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README.md

tfchain Build Status GoDoc Go Report Card

tfchain is the official Go implementation of the ThreeFold blockchain client. It uses and is built on top of the Rivine protocol.

The ThreeFold blockchain is used as a ledger for the ThreeFold Token ("TFT"), a digital currency backed by neutral and sustainable internet capacity. You can learn more about the ThreeFold token on threefoldtoken.com.

The ThreeFold blockchain is the technology behind the ThreeFold Grid ("TF Grid" or "Grid"), a grid where your data is local and controlled by you, shaping a new neutral and sustainable Internet. To learn more about this grid you can find and read the white paper at http://whitepaper.threefold.me.

Attention

v1.1.1 is deprecated as of the 15th of October, 2019. Please upgrade to v1.2.0: threefoldfoundation/tfchain@v1.2.0.

If you are still running v1.1.1 or older, on the testnet network, you are advised to upgrade to v1.2.0 as soon as you can or risk getting out-of-sync with the rest of the network due to your ConsensusSet not accepting two new transaction types. For the standard net work you should still be compatible, but are never the less advised to upgrade at your earliest convenience.

You can reach out to us for any development-related questions on our public Telegram group. If you're a user of the tools distributed via this repository, you are welcome to join that chat as well. You're especially welcome if you want to contribute or wonder how to contribute.

install and use tfchain

You have 2 easy options to install tfchain in your work environment, as a prequisite to using the tfchain binaries and thus become a full tfchain node. Currently there is only a test network.

tfchain docker container

The easiest is pulling and using the latest prebuilt docker container:

docker pull tfchain/tfchain
docker run -d --name tfchain tfchain/tfchain

This will pull and configure the latest tfchain container, and it will start a container using that image in the program, named tfchaind.

Should you want to use to use the CLI client, you can do so doing the running container:

docker exec -ti tfchain /tfchainc 

Note that this minimal tfchain docker container is not really meant to be used for much tfchain CLI client interaction. If you wish to do a lot of that, it is probably more easy/useful to run a the tfchain binary CLI from your host machine. If you are interested in that, you can check out the "tfchain from source" section.

Even though the image for these containers is prebuilt available for you, should you wish to use a tfchain docker container from the hacked source code you can rebuilt those imagines using docker-minimal.

In order to have an optimal experience for your containerized wallet, it is recommended that you use the --plain flags for the wallet init commands, which will store the seeds as plain text in the container FS, preventing the need for an STDIN. When creating a wallet with a recovered seed, using the wallet recover command, you can on top of that also use the --seed flag to pass the seed as a mnemonic directly into the daemon, such no STDIN is required. Make sure to use the --plain flag here as well in that case.

The wallet load seed command supports both the --plain and --seed command as well.

tfchain from source

tfchain is developed and implemented using Golang. Using the golang toolchain it is very easy to download, update and install the tfchain binaries used to run a full node and interact with it:

go get -u github.com/threefoldfoundation/tfchain/cmd/... && \
    tfchaind &

tfchain supports Go 1.10 and above. Older versions of Golang may work but aren't supported.

At this point (if all went right) you should have a tfchain daemon running in the background which is syncing with the test net. You can follow this syncing process using the CLI client: tfchainc.

Should you want to learn more, you can find additional daemon documentation of the daemon at /doc/tfchaind.md and the (CLI) client on doc/tfchainc.md.

tfchain development and deployment

If you are a tfchain developer you probably also want to pull all submodules locally, to do so, you can get this entire repo and all its submodules locally using the following command:

go get -d -u github.com/threefoldfoundation/tfchain && \
    cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/threefoldfoundation/tfchain && \
    submodule update --init --recursive

Once you have that repo, you can pull from than on the latest commit (including submodule updates) using the following command:

cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/threefoldfoundation/tfchain && make update

NOTE that if you didn't execute submodule update --init --recursive when cloning this repo make update will fail, as submodules have to initialized first.

tfchain cross compilation

tfchain is developed and implemented using Golang, making it relatively easy to cross compile from one (host) platform to other platforms supported by the language.

Since v1.1.2 however, tfchain ships by default with go-ethereum support, packaging an extra binary (the TFT<->TFT20 bridge daemon) as well as an optional Ethereum-connected validator module in the tfchain daemon (opt-in using the --eth-validation flag). This brings some complexities as the go-ethereum dependency comes with some C dependencies, requiring you to build using CGO, and thus making cross complication not as easy as could be.

Therefore tfchain uses, since v1.1.2, XGO to cross-compile for edge and production releases (using the make xc and xc-edge targets). Should you be required to run these make targets yourself, you should fulfill the following requirements:

  • ensure you have Go.11 installed on your host machine;
  • ensure you have Docker (18.03.1 or higher) installed and running;
  • ensure you have /usr/local/Cellar/python to your shared folders of your Docker VM (on MacOS it has been reported this is an issue, on other platforms it is unclear if this really is a requirement);

Once these requirements are fulfilled, you should be able to make edge and production release builds just as we do, using the make xc and xc-edge targets.

In case you want to make edge/production release builds without Ethereum support, and thus only building tfchainc and tfchaind, the latter without the opt-in Ethereum validation, you can do so using the make xc-noeth and xc-edge-noeth targets.

Note Should you not want to make entire release archives, but simply want to compile the binaries you can use the make install-noeth (debug) or install-std-noeth targets. These targets compile directly from your host machine and only for your host platform.

standard (net)

By default a tfchain daemon (tfchaind) will connect to the standard net(work).

This is the official network for ThreeFoldTokens. You can learn more about the ThreeFold token on threefoldtoken.com.

The standard net has following properties:

  • A new block every 2 minutes (on average);
  • Block stakes can be used 1 day after receiving;
  • One TFT equals to 109 of the smallest currency unit;
  • Payouts take roughly one day to mature;

All properties can be found in: /cmd/tfchaind/main.go (in the getStandardnetGenesis function body).

The standard (net) uses the following bootstrap nodes:

  • bootstrap1.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap2.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap3.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap4.threefoldtoken.com:23112

Web-ui explorers for the standard (net) are available at https://explorer.threefoldtoken.com and https://explorer2.threefoldtoken.com (if one isn't available try the other one).

testnet

A public testnet is also provided in the tfchaind binary. It can be connected to using the --network testnet flags. This way you can connect to a real network, which behaves almost like the real network. It should be noted that this network is used to test new features and bug fixes before moving them to the production network. It can also be reset by the developers at any time.

You can request 300 TFT to play with on tfchain wallet, by pasting your wallet address at https://faucet.testnet.threefoldtoken.com and requesting the 300 TFT. You'll receive your testnet tokens as soon as the next block is created and added to the testnet chain.

The testnet has the following properties:

  • 3000 blockstakes;
  • An average block time of 2 minutes;
  • One TFT equals to 109 of the smallest currency unit;
  • Block rewards and miner payouts take rougly one day to mature;

The blockstakes have been distributed equally to 3 block creator nodes. This means that it is not possible to create blocks yourself at this time.

The following bootstrap nodes are being used by the testnet:

  • bootstrap1.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap2.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap3.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112
  • bootstrap4.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112

A web-ui explorer for the testnet is available at: https://explorer.testnet.threefoldtoken.com and https://explorer2.testnet.threefoldtoken.com (if one isn't available try the other one).

devnet

Should you require a local devnet you can do so by starting the daemon using the --network devnet and --no-bootstrap flags. This will allow you to use the devnet network` and mine as soon as you have the block stakes requried to do so. For obvious reasons no bootstrap nodes are required or even available for this network.

Once your daemon is up and running you can give your own wallet all genesis coins, by loading the following mnemonic as your seed:

carbon boss inject cover mountain fetch fiber fit tornado cloth wing dinosaur proof joy intact fabric thumb rebel borrow poet chair network expire else

Should you want to do this with the provided tfchainc wallet you would have to do following steps:

$ tfchainc wallet recover   # give passphrase and devnet seed
$ tfchainc wallet unlock    # give passphrase
$ tfchainc wallet           # should show that you have 100M coins and 3K block stakes
Wallet status:
Encrypted, Unlocked
Confirmed Balance:   100000000 TFT
Unconfirmed Delta:   + 0 TFT
BlockStakes:         3000 BS

Should you use another wallet/client, the steps might be different, which is fine as long as you use the menmonic given above as seed, as the genesis block stakes and coins are attached to that one.

Using multiple wallets on the same machine

A single tfchain daemon doesn't allow multiple wallets for the time being. In order to have multiple wallets running on the same machine you therefore need to run multiple tfchaind daemons, with each daemon:

  • using a unique persistent directory (either by starting each daemon from a different directory or by explicitly setting it using the --persistent-dir flag);
  • exposing itself using a unique port. These different can manually be connected to one another using the tfchainc gateway connect localhost:[port] command.

technical information

tfchain is using and build on top of Rivine, a generic blockchain protocol, using Proof of Blockstake (PoB), rather than the also popular Proof of Work (PoW). It allows for custom blockchain implementations, hence tfchain is a custom implementation of the Rivine protocol.

This official (Golang) implementation is build using a vendored version of the reference Golang implementation of Rivine.

For in-depth technical information you can check the Rivine docs at github.com/threefoldtech/rivine/tree/master/doc. There are no technical docs in this repository, as all the technology lives and is developed within the Rivine repository.

Bootstrapping

For a node to be part of the network, it needs to connect to some other nodes in the network so that it can broadcast transactions/blocks and listen to new transactions/blocks. A node doesn't need to connect to every node in the network; instead, a node connects to a few other nodes. And these nodes connect to a few other nodes. In this way, the whole network is connected to each other. But how does a node find some other nodes in the network as there is no central server that everyone can connect to so as to exchange their information? Bootstrap nodes maintain a list of all nodes that are connected to them. When peers connect to the Tfchain network, they first connect to the Bootstrap nodes ,which share the lists of peers that have connected to them. The connecting peers then connect and synchronize with the shared peers as well as the bootstrap nodes.

By default bootstrapping is enabled. On top the functionality described in the previous paragraph it will also ensure the consensus starts with an initial phase, called the initial block download phase, IBD for short. It will remain in this phase, and block the daemon from starting fully, until it is either in sync or if no new block arrived within 10 minutes of the last received block. A block creator will not create any blocks while it is not in sync.

Also by default there are bootstrap peers defined for all networks.

network bootstrap peers
standard bootstrap1.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap2.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap3.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap4.threefoldtoken.com:23112
testnet bootstrap1.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap2.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap3.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112, bootstrap4.testnet.threefoldtoken.com:23112
devnet localhost:23112

When the tfchaind daemon starts with the --no-bootstrap flag it doesn't connect to any bootstrap peers, custom-defined or not. On top of that it will skip the IBD phase.

troubleshooting

If you run into troubles while using the official tfchaind binary, try to find a solution for your problem in the Rivine troubleshooting FAQ first. The tfchain daemon is built using the Rivine daemon package, so chances are your problem has already been solved when another user ran into the same or similar-enough issue.

If your problem is not related to the official tfchaind binary, or if you do not find a solution in the Rivine troubleshooting FAQ, you should start looking into the tfchain issues, found at https://github.com/threefoldfoundation/tfchain/issues?utf8=✓&q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aopen+is%3Aclosed. You can search faster by guessing some keyword(s) that might be included in such an issue. Did you find an issue that is already talking about your problem? Post a comment in it describing your environment, version, situation, steps on how to reproduce and any info you think might be helpful. It does not matter if the issue is already closed, if you run into a problem, it is proof that the problem (still) exists.

Should you not find an issue (open or closed) for your problem, you can create a new issue. Make sure to include your environment, version, situation, steps on how to reproduce and any info you think might be helpful.

Please use GitHub issues as much as possible, it keeps everything tracked. Only reach out to the tfchain maintainers if you really have to or in case it is not issue-related. The team is small, and direct support is pretty time-expensive.

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