Solana FoundationSolana Foundation

Tour de Sun '22 FAQ

Overview #

THESE FAQS ARE NOT BINDING AND DO NOT ESTABLISH ANY LEGAL COMMITMENTS FOR EITHER SOLANA FOUNDATION OR VALIDATORS. PARTICIPATION IN THIS INCENTIVE INITIATIVE IS SUBJECT TO A VALIDATOR’S AGREEMENT TO AND COMPLIANCE WITH SEPARATE TERMS SPECIFIED BY SOLANA FOUNDATION.

What is Tour de Sun '22 (TdS22)? #

In an effort to encourage the geographic and hardware diversification of the Solana networks, Solana Foundation is adding a new incentive delegation option for a limited number of validators who participate in the Foundation’s Delegation Program.

Solana Foundation is offering performance-based incentives to a limited number of eligible validators to run their testnet node in a selection of high-quality data centers.

Why is Solana Foundation doing this? #

Hosting companies and cloud providers have different policies applicable to the operation of blockchain software on their infrastructure. These policies may vary over time and across jurisdictional boundaries. To facilitate the decentralization, adoption and security of the Solana network, it is essential that the Solana network and community not become overly reliant on any single service provider or location.

Through incentives offered through Tour de Sun ’22 as well as the existing Server Program, Solana Foundation encourages more validators and RPC operators to access infrastructure suited to the requirements of the Solana network. These relationships also help establish mutually beneficial connections between traditional hosting companies and Solana’s global community.

By correlating the incentive amount to a Testnet validator’s performance, we envision that more validators will be encouraged to learn and adopt better performance and monitoring practices for their nodes, resulting in a stronger operator population on Mainnet Beta.

This incentive is available to a limited number of validators receiving stake from Solana Foundation on Testnet, even if an operator is not yet eligible to receive stake from Solana Foundation on Mainnet Beta. We hope this incentive will encourage more active engagement of the Testnet validator population who otherwise might choose not to run a node on Mainnet Beta until they are eligible for stake from Solana Foundation.

Is this required to run a node? #

No. Solana Testnet and Mainnet Beta are permissionless.

No registration or approval is required to run a node on Solana.

Participation in this incentive program is optional and available for a limited number of eligible node operators in the Delegation Program.

Incentive Structure #

What are the incentives? #

Eligible node operators can receive up to 2x the verified monthly hardware and networking cost of running their node in the form of a grant of locked SOL. Such payments and this incentive program may be modified, updated or terminated at any time, immediately upon notice from Solana Foundation, in Solana Foundation’s sole discretion.

Payments will be made at the beginning of each month, and will cover the incentive earned in the previous month.

Any distributed SOL will come as a stake account with a 12-month lock. This means the recipient of the stake account fully owns the SOL and can delegate their SOL as they wish but cannot withdraw, transfer or otherwise liquidate the SOL for at least 12 months from the date of each distribution.

How can I receive locked SOL? #

See Wallet Setup section for information.

What are the requirements? #

There are currently two main requirements in order to be eligible to receive the TdS22 incentive:

  1. Node operators must run their Testnet node on one of the servers available from the following provider:
  2. Node operators must earn Bonus level stake on their Testnet node according to the Delegation Program’s staking criteria.

Solana Foundation may modify these requirements (e.g., change, add to or exclude from any of the foregoing) at any time in its sole discretion.

How many SOL tokens will be provided? #

The monthly incentive earned is directly proportional to the number of epochs from which the node operator earns Bonus level stake from the Delegation Program while operating an eligible server. For example, if there are 15 epochs in the month, and the eligible node earns Bonus stake in 10 of those epochs, the operator would receive up to 10/15, or 66.7% of the total maximum incentive for that month.

The number of SOL tokens payable to an eligible participant will be determined using the time-weighted closing average price per SOL token for the preceding month, as reported on CoinGecko.

How are server costs calculated? #

Who is eligible? #

A limited number of node operators who have registered for Solana Foundation Delegation Program and who are currently eligible to earn stake on Testnet from Solana Foundation can participate in TdS22. Interested node operators can request to sign up for TdS22 here.

Is there a limit to incentives/participants? #

We are rolling out this incentive to the first 500 eligible node operators on Testnet who operate eligible servers and complete the sign up process, including agreeing to applicable terms and conditions specified by Solana Foundation. Depending on community feedback and interest, Solana Foundation may in its sole discretion expand the incentive pool at a later date.

How are epochs that roll over into a new month counted? #

An epoch that straddles two months will be counted for the month in which that epoch ends. Therefore the last full epoch in a given month will be the last one counted for that month’s incentive calculations.

Getting Started #

How do I sign up? #

  1. Make sure you have first signed up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program.
  2. Request to participate in TdS22 here.
  3. Visit https://edgevana.com/solana-validator-servers to provision an eligible server.
  4. Start running your testnet validator on your new server. Once your testnet validator has been running for 1-2 days, you will see your eligibility status updated on your validator status page within the Solana Foundation Delegation Program site.

Where can I see my current eligibility? #

Paste your validator’s identity pubkey in the Delegation Program search. Once you have started your Testnet validator on an eligible server, you will see an indicator showing the epochs for which that node has earned the extra incentive. Please note this may take a few epochs to show up.

Wallet Setup #

Why do I need to create a new wallet? #

Any incentives earned for TdS22 will be issued as a locked stake account to an address on Mainnet Beta. To confirm eligible validators can receive earned incentives, validators must create and verify a new wallet address that is compatible with receiving locked stake accounts as part of the sign-up flow.

Note: Participants are responsible for ensuring that the wallet address they provide is entered correctly and is capable of managing locked stake accounts. Participants are responsible for keeping their wallet secure and backed up. Solana Foundation cannot assist any participant who loses their private keys, has their private keys stolen (or whose wallet is otherwise compromised), or submits a wallet address that cannot manage locked stake accounts. Solana Foundation will not be responsible for any such losses and, incentive payments will not be transferred, duplicated or otherwise repaid in the event of a lost or compromised wallet. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any wallet you use is secure and that its seed phrase is backed up. If you lose access to your wallet key, any incentives issued to such address, and any associated staking rewards, will be lost permanently.

What is a locked stake account/locked SOL? #

A locked stake account is a stake account which is created on Solana, in which tokens can be deposited but cannot be withdrawn before a fixed date, called the unlock date. The ownership of a locked stake account cannot be transferred until the unlock date. A single wallet can hold multiple locked stake accounts. It is extremely important (i) that any wallet receiving a locked stake account and its private keys are securely created and backed up and (ii) that the wallet is capable of managing locked stake accounts.

As soon as the unlock date occurs for a particular locked stake account, tokens in the corresponding stake account can be withdrawn or transferred.

Tokens in a locked stake account can be delegated to any validator and accrue potential staking rewards. Staking rewards accrued that correspond to a locked account are also locked until the unlock date.

For more information about stake account structure, please see the Official Solana Docs.

How can I receive a locked stake account? #

Set up a compatible wallet and provide that wallet’s address (pubkey) when you sign up for the TdS22. When incentive distributions are made to participants, Solana Foundation will create a new locked stake account containing the incentives earned for the given month. The wallet address you provide will be set as the stake and withdraw authority of this new locked stake account. As the holder of the authority keys, the wallet owner will have full control over the stake account.

What types of wallets are compatible? #

The Solana command line tools or SolFlare are the only wallets that are capable of receiving and manipulating locked stake accounts. Either of these options can be used with or without a Ledger Nano hardware wallet.

Exchange wallets (such as Binance or FTX) or other Solana ecosystem wallets such as Phantom are not compatible with locked stake accounts. Providing an address to an incompatible wallet means you will not be able to access any incentives earned. Solana Foundation will not be responsible for any losses, and cannot assist you, if you provide an address for an incompatible wallet.

If you already have a SolFlare or command line wallet set up, you do not need to create a new one. Make sure your seed phrase is backed up, and provide your wallet’s address where prompted during sign-up.

If you are using the command line tools without a Ledger Nano:

  • Create a new keypair (.json) file using the solana-keygen new tool.
  • Make sure your seed phrase is backed up securely!
  • Display the pubkey of your keypair with solana-keygen pubkey
  • This pubkey is your wallet address, and will be assigned as the authority over any locked stake accounts you earn.
  • Copy-paste this pubkey exactly when prompted for your wallet address during the sign up process.

If you are using the command line tools with a Ledger Nano:

  • Set up the Ledger Nano according to its instructions.
  • Make sure your seed phrase is backed up securely!
  • Open the Solana app on your Ledger Nano.
  • Display the pubkey for a key derivation path on your Ledger Nano that you would like to use.
    For example:
    • solana-keygen pubkey usb://ledger
    • solana-keygen pubkey usb://ledger\?key=0
    • solana-keygen pubkey usb://ledger\?key=1
  • This pubkey is your wallet address, and will be assigned as the authority over any locked stake accounts you earn.
  • Copy-paste this pubkey exactly when prompted for your wallet address during the sign up process.

If you are using SolFlare:

  • Follow SolFlare’s guides either to set up a new wallet, or connect to an existing wallet.
  • Make sure your seed phrase is backed up securely!
  • Once you are connected to your SolFlare wallet, your Wallet Address will be displayed at the top of the screen.
  • Copy and paste this pubkey exactly when prompted for your wallet address during the sign up process.
  • Note: When new stake accounts are created and authorized to a SolFlare wallet, they will automatically appear under the Staking page.

How do I verify my wallet address? #

Once you have created a wallet that will be used for any incentives you may receive, you will be asked to sign a message containing your wallet’s address as part of the sign up process for TdS22.

You must sign the message using the keypair file that you used to register your Mainnet Beta validator identity when you signed up for Solana Foundation Delegation Program.

The message signature is not broadcast to Solana network as a transaction, so your chosen wallet address will not be publicly associated with your validator identity.

How do I sign a message with my validator key? #

  1. To create the signature, first make sure you have set up your wallet, and have access to the .json file containing the keypair for the Mainnet Beta validator identity you provided when signing up for the Delegation Program.
  2. Install the latest version of the Solana Foundation Delegation Program CLI tool:
    $ cargo install solana-foundation-delegation-program-cli
  3. Use the sign-message subcommand to sign a message containing your wallet pubkey, using your Mainnet Beta validator identity keypair:
    $ solana-foundation-delegation-program sign-message <WALLET_ADDRESS> --keypair <VALIDATOR_KEYPAIR>
  4. For example, if your wallet address is 5R6prxXuLvcMsSWDBGBLQZoFRp6zEqNihyq97oH86Hev and your Mainnet Beta validator identity keypair is ~/my-validator-identity.json, the command and output would look like:
    $ solana-foundation-delegation-program sign-message 5R6prxXuLvcMsSWDBGBLQZoFRp6zEqNihyq97oH86Hev --keypair ~/my-validator-keypair.json

    35VfRjyTUPdHZmRck4eGSM4U96JUHRHk5ExnQYJ9UMok7BrSVbhy4grU9DgBsVPQab789J9NnM32MhXdabXeQhMx

    In the above example, the following output is the signature:

    35VfRjyTUPdHZmRck4eGSM4U96JUHRHk5ExnQYJ9UMok7BrSVbhy4grU9DgBsVPQab789J9NnM32MhXdabXeQhMx

  5. Copy and paste the message signature in the sign up form when prompted. The sign-up form will automatically verify the extracted wallet address as well as confirm that the correct keypair signed.

Other #

Where can I get help? #

After reading through these FAQs, if you have more questions, please ask them in the #delegation-program channel in the Solana Tech discord.

How does this incentive impact my node's stake from Solana Foundation? #

Earning any TdS22 incentive does not change the amount of stake you may receive from Solana Foundation on Testnet or Mainnet Beta. It also does not alter the onboarding timing for newer validators who are not yet eligible to receive a stake delegation from Solana Foundation on their Mainnet Beta node.

Can I receive the incentive if I am not in the Delegation Program? #

No. At this time, participation in the Delegation Program is required to participate in TdS22.

Can I sign up for a server without the incentive? #

Yes! Anyone who wants to run a validator or RPC node on Solana can take advantage of the offerings from numerous data center providers. More information can be found here.