Nym Incentivized Testnet Update

Sep 29, 2020 · 3 min read

Earlier this month and shortly after the release of Nym v0.8 we launched phase 0 of Nym incentivized testnet, the world’s first incentivized and decentralized mixnet that rewards the actors for providing privacy to Internet users.

Two weeks since the start of the testnet, the network is now more than 20x larger. With over 500 mix nodes in operation, Nym is the largest public-facing mixnet ever deployed that provides network layer and metadata protection against NSA-level adversaries that can watch the entire network.

Much thanks to our great community of privacy lovers and advocates. This has been a great achievement!

The new release added lots of new features to the protocol. For a quick overview of Nym’s latest privacy features, check out these videos on sending private Bitcoin transactions over Nym mixnet or watching YouTube privately using Nym’s SOCKS5 proxy.

If you want to try it out yourself, follow our instructions for connecting a wallet (like Electrum or Blockstream Green with Confidential Transactions) to Nym’s SOCKS5 client, or if you use the Keybase desktop chat app, you can experiment connecting it to the Nym mixnet using the SOCKS5 proxy on port 1080 for network and metadata protection of your communications. We have temporarily disabled the web browsing feature to ensure initial quality of service for crypto transactions, but given the growing size of the network we are starting to experiment with opening it up again. We will also announce more exciting integrations from real-world applications soon.

With all the new features the testnet has been a great mechanism to stress-test the network for stability and robustness.

In addition to testing the network itself, Nym’s decentralized infrastructure depends on mix node operators to provide power for useful work of securely mixing network traffic for users. For the operators to play this role with high quality of service, they need incentives. So we set up this version with NYMPH testnet tokens to start testing our incentive mechanisms in a near real-world environment.

All our node runners have now earned NYMPH testnet tokens. The top 100 mix nodes have also been sent Bitcoin to cover their costs for providing computing for the Nym mixnet and mixing packets.

We will continue to run the incentivized testnet until mainnet launch to test new features and releases as they become available. Our new network monitor, which checks that mix nodes are honestly reporting their uptime, is now completed and about to be deployed in time for the Hackers Conference Paraleli Polis. With that crucial piece done, validators are now being actively worked on and we will be able to test out validators fairly soon.

So if you want to be part of this journey, earn NYMPH tokens or be included in the future bounties, set up a node by following the instructions and fill this form with your L-BTC (Liquid Bitcoin) address. The latter process will be automated in our next release.

If you had any questions setting up your node, join our community run Telegram help channel or say hi in our Keybase chat channels.

We will be holding weekly sessions to help onboard more people to test the mixnet. To get to know about those sessions, bounties, or news about the coming NYM token, join our Telegram channel.

What’s next:

  • Testnet phase 1: Directory server with fully automated health checker to check the mix nodes status
  • Getting Bitcoin and NYMPH addresses at node set up
  • Automatic rewards and payments
  • Integration against more privacy-enhanced applications.
  • Releasing our validators and including them in the incentivised testnet