Ethereum 2.0 Medalla Testnet Reports Clock Bug

Ritika Sharma
Ritika Kumari Sharma is an Economics Honors graduate from the University of Calcutta. She is completely into finance and believes that cryptocurrencies are the future. She is an enthusiast learner about the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
  • Medallagoal is to have a final test prior to the mainnet launch of Ethereum 2.0.
  • Prysm, Teku, Nimbus, Lodestar and Lighthouse are five clients running at the genesis of the Medalla testnet.
  • Even though the developers said Medalla was a success since its launch, they noted a few defects like missed slots, low initial participation by validators, exceeded deadline and now the clock bug.

Ethereum 2.0 Medalla Testnet on Sunday, discovered a clock bug which resulted in advanced slot blocks while the certificates received successfully. 

Medalla was launched by Ethereum software developers as a next step on the road to pure Proof-of-Stake. This is an alternative blockchain designed for testing the validity of the network. Their goal is to have a final test prior to the mainnet launch of Ethereum 2.0. Prysm, Teku, Nimbus, Lodestar and Lighthouse are five clients running at the genesis of the Medalla testnet.

Difficult to reach consensus

Even though the developers said Medalla was a success since its launch, they noted a few defects like missed slots, low initial participation by validators, exceeded deadline and now the clock bug. The bug scheduled the Roughtime 4 hours ahead of original which caused the node to calculate the slot error. Usually on client prysm, roughtime accounts for more than 64% in the entire network and the bug made all the prysm nodes to be paralyzed. This impacted the remaining 30% of the clients making it unable to reach the agreement on the entire network.

The people of PrysmLabs mentioned that the wrong roughtime will cause the verification node to produce an invalid proofs and future slots. Usually each verification will be assigned to a slot for proof. Due to the change of time, the slot will be  in advance, other nodes will refuse it thinking the current slot has not occurred.. As a result the current slot cannot meet the requirements due to collected proofs and the entire network cannot reach agreement.

Taking Possible Measures

The rough time package is used as Network Time Protocol (NTP) backup in Prysm. Developers thought that this provides secure time synchronisation as NTP responses are insecure. However, during its implementation, there have been cases where clock skew caused by roughtime. To moderate this issue, node check roughtime was made frequent along with evaluating potential issues from this erroneous roughtime. Once evaluated, possible measures will be taken.

Ethereum developers said that depending on the progress of Medalla testnet and progress in solving the technical issues, the genesis launch could occur as early as possible.

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