Blockchain Infrastructure Developer, Bison Trails, Introduces Double-Signing Protection Software to Address “Slashing Penalties” Risk

Blockchain infrastructure developer, Bison Trails, revealed on August 20, 2020 that it has launched its double-signing protection software (DSP) which aims to address the risk of “slashing penalties” associated with double-signing messages for the same block on a distributed ledger tech (DLT) based platform.

According to a release shared with CI, the Bison Trails platform will offer this technology first, for clients that are taking part in Tezos and the Kusama networks. Support for blockchain interoperability platforms Polkadot, Cosmos, and Celo will be added later, the release confirmed.

As noted in the announcement:

“Under development for the better part of a year, Bison Trails’ double-signing protection software addresses [a major] … problem faced by blockchain network participants: slashing penalties if a validator double-signs. Bison Trails’ double-signing protection was designed to ‘de-risk’ participation in blockchain networks, professionalize blockchain infrastructure service, and minimize the costs and reductions in rewards or penalties for customers running a node on a network that has double-signing penalties.”

Joe Lallouz, CEO at Bison Trails, claims that double-signing protection is “very hard, complicated, and not easily reproducible” by boutique node operators and those managing or operating blockchain or DLT-enabled infrastructure on their own or independently.

Lallous added that Bison Trails’ double-signing protection software aims to address a significant problem for blockchain network participants and enables the company to offer “stronger guarantees” over time.

He further noted that the software update aims to reduce the risk of operating nodes on Bison Trails’ platform and is “a step forward” for the company in providing innovative software controls to address “one of the largest risks of participating in blockchains.”

The release explained:

“Double-signing occurs when a validating entity (private key) submits a valid signed message for the same block. The penalty for having a highly-available backup entity running at the same time as a primary entity is slashing.” 

Bison Trails’ system aims to safeguard or protect against double-signing by locking or preventing access to private keys and “stopping a highly-available backup node from pulling a private key” if it’s being used by another transaction validator on the network. This allows Bison Trails to “safely respond” to outages while being able to confirm the release of a private key, which then allows a backup node on the network to begin the validating process.

Aaron Henshaw, CTO at Bison Trails, explained:

“Without double-signing software, operators have to be careful or run scripts that check that they haven’t made a mistake. Bison Trails’ double-signing protection provides guarantees and tooling for our response teams to be able to more confidently failover, ensuring high uptime without the risk of double-signing.”

Bison Trails DSP software aims to ensure the “availability and reliability” of infrastructure on supported blockchain networks. It helps with preventing common risks and tries to make it safer to operate nodes and participate on various blockchain networks.

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