protocol without the need to control an extensive number of nodes.

Some facts and figures
Dusk Network Testnet Shin (殉星) participating node count
Dusk Network Testnet Shin (殉星) average block times in 5-day periods

The block times have fluctuated between 6 and 7 on average during the course of the last 1.5 months.

Bug discovery

We’ve been hunting for bugs, and found one that affected the consistency of the consensus state between different nodes under strenuous network conditions — causing select nodes to fall back without the ability to catch up to the latest state of the consensus. Awaiting the aforementioned update in the second Testnet iteration, we had to take the network offline to upgrade the protocol and fix the bug. Now that this is done, we urge our users to update their nodes.

download the latest node implementation on Github and follow the installation instructions.

The upgrade also includes:

  • An extensive refactor of the implementation, drastically increasing the efficiency of the build.
  • An updated console feature-set. Automates functionality that used to require user input. I.e. consensus starts automatically when wallet is created or loaded, and stakes are updated automatically after expiration of the previous stake.

We are happy to report that the Testnet is back online and we would like to invite our community to join us in testing our protocol!

About Dusk Network

Dusk Network is an open-source and privacy-oriented blockchain based on years of academic research. You can use Dusk Network to create smart contracts that control digital assets and securities.

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