Agoric's Incentivized Testnet AMA Summary

Here is a summary of the answers on  Agoric's Incentivized testnet AMA that took place at 1600 UTC, Thursday, March 25 in Chainflow's Telegram group.

1) So I guess we can start with a very brief intro of Agoric...

Agoric is an open-source development company launching a proof-of-stake chain in the Cosmos ecosystem. We're building a smart contract platform in (secure) JavaScript that is oriented towards security and composability... the goal is to be accessible to more developers and to let them build high quality applications quickly.

2) Could you touch on ‘secure’ JavaScript?

JS through a historical accident, is actually well-suited to separating authority from pure computation. That fits well with the object-capability (ocap) model we advocate. Members of the Agoric team have been on the ECMAScript standards committee getting in the features needed for strong isolation of JS programs.

3) Why did you choose to develop on Cosmos as opposed to other proof of stake chains.

A good question. Our platform and VM is essentially consensus-agnostic so we could've built on e.g., Substrate. The decision was made before my time here, but I believe there was a lot of alignment between our founders' vision and what the Cosmos team was doing with IBC

Also, Agoric was one of the core teams developing IBC!

4) How long (estimation) does this testnet will take?

We're expecting it to run to roughly the end of June

5 ) Substrate goes beyond polkadot ecosystem?

We were considering joining polkadot, but the permissionless nature of IBC was a better fit.

6) For how long Agoric team has been building the platform? Do you have any particular use case?

This is a difficult question to answer as some of the work leading up to the Agoric's platform builds on decades of work from many of our team members. The use case really is oriented on making smart contracting accessible to the millions of Javascript programmers, with what we believe is a better / more scalable model vs. e.g., Ethereum. is the initial research by some of our team dating to 1988.

So it's been a long time in the making. The advent of blockchain made a lot of these ideas suddenly much more achievable.

Here's a great history insight too

7) What are the main motivations behind running the testnet and the ideal outcomes from it? Please describe the testnet structure and the thinking that went behind structuring it in five phases.

For main motivations - we really have two:

  1. Start building the Agoric validating community. The testnet is a great way to see how the community can coordinate and come together on goals.
  2. Test our chain! We want to validate our infrastructure and see where we might have bottlenecks. How do we operate in a production-like environment where we aren't in control of the validators.

The five phases (starting with onboarding and ending with the adversarial phase) were designed to ramp up gradually and to allow our team to integrate the things we learned in each phase.

The phases are about 1-week-on, then 2-weeks-off. So the commitment from the participants is spread out over time.

8) Nice, so about how long will all 5 phases take to complete?

We're expecting it to run to roughly the end of June.

9) What phase are we in now? I thought I might have read that it’s too late for new validators to join?

We just started our onboarding phase. Validators signed up over the last couple weeks.

10) Why was the participant set capped at 150 validators?

Is it possible for validators not in the original 150 to participate in later phases?

If so, how would that happen, under what circumstances.

If a validator is not in the original 150, what's the best way to increase their chances of participating in later phases?

Some people have completed KYC/AML but are still getting verified on our end (there is a manual step). But if you haven't been notified that you were accepted and done KYC/AML at this point then yes it's too late unfortunately.

We had 6,000+ applications for 150 spots (and as far as we could tell it wasn't mostly bots.

In addition to the 150 participants we took ~50 for the waitlist which we might use if current participants drop out for one reason or another.

The 150 limit is because the Tendermint Proof of Stake works well at that limit, and we want to give personal attention to all the participants.

11) If a validator is not in the original 150, what's the best way to increase their chances of participating in later phases?

The short answer is there isn't much you can specifically do at this point. We asked for a lot information in the applications they've already supplied and that's what we'll use if we need to

 -Sounds good, so you'll reach out if slots open, is that right?


12) Talking about this. I read on discord that the waitlist validators are not going to access the testnet phase. Is that correct? In the event that a validator drops out in phase3 for example, how will the onboarding of a waitlist validator be processed?

A waitlist validator coming in late would need to set up their node later on and catch up, yeah. It's not really required that they go through the previous phases.

13) Do validators have the full week to complete the tasks of a particular phase?

Are rewards determined by how quickly a validator completes the tasks?

Validators have the full week (and even longer for onboarding), and the speed of completion is not a factor in rewards, since we want to be cognizant of people with limited work hours or different timezones.

There may be tasks in later phases that require some level of time coordination, but we're trying to avoid anything feeling like a race.

14) Will there be slashing in future phases to weed out weaker validations?

We'll be testing slashing dynamics in a later phase. If there are validators that aren't active then we likely would add in people from the waitlist at that point.

15) How will points earned in the testnet translate into the ability to operate on mainnet? Assuming a validator completes all tasks required of them, will the number of tokens earned be enough to operate in mainnet upon launch? Will testnet results be considered, assuming there will be foundation delegations shortly after launch?

The tl;dr to the above is "Will testnet participants most likely be able to participate on mainnet with their earnings? What protection would there be from getting squeezed out by whales that emerge from the depths, i.e. large funds, exchanges, etc."

Yes, participation on the mainnet will be permissionless. As of right now we think earnings from the testnet should cover any minimum self-stake we'd require to validate on mainnet.

But yes, the top 100 based on self-stake and delegations end up in the active set.

Some of our challenges in the testnet are geared towards making validating more accessible, and we also are looking at mechanics that might help even the playing field vs. e.g,. exchange validators.

16) What percentage of token supply is reserved for incentivized testnet?

Roughly 0.1% of the token supply. A billion tokens and 1m+ were reserved for incentivized testnet.

17) Total supply?

Billion: 1,000,000,000

18) What’s the timelines for mainnet?

This summer!

For information:

For live communication:  (testnet Announcements channel)

P.S. Want to stake with Chainflow when Agoric's mainnet goes live? Contact us and let us know!