Service Providers

We define 'service providers' as entities providing services for end-users that involve some form of interaction with a Cosmos-SDK based blockchain (this includes the Cosmos Hub). More specifically, this document will be focused around interactions with tokens.

This section does not concern wallet builders that want to provide Light-Client functionalities. Service providers are expected to act as trusted point of contact to the blockchain for their end-users.

High-level description of the architecture

There are three main pieces to consider:

  • Full-nodes: To interact with the blockchain.
  • Rest Server: This acts as a relayer for HTTP calls.
  • Rest API: Define available endpoints for the Rest Server.

Running a Full-Node

Installation and configuration

We will describe the steps to run and interact with a full-node for the Cosmos Hub. For other SDK-based blockchain, the process should be similar.

First, you need to install the software.

Then, you can start running a full-node.

Command-Line interface

Next you will find a few useful CLI commands to interact with the Full-Node.

Creating a key-pair

To generate a new key (default secp256k1 elliptic curve):

gaiacli keys add <your_key_name>
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You will be asked to create a password (at least 8 characters) for this key-pair. This will return the information listed below:

  • NAME: Name of your key
  • TYPE: Type of your key, always local.
  • ADDRESS: Your address. Used to receive funds.
  • PUBKEY: Your public key. Useful for validators.
  • MNEMONIC: 24-words phrase. Save this mnemonic somewhere safe. It is used to recover your private key in case you forget the password.

You can see all your available keys by typing:

gaiacli keys list
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Checking your balance

After receiving tokens to your address, you can view your account's balance by typing:

gaiacli account <YOUR_ADDRESS>
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Note: When you query an account balance with zero tokens, you will get this error: No account with address <YOUR_ADDRESS> was found in the state. This is expected! We're working on improving our error messages.

Sending coins via the CLI

Here is the command to send coins via the CLI:

gaiacli tx send <from_key_or_address> <to_address> <amount> \
    --chain-id=<name_of_testnet_chain> 
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Parameters:

  • <from_key_or_address>: Key name or address of sending account.
  • <to_address>: Address of the recipient.
  • <amount>: This parameter accepts the format <value|coinName>, such as 10faucetToken.

Flags:

  • --chain-id: This flag allows you to specify the id of the chain. There will be different ids for different testnet chains and main chain.

Help

If you need to do something else, the best command you can run is:

gaiacli 
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It will display all the available commands. For each command, you can use the --help flag to get further information.

Setting up the Rest Server

The Rest Server acts as an intermediary between the front-end and the full-node. You don't need to run the Rest Server on the same machine as the full-node.

To start the Rest server:

gaiacli rest-server --node=<full_node_address:full_node_port>
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Flags:

  • --trust-node: A boolean. If true, light-client verification is disabled. If false, it is disabled. For service providers, this should be set to true. By default, it set to true.
  • --node: This is where you indicate the address and the port of your full-node. The format is <full_node_address:full_node_port>. If the full-node is on the same machine, the address should be tcp://localhost:26657.
  • --laddr: This flag allows you to specify the address and port for the Rest Server (default 1317). You will mostly use this flag only to specify the port, in which case just input "localhost" for the address. The format is <rest_server_address:port>.

Listening for incoming transaction

The recommended way to listen for incoming transaction is to periodically query the blockchain through the following endpoint of the LCD:

/bank/balance/{address}

Rest API

The Rest API documents all the available endpoints that you can use to interact with your full node. It can be found here.

The API is divided into ICS standards for each category of endpoints. For example, the ICS20 describes the API to interact with tokens.

To give more flexibility to developers, we have included the ability to generate unsigned transactions, sign and broadcast them with different API endpoints. This allows service providers to use their own signing mechanism for instance.

In order to generate an unsigned transaction (example with coin transfer), you need to use the field generate_only in the body of base_req.

Cosmos SDK Transaction Signing

Cosmos SDK transaction signing is a fairly simple process.

Every Cosmos SDK transaction has a canonical JSON representation. The gaiacli and Stargate REST interfaces provide canonical JSON representations of transactions and their "broadcast" functions will provide compact Amino (a protobuf-like wire format) encoding translations.

Things to know when signing messages:

The format is as follows

{
  "account_number": XXX,
  "chain_id": XXX,
  "fee": XXX,
  "sequence": XXX,
  "memo": XXX,
  "msgs": XXX
}
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The signer must supply "chain_id", "account number" and "sequence number".

The "fee", "msgs" and "memo" fields will be supplied by the transaction composer interface.

The "account_number" and "sequence" fields can be queried directly from the blockchain or cached locally. Getting these numbers wrong, along with the chainID, is a common cause of invalid signature error. You can load the mempool of a full node or validator with a sequence of uncommitted transactions with incrementing sequence numbers and it will mostly do the correct thing.

Before signing, all keys are lexicographically sorted and all white space is removed from the JSON output.

The signature encoding is the 64-byte concatenation of ECDSArands (i.e. r || s), where s is lexicographically less than its inverse in order to prevent malleability. This is like Ethereum, but without the extra byte for PubKey recovery, since Tendermint assumes the PubKey is always provided anyway.

Signatures and public key examples in a signed transaction:

{
  "type": "auth/StdTx",
  "value": {
    "msg": [...],
    "signatures": [
      {
        "pub_key": {
          "type": "tendermint/PubKeySecp256k1",
          "value": XXX
        },
        "signature": XXX
      }
    ],
  }
}
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Once signatures are properly generated, insert the JSON into into the generated transaction and then use the broadcast endpoint.