Namespace Restriction

A transaction family is defined by a set of parameters including a name, some version numbers, an apply function and namespaces. The apply function is what defines the behavior of a transaction family according to the get and set operations on addresses of the Global State. The goal of having a family declaring namespaces is to indicate the subset of addresses it will use for its get (read, inputs) and set (write, outputs) operations. It is important to remember that the namespace is not necessarily a 1-to-1 relationship between namespaces and transaction families. Some transaction families like Settings Transaction Family or BlockInfo Transaction Family data at addresses that other transaction families could use, like a specific on-chain setting, or the timestamp of the latest block. Nevertheless, for security reasons, it is important to make sure transaction families cannot write data at addresses that is only intended to be read. This is the goal of the namespace restriction feature, when explicitly activated, the validators verify that transaction processors only perform set operations whose addresses have a prefix in common with one of the family’s specified namespace prefix(es). By default and for better flexibility, this namespace restriction is not enforced by the validators, but when activated, this feature augments enforcement of the transaction processors declaration done during registration.

In order to activate some namespace restrictions, appropriate settings must be published on-chain using the Settings Transaction Family. For every block, a validator loads the JSON data stored under the specific key sawtooth.validator.transaction_families. At this key the data is a list of JSON entries, one per transaction family, possibly including its namespaces. When a transaction family entry includes namespaces, the validator enforces that the corresponding transaction processor only writes at addresses with a prefix matching at least one of the namespaces.

Here is an example in which the namespaces are set for the transaction families block_info, sawtooth_settings and intkey:

  {\"family\": \"block_info\", \"version\": \"1.0\", \"namespaces\": [\"00b10c\"]},
  {\"family\":\"sawtooth_settings\", \"version\":\"1.0\"},
  {\"family\": \"intkey\", \"version\": \"1.0\", \"namespaces\": [\"1cf126\"]} ]'

In the case where a family has no "namespaces", the validator does not restrict the write permission of the family. In the example above, the family sawtooth_settings does not indicate any namespace and therefore the validator will let it write at any address. This is legitimate for transaction families which are reviewed thoroughly, like the ones included in Sawtooth.