The Public Nakamoto Testnet Is Here
March 25, 2024
The public Nakamoto Testnet has officially arrived, sporting a clean chainstate for builders, Signers, and Stackers. This testnet is a more formal, public testing environment and a refinement of the Pre-Launch Testnet released earlier this month, which was primarily for Core Developers as they completed building and testing the core features protocol.

The Nakamoto Testnet offers developers and Signers a chance to work within a stable environment that is very similar to what the network will look and behave like when Nakamoto reaches mainnet. The Nakamoto testnet is currently in the 'Instantiation' phase which directly mimics how the mainnet will be rolled out as a sort of 'dress rehearsal.'

You can read more about this rollout process here, but the important context for today is that Signers have plenty of time to practice or 'mock Sign' over the next few weeks without the Nakamoto testnet being dependent on them to sign blocks.
Getting Started with Testnet
For those who are ready to start building, below are the steps to take to get started on the testnet today, along with a set of resources that we’ve curated to help you make the most of your testnet experience.
  • Signers
    If you are a Signer, visit the How to Run a Signer docs to get up and running. For personalized support, enter your information by clicking 'Get Started' on this page. You can also browse additional resources below.
  • Builders
    If you’re an app builder, you can now begin deploying your smart contracts to the Nakamoto testnet and using the new API. To get started, visit the Nakamoto Testnet docs where you’ll find links to the explorer, API docs, and Clarinet.
  • Stackers
    There are 4 different Stacking methods: Solo Stacker, Pool Stacker, Pool Delegate, and Signer. You can review detailed information on the new POX4 contract calls for each stacking method here. Note that solo stackers will now need to run a signer or delegate their power to a signer.
Key Resources
  • Testnet essentials: Docs, Explorer, API, and Clarinet.
  • Builder Call: On Wednesday, March 27th, there will be a builder call providing all of the latest important updates on Nakamoto progress and a walkthrough of how app builders can begin to utilize it. This will be recorded for public reference and shared via @StacksOrg on X.
  • Office Hours: Join weekly office hours in Discord with Stacks Foundation Developer Advocate Kenny Rogers to get any of your Stacks questions answered.
  • FAQ: Check out the updated FAQ that covers Signer setup, Stacks Nodes, and Stacking updates.
  • Workshops: Two workshops (covering Signer setup and Stacking flows) will also be hosted in early April and recorded for sharing purposes. Follow @StacksOrg on X for the latest updates.
Nakamoto Testnet Program
To encourage continued testing and participation, the Stacks Foundation is running an incentivized testnet program. This program includes 50 testers for each app in the program. The feedback provided by this group, collected through surveys and direct commentary, is crucial for refining the signing process, enhancing user experience, and improving documentation. Ecosystem apps including Hermetica, Velar, Uasu, and others are participating in the program as well as all of the previously announced Signers. If you're interested in the program, please join an upcoming Office Hours session.
Signer Onboarding and Resources
Today’s testnet rlease includes the new contracts used for Signers and pox-4. This includes the new consensus rules which aren’t fully activated yet. Signers are now able to onboard and conduct distributed key generation and on-chain voting for the aggregate key, allowing them to test everything without the pressure of the network consensus requiring the real signing of blocks.

To ensure that signers are ready for a seamless transition to mainnet, this testnet program will include personalized support for each signer. This support will be led by the BD Working Group and Core Developers. Signers can also review the updated FAQ for more details about setup.

If you’re a Signer interested in support, please visit the sBTC Signer page, click Get Started, and enter your information.
Nakamoto Rollout Overview
For a full tour of the Nakamoto rollout structure, check out this overview post.

ӿ
1
🔸Pre-Launch Testnet (Instantiated)
Live Now

Live and currently available. Nakamoto rules are inactive, pox-4 is available.
2
🔸Pre-Launch Testnet (Activated)
Live Now

The Pre-Launch testnet reaches its final state, with Nakamoto rules going live including Signer features, fast blocks, and Bitcoin finality.
3
🔶 Nakamoto Testnet (Instantiated)
Live Now

As Core Devs wrap up on the Pre-Launch testnet, Nakamoto Testnet will be brought online as a more managed service for builders and partners and will continue to be maintained. Signers will have access to this testnet, but with "mock signing" of blocks.
4
🔶 Nakamoto Testnet (Activated)
Activation Window: Mid-April

All Nakamoto consensus rules fully activated, complete Signer features, fast blocks, and finality go Live.
5
🟧 Nakamoto Mainnet (Instantiated)
Instantiation Window: Starts at Bitcoin block 840,360. Currently projected for ~April 22.

Nakamoto upgrade begins rollout to mainnet! Nakamoto rules inactive while Signers onboard.
6
🟧 Nakamoto Mainnet (Activated)
Activation Window: May 15-29

Nakamoto upgrade rollout completes! Signer features, fast blocks, and finality all live.

ӿ
Stay up to date as mainnet approaches!
As core developers continue to work on the mainnet release coming in April, these testnet environments provide an invaluable opportunity for builders and partners to create, test, and provide feedback for developers and contributors that will help make Nakamoto mainnet as optimal as possible. Check out the below resources for more information:


And, don't forget to check out a launch event near you: