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Completing AIT1 // AIT2 in Hot Pursuit

A huge shout out to the community and a big thanks to all the AIT1 (Aptos Incentivized Testnet 1) participants for the successful completion of our first incentivized testnet! We are grateful for the collaboration and look forward to continued engagement with the community! This post covers rewards, some lessons about the AIT1 and some of our initial plans around greater community involvement for AIT2. Please read and share your thoughts!

AIT1 in Review

Together we created and deployed a decentralized network that persisted for over a week. The initial plan was to only reward those that met a 95% participation rate. We were moved by the tireless efforts of so many and added additional recognition for those that did not meet the original expectation but were able to participate in 5% of the rounds with a 50% reward for eligible individuals.

Our Lessons

Lesson 1) Prepare for Denial of Service

The team had kept under tight wraps the set of participants, their identities, and their network configuration. Each participant also agreed to a terms of service: “You will not … disrupt or initiate any attacks against users of the Aptos Services or the Testnet”. Despite this, many participants had their metric ports put under extreme duress resulting in performance implications and undue costs on their nodes. Moving forward, the team will add documentation updates around protecting all public interfaces as well as implement this within our reference deployment scripts to help mitigate these attacks.

Lesson 2) Improve Node Validation Checks

The initial testnet allowed anyone to register even if they had a validator running on a low performance machine connected via a dial up internet connection. Furthermore, validators in performant environments may be incorrectly configured, e.g., mistaking private and public keys. Some participants in the testnet suffered from high latency and other limitations or just had a misconfigured registration. We are investing in a more comprehensive node validation to better educate the community on identifying a good environment for running a validator and evaluating its correctness.

Lesson 3) Support Your Community Leaders

Many in the community have done amazing things prior to incentivized testnet to help each other connect to our devnet, develop on local testnets, and build tooling to help teach each other. While there were many heroes on AIT1, you were dearly missed and we will make sure to include you in future rounds.

Our Successes

Success 1) We did it! The community came together, started nodes, participated in a decentralized bootstrap process, and we ran a network together for over a week!

Success 2) We identified a bug in our code, provided a configuration change to get around it, and saw node runners apply the fix and continue contributing to the success of the network!

Success 3) Node runners supported each other exemplified by the collective effort in identifying the cause of the denial of service and providing mitigations.

Thank you so much for making our first incentivized testnet so successful!

AIT2 Full Steam Ahead

We have had a moment to step back from the momentous launch and completion of AIT1 to actively listen to the community about what has gone well and what can be better. We hear you and recognize that there are opportunities to improve the selection process to enable, empower, and recognize the Aptos community. To that end, we want to share some preliminary efforts that we are putting into place for ensuing incentivized testnets.

  1. Preallocate at least 10% of the available slots for significant community contributors as demonstrated on GitHub and Discord. While we’re working out the exact details, we want to recognize those that have been building the community and enabling others to join and be successful.
  2. Have a community voting phase between the end of registration and notification of acceptance to allow the community to vote for each other. Thus allowing us to identify leaders where our process for identifying significant contributors fails.
  3. Request more insights about your deployment strategy, background, role (community member, academic, node operator), and motivation for applying.
  4. More thorough documentation and readiness checks to help everyone better understand the characteristics of a well-deployed validator.

Beyond incentivized testnet, we’ll soon be announcing new ways for you to be rewarded for your contributions. We want to enable you to continue to focus your efforts on building, and we’re excited to share this initiative with you.


With that being said, we just want to take a moment to express how humbled we are by our community. When we launched devnet in the middle of March, we had very modest expectations of maybe 10 or at most 100 full nodes. We imagined that the first development on the platform would be after our hackathon in early May. We also originally thought that the first hackathon would be geared towards sharing how to develop efficiently on Aptos and Move.

The growth of the Aptos community has far exceeded our wildest expectations. At the peak, before testnet readiness, the number of fullnodes connected to devnet was reaching 18,000. Our earliest contributions came within a couple of weeks. We have had substantial contributions to both the codebase and design of Aptos. We have been overwhelmed by the love, support, and kindness you have shown to Aptos and to each other, whether that’s deploying nodes, solving Move coding problems, or making awesome memes.

Following our devnet experience, your response to our testnet has been even more overwhelming! We had originally planned to use a simple approach to taking applications, such as a google form, and then doing a lot of operational work to identify participants. However, we adjusted that plan in late April due to the joyous response from the Aptos community. Even with that adjustment, we never imagined that there would be 30,000 registrations. As you can see from our initial proposal on how registration will be improved for future testnets, we want to work closely with you to help define criteria that really makes every phase of Aptos as inclusive as possible.

This is only the first step towards our promise. In a couple weeks, we will update you with our plans for AIT2 including the goals and registration process. Our current plan is to begin AIT2 registration by the end of the month.

Thank you all for your feedback, keep it coming. And always please continue following along on Discord and Twitter. Let’s Move!



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