The Rewards phase of the ITN has now come to an end. If you have been taking part in the program, we have captured records of all the ada rewards you have earned during your time in the program. You'll be able to reclaim your rewards closer to Shelley mainnet deployment in July/August. Thanks for your support. Please follow IOHK's social media channels for further updates and all the latest developments on the rollout of Shelley.

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Incentivized Testnet
Welcome to the Shelley

Incentivized Testnet

The Shelley Incentivized Testnet Is Live

The Incentivized Testnet phase of Cardano’s Shelley era has begun, marking the very first steps towards the network’s decentralization. This testnet is designed to test incentivization in a real-world context and allow you – the ada holder – to earn real rewards by either delegating your stake or running a stake pool.

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    Testnet Status:

  • The balance snapshot was taken at 12:00 UTC on November 29, 2019. If you had ada in a mainnet Daedalus or Yoroi wallet at the time, you can now restore your testnet ada balance and access stake delegation features or start running a stake pool to earn real ada rewards.

    If you want to delegate your stake, all you need to do is download one of the supported wallet clients from the stake delegation page. If you want to run a stake pool, visit the stake pool page for more details about how to get started as a stake pool operator.

Why the Incentivized Testnet?

The Incentivized Testnet allows us to test something our earlier testnets couldn’t: real behavior – and real behavior requires real rewards. On the Incentivized Testnet, ada holders can participate in the network and earn real ada through stake delegation or operating a stake pool.

We are building a decentralized network of globally distributed participants. The information gathered from the Incentivized Testnet will be crucial in creating a fair and balanced incentive mechanism, which will ensure reliable and honest network participation long into the future.

You can learn more about the Incentivized Testnet, and the reasons behind it, in this blog piece and AMA video. Alternatively, IOHK's whitepaper is available to those interested in learning more.

Interested in developing on the Cardano platform or running a stake pool?
Visit the testnet developer website to find out how
What is stake and stake delegation?

Ada held on the Cardano network represents a stake in the network, with the size of the stake proportional to the amount of ada held. If you hold 10% of all available ada, you have a 10% stake in the network.

The ability to delegate that stake is fundamental to how Cardano works. There are two ways an ada holder can earn rewards, and thus be incentivized to keep the network running: by delegating their stake to a stake pool run by someone else, or running their own stake pool. The amount of stake delegated to a given stake pool is the primary way the Ouroboros protocol chooses who should add the next block to the blockchain, and get a monetary reward for doing so. The more stake is delegated to a stake pool (up to a certain point), the more likely it is to make the next block – and then the rewards are shared between everyone who delegated their stake to that stake pool.

Stake pools are nodes delegated to by ada holders that do not have the knowledge, resources, or desire to run a node. Conversely, stake pool operators are those with the expertise and resources to reliably operate a node 24/7. Watch our delegation summary video for more information.

What is Cardano?

Cardano is a groundbreaking proof-of-stake blockchain – home to the ada cryptocurrency – with a strong focus on sustainability, scalability, and transparency. Developed by world-leading academics and engineers, it will serve as a stable and secure platform for the development of enterprise-level dApps and a staging point for global change.

What is shelley?

Shelley is one of the five eras of Cardano’s development. These eras and the specific capabilities and functionality they deliver are outlined in the Cardano Roadmap.

Shelley marks the beginning of Cardano’s network decentralization and represents the most significant milestone to date. Much of Cardano is being developed in parallel, and Shelley serves as the network’s foundation: once it’s complete, much more becomes possible, including the smart contract functionality of the Goguen era.

What is the incentivized testnet?

A lot of work has gone into creating an incentivization mechanism that will ensure the long-term health of the network, but the game theory which underpins the incentivization only works if real rewards are available for users. The Incentivized Testnet is a way to test the theory in a sandbox environment to make sure it works as intended. The ada rewards earned for delegating a stake or running a stake pool are real and, once the testnet is complete, spendable. We’re using real rewards to gauge real responses, and to assess how the mechanism works in a real-world setting.

Watch our incentives summary video for more information.

What was the balance snapshot?

A balance snapshot is a record of all ada on the network at a particular point in time. That record can then be used to replicate ada balances on the Incentivized Testnet, so users can try out delegation and stake pools with an amount of testnet ada equivalent to their real ada.

The balance snapshot was taken at 12.00 UTC on November 29, 2019. After a period of testing to ensure the network was stable and to allow time for stake pools to set up, rewards for delegation and stake pool operation were introduced to the Incentivized Testnet.

For technical reasons, only ada held in Daedalus or Yoroi wallets at the time of the snapshot is eligible for use on the Incentivized Testnet.

What was the balance check?

The balance check was a practice run of the full balance snapshot. During this initial balance check, users were able to validate that the value of their mainnet ada balance had been accurately captured for use in the testnet. Participation in the balance check was optional. It will not affect your ability to take part in the full Incentivized Testnet.

How do I get involved?

Anybody that had ada stored in either a Daedalus or Yoroi mainnet wallet at the time of the balance snapshot (12.00 UTC, November 29, 2019) can participate in the Incentivized Testnet and earn rewards through delegation or running a stake pool. Delegators only need to download a special Incentivized Testnet version of either Daedalus or Yoroi, while stake pool operators will need to have a bit more technical skill.

Once the Incentivized Testnet is over, rewarded ada will be manually transferrable back to the mainnet, and become spendable. All that’s left is a choice: to become a delegator or a stake pool operator.