Introducing the testnet incentive program


Hypha Worker Co-op currently stewards the Cosmos Hub testnet program, which was established over the course of 2023 and now includes two live gaia testnets, multiple consumer chain testnets, and regular Testnet Wednesday launch/upgrade events. In the coming months, we intend to build out the testnet program’s capacity for chaos and stress testing with the introduction of Wargame Thursdays, which will put the network to the test with production grade security attacks and testing.

Testing for Interchain Security

Over 2023, Interchain Security has become the core product offering on the Hub, yet its economics remain unsustainable for validators who provide the infrastructure required to support consumer chains.

Like all networks, the Replicated Security testnet depends on the quality of its validator set. As a testing platform for the Cosmos Hub, it especially depends on validators who bring their Hub mainnet infrastructure and skills to the testing environment for both rehearsals and stress testing. Chaos testing and wargaming, in particular, benefit from a robust and highly participatory testnet as we seek to emulate mainnet conditions and see how the Hub will fare under various attacks and tests that seek to exploit potential vulnerabilities.

As validators run a new node for each additional consumer chain, participation in testnets and even mainnet becomes more and more financially challenging, particularly for the lower portion of the active set.

Introducing the testnet incentive program

As part of a 6 month pilot funded by a grant from the ATOM Accelerator DAO, Hypha is launching a testnet incentive program to encourage validators to create a production-grade testing environment on the Replicated Security testnet.

Beginning in Nov/Dec 2023, eligible validator operators can be compensated between with ATOM worth between $100 and $500 USD per monthlong period depending on their mainnet voting power. Our first period will be from November 22, 2023 to December 20, 2023.

Scope and reach

This incentive program applies only to the Cosmos Hub Replicated Security testnet. It is not responsible for incentivizing other testnets, with the exception of consumer chain networks that are secured by the Cosmos Hub provider chain.

This pilot program is intended to fund work only for 6 months: November 2023 - April 2024. In this time, we expect the Hub team at Informal Systems to continue researching technical solutions to improve Interchain Security and make the technology more affordable for validators. Several potential solutions are already under discussion in the Cosmos Hub forum: Atomic IBC with Megablocks and Partial Set Security.

Funding allocation

For a 6 month pilot period, the testnet incentive program is funded by a 50k USD grant from the ATOM Accelerator DAO, 90% of which will be paid directly to validators. The remaining 10% will cover administrative overhead for the validator members who are managing a multisig wallet and sending out monthly payments (listed below).

Individual validators will be incentivized according to their mainnet voting power.

  • All validators will be eligible a baseline payment of $100 USD per month.
  • Validators in the middle 33% by voting power will be eligible for an additional $200 USD for a total of $300 USD per month.
  • Validators in the lowest 34% by voting power will be eligible for an additional $400 USD for a total of $500 USD per month.

Payments will be sent from a 2/3 multisig (cosmos1078gmgntta9qguve7c52dhxrs45xumjvcwrutd) of representatives from:

  • Silk Nodes
  • Stakecito
  • Hypha

Any unused funding will be returned to the AADAO wallet at the end of the funding period.

Incentive criteria

To be eligible to receive payment for a particular period, validators must meet the following criteria. Proof for mainnet must be submitted via this Google form.

We update our schedule with new Testnet Wednesday events and indicate which events will be part of which incentive period (roughly 1 month per period).

:warning: Our first period will be from November 22, 2023 to December 20, 2023.

Network Criteria Proof
Mainnet Be an active mainnet validator on the Cosmos Hub. Mainnet validator must send a tx with a memo containing to cosmosvaloper address of their testnet validator and submit proof via Google form.
Mainnet Validate all available consumer chains secured by the Cosmos Hub. Hypha checks mainnet validators and blocks to confirm.
Testnet Remain unjailed for the duration of the period on the provider chain. Hypha testnet recorder reports jailing events.
Testnet Sign the fifth block after every scheduled Testnet Wednesday event in the period (consumer chain launch, chain upgrade, chain re-launch, etc). Hypha testnet recorder reports on block signing during and after events on Wednesdays.
Testnet Run mainnet-grade infrastructure (nodes, sentries, etc) on all chains. Disclosure from operators via Google form.

Join the Replicated Security testnet!

Here are the joining instructions for the Replicated Security provider testnet.

Coordination for the testnet happens on the Cosmos Network Discord, #replicated-security-testnet channel. Join here and ask for the Replicated Security role.

Need more info? Get in touch with @lexaMichaelides on Telegram or Discord.


To clarify, this is by voting power not rank. At this point in time, there are 7 validators in the top 33%, 15 validators in the middle 33%, and 155 validators in the bottom 33%

Looking forward to the Testnet Wednesdays.

Could you check the google form? Looks like we dont have access right now.

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Should be fixed. Thanks for catching that!

I’m really glad AADAO was able to fund this initiative from the Hypha team. Incentivizing validators to ‘show up’ and do crucial prep work in prevision of Mainnet is a no brainer, especially in the context of Replicated Security which is a more costly process.

The testnet incentive program is an interesting idea. Several months ago you suggested with the UBI for validators running all consumer chains as an incentive to run consumer chains ( Why not fund a similar incentive program for this validator UBI? It could be tiered also with these 33% ranges for example. What do you think about this @jtremback @Youssef?


I had always intended Conditional Basic Income as a stopgap measure while waiting for further developments in cost reductions (which are now underway, as Jehan’s team researches things like atomic ibc and partial set security; and folks discuss new economic standards for consumer chains that might be coming to the Hub).

As long as we are doing a stopgap measure, I would rather get two birds with one stone and improve our testing ability, since this will also improve whatever new features are developed for ICS.


Hi @Cosmic_Validator

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I am in agreement with @lexa

I see conditional basic income (or universal basic income) as a temporary measure while Informal works on improving the current model to reduce the cost to run Replicated Security chains.

On the testnet incentive program above, we see it as a pilot from AADAO’s perspective and a step in the right direction. This pilot could potentially be renewed (and why not improved on) for a longer period and a larger budget once we hear back feedback from Hypha and the community at large.

Again, the best way to address costs of running consumer chains is to fix the root cause (which is closely tied to the inherent design)

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hey @lexa can new validators join the testnet program?

Certainly, we want as many validators as possible. Feel free to message me about it.

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Sure where can i connect with you to get some more details , here or discord?

Telegram or Discord. I’m @lexamichaelides on both.

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Greetings, I think that program is a great idea!

One thing that is unclear: can you clarify the requirements for this part?

Run mainnet-grade infrastructure (nodes, sentries, etc) on all chains.

My concern is that my servers at home are fully utilised and there’s no way to run the testnet and all its consumer chains at home, so I was thinking of running everything at cloud instead, but the rest should stay the same (KMS, monitoring, security patterns etc.), so I wonder if that would make me eligible.

Also, would be nice to hear what is the list of the requirements for infra to be eligible in general.

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We can’t reliably detect issues that might occur on mainnet unless validators are using their same mainnet infrastructure. The thing we are trying to avoid is having everything go well on testnet and then realize that we really hadn’t duplicated mainnet at all because mainnet involves hardware setups but testnet is entirely in the cloud. This is particularly important for wargaming, where we want to attack the testnet and see exactly what we might face if the same attack is performed on mainnet.

No, running things in the cloud does not meet the ‘mainnet-grade infrastructure’ requirement if you are not doing the same on mainnet. If you are operating bare metal on mainnet, you need to do the same for testnet to be eligible.

There are no hard requirements for eligible infrastructure aside from being the same as what you use on mainnet.


There have been some concerns about associating a mainnet validator key with a testnet validator key, so I’m introducing another way to verify that the team applying for the incentive is the same team operating the mainnet validator:

On mainnet Cosmos Hub, send a trivial amount of ATOM (e.g. 1 uatom) from your validator address to the multisig address cosmos1078gmgntta9qguve7c52dhxrs45xumjvcwrutd.

The memo field of this transaction must contain the cosmosvaloper address of your testnet validator.

If you have already submitted proof via the form using the delegate tx method, there is no need to submit proof again. Either of these methods is acceptable, but we recommend this mainnet-only one as it is simpler. The Google form and top-level post have been updated to reflect this.

I appreciate everyone’s feedback and patience as we work out the bugs in this pilot program!