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Universal Blocks Specification

Roy Keene edited this page Jan 23, 2019 · 10 revisions

NEP-01: Universal Blocks

The implementation of state blocks (known as "universal blocks") is a protocol improvement that encodes all account data in every transaction. This allows the following:

  1. Simplifies account balance computation and block verification
  2. Enables inexpensive hardware to easily and securely sign transactions
  3. Aggressive pruning of the block-lattice

Legacy Blocks

Previously, before the change to state blocks, there were 4 transaction types: open, send, receive, and change.

Open

To create an account, you need to issue an open transaction. An open transaction is always the first transaction of every account-chain and can be created upon the first receipt of funds. The account field stores the public-key (address) derived from the private-key that is used for signing. The source field contains the hash of the transaction that sent the funds. On account creation, a representative must be chosen to vote on your behalf; this can be changed later with a change transaction. The account can declare itself as its own representative.

{
   account: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   source: DC1E2B3F7C...182A0E26B4A,
   representative: xrb_1anr...posrs,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: open,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Send

To send from an address, the address must already have an existing open block. The previous field contains the hash of the previous block in the account-chain. The destination field contains the account for funds to be sent to. A send block is immutable once confirmed. Once broadcasted to the network, funds are immediately deducted from the balance of the sender's account and wait as pending until the receiving party signs a block to accept these funds. Pending funds should not be considered awaiting confirmation, as they are as good as spent from the sender's account and the sender cannot revoke the transaction.

{
   previous: 1967EA355...F2F3E5BF801,
   balance: 010a8044a0...1d49289d88c,
   destination: xrb_3w...m37goeuufdp,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: send,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Receive

To complete a transaction, the recipient of sent funds must create a receive block on their own account-chain. The source field references the hash of the associated send transaction. Once this block is created and broadcasted, the account's balance is updated and the funds have officially moved into their account.

{
   previous: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   source: DC1E2B3F7C6...182A0E26B4A,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: receive,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Change

Account holders having the ability to choose a representative to vote on their behalf is a powerful decentralization tool that has no strong analog in Proof of Work or Proof of Stake protocols. In conventional PoS systems, the account owner's node must be running to participate in voting. Continuously running a node is impractical for many users; giving a representative the power to vote on an account's behalf relaxes this requirement. Account holders have the ability to reassign consensus to any account at any time. A change transaction changes the representative of an account by subtracting the vote weight from the old representative and adding the weight to the new representative. No funds are moved in this transaction, and the representative does not have spending power of the account's funds.

{
   previous: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   representative: xrb_1anrz...posrs,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: change,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

New State Blocks

The state block combines all 4 old transaction types into a single block. Because of this, the "type" of the block is simply "state".

Key Representation Value Description
previous 32-Byte HEX Previous head block on account; 0 if open block.
Link 32-Byte HEX Multipurpose Field; See Link Table below
representative String Representative xrb_ address.
account String This account's xrb_ address.
balance Decimal String in Raw Resulting balance
work 8-Byte Hex Proof of Work Nonce.
signature 64-Byte HEX ED25519+Blake2b 512-bit signature

Depending on transaction intent, the "link" field is multipurpose for "block_create" rpc calls:

Type Value Description Example Value
Open (HEX) Pairing Send Block's Hash F076D8F6254F089A8E66D0C934FA63D927F4458FC1D96815066D83B3658ABA26
Change (HEX) Must be 0 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
Send (STR) Destination "xrb_" address xrb_1utx843j4hgac1ixbtdygpayqcqho35oy3ufkfp19pj4rdb3sezqt975f8ae
Receive (HEX) Pairing Send Block's Hash F076D8F6254F089A8E66D0C934FA63D927F4458FC1D96815066D83B3658ABA26

In the completed, signed transaction json, the "link" field is always hexidecimal.

nano_node RPC Calls

Since this is largely a backend change; most RPC commands will remain unchanged. One notable difference, however, is the "block_create" command for off-line signing.

If you would like to follow along; the values used in these examples are:

Seed:
168728029C60D62D37C6902FE9A3FFC78E9685A410EB3E937AEABAC2BE199689

Wallet ID:
557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2

Private Key:
B61AEB236B0C8A2DFDD71C06F1F3544C524801E4B45B7A34DFDEC6F74F177927

Public Key:
C1CD33D62CC72FAC1294C990D4DD2B02A4DB85D42F220C48C13AF288FB21D4C1

Address:
xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php

Do not use this seed for any account with funds. Your wallet_id value will be different.

These examples are assumed to be done in sequential order, and that the block is processed before the next example.

Example 1) Open

Address sends 1 raw to account xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php, which doesn't have an open block yet. Let us also assume that the send block hash was 1EF0AD02257987B48030CC8D38511D3B2511672F33AF115AD09E18A86A8355A8.

Here we will create an open block for xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php, setting xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j as the representative, and receiving the above mentioned block. Command:

curl -d '{
    "action":"block_create",
    "type":"state",
    "previous":"0",
    "account":"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php",
    "representative":"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j",
    "balance":"1",
    "link":"1EF0AD02257987B48030CC8D38511D3B2511672F33AF115AD09E18A86A8355A8",
    "wallet":"557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2"
}' 

127.0.0.1:7076

Note that the balance field is in decimal raw, and there are $$10^{30}$$ raw in 1 Nano. Response:

{
    "hash": "FC5A7FB777110A858052468D448B2DF22B648943C097C0608D1E2341007438B0",
    "block": "{\n    \"type\": \"state\",\n    \"account\": \"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php\",\n    \"previous\": \"0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000\",\n    \"representative\": \"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j\",\n    \"balance\": \"1\",\n    \"link\": \"1EF0AD02257987B48030CC8D38511D3B2511672F33AF115AD09E18A86A8355A8\",\n    \"link_as_account\": \"xrb_19qion34cye9pk153m6f93ajtgs747mkyexh47ff39iro3oa8ofa43o4zwx4\",\n    \"signature\": \"593D865DDCC6018F197C0EACD15E5CED3DAF134EDFAF6553DB9C1D0E11DBDCBBE1B01E1A4C6D4378289567E59BA122DA5BFD49729AA6C2B0FC9E592A546B4F09\",\n    \"work\": \"0000000000000000\"\n}\n"
}

The only curious field in the response is "link_as_account". This is if the "link" field were to be interpreted as a 256-bit public key and translated into an xrb_ address. This field is only provided for convenience; when the completed block json is processed and broadcasted to the network, this field is stripped away. If you are creating and signing your own blocks external to nano_node, you do not need to include a "link_as_account" field.

Example 2) Receive

5 Nano is sent to xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php and that the send block hash was B2EC73C1F503F47E051AD72ECB512C63BA8E1A0ACC2CEE4EA9A22FE1CBDB693F. The corresponding receive block on the account-chain would be:

curl -d '{
    "action":"block_create",
    "type":"state",
    "previous":"FC5A7FB777110A858052468D448B2DF22B648943C097C0608D1E2341007438B0",
    "account":"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php",
    "representative":"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j",
    "balance":"5000000000000000000000000000001",
    "link":"B2EC73C1F503F47E051AD72ECB512C63BA8E1A0ACC2CEE4EA9A22FE1CBDB693F",
    "wallet":"557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2"
}' 127.0.0.1:7076

Here the balance is 5000000000000000000000000000001 because we originally had 1 raw in our account and now we are adding 5000000000000000000000000000000 to it. Response:

{
    "hash": "597395E83BD04DF8EF30AF04234EAAFE0606A883CF4AEAD2DB8196AAF5C4444F",
    "block": "{\n    \"type\": \"state\",\n    \"account\": \"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php\",\n    \"previous\": \"FC5A7FB777110A858052468D448B2DF22B648943C097C0608D1E2341007438B0\",\n    \"representative\": \"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j\",\n    \"balance\": \"5000000000000000000000000000001\",\n    \"link\": \"B2EC73C1F503F47E051AD72ECB512C63BA8E1A0ACC2CEE4EA9A22FE1CBDB693F\",\n    \"link_as_account\": \"xrb_3eqegh1zc1znhr4joosgsfakrrxtjrf1om3exs9cmajhw97xptbzi3kfba1j\",\n    \"signature\": \"90CBD62F5466E35DB3BFE5EFDBC6283BD30C0591A3787C9458D11F2AF6188E45E6E71B5F4A8E3598B1C80080D6024867878E355161AD1935CD757477991D3B0B\",\n    \"work\": \"0000000000000000\"\n}\n"
}
Example 3) Send

Now our account xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php wants to send 2 Nano to xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p. Command:

curl -d '{
    "action":"block_create",
    "type":"state",
    "previous":"597395E83BD04DF8EF30AF04234EAAFE0606A883CF4AEAD2DB8196AAF5C4444F",
    "account":"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php",
    "representative":"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j",
    "balance":"3000000000000000000000000000001",
    "link":"xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p",
    "wallet":"557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2"
}' 127.0.0.1:7076

Response:

{
    "hash": "128106287002E595F479ACD615C818117FCB3860EC112670557A2467386249D4",
    "block": "{\n    \"type\": \"state\",\n    \"account\": \"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php\",\n    \"previous\": \"597395E83BD04DF8EF30AF04234EAAFE0606A883CF4AEAD2DB8196AAF5C4444F\",\n    \"representative\": \"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j\",\n    \"balance\": \"3000000000000000000000000000001\",\n    \"link\": \"5C2FBB148E006A8E8BA7A75DD86C9FE00C83F5FFDBFD76EAA09531071436B6AF\",\n    \"link_as_account\": \"xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p\",\n    \"signature\": \"D7975EE2F6FAE1FC7DA336FB9DD5F7E30FC1A6825021194E614F0588073D1A4901E34E3CAE8739F1DE2FD85A73D2A0B26F8BE6539E0548C9A45E1C1887BFFC05\",\n    \"work\": \"0000000000000000\"\n}\n"
}

Because the account balance changed from 5000000000000000000000000000001 raw to 3000000000000000000000000000001 raw, the block is interpreted as a send. The "link" field is populated with the public key of xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p.

Example 4) Change Representative

To change our representative to xrb_1anrzcuwe64rwxzcco8dkhpyxpi8kd7zsjc1oeimpc3ppca4mrjtwnqposrs.

curl -d '{
    "action":"block_create",
    "type":"state",
    "previous":"128106287002E595F479ACD615C818117FCB3860EC112670557A2467386249D4",
    "account":"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php",
    "representative":"xrb_1anrzcuwe64rwxzcco8dkhpyxpi8kd7zsjc1oeimpc3ppca4mrjtwnqposrs",
    "balance":"3000000000000000000000000000001",
    "link":"0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
    "wallet":"557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2"
}' 127.0.0.1:7076

Response:

{
    "hash": "2A322FD5ACAF50C057A8CF5200A000CF1193494C79C786B579E0B4A7D10E5A1E",
    "block": "{\n    \"type\": \"state\",\n    \"account\": \"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php\",\n    \"previous\": \"128106287002E595F479ACD615C818117FCB3860EC112670557A2467386249D4\",\n    \"representative\": \"xrb_1anrzcuwe64rwxzcco8dkhpyxpi8kd7zsjc1oeimpc3ppca4mrjtwnqposrs\",\n    \"balance\": \"3000000000000000000000000000001\",\n    \"link\": \"0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000\",\n    \"link_as_account\": \"xrb_1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111hifc8npp\",\n    \"signature\": \"7E9A7B368DBEB280B01C22633DC82F6CEF00F529E07B76A0232614D2BCDAF85BF52AC9DA4DBE4468B6F144CE82F2FDE44080C8363F903A6EC3D999252CB1E801\",\n    \"work\": \"0000000000000000\"\n}\n"
}

Note that the "link" field is all 0's. As another sanity check, we notice the all 0 public key gets translated into the burn address xrb_1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111hifc8npp.

Example 5) Change Representative & Send

You can change your representative while performing a send or receive. Let us send 3 more Nano to xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p. Let us also revert back and make xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j our representative again. Command:

curl -d '{
    "action":"block_create",
    "type":"state",
    "previous":"2A322FD5ACAF50C057A8CF5200A000CF1193494C79C786B579E0B4A7D10E5A1E",
    "account":"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php",
    "representative":"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j",
    "balance":"1",
    "link":"xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p",
    "wallet":"557832FF41BAF4860ED4D7023E9ACE74F1427C3F8232B6AFFB491D98DD0EA1A2"
}' 127.0.0.1:7076

Response:

{
    "hash": "9664412A834F0C27056C7BC4A363FBAE86DF8EF51341A5A5EA14061727AE519F",
    "block": "{\n    \"type\": \"state\",\n    \"account\": \"xrb_3igf8hd4sjshoibbbkeitmgkp1o6ug4xads43j6e4gqkj5xk5o83j8ja9php\",\n    \"previous\": \"2A322FD5ACAF50C057A8CF5200A000CF1193494C79C786B579E0B4A7D10E5A1E\",\n    \"representative\": \"xrb_3p1asma84n8k84joneka776q4egm5wwru3suho9wjsfyuem8j95b3c78nw8j\",\n    \"balance\": \"1\",\n    \"link\": \"5C2FBB148E006A8E8BA7A75DD86C9FE00C83F5FFDBFD76EAA09531071436B6AF\",\n    \"link_as_account\": \"xrb_1q3hqecaw15cjt7thbtxu3pbzr1eihtzzpzxguoc37bj1wc5ffoh7w74gi6p\",\n    \"signature\": \"4D388F982188E337D22E0E66CD24BCABD09BED1E920940C453039B55B6A4724D7BD106019AACC1840480938FF4FA024F041E6E6A32B3641C28E0262025020B03\",\n    \"work\": \"0000000000000000\"\n}\n"
}

Hash order for signing

If you choose to implement your own signing; the order of data (in bytes) to hash prior to signing is as follows. The State Block Preamble is 32 bytes and has value 0x6. All values are binary representations, no ASCII/UTF-8 strings.

  1. State Block Preamble (32-Bytes)
  2. account (32-Bytes)
  3. previous (32-Bytes)
  4. representative (32-Bytes)
  5. balance (16-Bytes)
  6. link (32-Bytes)

The digital signing algorithm (which internally applies another Blake2b hashing) is applied on the resulting digest. Make sure that your private key uses the correct partnering public key while signing; signing with an incorrect public key may leak information about your private key.

Deployment

State Blocks began deployment in v11 of the nano_node software. The update procedure was conducted via two canary blocks:

Hash Function
89F1C0AC4C5AD23964AB880571E3EA67FDC41BD11AB20E67F0A29CF94CD4E24A Begin State-Block Parsing
B6DC4D64801BEC7D81DAA086A5733D251E8CBA0E9226FD6173D97C0569EC2998" Begin State-Block Generation

Once State-Blocks are used on an account-chain, legacy blocks can no longer be added to that account chain. State-blocks can still interact (e.g. receive funds) with legacy blocks.

Benefits

Hardware Wallet

Previously it was impractical for a hardware wallet to securely sign a send transaction amount since the account balance may not have yet been encoded into the account chain. Now only the previous head block and the new transaction data is required to trustlessly sign transactions on a hardware wallet:

  1. Computer sends head account block to wallet.
  2. Wallet then computes the head block hash
  3. Computer sends over new transaction metadata (may or may not include the PoW)
  4. Wallet verifies the "previous" field matches the hash computed in part 3
  5. If the Representative changes from previous block, prompt user
  6. Prompt user on transaction value if "balance" difference between blocks is non-zero
  7. Sign transaction and send back to computer to be broadcasted

Pruning

Since the latest headblock contains the complete current state of an account, all previous blocks can be deleted without loss in account state. This will decrease disk usage, speed up database search, and lower hardware requirements for pruned nodes.

You can’t perform that action at this time.