Disclaimer: These are planning documents. The functionalities described here may be unimplemented, partially implemented, or implemented differently than the original design.

Proposal Removal


A circuit proposal holds all of the relevant information to create or disband a circuit. Previously, this proposal was only removed if a proposal member voted to reject the proposal. This document presents the design for removing circuit proposals by any of the proposal member nodes, at any point before the proposal has been upgraded to a circuit. Allowing proposal members the ability to remove a circuit proposal enables Splinter users to clean up incorrect and out of date circuit proposals. The request to remove a circuit proposal only affects a single node. Allowing a single proposal member to remove a circuit proposal ensures no users get caught in situations where the proposal may not otherwise be removed.

Guide-level explanation

Removing a Circuit Proposal

A proposal may be removed at any point before the proposal is committed to state as a circuit. The request can be sent by any of the proposal member nodes’ administrators, including the node that submitted the proposal. Once the request is submitted to the node’s admin service, it will be validate using the following criteria:

  • The circuit proposal exists
  • The associated circuit within the proposal has a circuit_version of at least 2
  • The requester has the correct permissions for the node the request pertains to

If the request is valid, the requesting node’s admin service will send a message to the other proposal members. This message notifies the other nodes that a proposal member has removed the circuit proposal, meaning no other action can be taken on that proposal. This does not affect the other nodes’ records of this circuit proposal and may be removed from their nodes as well. The node that has removed the circuit proposal will also remove any peer connections established for the circuit proposal before removing the circuit proposal from state.

Since a member has removed the circuit proposal, any further actions on the circuit proposal will result in errors as a member will not have a record of the specified proposal. Therefore, this node will return an error as it is not able to access the proposal state. If the proposal was to create a circuit, the circuit is not able to be created. If the proposal was to disband a circuit, the circuit to be disbanded would remain active.

Reference-level explanation


The ProposalRemoveRequest determines the payload submitted to a node’s admin service to request that a circuit proposal is removed. The payload holds the circuit_id for the circuit proposal to be removed. The protobuf message representing this payload is defined as follows:

message ProposalRemoveRequest {
	// The unique circuit name
	string circuit_id = 1;

A CircuitManagementPayload contains the request payload and the action being requested. The CircuitManagementPayload submitted to request a proposal with the circuit ID of 01234-ABCDE is removed would appear similar to the example below:

message CircuitManagementPayload {
  header =
    Header {
      requester = <bytes of the requester’s public key>;
      payload_sha512 = <bytes of the hash of the payload’s action>;
      requester_node_id = <node ID of the requester submitting the payload>;
  signature = <signature of the header included in the request>;
  proposal_remove_request =
  	ProposalRemoveRequest {
  		circuit_id = 01234-ABCDE;

This request may be submitted via the Splinter CLI. For more information on the splinter-circuit-remove-proposal command, see the man page entry.

Notifying other proposal members

When a CircuitManagementPayload is submitted the admin service will extract the necessary information from the payload and begin validating the request. If the ProposalRemoveRequest is validated successfully, the admin service will send a RemovedProposal message to the other proposal members’ admin services. This message appears as follows:

message RemovedProposal {
	// the proposal being removed
	string circuit_id = 1;

This message is sent as an AdminMessage. An AdminMessage containing a RemovedProposal message with a circuit ID of 01234-ABCDE would appear as follows:

message AdminMessage {
  message_type = REMOVED_PROPOSAL;
  removed_proposal =
  	RemovedProposal {
  		circuit_id = 01234-ABCDE;

When this message is received by the other proposal members’ admin services, the message is logged to notify the system administrator that another proposal member has removed the specified proposal. These nodes will not see any changes in their own records of the specified proposal.

At this point, if another proposal member has removed the circuit proposal, the other proposal members are not able to affect circuit state. Though other actions on the proposal would result in errors, the other proposal members may also remove the circuit proposal through the same process.

Removing a circuit proposal

Once the requesting node’s admin service has notified the other proposal members, the proposal is removed. Then, the peer connections established for the removed circuit proposal are removed. This concludes the process of removing a circuit proposal.


A drawback of this design is that one proposal member removing the circuit proposal disables all other proposal members from upgrading the proposal to a circuit. This means the other proposal members will see errors if they attempt to perform any more actions on the removed proposal. If the ability to update circuit proposals were implemented, perhaps the proposal could be salvaged. Or, perhaps the cost of creating a circuit proposal is low enough that this isn’t a concern.

Prior art

This feature is influenced by the splinter-circuit-abandon command, used to delete a Splinter circuit. The process to remove a circuit proposal does follow a similar pattern to the abandon command, as each is performed by a single node and doesn’t cause any state changes for the other circuit and circuit proposal members. Abandoning a circuit does not completely remove the circuit from the node’s state, but requesting to remove a circuit proposal will.