The Commons Hub operates the first validator node of the Interchain backed by an intentional, place-based web3 community.
Our ambition for the Cosmos ecosystem is to open pluralistic discussions around culture and politics to steer the evolution of the Interchain towards a democratic, distributed, resilient global infrastructure for the Commons.
The Commons Hub is a co-working, co-living and event venue in the Austrian Alps that harbours artists, digital movements and decentralized communities exploring the liberatory potential of emerging technologies. It operates the first validator node of the Interchain backed by an intentional, place-based web3 community.
To us, on-chain governance is much more than the technical management of servers and money. Our ambition for the Cosmos ecosystem is to open pluralistic discussions around culture and politics to steer the evolution of the Interchain towards a democratic, distributed, resilient global infrastructure for the Commons.
We believe that digital movements and communities can immensely benefit from permanent physical spaces to mingle and socialise, build shared meaning and history, as well as experiment with technology and narratives on a small scale before going out into the wild.
The Commons Hub‘s intimate atmosphere fosters deep and lasting connections among peers, and balances the often stressful experience of digital work with stunning natural surroundings. Building on our experience in hosting events and digital nomads since 2021, in the coming year we will use proceeds of the validator node to:
- renovate the kitchen and sanitary facilities;
- expand guest beds from currently 23 to 40;
- shift to renewable heating and solar energy production;
- establish a wood, metal and IoT FabLab;
- and expand our IoT-supported permaculture garden.
We run bare metal servers in Frankfurt, London and Rotterdam as validator nodes following an active/active validator architecture. The private validator keys are sharded by Stranglove’s Horcrux and distributed to signer node servers in Rotterdam, New York and Milan (shoutout to Strangelove Ventures and @Polkachu for the awesome node operator tools they built!).
When validator nodes are ready to sign a block, they request a signature from these remote signer nodes using a wireguard VPN connection and Horcrux p2p communication. A signer node receives the request and sends out a leader proposal to the other signer nodes. The other signer nodes answer this leader proposal depending on whether a leader has already been assigned. If the leader proposal is successful, the signer nodes start sending their key shards to the leader. The leader can create the private validator key from 2 out of 3 shards. The leader signs the block and sends it back to the validator node. In the end the validator node gossips the signed block to the network and we have validated a block.
This system architecture allows for failure of one signer node and one validator node at the same time, as we ensure redundancy in our system. Several security measures have been implemented on all servers, including strict firewall configurations, SSH passwordless authentication with passphrases, secure password and key management, fail2ban, not using default ports, disabling root login. Performance of all servers is monitored by yet another server, which alerts us of any issues threatening our system‘s performance.
Promtail, Loki and Grafana are used to monitor server health in our system, whereas Blockpane’s Tenderduty is used to monitor performance on the network. Automated emails and dedicated Telegram Bots alert us in the case of missed blocks. This allows us to swiftly respond to any issues.