Darkcoin Battles New Setback to Anonymous Transaction System

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http://www.coindesk.com/darkcoin-battles-anonymous-transaction-system-setback/

Darkcoin has suffered new setbacks stemming from the launch of its 'masternode' system for ensuring anonymous transactions, with the rollout requiring multiple hard forks and a reworking of the deployment strategy.

The darkcoin development team’s launch of the masternode feature took place as scheduled on 20th June, but issues similar to those that plagued a previous attempt to deploy the system reportedly resurfaced.

The masternodes act as transaction bundlers and mixers, preventing network actors from discerning the origin and destination of transactions within the darkcoin network. This feature, known as DarkSend, incentivizes masternode participation through a dividend-like payment system.

Lead developer Evan Duffield told CoinDesk that the process of hard forking a coin is risky, saying:

"Certain features of the coin remain in active development and we will obviously encounter both triumphs and setbacks in that regard. It’s easy to have completely smooth sailing when you don't do any hard forks, especially dealing with changes to the block chain itself."

The event had an impact on the price of darkcoin as well. New figures from Coinmarketcap indicate the price had risen from an average of $10 to more than $12 in the two days leading up to the hard fork. However, the price has since fallen below $10 as the fork issue resurfaced.



At press time, the price of a single darkcoin (DRK) was roughly $9.60.

Masternode malfunctioning
In a launch post-mortem, Duffield stated that a key function of the masternode protocol was malfunctioning, creating a situation wherein blocks were being rejected by some, but not all, of the network.

Duffield wrote that the problems were not as serious during the second launch, but that the team opted to disable the masternodes as a precaution, saying:

“Two blocks are solved at nearly the same moment on the network, and both are propagated and accepted by the network. In the current implementation, both blocks have the same hash, but in these blocks, there's some discrepancy about who to vote for.”

Some of the masternodes, Duffield continued, inaccurately processed select blocks as fraudulent due to an inability to tell certain blocks apart from others. This led to the creation of forks and necessitated a hard fork to disable the masternodes.

Modified release
On the Darkcoin Talk forum, Duffield outlined the development team’s response to the masternode issue. A central part of the plan involves turning off a setting that triggered the block rejection.

As Duffield explained in the post, the action will allow the team to see how the network functions with masternodes without the risk of forks being created for the same reason as before.

He wrote:

"In past launches, all problems have come from the client checking the block [for] possible forging of masternode votes. With enforcing mode off, the system will still detect these and report them, but it won't reject the block. So once we stop seeing these messages (except for valid forged blocks) the system is ready.”

The darkcoin development team has also added two new members to support the effort.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Duffield stated that anyone interested in helping out with the testing and deployment process for the masternodes should reach out for more details.
 
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