Interledger Connectors track peer relationships using a concept called an Account.
Connector Accounts have two primary functions.
The second purpose is to provide a conduit for exchanging ILP packets. When chained together to form a payment path, these relationships can enable value transfer across the Interledger.
When two Interledger nodes (two ILP Connectors, for example) enter into an account arrangement (sometimes called a Peering Relationship), each Connector will construct a unique identifier to track the relationship for itself. This implementation calls this identifier an
Using account Ids, a Connector can correlate each details about the relationship using three different primitives (described below).
This design is preferred over a single
Accountobject because Connectors must be able to support ultra-high packet throughput, and using a single domain-model object would likely not scale well for all use-cases that a Connector must fulfill.
AccountsSettingsobject tracks all information necessary for the Connector to describe an account. This includes minimum and balance thresholds, link information, and information about about the underlying asset for the account (i.e., the asset
This data is typically stored in a durable data-store, and loaded at various times in a performant yet as-needed basis by the Connector. In general, account information is highly cacheable using local-caches with relatively short timeouts (which works well-enough across a cluster) so this type of information can easily live in a typical RDBMS. See Connector Persistence for more details around supported datastores.
In this configuration, each account holder should be thought of as holding discrete types of IOUs. For example, if Alice and Bob are tracking a bilateral balance in US Dollars, then from Alice's perspective the unit of account is called an "Alice Owes Bob Dollars" or
AOB. From Bob's perspective, the unit of account is called a "Bob Owes Alice Dollars" or
Balances on either side of the account can become positive or negative, but the sum total of both balances must always equal zero. Additionally, each balance-pair will always be the inverse of the other side's balance.
Thus, if Alice has a balance of
-10, then Bob must have a balance of
+10, which means that Bob has 10 BOAs and Alice has -10 AOBs. In other words, Bob has a debt position with Alice in which he is holding 10 of her units, payable to Alice. Conversely, Alice has a lending position with Bob in which she has lent him 10 units (which he might not pay back). From Alice's perspective, she holds -10 AOBs, which is to say Alice holds -10 obligations to pay Bob $1 USD. Put into different language, this equates to Alice holding 10 obligations for Bob to pay her $1 USD.
Grokking the meaning of a bidirectional accounting relationship like this can be difficult. The simplest way to think about this is that generally two account holders are creating debt obligations between each other.
Because a Link is an abstraction over the connection between two peers, a Link can operate over any underlying transport. Examples of this include HTTP, WebSockets, UDP, or any other communications mechanism.
This implementation enforces a single Link per account at any given time, and also prohibits a Link from operating over more than a single underlying transport. Because of these restrictions, the
LinkIdin this implementation is always equal to the
AccountId, which effectively means an packets are only ever being transacted over a given account using a single Link.