Run a Validator Node

Validator parameters

  • Minimum stake: 1,000,000 FTM

  • Maximum validator size: 15x the self-stake amount

  • Minimum hardware requirements: AWS EC2 m5.xlarge with 4 vCPUs (3.1 GHz) and at least 1TB of Amazon EBS General Purpose SSD (gp2) storage (or equivalent).

  • Rewards: currently ~13% APY (Normal APY on self-stake + 15% of delegators' rewards). APY varies based on staked %. For up-to-date APY, check https://fantom.foundation/ftm-staking/

What are we going to do?

Launch Cloud Instance

You can either run a node on your own hardware or use a cloud provider. We would recommend choosing one of the big cloud providers, e.g. Amazon AWS.

Node Specifications

We recommend the following or better: m5.xlarge General Purpose Instance with 4 vCPUs (3.1 GHz), 16GB of memory, up to 10 Gbps network bandwidth, and at least 1TB of disk space.

We would recommend going with Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS (64-bit).

Network Settings

Open up port 22 for SSH, as well as port 5050 for both TCP and UDP traffic.

Set up Non-Root User

If there is already a non-root user available, you can skip this step.

# SSH into your machine
(local)$ ssh [email protected]{VALIDATOR_IP_ADDRESS}
# Update the system
(validator)$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y
# Create a non-root user
(validator)$ USER={USERNAME}
(validator)$ sudo mkdir -p /home/$USER/.ssh
(validator)$ sudo touch /home/$USER/.ssh/authorized_keys
(validator)$ sudo useradd -d /home/$USER $USER
(validator)$ sudo usermod -aG sudo $USER
(validator)$ sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /home/$USER/
(validator)$ sudo chmod 700 /home/$USER/.ssh
(validator)$ sudo chmod 644 /home/$USER/.ssh/authorized_keys

Make sure to paste your public SSH key into the authorized_keys file of the newly created user in order to be able to log in via SSH.

# Enable sudo without password for the user
(validator)$ sudo vi /etc/sudoers

Add the following line to the end of the file:

{USERNAME} ALL=NOPASSWD: ALL

Now close the root SSH connection to the machine and log in as your newly created user:

# Close the root SSH connection
(validator)$ exit
# Log in as new user
(local)$ ssh {USERNAME}@{VALIDATOR_IP_ADDRESS}

Install Required Tools

You are still logged in as the new user via SSH. Now we are going to install Go and Opera.

First, install the required build tools:

# Install build-essential
(validator)$ sudo apt-get install -y build-essential

Install Go

# Install go
(validator)$ wget https://dl.google.com/go/go1.15.10.linux-amd64.tar.gz
(validator)$ sudo tar -xvf go1.15.10.linux-amd64.tar.gz
(validator)$ sudo mv go /usr/local

Export the required Go paths:

# Export go paths
(validator)$ vi ~/.bash_aliases
# Append the following lines
export GOROOT=/usr/local/go
export GOPATH=$HOME/go
export PATH=$GOPATH/bin:$GOROOT/bin:$PATH

Validate your Go installation

Install Opera

# Install Opera
(validator)$ git clone https://github.com/Fantom-foundation/go-opera.git
(validator)$ cd go-opera/
(validator)$ git checkout release/1.0.1-rc.1
(validator)$ make

Validate your Opera installation:

$./build/opera help
VERSION:
1.0.1-rc.1

Register Fantom Validator

After installing everything we need, you can continue by registering your Fantom validator node on-chain. To do this, you need to create a validator wallet. The wallet is the validator’s identity in the network which it uses to authenticate, sign messages, etc. First, start the Opera read-only node to interact with it and to create a validator wallet:

# Start opera node
(validator)$ cd build/
(validator)$ wget https://opera.fantom.network/mainnet.g
(validator)$ nohup ./opera --genesis mainnet.g --nousb &

Starting up your node will look something like this:

The node should start to sync the network data right away:

Create a validator wallet

The node running and syncing the network in your current console, so you need to open up a new console window, connect via SSH to the server and enter the following commands to create a wallet:

# Create validator wallet
(validator)$ ./opera account new

After entering the command, you will get prompted to enter a password for the account (= wallet) — use a strong one! You can e.g. use a password manager to generate a 20+ digit password to secure your wallet. It will look something like this:

NEVER share your private key or keystore with anyone!

By the way: The wallet above is not a real wallet we use, it’s just for demonstration purposes only.

Fund your validator wallet

The next step is to fund your validator wallet with enough FTM to become a validator. That means you need to have at least 1,000,000 FTM in the wallet you just created (send a little more to cover transaction fees).

If you don’t have your FTM on the Opera mainnet already, you will need to swap your FTM using the Fantom Bridge:

How to use the Fantom Bridge

After successfully swapping FTM to your newly created Opera wallet, you can register your validator via the SFC Smart Contract.

Make sure you wait for your node to be fully synced, otherwise your FTM will not show up in your wallet!

Create a new validator key

We have to create validator private key to sign consensus messages with. It can be done only using go-opera (https://github.com/Fantom-foundation/lachesis_launch/blob/master/docs/create_validator.md):

(validator)$ ./opera validator new

Follow the prompts and supply the password, the output is as follows:

Your new key was generated
Public key: 0xPubkey
Path of the secret key file:
- You can share your public key with anyone. Others need it to validate messages from you.
- You must NEVER share the secret key with anyone! The key controls access to your validator!
- You must BACKUP your key file! Without the key, it's impossible to operate the validator!
- You must REMEMBER your password! Without the password, it's impossible to decrypt the key!

Create your validator via the SFC

Open up the console where you entered the commands to create the validator wallet previously and attach to the Opera node console:

# Attach to opera console
(validator)$ ./opera attach

By doing so, you will get a JavaScript console where you can directly interact with the Opera node and e.g. send transactions (which you will do in a moment):

Now initialize the SFC contract ABI variable (https://github.com/Fantom-foundation/lachesis_launch/blob/master/releases/sfc-abi-3.0.0-rc.1.json):

abi = 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e":"blocksNum","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"time","type":"uint256"}],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"view","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"value","type":"uint256"}],"name":"updateBaseRewardPerSecond","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"blocksNum","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"time","type":"uint256"}],"name":"updateOfflinePenaltyThreshold","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"validatorID","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"refundRatio","type":"uint256"}],"name":"updateSlashingRefundRatio","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256[]","name":"offlineTime","type":"uint256[]"},{"internalType":"uint256[]","name":"offlineBlocks","type":"uint256[]"},{"internalType":"uint256[]","name":"uptimes","type":"uint256[]"},{"internalType":"uint256[]","name":"originatedTxsFee","type":"uint256[]"}],"name":"sealEpoch","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256[]","name":"nextValidatorIDs","type":"uint256[]"}],"name":"sealEpochValidators","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":true,"inputs":[{"internalType":"address","name":"delegator","type":"address"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"toValidatorID","type":"uint256"}],"name":"isLockedUp","outputs":[{"internalType":"bool","name":"","type":"bool"}],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"view","type":"function"},{"constant":true,"inputs":[{"internalType":"address","name":"delegator","type":"address"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"toValidatorID","type":"uint256"}],"name":"getUnlockedStake","outputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"","type":"uint256"}],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"view","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"toValidatorID","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"lockupDuration","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"amount","type":"uint256"}],"name":"lockStake","outputs":[],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"toValidatorID","type":"uint256"},{"internalType":"uint256","name":"amount","type":"uint256"}],"name":"unlockStake","outputs":[{"internalType":"uint256","name":"","type":"uint256"}],"payable":false,"stateMutability":"nonpayable","type":"function"}]')

… as well as the SFC contract object itself:

sfcc = web3.ftm.contract(abi).at("0xfc00face00000000000000000000000000000000")

After initializing both variables, you can now interact with the network’s SFC. Enter the following command to check that everything works as expected:

// Sanity check
sfcc.lastValidatorID() // if everything is all right, will return a non-zero value

If it looks like this, everything is OK (you should not get an error here):

Next, try to get your validatorID from the SFC using your previously generated validator wallet address:

# Get your validator id
sfcc.getValidatorID("{VALIDATOR_WALLET_ADDRESS}")

This should return 0, as you are not registered as a validator yet:

Next, unlock your validator wallet to be able to execute the registration transaction (make sure to use the password you set before):

# Unlock validator wallet
personal.unlockAccount("{VALIDATOR_WALLET_ADDRESS}", "{PASSWORD}", 60)

This will return “true” if unlocking the wallet was successful:

Next, send the createValidator transaction to register your validator (the value is the representation of the smallest FTM unit, so dividing it be 1e18 will result in 1,000,000 FTM. Alternatively, you can use web3.toWei("1000000.0", "ftm")):

# Register your validator
tx = sfcc.createValidator(YOUR_PUBKEY, {from:YOUR_ADDRESS, value: web3.toWei("3175000.0", "ftm")}) // 3175000.0 FTM

Make sure to check your registration transaction (could take a few moments to be confirmed):

# Check your registration transaction
ftm.getTransactionReceipt(tx)

Look for the status: “0x1” at the bottom, which means the transaction was successful:

You can also copy the transactionHash and go the Fantom Explorer and check your transaction there:

https://explorer.fantom.network/transactions/[YOURTX]

This would look something like the below:

Finally, execute the following command again to check your validatorID:

# Get your validator id
sfc.getValidatorID("{VALIDATOR_WALLET_ADDRESS}")

It should now return something other than “0”:

Congrats, you are now a Fantom validator!

Run your Fantom Validator Node

Before you run off celebrating, you need to restart your node in validator mode! 😉 Close the Opera console window by typing “exit”. Then head back to the console window where you started your node with the following command:

(validator)$ nohup ./opera --genesis $NETWORK --nousb --validator.id ID --validator.pubkey 0xPubkey --validator.password /path/to/password &

*For latest update, please check https://github.com/Fantom-foundation/lachesis_launch.

** This guide includes several screenshots made by [email protected] (https://www.block42.tech/) with the author’s consent.