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Testnet introduction

The Cardano Shelley testnet provides a way for ada users and developers in our community to experiment with staking and help build up a collection of stake pools on Cardano. It marks an important milestone as we move into the Shelley era of development and will help us to prepare for the day when the community takes over full management and responsibility of the blockchain. Staking is the process by which stakeholders combine their wealth to form a pool – or single entity of stake – on Cardano. By having a combined stake pool, more entities can engage in the protocol and these always-on community-run network nodes all contribute to maintaining the ledger.

We are rolling out this stake pool testnet in phases. Each phase sees the delivery of core components along the path to decentralization and we will be providing support at each stage. The first phase provides the ability to host a Rust self node, or ‘blockchain in a box’. We will help you to run your own system locally where you can see how stake pools operate and establish the basic configuration. The second phase is where we connect the various nodes and build out a single unified testnet. Finally, in the third phase we add in the delegation and incentives scheme to reward participants for honest participation across the network.

We encourage our community members to participate in this testnet. As a stake pool operator, you can experiment with various configurations and scenarios. This will provide us with much broader beta testing results and direct feedback which we can use to improve our code base. This phased approach will allow us to gradually build up a set of pools and use these as the basis of our controlled move to the decentralization of Cardano. Once a certain threshold of stake pools is reached, and as more nodes are being run by the Cardano community, staking will be smoothly rolled out to the mainnet. At this point, we expect Cardano to be 50-100 times more decentralized than other large blockchain networks.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on staking before it is officially released on Cardano. To learn more about staking, please visit our staking website.

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