Removing a Splinter Circuit

This guide explains alternative approaches for deleting, disbanding and abandoning. Both abandoning and disbanding a circuit result in removing a circuit’s networking capability. These operations do involve different processes, which this walkthrough will explain below. It is important to note the differences between disbanding and abandoning a circuit before using either operation.

Removing a Splinter Circuit

Splinter administrators have the option to disband or abandon a circuit, the first part of deleting a circuit. Disbanding a circuit begins with a node’s administrator proposing to remove a circuit’s networking functionality. Then, all members are able to vote before the circuit is disbanded. Once the circuit is disbanded, the circuit will no longer be usable to send messages and the circuit is only available to each node locally. On the other hand, a node’s administrator is able to abandon a circuit, breaking the circuit’s networking ability for all members.

Once the circuit has been disbanded or abandoned, it is able to be purged. Purging a circuit includes purging the circuit state and internal service data. If any of this data still needs to be accessed and cannot be deleted, do not purge the circuit or copy any important information somewhere outside of Splinter. The following describes each of these commands in more detail.

Disbanding a circuit

Disbanding a circuit differs from abandoning the circuit in that disbanding is a circuit-wide operation. Each circuit member is involved when disbanding a circuit. The disband command creates a situation where circuit members are able to gracefully shutdown the circuit. When a circuit is requested to be disbanded, a new CircuitProposal is created with the same information in the active circuit, but with a circuit_status of Disbanded. The CircuitProposal has a ProposalType of Disband. At this point the original circuit has not been affected and the new CircuitProposal with the updated circuit_status is available to be voted on by circuit members. Note that the associated disband proposal has the same circuit ID as the active circuit; the only change in the circuit is the circuit_status field.

If any members reject the disband proposal, the proposal is removed and is no longer viewable. If accepted, the circuit is updated for all members to match the corresponding CircuitProposal. If the proposal is accepted, message routing on the circuit is disabled and the circuit’s circuit_status becomes Disbanded.

This also removes the peer connections associated with the members of the circuit for each individual node. If the peers are connected via a separate circuit, the peers will remain connected via that other circuit. If the disbanded circuit was the only circuit connecting the peers, the peer connection must be re-established on a different circuit. Additionally, this stops any internal Splinter services running on the circuit for each node. At this point, any attempts to send messages over this circuit or to use the associated services will fail as the circuit is no longer able to handle messages and the services have been stopped.

For more information on the disband CLI command, see splinter-circuit-disband.

Abandoning a circuit

Abandoning a circuit differs from disbanding the circuit in that it is a single circuit member choosing to leave the circuit without agreement from the other members. A message is sent to all other circuit members that a circuit has been abandoned, but no further action is required by the other circuit members. From the abandoning node’s perspective, once that message is sent, the circuit is deactivated. Specifically, this means the circuit is no longer able to route messages to other circuit members and the service associated with the abandoning node running on the abandoned circuit is stopped. The circuit state for the abandoning node is also updated to reflect the Abandoned status.


Take care to note if a circuit has been abandoned by another node, as this means the abandoning node is unreachable via the abandoned circuit. This breaks the functionality of a circuit for other members as Splinter currently uses the Two-Phase Commit consensus algorithm which requires all nodes to verify their updated state. As such, any transactions will fail to commit for any of the other circuit members as the abandoning node is not available to reach consensus for a transaction.

For more information on the abandon CLI command, see splinter-circuit-abandon.

For information about configuring a Splinter node, see Configuring Splinter Nodes. In this guide, you’ll be taking on the role of two different admins for two nodes (on the same system), so that you can create and test removing a circuit. For the first part of the guide, you will act as the first “alpha” node administrator to propose disbanding a circuit. Then, you will act as the second “beta” node administrator to accept the disband proposal. For the second part of this guide, you’ll act as the first “alpha” node administrator to abandon a circuit. Next, you’ll act as the second “beta” node administrator to view the “ABANDONED CIRCUIT” message from the “alpha” node. Finally, you will purge the inactive circuit.


  • A splinter network with at least two nodes running and at least one circuit created. The guide will refer to the two nodes as “alpha” and “beta” respectively. The guide will refer to the already created circuit as “01234-ABCDE”. For more information on configuring a Splinter network, see Configuring Splinter Nodes

  • The Splinter REST API URL must be specified for the following CLI commands if no default is set. It may be provided using the SPLINTER_REST_API_URL environment variable. Otherwise, the following commands may use the -U, --url option to specify the REST API URL.

  • A private signing key must be provided for the following CLI commands if no default is set. The -k, --key option may be used to either specify a file path or the name of a .priv file in $HOME/.splinter/keys.


A circuit may be removed from networking by either disbanding the circuit or abandoning the circuit. Although this guide follows both processes, disbanding and abandoning are alternative options. A circuit may be purged regardless of the operation used to deactivate the circuit. The first part of this procedure will explain how to disband a circuit. The next part will explain how to abandon a circuit. Finally, the inactive circuit will be purged.

Alternate 1: Disbanding a Circuit

The first approach this tutorial will explain is disbanding a circuit to remove it’s networking capabilities. This is an alternative to abandoning a circuit, which does not involve all circuit members. A circuit may be abandoned OR disbanded. The following instructions begin with the alpha node administrator requesting to disband a circuit.

  1. Request to disband a circuit by running the splinter-circuit-disband command from the alpha node.

     $ splinter circuit disband 01234-ABCDE

    This command will create a circuit proposal with the circuit ID specified in the command. This proposal will have a ProposalType of Disband to differentiate it from proposals used to create a circuit.

  2. Connect to the beta Splinter node to finish disbanding the circuit.

    a. View the disband proposal using the splinter-circuit-proposals command.

     root@beta:/# splinter circuit proposals
     01234-ABCDE -    example    beta;alpha -        Disband

    b. Vote to accept the disband proposal using the splinter-circuit-vote command.

     root@beta:/# splinter circuit vote 01234-ABCDE --accept

    c. View the disbanded circuit, using the splinter-circuit-show command. Note for this example that the circuit created uses the Scabbard service.

     root@beta:/# splinter circuit show 01234-ABCDE
     Circuit: 01234-ABCDE
        Display Name: -
        Circuit Status: Disbanded
        Version: 2
        Management Type: example
            Service (scabbard): scAA
            Service (scabbard): scBB

This verifies that the circuit has been disbanded and is now inactive for both alpha and beta nodes. Both nodes may proceed with purging this circuit.

Alternate 2: Abandoning a Circuit

For the next part of this guide, the process of abandoning a node will be performed by the alpha splinter node admin. Note this operation is not meant to follow disbanding a circuit, as it is an alternative to disbanding. A circuit may either be disbanded OR abandoned. The beta splinter node admin will then view the logs to see that the circuit has been abandoned.

  1. Connect to the alpha Splinter node to abandon the active circuit.

    a. View the active circuits using the splinter-circuit-list command.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit list
     01234-ABCDE -     example    beta;alpha

    b. Abandon the circuit using the splinter circuit abandon command.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit abandon 01234-ABCDE

    c. Check the logs on alpha to ensure the circuit is being abandoned.

     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.803] T["actix-rt:worker:0"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service::shared] received abandon request for circuit 01234-ABCDE
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.822] T["actix-rt:worker:0"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service::shared] Stopping service: scAA
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.822] T["actix-rt:worker:0"] DEBUG [scabbard::service] Stopping scabbard service with id scAA
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:38.011] T["consensus-scAA"] INFO [splinter::consensus::two_phase] received shutdown
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:38.014] T["NetworkDispatchLoop"] DEBUG [splinter::circuit::handlers::circuit_message] Handle CircuitMessage SERVICE_DISCONNECT_REQUEST from orchestator::alpha [57 bytes]
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:38.014] T["CircuitDispatchLoop"] DEBUG [splinter::circuit::handlers::service_handlers] Handle Service Disconnect Request circuit: "01234-ABCDE" service_id: "scAA" correlation_id: "aefd65df-6d9f-49a5-bc72-fa7b4a6f9a74"
     splinterd-alpha      | [2021-02-11 20:39:38.016] T["Peer Manager"] DEBUG [splinter::peer] Removing peer: beta

    d. View the abandoned circuits using the splinter-circuit-list command, used with the --circuit-status flag of abandoned.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit list --circuit-status abandoned
     01234-ABCDE -     example    beta;alpha
  2. Inspect the logs of the beta Splinter node to verify the circuit has been abandoned by the alpha Splinter node.

    a. Check the logs on beta.

     splinterd-beta       | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.908] T["NetworkDispatchLoop"] DEBUG [splinter::circuit::handlers::circuit_message] Handle CircuitMessage ADMIN_DIRECT_MESSAGE from alpha-node-000 [87 bytes]
     splinterd-beta       | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.909] T["CircuitDispatchLoop"] DEBUG [splinter::circuit::handlers::admin_message] Handle Admin Direct Message on admin (admin::alpha-node-000 => admin::beta-node-000) [33 bytes]
     splinterd-beta       | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.910] T["Service admin::beta"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service] received admin message message_type: ABANDONED_CIRCUIT abandoned_circuit {circuit_id: "01234-ABCDE" member_node_id: "alpha"}
     splinterd-beta       | [2021-02-11 20:39:37.910] T["Service admin::beta"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service] Member alpha has abandoned circuit 01234-ABCDE

    b. View the beta node’s version of circuit 01234-ABCDE using the splinter-circuit-show command. As this node has not abandoned the circuit yet, circuit 01234-ABCDE is still active.

      root@beta:/# splinter circuit list
      01234-ABCDE -     example    beta;alpha

This verifies that the circuit has been abandoned for the alpha node. The alpha node may proceed with purging the circuit, explained in the next few steps. The beta node must first abandon the circuit in order to purge the circuit.

Purging a Circuit

For the last part of this guide, you’ll act as the alpha Splinter node administrator to purge the inactive circuit.

  1. Connect to the alpha node to purge the circuit.

    a. As the alpha node administrator, you can view inactive circuits using the splinter-circuit-list command and specifying the --circuit-status flag.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit list --circuit-status abandoned,disbanded
     01234-ABCDE -     example    beta;alpha

    The circuit must first be inactive to be purged. This may be achieved through the circuit members voting to disband the circuit or the circuit may be abandoned for this node.

    b. Purge the inactive circuit using the splinter-circuit-purge command.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit purge 01234-ABCDE

    c. Check the logs to verify the circuit has been purged.

     splinterd-alpha | [2021-02-02 21:42:51.302] T["actix-rt:worker:0"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service::shared] received purge request for circuit 01234-ABCDE
     splinterd-alpha | [2021-02-02 21:42:51.313] T["actix-rt:worker:0"] DEBUG [splinter::admin::service::shared] Purged circuit 01234-ABCDE

    d. Check the list of inactive circuits again to see the circuit has been successfully purged from state using the splinter-circuit-list command.

     root@alpha:/# splinter circuit list --circuit-status abandoned,disbanded

    Note, as this circuit used a Scabbard service, the purge request will also remove any state files associated with this service. For Scabbard, this includes the LMDB files the service uses to store transaction receipts and state.


  • As the peers are disconnected after disbanding or abandoning, message-sending may be hindered as the Splinter nodes are unable to access the peer connection removed after disbanding or abandoning a circuit. Therefore, the log messages between nodes may be interrupted and some messages may not log. You may see log messages from the peers reconnecting instead of expected messages.

For More Information