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I am working on POCs on Azure Blockchain Service. While working on quickstarts, I observed that while deploying my 'Hello Blockchain!' smart contract, the block number of the block mined was 34136. Since I deployed a new consortium network, why was the block number so huge? I expected block number to be 1 or say 2.

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Azure MBS uses Quorum configured with IBFT consensus. In IBFT mode, Quorum will continuously advance the chain even if there are no pending txns, unlike Raft configuration. This is done to ensure that the chain remains viable thru validator communication and rotation and blocks are created at a regular interval (I believe its 1 minute on Azure).

You can read more detail on the Istanbul BFT consensus here: http://docs.goquorum.com/en/latest/Consensus/ibft/ibft/

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