Install Guide for v1.0.1

ION Installation Guide

ION is a decentralized Layer 2 network for Decentralized Identifiers that runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain. Running an ION node minimizes trust in external parties for resolving ION DIDs, helps make the network more resilient and reliable, and provides the operator with better DID resolution performance.

The ION node reference implementation is currently in beta phase, operators should expect potential breaking changes and resets of the network's state. Presently, we are only recommending that experienced developers invest the time in running, testing, and contributing to the code base. This recommendation will change as the implementation progresses into more stable stages of development, which contributors will communicate to the community via blog posts and communications from DIF and collaborating organizations.

The ION node implementation is composed of a collection of microservices. Of these components, the major dependencies are Bitcoin Core, IPFS, and MongoDB (for local persistence of data).

1. Preparing your development environment

Hardware

We recommend you run ION on a machine with the following minimum specs:

Operating System

Both Linux and Windows are supported and tested. For Linux, the setup is verified on Ubuntu 18, so we recommend Debian-based distros for Linux setup.

Linux Environment Setup

Snap

We use snap to simplify installation of certain services. Run the following command to install snap:

sudo apt install snapd

You may need to add the snap binaries directory to your path by adding the following line in ~/.bash_profile

PATH="$PATH:/snap/bin"

To ensure that the path changes go into effect immediately:

source ~/.bash_profile
Node.js

Services within ION rely on Node.js version 14. Run the following command to install Node v14:

sudo snap install node --classic --channel=14
build-essential

Building ION requires your distro's equivalent of Ubuntu's 'build-essential', e.g. make, g++, etc.

sudo apt install build-essential

Windows Environment Setup

Go go https://nodejs.org, download and install the latest v14 of Node.js.

Inbound Ports to Open

If you wish to run a node that writes ION DID operations, you will need to enable uPnP on your router or open ports 4002 and 4003 so that the operation data files can be served to others via IPFS.

Testnet or Mainnet

NOTE: This guide describes steps to setup an ION node targeting bitcoin testnet, but can be used to target the bitcoin mainnet by substituting testnet configs for mainnet.

Bitcoin and ION need to be configured to use either testnet (for development) or mainnet (for production). If you change one service from testnet to mainnet or vice versa, the other services will also need to be rebuilt to match. Default config values for testnet are not valid for mainnet and services will fail to start if they are mismatched.

2. Setting up Bitcoin Core

An ION node needs a trusted Bitcoin peer for fetching and writing ION transactions. We use Bitcoin Core for this.

Automated script for installing Bitcoin Core on Linux

If you would like to install and start Bitcoin Core automatically on Linux, you can review and run the automated script committed in the Sidetree repo.

NOTE: Initial synchronization takes ~2 hours for testnet on a 2 core machine with an SSD.

Installing Bitcoin Core Manually

You can find Windows and Linux binaries for Bitcoin Core releases here.

On Linux:

Create a configuration file (bitcoin.conf) designating

  1. the path you would like the Bitcoin data to be stored in (the [datadir])
  2. a username (e.g. admin)
  3. a password (must match ion-bitcoin's configuration later)

<table> <tr> <th>Testnet</th> <th>Mainnet</th> </tr> <tr> <td>

testnet=1
server=1
datadir=~/.bitcoin
rpcuser=<your-rpc-username>
rpcpassword=<your-rpc-password>
txindex=1

</td> <td>

server=1
txindex=1
datadir=~/.bitcoin
rpcuser=<your-rpc-username>
rpcpassword=<your-rpc-password>

</td> </tr> </table>

Start Bitcoin Core and let it sync:

./bin/bitcoind --config bitcoin.conf

NOTE: You can add --daemon to run bitcoind as a daemon process.

On Windows:

Running Bitcoin Core with friendly UI after install:

bitcoin-qt.exe -testnet -datadir=<path-to-store-data> -server -rpcuser=<your-rpc-username> -rpcpassword=<your-rpc-password> -txindex=1

3. Installing Go-IPFS

Follow the instruction found at IPFS website to install Go-IPFS, you can install the IPFS Desktop which internally installs Go-IPFS, it provides you with a user friendly UI.

4. Setting up MongoDB

On Linux:

The default persistence option for storing data locally is MongoDB, though it is possible to create adapters for other datastores. To use the default MongoDB option, you'll need to install MongoDB community build:

NOTE: You may not have all the dependencies required to run MongoDB, if so you can run sudo apt-get install -f to bring them in.

You'll probably want to store the data from the Mongo instance in the same drive you chose to store the blockchain data, due to the large amount of storage required. Set the directory for this by creating a db folder in the location you chose and run mongod --dbpath ~/YOUR_LOCATION/db

On Windows:

Download and install MongoDB from https://www.mongodb.com/download-center/community.

NOTE: To view MongoDB files with a more approachable GUI, download and install MongoDB Compass: https://docs.mongodb.com/compass/master/install/

5. Configure & Build ION Microservices

Clone https://github.com/decentralized-identity/ion:

git clone https://github.com/decentralized-identity/ion

Example configuration files for both testnet- and mainnet- can be found under the top-level json/ directory.

NOTE: If not specified, json/testnet-*-*.json files are used as default configuration values. Be sure to start with whichever config template (testnet- or mainnet-) is right for your use case.

Create your configuration files from templates

Copy the configuration files <testnet-or-mainnet>-bitcoin-config.json and <testnet-or-mainnet>-bitcoin-versioning.json to another directory, (e.g. /etc/ion/)

Update configuration files

Update the ION Bitcoin microservice (e.g. /etc/ion/testnet-bitcoin-config.json):

Update the configuration for the ION core service under json/testnet-core-config.json:

Run the following commands to build ION:

npm i
npm run build

NOTE: You may nee to run npm install tsc before running npm run build to install TypeScript in Linux/Mac environments.

NOTE: You must rerun npm run build every time a configuration JSON file is modified.

6. Run ION Bitcoin microservice

Update the paths below to where you editted and saved the config files from the previous step.

ION_BITCOIN_CONFIG_FILE_PATH=/etc/ion/testnet-bitcoin-config.json
ION_BITCOIN_VERSIONING_CONFIG_FILE_PATH=/etc/ion/testnet-bitcoin-versioning.json
npm run bitcoin

NOTE: This service will fail to start until your Bitcoin Core client has blocks past the ION genesis block. Please wait and try again later if this happens.

7. Run ION core service

(Optional) Create your configuration files from templates

NOTE: This is not required when using testnet because the defaults are sufficient

Copy the configuration files <testnet or mainnet>-core-config.json and <testnet or mainnet>-core-versioning.json to another directory, (e.g. /etc/ion/ or ~)

Start a new console and run the following command to start the core service.

ION_CORE_CONFIG_FILE_PATH=/usr/local/src/ion/json/testnet-core-config.json
ION_CORE_VERSIONING_CONFIG_FILE_PATH=/usr/local/src/ion/json/testnet-core-versioning.json
npm run core

NOTE: This service will fail to start until your ION Bitcoin service has started successfully.

Give it some time to synchronize ION transactions.

8. Verify ION is working properly

Check the following DID resolution in your browser: