Broadcast Processor

Relevant To: Level 1 chains


The broadcast processor is responsible for retrieving verifications for completed L1 blocks. The microservice uses Dragon Net to find validating nodes that match criteria and request verifications from them.

The service’s responsibilities include:

  • Managing discovered Dragon Net chains.

  • Re-broadcasting blocks if verifications aren’t returned in time.

  • Optionally notifying a preconfigured URL via HTTP POST when block verifications are received.

Turning off or removing the broadcast processor removes the chain from Dragon Net (although the BROADCAST environment variable should also be set to False so that unnecessary state isn’t loaded when creating blocks).

HTTP verification notifications may also be broadcast to a preconfigured URL by changing the value of dragonchain.verificationNotification within the helm template’s relevant values.yaml file i.e.: /docs/static/chart/opensource-config.yaml.


In order to run the broadcast processor, sh entrypoints/ should be used as the command of the built docker container.


The broadcast processor takes advantage of redis zranges where the score is a unix timestamp in order to enable operating as an efficient pseudo-scheduler.

As long as the broadcast processor isn’t currently sending broadcasts, it will check this zrange every second to see if any blocks need to be broadcast.

Blocks are added to the broadcast:in-flight redis zrange with a score of the unix timestamp when they should be next checked for broadcasting. Upon creation or promotion of a block, this score is updated to 0 to indicate that the block has not been broadcast at its current level yet.

The broadcast processor works linearly and will only try to get verifications for a single level (2-5) at a time. Because the broadcast processor has retry logic, it will ask for verifications from new chains if existing validating nodes are unresponsive. This makes it possible to receive more verifications than desired. If this occurs, receipts for verifications after the required amount will be refused.

When the broadcast processor performs a broadcast, it provides a deadline for when the verification must be returned. The validating node can use this deadline to discard validation requests that have already expired.

The broadcast processor keeps track of the state of verifications for a chain with redis keys prefixed with broadcast:block:. Namely, it tracks the block’s current ‘state’ (the level it is broadcasting verifications to) and a set containing the chain ids from which it has already received verifications. This allows the broadcast processor to retry broadcasting blocks when necessary.

When a receipt for a verification is received from a higher level, the block’s state is updated to either promote or finalize the block. Once a chain has received all required verifications for a block, its state is removed from the broadcasting system.


When the broadcast processor boots, it starts an event loop, and starts checking for blocks to broadcast every second. First it gets blocks that currently need to be checked by scheduled timestamp. After pulling this list of blocks, it checks each block’s level and finds which chains it has received verifications from (if any).

If the block had been sent to chains which did not respond before the deadline, the broadcast processor will find new validating nodes to replace unresponsive ones.

Once the broadcast processor has determined which nodes to broadcast to, it will generate futures on the event loop for the http request to other chains.

Each block is re-scheduled to be checked again at some future point.

Once all http requests are completed, the loop continues and any new blocks scheduled to be checked are evaluated.