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I usually test on Rinkeby, but this week I have to test some mining stuff, so I tried to get synced up with Ropsten. Unfortunately, after 3 days of trying, I still haven't had any success. The main problem seems to be that there is more than 1 Ropsten network, and they are competing with each other. I'm not sure why, but I keep getting sucked into an alternate Ropsten network, which has a blockchain that was created on Sept 15, 2017. (The real Ropsten blockchain started on Nov 20, 2016 according to ropsten.etherscan.io).

This alternate blockchain has about 700,000 blocks in it, as opposed to the 3-million something on the real Ropsten blockchain. (Both of these are as of today, April 18, 2018).

I'm using the bootstrap nodes that come with the latest version of Geth ( 1.8.5-unstable) in params/bootnodes.go, pulled fresh from github a few days ago.

Somehow, they pointed me to this alternate cluster of miners that's mining a completely different blockchain than what's shown on ropsten.etherscan.io. Is this alt-blockchain a group of malicious hackers, trying to take over the Ropsten network? Or does it serve some useful purpose? Or is it perhaps someone testing out an attack? How can I ensure that I connect to the real Ropsten network?

As an example, one of the nodes on this network that you can inspect directly by attaching with geth is 172.93.54.194:

$ geth attach http://172.93.54.194:8545 

> eth.blockNumber
717137
> eth.getBlock(0)
{
  difficulty: 1048576,
  extraData: "0x3535353535353535353535353535353535353535353535353535353535353535",
  gasLimit: 16777216,
  gasUsed: 0,
  hash: "0x41941023680923e0fe4d74a34bdac8141f2540e3ae90623718e47d66d1ca4a2d",
  logsBloom: "0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  miner: "0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  mixHash: "0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  nonce: "0x0000000000000042",
  number: 0,
  parentHash: "0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  receiptsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  sha3Uncles: "0x1dcc4de8dec75d7aab85b567b6ccd41ad312451b948a7413f0a142fd40d49347",
  size: 540,
  stateRoot: "0x217b0bbcfb72e2d57e28f33cb361b9983513177755dc3f33ce3e7022ed62b77b",
  timestamp: 0,
  totalDifficulty: 1048576,
  transactions: [],
  transactionsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  uncles: []
}
> eth.getBlock(1)
{
  difficulty: 997888,
  extraData: "0xd583010700846765746885676f312e39856c696e7578",
  gasLimit: 16760833,
  gasUsed: 0,
  hash: "0xface01648e13728492d05dda83fddf6befca93aa201fed1615f1ed44f69d0a05",
  logsBloom: "0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  miner: "0x86a2ef740306742867642ae24dea443069b9ca69",
  mixHash: "0x0d9277cf4423c30157d280b38d158ba34a3df3c7bae3ec087bd959825d217204",
  nonce: "0x2c6a1e191603e60e",
  number: 1,
  parentHash: "0x41941023680923e0fe4d74a34bdac8141f2540e3ae90623718e47d66d1ca4a2d",
  receiptsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  sha3Uncles: "0x1dcc4de8dec75d7aab85b567b6ccd41ad312451b948a7413f0a142fd40d49347",
  size: 533,
  stateRoot: "0xe2c17e2c1a6430675e36193e9466bf8136cb6e4b6284e762a37e65731679897c",
  timestamp: 1505466141,
  totalDifficulty: 2046464,
  transactions: [],
  transactionsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  uncles: []
}
> eth.getBlock(717137)
{
  difficulty: 3378128,
  extraData: "0xd683010803846765746886676f312e3130856c696e7578",
  gasLimit: 4712388,
  gasUsed: 0,
  hash: "0x0268b574a2a2f1400dca0fdf04e838f463a11ae7b923141e41371232d8f6cc68",
  logsBloom: "0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
  miner: "0x25b3e8674819b4bc895622387e7ce8d4d160e758",
  mixHash: "0x07bf9eea291ccda6d9766ff171c72924f6f567c79c0123062b63ffc1bea37fdc",
  nonce: "0x300632f7a9b66d05",
  number: 717137,
  parentHash: "0xecaf2eb09519a2a280e93bd54e82741cd6d48504017aaaf8a6ed54a6e96b1f18",
  receiptsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  sha3Uncles: "0x1dcc4de8dec75d7aab85b567b6ccd41ad312451b948a7413f0a142fd40d49347",
  size: 537,
  stateRoot: "0x0c3b9f331a9574cca031ca57f55461e9c9698e1282a4677f6c879f32c9feedb9",
  timestamp: 1524115269,
  totalDifficulty: 2944221694206,
  transactions: [],
  transactionsRoot: "0x56e81f171bcc55a6ff8345e692c0f86e5b48e01b996cadc001622fb5e363b421",
  uncles: []
  • Hmm. The current "official" Ropsten testnet is the Ropsten "Revival" chain, which was created after spam attacks crippled the original Ropsten. (You'll see on EtherScan it has "revival" next to the network name.) The Revival chain was created by deliberately mining a heavier chain from the block before the spam attacks started (rather than scrapping the network and starting again). It's possible the original chain still exists and you've been sucked onto it somehow, but if that were the case, I'd expect you'd be at a much higher block that ~700,000. Short answer: don't know. – Richard Horrocks Apr 19 '18 at 18:28
  • (Also, if you were on the original chain, you'd know about it. You'd have to have synced the spam-bloated blocks, which takes forever.) – Richard Horrocks Apr 19 '18 at 18:30
  • Yeah, it's definitely not either the orig or revived ropsten as those both share the same genesis block, and this has a completely different genesis block. It's not a fork, it's a separate blockchain--but the people using it have set their network id to 3 (ropsten), and somehow they are mixing with the real network 3. Since then I have been able to sync with the real network, but only by removing bad peers by hand and building up my own list of good static peers. – reductionista Apr 20 '18 at 20:02

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