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EEP title author status type category created
5
Silent alerting through on-chain permissions
Alexandre Bourget <alex@eoscanada.com>
Draft
RFC
N/A
2019-01-10

Abstract

When critical network-level events happen, block producers need to notify other block producers quickly, sometimes to take swift action. It is also a desirable property that the alert be kept under wrap, and not published directly to the blockchain. Also, block producers don't want people to trigger their alerts for any reasons.

We hereby propose a protocol to allow BPs to receive alerts that can only be triggered by some specific accounts (like the top 40 BPs or so), and do not show up on chain, yet use on-chain permissions to validate the authenticity of the alerts.

Specification

The specification involves:

  • a simple proxy able to forward /v1/chain calls to a remote EOSIO node
  • intercepting calls to /v1/chain/push_transaction
  • forwarding that call to a remote EOSIO node
  • interpreting the response
  • triggering an alert

To submit an alert, someone would need to craft a transaction to an action on a contract that: a) require_auth's the sending account, and b) always fails. Upon submission through /v1/chain/push_transaction, only an edge node would be able to notice that this transaction exists, would execute it and it would fail with one of two errors: a) authorization failure error, or b) assertion failure.

By reading the response from the speculative execution of that transaction, the proxy would know that the account sending the transaction authorized the trigger of an alert. Then, according to local configuration, a proxy could execute some program which would trigger a notification to registered employees. For example, it could require 3 alerts from top-21 BPs, before waking up its employees, or 5 alerts from top 50.

By proxying /v1/chain/get_required_keys, /v1/chain/get_info calls to a real network EOSIO node, one can use any tools (like cleos or EOSIO-compatible libraries) to send the alert signal.

In case the network is completely broken (ex: all EOSIO nodes are frozen), those sending alerts might have more pain crafting and signing the transactions, but the protocol would still work provided that the implementation has the following fallback mechanism: the proxy would keep a cache of permissions for the accounts it is allowed to receive notifications from (trusted accounts, or dynamic BP accounts), and do local signature verification.

To avoid being used as a forwarder, the proxy would only attempt to execute or check transactions that have a single action, with signature alwaysfail(account notifier) [that action would need to exist on a well-known contract, ideally the system contract], that is configured as stated above.

Follow-up discussions

are happening here: https://github.com/EOSIO/eosio.contracts/issues/169

Copyright

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

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