Nakamoto: Pre-Launch Testnet Activated
March 11, 2024
Hey Stackers, we’ve reached another milestone on the way to the Nakamoto upgrade! Today, the Pre-Launch Testnet (fka Argon for all you OGs!) was ‘Activated’, making the Nakamoto rules live. This means developers can now interact with all the new code that makes Nakamoto so exciting.
The Pre-Launch Testnet offers accelerated <= 2-day cycles to help developers simulate behaviors and outcomes in their applications much faster. As these developers use the testnet, Core Developers will continue to gather valuable insights for further enhancements. In addition, most of what they create on testnet should be a seamless transition to mainnet!

If you’re not familiar with the Nakamoto rollout process, this post is key to helping you navigate. The short version is each testnet and then mainnet follows the same two-step rollout process: Instantiation, then Activation. Today, the Pre-Launch testnet has reached the Activation step and is therefore ‘launched’. It will be continually upgraded as we go along and developers should expect some bumpy performance and bugs along the way.
Get Started
For developers who are looking to try Nakamoto, you have two paths:
Expect some bumps and bugs, but try Nakamoto today!
You can jump into the docs and code today and understand that while the testnet won’t be perfect, but you’ll have an accelerated Nakamoto environment and can begin building out your applications and smart contracts. This will be especially helpful for any developers interacting with the new pox-4 contract. To get started on this path, here are the links and resources you may need:

Check out the docs for a walkthrough of how to start experimenting with the testnet

Pre-Launch Testnet Links:

Nakamoto Testnet Program
Next up will be the more formal Nakamoto Testnet expected around March 25th. This will be brought online as a more managed service for builders and partners and is the testnet that will be maintained alongside the live network. You can think of the Nakamoto Testnet as a refinement of the Pre-Launch Testnet that builders can depend on going forward, whereas the Pre-Launch Testnet’s main purpose to date has been serving the Core Developers as they did the heavy lifting on the protocol.

Along with it, the Nakamoto Testnet Program will kick off. Much like the program help for the sBTC Developer Release, this is a program designed to help app developers, Signers, and others test their builds and get ahead of their mainnet launch. This will offer invaluable feedback to developers about their apps and to the Core Devs as they fine-tune the release.

As part of this testnet program, we have lined up 50 testers for each app in the program. These testers will use the app and provide valuable feedback via survey and direct commentary on functionality and usability. This feedback loop is crucial for refining the signing process, enhancing user experience, and improving documentation. We’re grateful to apps like Hermetica, Velar, Uasu, and others who are already working with us on this!

To be considered for the program, developers can join any of the next two open Office Hours sessions with Kenny Rogers, Developer Advocate here at the Stacks Foundation.

In addition to onboarding more developers, the BD Working Group and some Core Developers will spearhead efforts to onboard Signers to the Nakamoto Testnet. This effort will include one-on-one calls to gather feedback from Signers, ensuring they understand the nuances of the signing process and are equipped for a seamless transition to mainnet upon release. If you’re a Signer interested in support, please visit the sBTC Signer page, click Get Started, and enter your information.
As we embark on this next phase of the Nakamoto rollout, we want to thank all those supporting these efforts with their time, energy, and attention. If you’re a developer looking to get plugged in for the first time, we recommend checking out the new ‘Build’ page on that will serve as a great jumping-off point for your journey!

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