The Forkers

In epoch 22, the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) scheduled our node, DApp360, to create 18 blocks. We created 15 and lost 3. I previously mentioned in epoch 22 that the labor cost of creating those 15 blocks was not only unsustainable but also extremely high (20 hours of babysitting and 4 hours of sleep). Our stake pool started this epoch, 23, ranked about 59 in Daedalus Reward Wallet. This ranking stressed our team because the drop in ranking was due to a buggy network that constantly forked and not bootstrap. It felt like Daedalus Reward Wallet was penalizing us for the faults and flaws of the Incentivized Testnet. Our team was not happy becuase two weeks prior, our stake pool, DApp360, ranked #1. As a result of this low ranking and missed blocks, our stake pool slowly lost stake delegates and rewards. Even more angering was the fact that most of the ITN forks was directly due to bad stake pool operators. These operators were attempting to game the system for their benefit. Yes, node operators were knowingly, intentionally, and selfishly causing the ITN to be unstable.

Reddit Article of ITN fork Issues

During this epoch, 23, I researched why the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) was so unstable to find a work-around solution until it improves. During this research, I came across a Reddit article titled “ITN fork issues – My thoughts.” In this article, one of the culprits gave a futile defense of his mischief. He admitted that he had duplicate stake pool nodes that were operating with the same stake pool node credentials. Such a node-setup creates forks. He acknowledged that other pool operators warned him about the side effects of node duplication. They informed him that his node setup was causing the ITN to fork and be unstable, which resulted in other node operators missing their blocks and rewards. Despite all this information, the culprit insisted that he would not stop since IOHK had bugs in the software that needed fixing. It infuriates me that another node operator would be so damaging. However, this was the taste of the will. This exploit is a taste of the wild for which we, as node operators, are preparing ourselves for mainnet.