# Preface

Multiple interoperable implementations are required on the same public blockchain. Each implementation may has its own set of security issues, but they are not all the same . Therefore, launching cryptocurrency networks with multiple implementations can reduce the catastrophic errors. Venus is one of the four implementations in Filecoin network.

Venus (Capital V) refers to one of the general implementations of Filecoin, while venus (v in lowercase) refers to one of the components of Venus. Venus is committed to helping small and medium-sized storage providers to join the Filecoin ecosystem network with a lower barrier.

Now Venus has lead the way to the distributed storage pool of Filecoin through components like venus、damocles, sophon-miner, venus-wallet, sophon-messager, sophon-auth, sophon-gateway. In the future, Venus will continue its evolvement and jointly promote the open source development of Filecoin ecosystem.

# Why are we doing this

On June 2020, Protocol Labs launched an RFP to handover the maintenance of go-filecoin to another community member, and IPFSForce applied for it and successfully obtain the project. In October, We renamed go-filecoin as Venus, and take over the maintenance of Venus Implementation.

Before IPFSForce’s application, maintenance effort is seriously lacking in Venus project. In terms of protocols and components, vm,mpool, chain, rpc are all available, but all have different kind of issue. It takes Venus team more than 3 months to gradually fix protocol layer, code layer, and problematic functions, making Venus complete the interoperability with Lotus, so that the nodes using Venus can run smoothly in the Filecoin network. And then we let Venus support calibration and 2K networks.

After completing the above work, we start to set the roadmap of Venus development.

We plan to let Venus support the development of storage pool. At the beginning, we decide to achieve the best of expansion from a single storage provider. It is technically feasible, but the biggest problem was caused by the mechanism of Filecoin proofs. Storage providers in the Filecoin network have to submit the PoSt periodically, and in order to generate the proof, they need to read the data of a whole Partition. If all sectors are distributed in different places, to read the data through the public network will be heavy time-consuming.

After that, through several times of re-design and modification, we finally decide to build it as a distributed storage pool. Distributed storage pool will not completely in charge with any single storage provider, but managed by multiple storage providers, which is more like a storage provider group/union.

The external features of Venus distributed storage pool are similar to other pools. Storage Providers can store their resources in distributed geographic nodes. As long as there is a stable connection to the network, the storage provider can create a node accessible to Venus storage pool; The probability of earning the block reward is proportional to the amount of storage the storage provider contributes to the Filecoin network, and the final result of separate calculation and overall calculation should be the same: n1/p+ n2/p+n3/p......= (n1+n2+n3+.....)/p, which provides a theoretical basis on the algorithm.

For the storage and retrieval, storage providers can access the network through the venus unified entrance or by themselves. In the design and with the permission from storage providers, venus will select the appropriate node to store data according to specific requirements, so that the data is closer to the real scenario.

  1. Data storage: component sharing is supported, and the storage will be gradually migrated to MySQL to ensure the metadata security of Venus through some highly available solutions.

  2. Shared Modules: support high availability, ensure the quality of service, reduce the time cost and maintenance cost of storage providers, which make it easier for storage providers to join the storage pool. Nowadays, mining is a high-tech activity, but to achieve Filecoin's goal to get the utmost out of storage resources, it is inevitable to lower the threshold to attract more participants.

  3. Combine the right for more block rewards: storage providers can integrate resources together and help each other pack messages, so as to avoid the situation of small storage providers that no one can pack messages.

  4. Improve the TPS of Filecoin network: if there are multiple blocks at the same height, sophon-miner can ensure that the messages in each block are different, as the avoidance of highly-repeated messages when blocks are separated.

  5. Improve the stability of messages: messages in storing activities can be separated from nodes and managed by sophon-messager, which can track the latest state of the chain to set a relatively reasonable estimated gas parameter, and also supports users to set a message parameter themselves.

  6. Improve the speed of data access: the current Filecoin network is more like a pool which is merely for data storage, but as a complete data service, it also needs data retrieval to realize its real value. With sufficient miner users, Venus has more chances to promote the real data application. For example, for data distribution, Venus can distribute the data to some storage providers' nodes nearest to the customers, which can improve the access speed; some public data can distribute these data to more nodes as much as possible to ensure that access at any location is effective, which can greatly improve the performance of IPFS network and further realize the goal of IPFS, as one of the Web3.0 solutions.

# How Venus works

# Architecture

Venus architecture includes venus, sophon-miner, damocles, sophon-messager, venus-wallet, sophon-auth, and droplet. In the classic architecture, venus, sophon-miner, sophon-auth, sophon-messager and droplet are public components, and damocles and venus-wallet are local components.

Public components can be established by service providers or by multiple storage providers, and they only need to run damocles and venus-wallet locally. In fact, all components of Venus are protocol oriented. If storage providers have sufficient skills, they can also deploy all or part of the public components locally, so the deployment can be more flexible.

The following figure is a typical application scenario in our design.

The following contents show the relationship between components, which are similar in function, but with more powerful expanded functions in details and uses.

  • sophon-auth --> token authentication service extend lotus jwt
  • sophon-miner --> lotus-miner block produce part
  • damocles --> lotus-miner sealer scheduler part/wd
  • venus daemon --> lotus daemon
  • venus-wallet -> lotus wallet part
  • sophon-messager --> lotus mpool

# venus

venus is similar to lotus-daemon, which is used to support all nodes. venus is connected to the Filecoin blockchain network to provide data support for Venus. venus can be used as an ordinary node. It has all the necessary functions of blockchain nodes, such as chain, mpool and wallet. The APIs of venus are almost compatible with those of lotus (you can mention the issue of incompatible APIs). On venus, you can create private keys, query assets, transfer funds, etc. In a typical deployment environment, venus only provides data query service on the basic chain without private key restoration. The block data needed by slashfilter is stored in the database, and the node itself is stateless. In this case, venus node can realize its high availability through nginx reverse proxy.

# Venus and Lotus,The Difference

  1. External signature is supported in the API of creating block (request will be proposed to lotus too).
  2. The API of message selection supports the selection of multiple batches of messages at the same time, which is used to select messages when multiple storage providers get the block rewards.
  3. Support the centralized authorization access to sophon-auth.

Therefore, if you are interested in the mixed deployment of venus / lotus, you need to use Venus project which is compatible to Lotus (opens new window) or pick your own CCS.

# sophon-auth

sophon-auth (opens new window) (formerly venus-auth) is a component used for authorization. In a typical deployment environment, sophon-auth is used to provide authorization services to venus, sophon-miner and sophon-messager. Local nodes need to be authorized to have access to the shared components. Based on the authorization, sophon-auth will expand its functions, such as security control, including access restriction and blacklist.

# sophon-miner

The function of sophon-miner (opens new window) (formerly venus-miner) is to combine the rights to earn block rewards. The program can configure the location of multiple storage providers and their sealers and wallets, and generate blocks for these storage providers at the same time. sophon-miner has the following features:

  1. Separate data: because the process of generating blocks needs to access data, and storage provider's sealer may be heterogeneous, but now most storage providers will use their own codes, so there is a problem about how to access these data to realize joint mining. By sophon-miner’s independence on the storage organization mode and completing the proofs by storage providers, no matter how the miner's sealer organizes the storage, as long as the Computeproof API is implemented, sophon-miner can generate the proof through it.
  2. Separate private key: when calculating random numbers and signature blocks, all operations about private key are accessed through remote wallet, which can improve the security of mining activities.
  3. Improve storage providers' wincount and TPS: when the miner who uses sophon-miner rto get multiple (> 1) rights of block rewards in a period, sophon-miner will try to select different messages from the message pool for packaging, which can somehow improve the speed of these messages on the chain, and make the block get more gas premium.

# sophon-messenger

The goal of sophon-messager (opens new window) (formerly venus-messager) is to help messages on chain more efficiently, and to flexibly control the timing of messages on chain to reduce gas consumption and control the data traffic, etc. It includes remote wallet management, address management and message management.

  1. Wallet management: sophon-messager connects multiple wallets and scans these addresses into the list.
  2. Address management: the major purpose is to manage the nonce value to ensure that the value can be assigned in the correct order.
  3. Message management: it is divided into three parts, namely "message receiving and saving", "message selection and pushing" and "tracking the status of message on the chain".

In terms of functions:

  1. Support remote wallet: one messenger supports multiple wallets to manage their message separately.
  2. Support local storage of SQLite and remote storage of MySQL for more secure and stable storage.
  3. Dynamic Fill: gas related parameters and nonce are to be filled out when sending a message on chain according to gas and push policy, to make sure the gas-estimation and other setting are valid.
  4. Maintain message status, including whether the message is chained and replaced and save the results of the execution.
  5. Multi-point message delivery (directly to the blockchain network with libp2p, push to the node by Mpool API), to make sure that messages are propagated over the network.
  6. Flexible config includes gas estimate, msg push strategy, etc.

# venus-wallet

venus-wallet is a remote wallet, which can support both Lotus and Venus in terms of protocols. In a typical deployment environment, this module is deployed locally by storage providers, and the security of assets is guaranteed by certain policy configuration. venus-wallet has the following features:

  1. Private key management function: currently it supports the private key management of asymmetric algorithms BLS and SECP, and it can generate random private key, and uses aes128 to encrypt and store the private key symmetrically whilst supports the private key to sign the data.
  2. Signature verification: each signature type has its verification policy, which ensures that the signer won't do deceits the wallet through non-credible signature type.
  3. Signature tactics module: for the Lotus and Venus implementation of Filecoin, the module is created to manage 10 existing data structures and more than 60 signature types in message data structure, and configure various combination methods on demand to bind private key signature rules, and then integrate several different private key signature rules and authorize them to external components for further usage.

# droplet

Droplet (formerly venus-market) is the market component in the Venus system. Its vision is to create a distributed storage and retrieval market in the Filecoin network. Currently, it has realized order storage and retrieval compatible with the Lotus protocol, and is gradually moving towards receiving orders from multiple clusters of droplet services and providing unified retrieval services to the outside world. You can refer to droplet design and roadmap (opens new window).

# sophon-gateway

sophon-gateway (opens new window) (formerly venus-gateway) is a bridge between independent components and the chain service layer. It is used to simplify deployment and reduce the complexity of storage provider access, and increase the security of storage provider access. When the independent component is started, its service interface is registered with sophon-gateway. The chain service component needs to request the corresponding cluster’s service API through sophon-gateway.

  • Storage providers do not need external IP and exposed wallet service;
  • After the storage pool is configured with an SSL certificate, the connection between the cluster and the storage pool is secure;
  • Storage providers can simply register multiple clients (wallets/proofs) with the storage pool to achieve high availability.


# damocles

damocles (opens new window) (formerly venus-cluster) is a new version of sector sealing and computing power maintenance components launched by Venus. Compared with the original venus-sealer, it has certain advantages in task scheduling and maximizing system resources, and its target users will also be different

# Learn more about Venus