13 September 2019: 57 PM
ChainSafe and the people at Parity Technologies are supporting a new proof of authority testnet that would be easier to use among clients. The algorithm chosen to support it could be controversial
On September 13, Afri Schoedon of Parity Technologies published an invitation to participate to create a more universal testnet. The idea seems to have arisen in the recent ETHBerlin hackathon where Schoedon worked alongside ChainSafe team members. In his proposal, he notes that the existing testnets do not adequately support all customers and are not "solid enough to guarantee constant availability and high reliability."
Proposes that the community unite to build Görli, a public trial network of Ethereum .
Schoedon's preferred specifications are that customers choose an authority testing engine (PoA), such as Aura or Clique, and implement it. At present, Parity and Geth already use the PoA test networks for efficiency reasons. The existing test testnet, Ropsten, is technically compatible with both Parity and Geth, but has had reliability problems. PoA chains do not require maximum participation or hash power (or any other hash power), making it the most reliable choice.
At the moment, Parity and Geth use different testnets with different PoA algorithms. However, if the two are able to accept an algorithm and implement it, the community could "start a new Görli authority test testnet based on available implementations that mimic the conditions of the main network."
According to the Ethereum Development Protocol, progress on Görli will begin with the creation of an Ethereum enhancement proposal to specify the PoA engine clients that they should implement to build the testnet around. Regardless of which one is chosen, customers hoping to use the Görli testnet should implement it.
Schoedon connects to a developing EIP that uses Aura, probably because Aura is a consensus algorithm launched by Parity and used to power the Kovan testnet. Geth, another important Ethereum customer, uses Clique for his Rinkeby testnet. Schoedon is careful to specify that this is not a political choice, although there seems to be some tension around this statement on Twitter.
ChainSafe co-founder and CEO Aidan Hyman writes in a Media post that his team is working to implement Aura, Parity's PoA Algorithm, in Geth. Hyman explains that they are using Geth instead of Parity because they are more familiar with Go, the language in which Geth is written, compared to Rust, the language in which Parity is written. Hyman states however, that "the Görli team" also plans to implement Clique in Rust, just less immediately. In an email to ETHNEWS Hyman made it clear that the people of ChainSafe would be involved in the implementation of Clique-Rust, but this development is also open to anyone who is willing and able to participate.
Politician or not in this very early stage there seems to be more work to bring Geth to Parity's algorithm than the other way around. Which engine ends up winning (if it really does) will depend largely on who ends up contributing to the development process. However, once customers agree on a consent algorithm and any additional customer specifications, Hyman and Schoeden seem to suggest that building the same testnet would be quite simple.
A notable difference between the ChainSafe and Schoedon structure of this project is that Schoedon emphasizes it as a more universal testnet, open to all customers, while ChainSafe focuses only on Geth and Parity. However, in a follow-up e-mail, Hyman made it clear that, although currently focusing only on these two customers, ChainSafe also intends that Görli can be used by all customers. Although, as with any decentralized project, this depends on the participation of the developers.
Edited on September 13, 2018: In an earlier version of this article, we said that PoA requires less hash power than PoW, which is technically true. However, it is also true that PoA does not require hash power. We have modified the article to reflect this fact. In addition, Hyman followed ETHNews in an e-mail to clarify that ChainSafe is indeed on the same page with Schoedon regarding making this universal testnet for all clients.
Alison is an occasional publisher and writer for ETHNews. He has a master's degree in English from the University of Wyoming. He lives in Reno with his dog and a half-loving cat. Among his favorite things there is the binge to listen to the podcasts, have the laughs through the memes of the dogs and spend as much time as possible outside.
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