⚡🏝️ ISLE incentivized testnet conclusion


Last week, Hypha ran its second incentivized testnet for the Cosmos Hub!

Way back in 2021, we ran Game of Chains – a 6 week incentivized testnet designed to test and train validators on the first version of Interchain Security. We launched five consumer chains, including the first ICS-secured version of Neutron!

This year, the Interchain Security Lightning Experiment testnet ran for just a single week and also launched five chains, one of which was the first ICS-secured version of Elys Network. This is by far the most dense incentivized testnet the Hub has ever seen – everyone is eager to get ICS 2.0 to mainnet in record time and that involves a ton of testing, training, and exploration of this new technology.

This rapid pace is made possible by incentives funding from AADAO, which pays for validator time and attention both in the regular Testnet Incentives Program and for the weeklong ISLE.

How did it go?

We had a total of 45 validators participating and registered (though records show that a few more were participating but not registered, or registered and not participating). That accounts for 25% of the Hub’s active set and we had validators of all ranks present. This covers both validators who will likely be included in Top N chains as well as those who will only ever get to opt-in or opt-out of running new chains.

Our five chains launched were:

  • Easter, a Top N = 80% chain
  • Faroe, a Top N = 67% chain
  • Galapagos, an opt-in chain to introduce the concept
  • Ibiza, an opt-in chain using the Elys binary
  • Java, an opt-in chain to use as a testing sandbox

Across these chains, we ran 30 different tasks for validators to earn points, and the 45 validators earned a total of 4819 points! 20 validators managed to complete every task perfectly, earning a score of 129.

We’re setting the value of a single point at 6 USDC, which makes the payout range 66 - 744 USDC and the total amount spent ~30k USDC.

Payouts will begin next week!


Top N vs opt-in

For most validators, ISLE was the first opportunity to see the difference between a Top N chain and an opt-in chain. Validators learned that Top N is calculated by voting power, not ranking, and that validators may rotate in and out of the Top N based on how stake distribution changes on mainnet. Much like on current Replicated Security chains, validators who are close to the threshold of needing to validate a consumer chain should be prepared to spin up a node on short notice or face penalties.

On opt-in chains, no validators are mandated to run the chain. However, in this first release of ICS 2.0, the Hub must still approve a chain’s consumer-addition proposal to add that chain-id to the database. Once a chain-id is known to the provider chain (beginning when the consumer-addition proposal is first put into deposit period), validators can send opt-in transactions and assign consumer keys in preparation for running the chain.

Stride and Neutron transition

Our existing Replicated Security chains — Neutron and Stride, are going to be automatically transitioned to Top N=95% chains when we upgrade. For validators who are currently in the bottom 5%, they’ll get opted out and need to manually opt back in to keep running the chain.

This info has been added to all v17 upgrade comms!

Double-signing on consumer chains

Sergey from Quokka Stake has been one of the strongest participants on the Interchain Security testnet and he used the test-java-1 chain to test out double-signing on consumer chains with support and commentary from Citadel One, Everstake, High Stakes, and Stakecito.

We saw how evidence of double-signing can be collected on a consumer chain and submitted to the provider chain to incur penalties.

Setting up a double-signing test is a lot of operator work so major kudos to Quokka Stake for doing this! We’ve also made great use of Quokka’s tmtop chain visualizing tool, which monitors all testnet and mainnet upgrades in Hypha HQ.

Next on the itinerary :ship:

Next stop – Hub mainnet!

ICS 2.0 will land on the Hub on June 5 (details here) and all 45 ISLE validators will be trained and ready to opt-in, opt-out, and assign their consumer keys for new chains.

All validators who registered and participated in ISLE can just continue running provider and pion-1 nodes and will continue getting tagged for testnet events in Discord.

Consistent feedback from our participants is that the testnet is the absolute best way to gain familiarity with the CLI, gaiad, and node operations that are necessary for mainnet Hub. We’re so lucky to have such a strong validator set on the Hub and the testnet is a huge contributing factor to the technical expertise we see on the Hub, especially with ICS.

Our ongoing testnet program is also incentivized by AADAO through the Testnet Incentives Program which pays 100-500 USDC per period (roughly 5-6 weeks).


Congrats to you, the Hypha team, the validators, and the upcoming consumer chains that participated in the ISLE testnet. Epic program and very well coordinated.

Great job Hypha team! :clap:t2: :clap:t2: :clap:t2:

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