Developers propose a bitcoin test network alternative, Signet or solve many problems with the current version

According to Coindesk's July 18 report, a new proposal, called Signet, was launched on Wednesday to provide a new alternative to Bitcoin's test network.


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Testing network software plays a vital role, developers only need to enter test funding, they can test the applications they develop to ensure that the application can run on the network. In addition, protocol developers can use it to test the feasibility and security of some major changes to Bitcoin, such as Segregated Witness, one of the most well-known and largest changes ever made.

But Bitcoin's current test network hasn't changed for years, and there are some problems. In a new improvement proposal (BIP) posted on the Bitcoin developer email list, Bitcoin Core contributor Karl-Johan Alm even said it was very unreliable, which is a well-known fact.

He hopes to change this by developing a new test network for Bitcoin that solves the problems in the old test network. Alm tells CoinDesk:

“Signet is like bitcoin, but it is completely central and controlled by one or several people. These people must sign on a block to make the block really effective.”

ALM pointed out in the BIP that some of the issues include:

“A large number of block reorgs, the time interval between the blocks being mined is too long or suddenly and quickly continuous. This means that the actual testing of the software, especially involving multiple independent participants Testing software running for a long time becomes infeasible in practice."

"Block reorganization" is intended to replace one block in a bitcoin network with another.

To some extent, this happens naturally because Bitcoin is a distributed network with nodes distributed throughout the world, so the node needs a little time to agree on the block and transaction history. If two blocks are simultaneously broadcast from different parts of the network, one block may be valid for some parts of the network and the other block is valid for the rest of the network. Therefore, the network needs some time to coordinate these conflicting blocks.

The problem is that this event occurs more frequently on the test network and is larger. The new BIP explains:

"Our goal is not to be completely reliable, but to be predictable in an unreliable part. You want the test network to behave like a main network (if there aren't thousands of block reorganizations), but it also makes it easier. Earth triggers expected but rare events, such as six block reorganizations."

As an alternative to a centralized test network, Signet will help alleviate these types of problems. Alm tells CoinDesk:

"Signet helps prevent these problems because the signer is fixed. The cost of generating blocks can be very low because you don't need to compete with anyone, and because no one else has a private key, the low hash rate won't There are security issues. Due to the high degree of network coordination, block reorganization will not occur unless the network operator wants them to do so."

Although the Signet test network is online, Alm's next goal is to get support for the test network's integration into Bitcoin Core changes so that people can use it like the current test network. In this proposal, Alm also links to a rough draft implementation of the Signet code that other developers can test.