Create Testnet Validator

Before setting up your validator node, make sure you've already gone through the Full Node Setup guide.

NOTE: it is not required to create a validator on Akash testnets unless specified in a challenge or otherwise. The akash team runs a centralized validator set to enable for easy and consistent testnet operations for developers trying out the platform for the first time.

What is a Validator?

Validators are responsible for committing new blocks to the blockchain through voting. A validator's stake is slashed if they become unavailable or sign blocks at the same height. Please read about Sentry Node Architecture to learn how to protect your node from DDOS attacks and to ensure high-availability on mainnet.

Create Your Validator

Your cosmosvalconspub can be used to create a new validator by staking tokens. You can find your validator pubkey by running:

akashd tendermint show-validator

The file that stores this private key lives at ~/.akashd/config/priv_validator_key.json. To create your validator, just use the following command:

akashctl tx staking create-validator \
--amount=1000000akash \
--pubkey=$(akashd tendermint show-validator) \
--moniker="choose a moniker" \
--chain-id=<chain_id> \
--commission-rate="0.10" \
--commission-max-rate="0.20" \
--commission-max-change-rate="0.01" \
--min-self-delegation="1" \
--gas="auto" \
--gas-prices="0.025akash" \
--from=<key_name>

::: tip When specifying commission parameters, the commission-max-change-rate is used to measure % point change over the commission-rate. E.g. 1% to 2% is a 100% rate increase, but only 1 percentage point. :::

::: tip min-self-delegation is a stritly positive integer that represents the minimum amount of self-delegated voting power your validator must always have. A min-self-delegation of 1 means your validator will never have a self-delegation lower than 1000000akash :::

You can confirm that you are in the validator set by using a third party explorer for the testnet you are joining.

Edit Validator Description

You can edit your validator's public description. This info is to identify your validator, and will be relied on by delegators to decide which validators to stake to. Make sure to provide input for every flag below. If a flag is not included in the command the field will default to empty (--moniker defaults to the machine name) if the field has never been set or remain the same if it has been set in the past.

The <key_name> specifies the keyy for the validator which you are editing. If you choose to not include certain flags, remember that the --from flag must be included to identify the validator to update.

The --identity can be used as to verify identity with systems like Keybase or UPort. When using with Keybase --identity should be populated with a 16-digit string that is generated with a keybase.io account. It's a cryptographically secure method of verifying your identity across multiple online networks. The Keybase API allows explorers to retrieve your Keybase avatar. This is how you can add a logo to your validator profile.

akashctl tx staking edit-validator
--moniker="choose a moniker" \
--website="https://akash.network" \
--identity=6A0D65E29A4CBC8E \
--details="The SUPERCLOUD IS HERE!" \
--chain-id=<chain_id> \
--gas="auto" \
--gas-prices="0.025akash" \
--from=<key_name> \
--commission-rate="0.10"

Note: The commission-rate value must adhere to the following invariants:

  • Must be between 0 and the validator's commission-max-rate

  • Must not exceed the validator's commission-max-change-rate which is maximum

    % point change rate per day. In other words, a validator can only change

    its commission once per day and within commission-max-change-rate bounds.

View Validator Description

View the validator's information with this command:

akashctl query staking validator <account_akash>

Track Validator Signing Information

In order to keep track of a validator's signatures in the past you can do so by using the signing-info command:

akashctl query slashing signing-info <validator-pubkey>\
--chain-id=<chain_id>

Unjail Validator

When a validator is "jailed" for downtime, you must submit an Unjail transaction from the operator account in order to be able to get block proposer rewards again (depends on the zone fee distribution).

akashctl tx slashing unjail \
--from=<key_name> \
--chain-id=<chain_id>

Confirm Your Validator is Running

Your validator is active if the following command returns anything:

akashctl query tendermint-validator-set | grep "$(akashd tendermint show-validator)"

You should now see your validator in one of the Akash Testnet explorers. You are looking for the bech32 encoded address in the ~/.akashd/config/priv_validator.json file.

Halting Your Validator

When attempting to perform routine maintenance or planning for an upcoming coordinated upgrade, it can be useful to have your validator systematically and gracefully halt. You can achieve this by either setting the halt-height to the height at which you want your node to shutdown or by passing the --halt-height flag to akashd. The node will shutdown with a zero exit code at that given height after committing the block.

Common Problems

Problem #1: My validator has voting_power: 0

Your validator has become jailed. Validators get jailed, i.e. get removed from the active validator set, if they do not vote on 500 of the last 10000 blocks, or if they double sign.

If you got jailed for downtime, you can get your voting power back to your validator. First, if akashd is not running, start it up again. If you are running systemd this will be different:

akashd start

Wait for your full node to catch up to the latest block. Then, you can unjail your validator‚Äč

Lastly, check your validator again to see if your voting power is back.

akashctl status

You may notice that your voting power is less than it used to be. That's because you got slashed for downtime!

Problem #2: My akashd crashes because of too many open files

The default number of files Linux can open (per-process) is 1024. akashd is known to open more than 1024 files. This causes the process to crash. A quick fix is to run ulimit -n 4096 (increase the number of open files allowed) and then restart the process with akashd start. If you are using systemd or another process manager to launch akashd this may require some configuration at that level. See the systemd configuration doc for details on how to configure systemd to aleviate this issue.