What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part V) - Customizing Your Own VeChainThor



  • What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part V) - Customizing Your Own VeChainThor

    This is the fifth article of the "What you might not know about VeChainThor yet" series. You can find the link of the previous article at the end.

    VeChainThor allows users to customize and deploy their own blockchain networks. The rest of this article consists of two parts. The first part focuses on customization while the second part provides an example of deploying a customized VeChainThor.

    Customization

    You can customize VeChainThor through configuring a JSON file and passing it to the Thor client when you launch a node. The configuration file tells the system your settings of global parameters, authority masternodes and on-chain governance, how you would like to mint and allocate VET and VTHO tokens, and any contract(s) you want to deploy from the beginning. These choices result in the creation of the genesis block that is unique to your customized VeChainThor.

    A sample configuration file is shipped with the source code and can be found at /genesis/example.json. The following are the values you can tweak in the file:

    Name Value Type Description
    launchTime Unix timestamp (in second) Earliest launch time of your customized blockchain.
    gasLimit Unsigned integer Gas limit of the genesis block.
    extraData String (length ≤ 28) Any words you want to put in the genesis block.
    accounts account[] Account(s) to be created for minting and allocating tokens or deploying contract(s).
    account.address 20-byte hex-string Account address.
    account.balance Unsigned integer VET balance in Wei.
    account.energy Unsigned integer VTHO balance in Wei (optional).
    account.code hex-string EVM bytecode of a contract account (optional).
    account.storage key-value pairs with each key and value being a 32-byte hex-string Storage values of a contract account (optional).
    authority masternode[] List of authority masternodes.
    masternode.masterAddress 20-byte hex-string Master account address.
    masternode.endorsorAddress 20-byte hex-string Address of the account that holds the required VET deposit.
    masternode.identity 32-byte hex-string Masternode identity information.
    params.rewardRatio Unsigned integer ∈ [0, 1e+18] VTHO reward ratio = rewardRatio / 1e18.
    params.baseGasPrice Unsigned integer Base gas price value.
    params.proposerEndorsement Unsigned integer ( > 0 ) Minimum VET deposit for each masternode.
    params.executorAddress 20-byte hex-string Address of the executor contract account.
    executor.approvers approver[] Accounts authorized to approve on-chain governance actions. For instance, the approvers defined for the mainnet represent the steering committee members of the VeChain Foundation.
    approver.address 20-byte hex-string Approver account address.
    approver.identity 32-byte hex-string Approver identity information.

    My demo code for generating a valid JSON file can be found here.

    Local Deployment

    After generating the JSON file, you are ready to deploy your own customized VeChainThor. You need to have at least two nodes up and syncing with each other. Moreover, at least one of the nodes has to be a masternode registered in the JSON file.

    If you are to run nodes on machines with a public IP address, you just need to start the Thor client by the command

    bin/thor --network < JSON_FILE >
    

    If it was not the case, you would need to use other options of the thor command for deployment. As an example, I will show you step by step how to deploy a customized network that consists of two nodes running locally on a single machine.

    Notations:

    • N1 and N2: node names.
    • < CONFIG_DIR1 > and < CONFIG_DIR2 >: directories for storing the master account private keys for N1 and N2.
    • < DATA_DIR1 > and < DATA_DIR2 >: directories for storing ledger data for N1 and N2.
    • < ENODE1 >: substring of the node ID of N1 that begins with "enode://" and ends right before "@[extip]".

    Step 1

    Let N1 be a masternode. We first obtain its master account address via:

    thor master-key --config-dir < CONFIG_DIR1 >
    

    Note that the master account address would be different if you used different --config-dir values.







    After that, we need to register the master node in the JSON file. In my demo code, it is done by:

    const masterAddress1 = '0x929710d206f0e1133f353553353de5bc80c8460b';
    ...
    const endorsor = '0x5e4abda5cced44f70c9d2e1be4fda08c4291945b';
    const _authority: Authority[] = [
        { masterAddress: masterAddress1, endorsorAddress: endorsor, identity: strToHexStr('id1', 64) },
        ...
    ];
    

    We also need to make sure that we allocate sufficient fund to the endorsor account to meet the masternode deposit requirement (defined by params.proposerEndorsement). The following code creates the account with the required amount of VET tokens.

    const _accounts: Account[] = [
        {
            address: endorsor,
            balance: 25000000000000000000000000,
            ...
        },
        ...
    ];
    

    Note that besides the VET balance, I also set those optional values for the endorsor account. It is purely for the purpose of demonstrating that you can create a contract account in the JSON file.

    Step 2

    Launch N1 by the following command:

    thor --network < JSON_FILE > \
         --config-dir < CONFIG_DIR1 > \
         --data-dir < DATA_DIR1 >
    

    where we use options --config-dir and --data-dir to designate directories for storing keys and ledger data, respectively.







    From the above information, we get < ENODE1 > = enode://5e61...67fb.

    Step 3

    Since N1 and N2 are running on the same machine and N1 has used the default API portal (http://localhost:8669) and P2P port number (11235), we need to set new values for them via options --api-port and --p2p-port when launching N2. The following is the command for launching N2:

    thor --network < JSON_FILE > \
         --config-dir < CONFIG_DIR2 > \
         --data-dir < DATA_DIR2 > \
         --api-addr localhost:8670 \
         --p2p-port 11236 \
         --bootnode < ENODE1 >@127.0.0.1:11235
    

    Option --bootnode passes information of the boot node from which the current node can sync with others within the same blockchain network. The screenshots below showed the information output for N1 and then N2. It can be seen that they were synced with each other and new blocks generated to extend the chain.










    Testing

    Now, the customized VeChainThor is up and running. We can use tools such as Connex REPL to interact with the blockchain using Connex interface.

    After installing Connex REPL, type the following command to connect to N2:

    connex http://127.0.0.1:8670
    

    To check the genesis block, you can type

    thor.genesis
    

    To get the balance and code of the endorsor account, you can type

    await thor.account('< ENDORSOR_ADDR >').get()
    await thor.account('< ENDORSOR_ADDR >').getCode()
    

    You can then compare the output values with those defined in the JSON file for the validation purpose.

    Previous Articles

    What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part I) - Transaction Uniqueness

    What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part II) - Forcible Transaction Dependency

    What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part III) - Transaction Fee Delegation (VIP-191)

    What you might not know about VeChainThor yet (Part IV) — Mining gas price


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