# Data Structures

Here we describe the data structures in the Tendermint blockchain and the rules for validating them.

The Tendermint blockchains consists of a short list of data types:

# Block

A block consists of a header, transactions, votes (the commit), and a list of evidence of malfeasance (ie. signing conflicting votes).

Name Type Description Validation
Header Header Header corresponding to the block. This field contains information used throughout consensus and other areas of the protocol. To find out what it contains, visit [header] (#header) Must adhere to the validation rules of header
Data Data Data contains a list of transactions. The contents of the transaction is unknown to Tendermint. This field can be empty or populated, but no validation is performed. Applications can perform validation on individual transactions prior to block creation using checkTx.
Evidence EvidenceList Evidence contains a list of infractions committed by validators. Can be empty, but when populated the validations rules from evidenceList apply
LastCommit Commit LastCommit includes one vote for every validator. All votes must either be for the previous block, nil or absent. If a vote is for the previous block it must have a valid signature from the corresponding validator. The sum of the voting power of the validators that voted must be greater than 2/3 of the total voting power of the complete validator set. The number of votes in a commit is limited to 10000 (see types.MaxVotesCount). Must be empty for the initial height and must adhere to the validation rules of commit.

# Execution

Once a block is validated, it can be executed against the state.

The state follows this recursive equation:

Copy state(initialHeight) = InitialState state(h+1) <- Execute(state(h), ABCIApp, block(h))

where InitialState includes the initial consensus parameters and validator set, and ABCIApp is an ABCI application that can return results and changes to the validator set (TODO). Execute is defined as:

Copy func Execute(s State, app ABCIApp, block Block) State { // Fuction ApplyBlock executes block of transactions against the app and returns the new root hash of the app state, // modifications to the validator set and the changes of the consensus parameters. AppHash, ValidatorChanges, ConsensusParamChanges := app.ApplyBlock(block) nextConsensusParams := UpdateConsensusParams(state.ConsensusParams, ConsensusParamChanges) return State{ ChainID: state.ChainID, InitialHeight: state.InitialHeight, LastResults: abciResponses.DeliverTxResults, AppHash: AppHash, InitialHeight: state.InitialHeight, LastValidators: state.Validators, Validators: state.NextValidators, NextValidators: UpdateValidators(state.NextValidators, ValidatorChanges), ConsensusParams: nextConsensusParams, Version: { Consensus: { AppVersion: nextConsensusParams.Version.AppVersion, }, }, } }

Validating a new block is first done prior to the prevote, precommit & finalizeCommit stages.

The steps to validate a new block are:

  • Check the validity rules of the block and its fields.
  • Check the versions (Block & App) are the same as in local state.
  • Check the chainID's match.
  • Check the height is correct.
  • Check the LastBlockID corresponds to BlockID currently in state.
  • Check the hashes in the header match those in state.
  • Verify the LastCommit against state, this step is skipped for the initial height.
    • This is where checking the signatures correspond to the correct block will be made.
  • Make sure the proposer is part of the validator set.
  • Validate bock time.
    • Make sure the new blocks time is after the previous blocks time.
    • Calculate the medianTime and check it against the blocks time.
    • If the blocks height is the initial height then check if it matches the genesis time.
  • Validate the evidence in the block. Note: Evidence can be empty

A block header contains metadata about the block and about the consensus, as well as commitments to the data in the current block, the previous block, and the results returned by the application:

Name Type Description Validation
Version Version Version defines the application and protocol version being used. Must adhere to the validation rules of Version
ChainID String ChainID is the ID of the chain. This must be unique to your chain. ChainID must be less than 50 bytes.
Height uint64 Height is the height for this header. Must be > 0, >= initialHeight, and == previous Height+1
Time Time The timestamp is equal to the weighted median of validators present in the last commit. Read more on time in the BFT-time section. Note: the timestamp of a vote must be greater by at least one millisecond than that of the block being voted on. Time must be >= previous header timestamp + consensus parameters TimeIotaMs. The timestamp of the first block must be equal to the genesis time (since there's no votes to compute the median).
LastBlockID BlockID BlockID of the previous block. Must adhere to the validation rules of blockID. The first block has block.Header.LastBlockID == BlockID{}.
LastCommitHash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of the lastCommit's signatures. The signatures represent the validators that committed to the last block. The first block has an empty slices of bytes for the hash. Must be of length 32
DataHash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of the hash of transactions. Note: The transactions are hashed before being included in the merkle tree, the leaves of the Merkle tree are the hashes, not the transactions themselves. Must be of length 32
ValidatorHash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of the current validator set. The validators are first sorted by voting power (descending), then by address (ascending) prior to computing the MerkleRoot. Must be of length 32
NextValidatorHash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of the next validator set. The validators are first sorted by voting power (descending), then by address (ascending) prior to computing the MerkleRoot. Must be of length 32
ConsensusHash slice of bytes ([]byte) Hash of the protobuf encoded consensus parameters. Must be of length 32
AppHash slice of bytes ([]byte) Arbitrary byte array returned by the application after executing and commiting the previous block. It serves as the basis for validating any merkle proofs that comes from the ABCI application and represents the state of the actual application rather than the state of the blockchain itself. The first block's block.Header.AppHash is given by ResponseInitChain.app_hash. This hash is determined by the application, Tendermint can not perform validation on it.
LastResultHash slice of bytes ([]byte) LastResultsHash is the root hash of a Merkle tree built from ResponseDeliverTx responses (Log,Info, Codespace and Events fields are ignored). Must be of length 32. The first block has block.Header.ResultsHash == MerkleRoot(nil), i.e. the hash of an empty input, for RFC-6962 conformance.
EvidenceHash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of the evidence of Byzantine behaviour included in this block. Must be of length 32
ProposerAddress slice of bytes ([]byte) Address of the original proposer of the block. Validator must be in the current validatorSet. Must be of length 20

# Version

NOTE: that this is more specifically the consensus version and doesn't include information like the P2P Version. (TODO: we should write a comprehensive document about versioning that this can refer to)

Name type Description Validation
Block uint64 This number represents the version of the block protocol and must be the same throughout an operational network Must be equal to protocol version being used in a network (block.Version.Block == state.Version.Consensus.Block)
App uint64 App version is decided on by the application. Read here block.Version.App == state.Version.Consensus.App

# BlockID

The BlockID contains two distinct Merkle roots of the block. The BlockID includes these two hashes, as well as the number of parts (ie. len(MakeParts(block)))

Name Type Description Validation
Hash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of all the fields in the header (ie. MerkleRoot(header). hash must be of length 32
PartSetHeader PartSetHeader Used for secure gossiping of the block during consensus, is the MerkleRoot of the complete serialized block cut into parts (ie. MerkleRoot(MakeParts(block))). Must adhere to the validation rules of PartSetHeader

See MerkleRoot for details.

# PartSetHeader

Name Type Description Validation
Total int32 Total amount of parts for a block Must be > 0
Hash slice of bytes ([]byte) MerkleRoot of a serialized block Must be of length 32

# Part

Part defines a part of a block. In Tendermint blocks are broken into parts for gossip.

Name Type Description Validation
index int32 Total amount of parts for a block Must be > 0
bytes bytes MerkleRoot of a serialized block Must be of length 32
proof Proof MerkleRoot of a serialized block Must be of length 32

# Time

Tendermint uses the Google.Protobuf.Timestamp (opens new window) format, which uses two integers, one 64 bit integer for Seconds and a 32 bit integer for Nanoseconds.

# Data

Data is just a wrapper for a list of transactions, where transactions are arbitrary byte arrays:

Name Type Description Validation
Txs Matrix of bytes ([][]byte) Slice of transactions. Validation does not occur on this field, this data is unknown to Tendermint

# Commit

Commit is a simple wrapper for a list of signatures, with one for each validator. It also contains the relevant BlockID, height and round:

Name Type Description Validation
Height uint64 Height at which this commit was created. Must be > 0
Round int32 Round that the commit corresponds to. Must be > 0
BlockID BlockID The blockID of the corresponding block. Must adhere to the validation rules of BlockID.
Signatures Array of CommitSig Array of commit signatures that correspond to current validator set. Length of signatures must be > 0 and adhere to the validation of each individual Commitsig

# CommitSig

CommitSig represents a signature of a validator, who has voted either for nil, a particular BlockID or was absent. It's a part of the Commit and can be used to reconstruct the vote set given the validator set.

Name Type Description Validation
BlockIDFlag BlockIDFlag Represents the validators participation in consensus: Either voted for the block that received the majority, voted for another block, voted nil or did not vote Must be one of the fields in the BlockIDFlag enum
ValidatorAddress Address Address of the validator Must be of length 20
Timestamp Time This field will vary from CommitSig to CommitSig. It represents the timestamp of the validator. Time
Signature Signature Signature corresponding to the validators participation in consensus. The length of the signature must be > 0 and < than 64

NOTE: ValidatorAddress and Timestamp fields may be removed in the future (see ADR-25 (opens new window)).

# BlockIDFlag

BlockIDFlag represents which BlockID the signature is for.

Copy enum BlockIDFlag { BLOCK_ID_FLAG_UNKNOWN = 0; BLOCK_ID_FLAG_ABSENT = 1; // signatures for other blocks are also considered absent BLOCK_ID_FLAG_COMMIT = 2; BLOCK_ID_FLAG_NIL = 3; }

# Vote

A vote is a signed message from a validator for a particular block. The vote includes information about the validator signing it. When stored in the blockchain or propagated over the network, votes are encoded in Protobuf.

Name Type Description Validation
Type SignedMsgType Either prevote or precommit. SignedMsgType A Vote is valid if its corresponding fields are included in the enum signedMsgType
Height uint64 Height for which this vote was created for Must be > 0
Round int32 Round that the commit corresponds to. Must be > 0
BlockID BlockID The blockID of the corresponding block. BlockID
Timestamp Time Timestamp represents the time at which a validator signed. Time
ValidatorAddress slice of bytes ([]byte) Address of the validator Length must be equal to 20
ValidatorIndex int32 Index at a specific block height that corresponds to the Index of the validator in the set. must be > 0
Signature slice of bytes ([]byte) Signature by the validator if they participated in consensus for the associated bock. Length of signature must be > 0 and < 64

# CanonicalVote

CanonicalVote is for validator signing. This type will not be present in a block. Votes are represented via CanonicalVote and also encoded using protobuf via type.SignBytes which includes the ChainID, and uses a different ordering of the fields.

Copy message CanonicalVote { SignedMsgType type = 1; fixed64 height = 2; sfixed64 round = 3; CanonicalBlockID block_id = 4; google.protobuf.Timestamp timestamp = 5; string chain_id = 6; }

For signing, votes are represented via CanonicalVote and also encoded using protobuf via type.SignBytes which includes the ChainID, and uses a different ordering of the fields.

We define a method Verify that returns true if the signature verifies against the pubkey for the SignBytes using the given ChainID:

Copy func (vote *Vote) Verify(chainID string, pubKey crypto.PubKey) error { if !bytes.Equal(pubKey.Address(), vote.ValidatorAddress) { return ErrVoteInvalidValidatorAddress } if !pubKey.VerifyBytes(types.VoteSignBytes(chainID), vote.Signature) { return ErrVoteInvalidSignature } return nil }

# Proposal

Proposal contains height and round for which this proposal is made, BlockID as a unique identifier of proposed block, timestamp, and POLRound (a so-called Proof-of-Lock (POL) round) that is needed for termination of the consensus. If POLRound >= 0, then BlockID corresponds to the block that is locked in POLRound. The message is signed by the validator private key.

Name Type Description Validation
Type SignedMsgType Represents a Proposal SignedMsgType Must be ProposalType signedMsgType
Height uint64 Height for which this vote was created for Must be > 0
Round int32 Round that the commit corresponds to. Must be > 0
POLRound int64 Proof of lock Must be > 0
BlockID BlockID The blockID of the corresponding block. BlockID
Timestamp Time Timestamp represents the time at which a validator signed. Time
Signature slice of bytes ([]byte) Signature by the validator if they participated in consensus for the associated bock. Length of signature must be > 0 and < 64

# SignedMsgType

Signed message type represents a signed messages in consensus.

Copy enum SignedMsgType { SIGNED_MSG_TYPE_UNKNOWN = 0; // Votes SIGNED_MSG_TYPE_PREVOTE = 1; SIGNED_MSG_TYPE_PRECOMMIT = 2; // Proposal SIGNED_MSG_TYPE_PROPOSAL = 32; }

# Signature

Signatures in Tendermint are raw bytes representing the underlying signature.

See the signature spec for more.

# EvidenceList

EvidenceList is a simple wrapper for a list of evidence:

Name Type Description Validation
Evidence Array of Evidence List of verified evidence Validation adheres to individual types of Evidence

# Evidence

Evidence in Tendermint is used to indicate breaches in the consensus by a validator.

More information on how evidence works in Tendermint can be found here

# DuplicateVoteEvidence

DuplicateVoteEvidence represents a validator that has voted for two different blocks in the same round of the same height. Votes are lexicographically sorted on BlockID.

Name Type Description Validation
VoteA Vote One of the votes submitted by a validator when they equivocated VoteA must adhere to Vote validation rules
VoteB Vote The second vote submitted by a validator when they equivocated VoteB must adhere to Vote validation rules
TotalVotingPower int64 The total power of the validator set at the height of equivocation Must be equal to nodes own copy of the data
ValidatorPower int64 Power of the equivocating validator at the height Must be equal to the nodes own copy of the data
Timestamp Time Time of the block where the equivocation occurred Must be equal to the nodes own copy of the data

# LightClientAttackEvidence

LightClientAttackEvidence is a generalized evidence that captures all forms of known attacks on a light client such that a full node can verify, propose and commit the evidence on-chain for punishment of the malicious validators. There are three forms of attacks: Lunatic, Equivocation and Amnesia. These attacks are exhaustive. You can find a more detailed overview of this here

Name Type Description Validation
ConflictingBlock LightBlock Read Below Must adhere to the validation rules of lightBlock
CommonHeight int64 Read Below must be > 0
Byzantine Validators Array of Validators validators that acted maliciously Read Below
TotalVotingPower int64 The total power of the validator set at the height of the infraction Must be equal to the nodes own copy of the data
Timestamp Time Time of the block where the infraction occurred Must be equal to the nodes own copy of the data

# LightBlock

LightBlock is the core data structure of the light client. It combines two data structures needed for verification (signedHeader & validatorSet).

Name Type Description Validation
SignedHeader SignedHeader The header and commit, these are used for verification purposes. To find out more visit light client docs Must not be nil and adhere to the validation rules of signedHeader
ValidatorSet ValidatorSet The validatorSet is used to help with verify that the validators in that committed the infraction were truly in the validator set. Must not be nil and adhere to the validation rules of validatorSet

The SignedHeader and ValidatorSet are linked by the hash of the validator set(SignedHeader.ValidatorsHash == ValidatorSet.Hash().

# SignedHeader

The SignedhHeader is the header accompanied by the commit to prove it.

Name Type Description Validation
Header Header Header Header cannot be nil and must adhere to the Header validation criteria
Commit Commit Commit Commit cannot be nil and must adhere to the Commit criteria

# ValidatorSet

Name Type Description Validation
Validators Array of validator List of the active validators at a specific height The list of validators can not be empty or nil and must adhere to the validation rules of validator
Proposer validator The block proposer for the corresponding block The proposer cannot be nil and must adhere to the validation rules of validator

# Validator

Name Type Description Validation
Address Address Validators Address Length must be of size 20
Pubkey slice of bytes ([]byte) Validators Public Key must be a length greater than 0
VotingPower int64 Validators voting power cannot be < 0
ProposerPriority int64 Validators proposer priority. This is used to gauge when a validator is up next to propose blocks No validation, value can be negative and positive

# Address

Address is a type alias of a slice of bytes. The address is calculated by hashing the public key using sha256 and truncating it to only use the first 20 bytes of the slice.

Copy const ( TruncatedSize = 20 ) func SumTruncated(bz []byte) []byte { hash := sha256.Sum256(bz) return hash[:TruncatedSize] }

# ConsensusParams

Name Type Description Field Number
block BlockParams Parameters limiting the size of a block and time between consecutive blocks. 1
evidence EvidenceParams Parameters limiting the validity of evidence of byzantine behaviour. 2
validator ValidatorParams Parameters limiting the types of public keys validators can use. 3
version BlockParams The ABCI application version. 4

# BlockParams

Name Type Description Field Number
max_bytes int64 Max size of a block, in bytes. 1
max_gas int64 Max sum of GasWanted in a proposed block. NOTE: blocks that violate this may be committed if there are Byzantine proposers. It's the application's responsibility to handle this when processing a block! 2

# EvidenceParams

Name Type Description Field Number
max_age_num_blocks int64 Max age of evidence, in blocks. 1
max_age_duration google.protobuf.Duration (opens new window) Max age of evidence, in time. It should correspond with an app's "unbonding period" or other similar mechanism for handling Nothing-At-Stake attacks (opens new window). 2
max_bytes int64 maximum size in bytes of total evidence allowed to be entered into a block 3

# ValidatorParams

Name Type Description Field Number
pub_key_types repeated string List of accepted public key types. Uses same naming as PubKey.Type. 1

# VersionParams

Name Type Description Field Number
app_version uint64 The ABCI application version. 1

# Proof

Name Type Description Field Number
total int64 Total number of items. 1
index int64 Index item to prove. 2
leaf_hash bytes Hash of item value. 3
aunts repeated bytes Hashes from leaf's sibling to a root's child. 4