Houston Testnet: A Retrospective

Houston Testnet: A Retrospective

Blast Team

5 min read

As the Houston Incentivized Testnet is coming soon to an end, it’s time we looked back on what the past 7 months of work from our community and BUIDLers have brought and meant for Blast API.

5th of August, 2022

When I received the confirmation that I would take part in the Houston Testnet program, at first I was really excited. I knew that my place in this lineup of space explorers bore, besides an exciting prospect, the greatest of responsibilities. We’ve been told that the program would run in three phases — The Launch, The Orbit and The Landing. Each phase more challenging than the other, each cycle more promising and revealing than the previous, our objective, while simple, announced itself to be titanic: test, secure and even maybe improve the mothership that would carry us onwards to the next generation of Web3 infrastructure

30th of August, 2022

Launch Phase — what a start! With nodes onboarded in the first couple of days since our arrival at the building site, getting to know the ship benefited from an uninterrupted flux of insights and innovations. We started the Launch Phase with 32 Node Providers and a total of 40 nodes. I was shocked to see how professional everybody has been approaching this challenge. The team also introduced a new feature to the ship: the Staking Pool management, staking functionality and claiming rewards.

20th of September, 2022

We’ve been in the Orbit Phase for a while now and, well, we’re really orbiting! New missions come every day, tasks that need to be filled and progress to be made. All participants have to constantly monitor their nodes and report on performance periodically. Comms were setup a couple of days ago, and we all received access to join in the communication channels.

We’re doing this in order to see if the ship’s engine, the Integrity Protocol, can accurately pick up on any faulty nodes that could mess up the entire thing when floating in literal deep space. It can get pretty repetitive at times, I’ll be honest, but it’s not that big of a deal. End game is motivating enough.

14th of October, 2022

The big guys just announced something pretty interesting: we’re adding a new phase to the program. Dubbed the Community Phase, it aims to open up the Testnet to an even larger pool of participants. We’ll have new crew members soon which is cool. They said that the main focus of this phase revolves around the delegation functionalities, so that when we fully launch the nodes have balanced loads that will allow the decentralisation to keep us safely afloat.

We also got our tokens some time ago! We moved on from monitoring to actual staking and pushing the engine in various ways — testing all facets.

13th of November, 2022

Back here at the mothership. We made some improvements to the ship’s engine and entire flow as some crew members have been suggesting technicalities in our comms panel. Interesting ideas on that panel, they come from all teams and all Phase participants.

Speaking of — the new guys from the Community Phase are here! They got their test tokens as well and started working on their quests and it’s fun to have some new faces around. We heard that the last phase is to start soon, the Landing and that’s something I wasn’t expecting that fast. Albeit, we’ve been here at the site for 4 months now and yet it seems like we onboarded the first nodes in the engine just two days ago.

Also — everybody seems to be wanting a dark mode for the navigation HUD and to be honest I agree.

30th of November, 2022

Landing Phase: has a finality to its ring.

The focus of the last phase is to find any potential corner cases or hidden issues that might have been overlooked so far. The missions imply testing negative scenarios as well as the engine’s response to negative behaviour on the Node Provider part. It’s rough and pretty demanding, but we’re so close to “landing” this thing (see what I did there?).

Small commotion happened recently. Some of the crew members have been a bit vocal about not receiving notifications when their nodes underperform, specifically wanting to know first of all the moment when it happens and then why. I think we’ll get a feature in that sense soon.

22nd of December, 2022

We got it! The engine now sends signals to nodes whenever status updates or changes happen. Truly feels like Christmas is coming soon.

It’s getting close to the end. We got news today about a new part of the Testnet initiative. The Mission Leads set aside tokens for a Delegation Program, the fine tuning part before we launch the ship into orbit and then, onwards, in space.

It kinda works like a back and forth thing, as we’re getting some nice rewards as well with this program now and it feels good to have your work so far validated and appreciated.

Deep space is calling. I think we’re almost there.

1st of February, 2023

Stress testing — get us out of here!

It’s raining asteroids on this poor ship like we’re having a hurricane. But it’s all necessary, we can’t risk anything so close to the launch, and no one really knows what’s out there. We’re subjecting the ship to two big tests: a load test and an actual stress conditions test.

Checking first if the engine and structure of the ship can withstand what the Mission Leads set as benchmarks then we move on to shooting and simulating asteroids, solar storms and unstable nebula clouds to see how much the ship can take.

14th of February, 2023

When I received the confirmation that I would take part in the Houston Testnet program, I, like most others, did not know what to expect.

It’s my last day in the Houston Testnet Program. What initially seemed complicated is now clear and understandable. What at first was a foggy roadmap in three stages has turned into a purpose in itself: securing the path for star walkers that want to explore the Web3 universe.

Blast Mainnet is to be launched in the next couple of days, they’re drawing the blinds on the ship until D-Day. We did our best. We worked, we laughed, we argued, we got frustrated, we were relieved — space crews always have more fun.

The Blast API mothership is on standby.

Mainnet, here we come.


Disclaimer: The text above is based on diary excerpts found aboard the Blast API ship shortly after the Houston Testnet mission concluded. Some passages were torn or illegible and thus have not been reproduced. The author seems to have participated in the program but has yet to be identified.

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