Bitcoin Core developer Carl-Johan Alm this week presented a proposal to improve the Bitcoin network (BIP) called Signet, which offers an alternative to the Bitcoin test network.
The test network plays an important role for developers, allowing them to make sure that their applications work well without risking real money. In addition, protocol developers can use a test network to test the viability and security of large Bitcoin updates, for example, Segregated Witness.
However, the current Bitcoin test network has its own problems. In a new Bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP), published in a developer mailing list, Karl-Johan Alm (Karl-Johan Alm) said that the existing test network is “notorious for its unreliability.”
He hopes to change this state of affairs with the help of a new type of Bitcoin test network, which solves existing problems.
Signet is similar to Bitcoin, but it is completely centralized and controlled by one or more people who have to sign the block for it to be valid, said Alm.
Many of the problems of the Bitcoin test network are associated with blocks in which errors often occur. Alm claims that there are several problems:
Major reorganizations of blocks, long intervals between block mining, or their sudden rapid succession mean that software testing, especially with the participation of several independent parties working on software for a long period of time, becomes impossible in practice.
The BIP also states:
The goal is not to make the test network absolutely reliable, but to have a predictable number of problems. We want the test network to work as a major one, and also simplify work with expected, but rare events, such as a six-block reorganization.
Alm believes that, being a centralized alternative to the existing Bitcoin test network, Signet will help solve such problems.
Signet will help prevent these problems. Creating blocks can be quite cheap, because you are not competing with anyone, and there are no security problems and a low hashing rate, since nobody has private keys. Since the network is well coordinated, reorganizations are unlikely to occur unless network operators want it, said Alm.
The developer’s next goal is to get support for making changes to Bitcoin Core so that people can use the technology along with the existing test network. In his proposal, Alm also refers to a draft variant of the implementation of the Signet code that other developers can test.