Introducing Ghostnet

Nicolas Ochem
The Aleph
3 min readJun 30, 2022


Ghostnet is live!

For a while, the Tezos ecosystem has been launching a new testnet for each protocol update: Granadanet, Hangzhounet, Ithacanet, etc. And Tezos updates a lot, every three months on average.

Dapp developers need to periodically redeploy contracts, sync nodes, set up indexing, and more... Testnets suffer from a lack of URL stability. This means testnet documentation is always outdated, which hinders usage.

To remediate this, we are introducing Ghostnet, a testnet that follows Tezos Mainnet updates. Ghostnet will be updated to the pending Mainnet protocol shortly before the Mainnet update goes live.

Instead of starting from scratch, Ghostnet was started on top of an existing testnet, Ithacanet, by updating it to the Jakarta protocol on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, the same day that Tezos Mainnet upgraded to Jakarta.

Popular indexers have already added support for Ghostnet:

We hope that this change will encourage builders to deploy more testnet infrastructure, knowing that it will keep working when the protocol updates.

We want to thank the indexer teams as well as the Ithacanet bakers for having made this migration possible.

Onwards to Kathmandu(net)

Ghostnet complements but does not replace the protocol testnets that the ecosystem is used to. Indeed, with such a rapid rate of innovation, it is everyone’s duty to test the next protocol before it is voted upon and enacted.

We will continue to deploy testnets for new proposals as they come along.

The five periods of Tezos governance make time for protocol evaluation and testing. In order to get the most out of this time everyone must participate. See you on Kathmandunet!

Towards a Better Testnet Upgrade Mechanism

Tezos upgrades itself forklessly by baker governance. This mechanism is not suitable for testnets. We coordinated the Ghostnet update to Jakarta directly with bakers, who upgraded their node configuration to hard-code the migration block.

Coordination is difficult, and some bakers inevitably fail to perform the change and end up losing sync with the chain. So for the Kathmandu protocol upgrade, we are introducing a change in Testnet governance. The upgrade signal for the signer will be in-protocol, triggered by the Oxhead Alpha baker with special permissions to do so.

This will further reduce the overhead of maintaining a Testnet node by making it as close as possible to Mainnet node maintenance. We expect Ghostnet to require one more manual upgrade to Kathmandu. After that future upgrades will require no manual intervention. To be ready for a Ghostnet protocol upgrade bakers will only need to keep their node software up-to-date, as they already do with Mainnet.

The details of the upgrade mechanism can be read in the Tezos Improvement Proposal (TZIP). We want to thank G.-B. Fefe for implementing this feature in the protocol code.

Join Ghostnet

Anyone is welcome to run a Ghostnet node., maintained by Oxhead Alpha, has instructions on how to join as a baker. It is the place to go for everything Tezos Testnet related. You can see the list of currently active Testnets (in human or json format) and receive some Testnet tokens from the faucet.