Battle of Nodes: Onchained - Where No Node Has Gone Before

Lucian Mincu
·
Jul 26, 2020
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5 min read

Battle of Nodes was an enormous success and it has a very clear winner. One that was better, more mature and better equipped than all the others. A winner that, throughout the event, was consistent in hard work, progress, perseverance, and ultimately performance - Elrond.

Most of the incentivized testnet events from other projects had only a handful of players standing out, very far away from the rest. Winning required topical knowledge and extraordinary efforts to fill in huge gaps, with the prevailing teams ending up light-years ahead of the other participants.

In Battle of Nodes, the hardest working and most knowledgeable ultimately did earn more rewards, as they should. But Elrond won. We demonstrated that anyone with a 2CPU & 4GB RAM computer had a decent chance of competing. That’s because our protocol is capable of that and our tooling is ready for mass adoption.

That is a big win out of the entire event and my key takeaway ahead of our mainnet launch. A bigger win yet is the Validator community that rallied around our Genesis block. I couldn’t be more thrilled with who we have on board right now. Here’s how we got here.

https://battleofnodes.com

The Assembly of Elrond Validators

More than 1500 nodes running out of 164 cities from 29 countries were grouped into 50 shards. They gradually processed an increasing number of transactions, with a performance peak of 263k TPS. The test ran until close to 600mn transactions in under 24 hours, which adds up to 10 years of Bitcoin, in just 1 day.

Elrond Validators map

Not all 1700 nodes that signed up were able to reach that stage. Battle of Nodes scoring was thorough and taxed underperforming nodes. We maintained a high TPS environment for most of the event, with specific “purge” moments where underperforming nodes were jailed and not allowed to recover.

Scoring & Rewards

In addition to scoring nodes for performance, we also scored the validators based on specific Elrond knowledge: registering their nodes with Keybase, understanding State Sharding, sending transactions using the command line interface, again using the CLI to deploy smart contracts and finally demonstrating they are using monitoring for their nodes.

Pure Node Performance

Validators ranked by average performance scores of their nodes - only validators running more than 3 nodes were considered. Impressive that our infrastructure partner Viastake ranked 8th, while running 30 nodes, whereas the others ran 6 each. Well done.

Top Validators, ranked as average of Performance - no Missions, 3 nodes or more

Attacks, Security, Stability & Tools

Validators ranked by their contributions to Security, Stability & Tools - significant rewards were allocated for people finding out issues with our protocol & tools, as well as for those building tools to complement our own.

Seb returned to Battle of Nodes and executed a series of attacks. The first one spammed bad transactions which stopped subsequent valid transactions from being processed. He also executed a peer to peer spamming attack that made nodes lose rating until some were even jailed.

Finally, he caught us with our guard down and executed a OOM-reaping attack by spamming TXs with large payloads, in a release that was running without anti-flood protection, so we can collect data. He beautifully documented all of his actions, which helped us update our protocol and make it resilient to each of the above attacks.

Our partners from Staking Agency, namely DrDelphi, set up 33 nodes around Europe and configured them all to send staking transactions for 2048 nodes but with no value, resulting in shards not producing any blocks and 200 validators going offline.

Sorin from Transylvania Staking took time to generate vanity BLS keys, all of which start with fab1ed. He noticed that all of them were shuffled out as Waiting at the same time, leading us to fix an issue with the randomness around this process.

There were many other great contributions, all of which were documented in the GitHub section of the rewards document at the end of this post.

Security, Stability, Issues & Tools

Community leaders

Special thanks to Frank, Alwin & DrDelphi for welcoming new validators and helping them with all their issues, to Eddie for helping with the scoring, Margaritapaws for guiding our special Ankr community, and Ben, Ken, Юрий and the rest of the very helpful community members who stood out throughout the event.

Bonnie receives special accolades, as she took care of every individual validator and helped them with monitoring, missions and scoring. Her rewards go to her creator and custodian DrDelphi, until she’s old enough.

Community leaders

Special thanks to our partners

The scoring for the competition was aimed at a mix of validator performance, security & bug hunting, educational & community. Those who did all of those things good scored the best. But the unseen heroes were those who ran nodes on highly performant setups and were able to mint the monster blocks.

These were infrastructure partners who we list alphabetically and thank greatly: Binance,  Easy2Stake, Everstake, Helios Staking, Istari Vision, Just Mining, Stake Capital, Staking Agency, Tailpath, The Palm Tree Network, Viastake.

They put up a lot of high quality infrastructure, created their own scripts and procedures and overall were very helpful by offering feedback directly, providing valuable information and status updates with every release, and complementing our toolset with their own guides for monitoring, security and more.

Special thanks also to ARCSoft, Disruptive Digital, Maple Leaf Network, Octopos, Transylvania Staking and ValidBlocks.

The definitive Battle of Nodes: Onchained ranking

Saving the best for last, we reveal the overall rankings of Battle of Nodes: Onchained and its grand winner - DrDelphi. He ran 37 nodes, attacked the network twice, created our Telegram bot Bonnie, helped with organizing the missions and was an overall 24/7 support for anyone who was in need of his seemingly endless knowledge.

DrDelphi has been a constant leader in the Validator community and the go-to security expert for a first look at our new code, features and tools. He won the previous events and also this one, proving that there were no accidents and that his work ethos mirrors our own - relentless.

Battle of Nodes: Onchained - Top 25

Elrond wins.

This is a milestone, one that has shaped Elrond and will continue to do so in the coming period. Battle of Nodes has had a tremendous contribution to the development of the Elrond protocol, its security, stability & performance, and the usefulness of its tools and documentation.

All of you who participated are part of blockchain history. Forever.

Full ranking & rewards are available here 👇

Battle of Nodes: Onchained final scores
Overall Participants ranked by total rewards earned. Rank,Validator,Rewards 1,stakingagency,$7,968 2,sebler,$5,006 3,trstaking,$2,193 4,viastake,$2,056 5,mapleleafnetwork,$1,650 6,flying_stone,$1,627 7,uniskor,$955 8,istari_vision,$905 9,wfart555_2,$855 10,heliosstaking,$825 11,morganap,$800 12,...

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Written by
Lucian Mincu
CIO, Elrond Network