Set up a Validator

Table of contents
  1. Set up a Validator
  2. Joining Unigrid Testnet
    1. General instructions on how to join the Unigrid testnet
      1. Current testnet
      2. Minimum Hardware Requirements
      3. Unigrid Cosmos SDK Pax Installation
  3. Auto Setup
  4. Manual Setup
    1. Make the Binary Executable:
    2. Move the Binary to /usr/local/bin:
    3. Configuration of Shell Variables
    4. Setting up the Node
      1. Initialize the chain
    5. Download the genesis file
      1. Create a local key pair
    6. Obtain testnet tokens
  5. Setting up Cosmos Daemon as a Service
    1. Start the node and sync
      1. Upgrade to a validator
        1. Obtain Validator Keys:
        2. Create a json file for your validator
        3. Add Avatar (not required)
      2. Backup critical files
  6. Check your Validator
    1. Result
  7. Monitoring a Cosmos SDK Validator
    1. 1. Setting up Prometheus for Monitoring
      1. Installation:
      2. Configuration:
    2. 2. Setting up Grafana for Visualization
      1. Installation:
      2. Configuration:
    3. 3. Monitoring Your Validator
      1. Key Steps:
      2. Commands for Monitoring:
    4. Closing

Joining Unigrid Testnet

General instructions on how to join the Unigrid testnet

Current testnet

For details of upgrades on the current testnet, as well as syncing, you can check out the testnets repo. If you get stuck, then please ask on Discord.

  • chain-id: unigrid-testnet-4
  • *Current Github release: paxd

Minimum Hardware Requirements

  • Quad Core or larger AMD or Intel (amd64) CPU
    • ARM CPUs like the Apple M1 are not supported at this time.
  • 64GB RAM (can use swap)
  • 1TB NVMe Storage
  • 100MBPS bidirectional internet connection

Note: These specifications are the minimum recommended. Low spec validators WILL get stuck on difficult to process blocks. The testnets accumulate data as the blockchain continues, so you’ll need to expand your storage over time.

Unigrid Cosmos SDK Pax Installation

Auto Setup

The fastest way to get started is to use our automated install and setup script (this can also be run again to reset a node if there are changes).

wget -4qO- -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/unigrid-project/unigrid-cosmos-networks/master/unigrid-testnet-4/scripts/pax_reset.sh | bash

This script will:

  • Stop the existing paxd service (if it exists).
  • Clear existing data and log files.
  • Download and verify the genesis.json file.
  • Download and set up the paxd binary.
  • Set up and start the paxd service.

Note: The script will tail the paxd log file at the end. You can exit the log view by pressing Ctrl+C and access it again anytime with the command tail -f ~/.pax/paxd.log.

Manual Setup

To get up and running with the paxd binary, download it here.

You can also use wget like below and pull the latest version.

# Get the latest release download URL for paxd from the GitHub API
DOWNLOAD_URL=$(curl -s https://github.com/unigrid-project/cosmos-daemon/releases/latest | grep "browser_download_url.*paxd" | cut -d '"' -f 4)

echo "Downloading: $DOWNLOAD_URL"
# Use wget to download the binary
wget $DOWNLOAD_URL

Make the Binary Executable:

After downloading, you need to give the binary execute permissions:

chmod +x paxd

Move the Binary to /usr/local/bin:

To make the binary globally accessible, move it to /usr/local/bin. You’ll need sudo permissions for this:

You can always store this in any location you like update the location when creating the service.

sudo mv paxd /usr/local/bin/

Configuration of Shell Variables

For this guide, we will be using shell variables. Set them explicitly in your shell .profile, as you did for the Go environment variables.

# Set the CHAIN_ID
CHAIN_ID=unigrid-testnet-4

# Set your moniker name
MONIKER_NAME="<moniker-name>"

# Example
MONIKER_NAME="HAL 9000"

Setting up the Node

Initialize the chain

paxd init $MONIKER_NAME --chain-id $CHAIN_ID

Download the genesis file

curl https://github.com/unigrid-project/unigrid-cosmos-networks/blob/master/unigrid-testnet-4/genesis/genesis.json > ~/.pax/config/genesis.json

Create a local key pair

# Create new keypair
paxd keys add <key-name>

# Restore existing wallet with mnemonic seed phrase.
paxd keys add <key-name> --recover

# Query the keystore for your public address
paxd keys show <key-name> -a

Obtain testnet tokens

If you are interested in running a validator on our testnet and require funds (10000.00000000 ugd), please submit your request through our dedicated Validator Funding Request Form. This form is specifically designed to facilitate the allocation of the necessary testnet tokens to support your validator operations.

Setting up Cosmos Daemon as a Service

  1. Create a Service File: Use your preferred text editor (e.g., nano) to create a service file for paxd:

    sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/paxd.service
    

    Add the following content to the file:

    [Unit]
    Description=Cosmos Daemon Service
    After=network.target
    
    [Service]
    User=<user>
    ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/paxd start --home=/home/<user>/.pax --hedgehog=https://149.102.147.45:39886 --p2p.seeds "8f278bf57932e1f808aefc7c82aaaf130470e2bd@194.233.95.48:26656,e339ab8163a2774fccbc78ff09ffbf0991adc310@38.242.156.2:26656"
    Restart=always
    Restart=always
    RestartSec=3
    StandardOutput=file:/home/<user>/.pax/paxd.log
    StandardError=file:/home/<user>/.pax/paxd-error.log
    
    [Install]
    WantedBy=multi-user.target
    

    Replace <user> with appropriate values.

  2. Manage the Service:

    • Reload Systemd: After creating or modifying a service file, reload the systemd manager configuration:

      sudo systemctl daemon-reload
      
    • Start the Service: Use the following command to start the paxd service:

      sudo systemctl start paxd.service
      
    • Stop the Service: If you need to stop the service, use:

      sudo systemctl stop paxd.service
      
    • Check Service Status: To check the status of the service:

      sudo systemctl status paxd.service
      
    • Restart the Service: If you need to restart the service:

      sudo systemctl restart paxd.service
      

Remember to monitor the logs and the service status regularly to ensure smooth operation.

Start the node and sync

 sudo systemctl start paxd.service

To monitor the syncing process you can tail the log file like this.

tail -f /home/$USER/.pax/paxd.log

Upgrade to a validator

Obtain Validator Keys:

Run the following command to get the validator keys:

paxd tendermint show-validator

The required tokens to run a validator on our testnet is 1000000000000 (10,000 tokens) on mainnet it will be a much lower amount.

Create a json file for your validator

Get your validator key:

paxd tendermint show-validator

Example result:

{"@type":"/cosmos.crypto.ed25519.PubKey","key":"JHlFY5CXJ/Sh8Be2JRSxxlMYH7Iie92iZX76rN5c75M="}

Add Avatar (not required)

The --identity can be used as to verify identity with systems like Keybase or UPort. When using Keybase, --identity should be populated with a 16-digit string that is generated with a keybase.io account. It’s a cryptographically secure method of verifying your identity across multiple online networks. The Keybase API allows us to retrieve your Keybase avatar. This is how you can add a logo to your validator profile.

Example my-validator.json:

{
  "pubkey": {"@type":"/cosmos.crypto.ed25519.PubKey","key":"JHlFY5CXJ/Sh8Be2JRSxxlMYH7Iie92iZX76rN5c75M="},
  "amount": "1000000000000ugd",
  "moniker": "Hedgehogs Validator",
  "identity": "<keybase 16-digit string",
  "website": "https://unigrid.org",
  "details": "Validators don't just validate; they also drop epic bios!",
  "commission-rate": "0.1",
  "commission-max-rate": "0.20",
  "commission-max-change-rate": "0.1",
  "min-self-delegation": "1000000000000"
}

Start your validator:

paxd tx staking create-validator path/to/my-validator.json --from <keyname> --chain-id unigrid-testnet-4

Backup critical files

Backup the following files located in ~/.pax/config/:

  • priv_validator_key.json
  • node_key.json

Recommendation: Encrypt the backup of these files.

Check your Validator

You can use this command to check if your validator is registered.

This will expect your unigridvalcons address, so if your address is unigrid1qm7qj5t96yz8xehx6533hfm3m8nd67la29xxwr you will pass in unigridvalcons1qm7qj5t96yz8xehx6533hfm3m8nd67la29xxwr

paxd query tendermint-validator-set | grep -A 4 "<YOUR_VALIDATOR_CONSENSUS_ADDRESS>"

For example:

paxd query tendermint-validator-set | grep -A 4 "unigridvalcons1qm7qj5t96yz8xehx6533hfm3m8nd67la29xxwr"

Result

- address: unigridvalcons1qm7qj5t96yz8xehx6533hfm3m8nd67la29xxwr
  proposer_priority: "0"
  pub_key:
    type: tendermint/PubKeyEd25519
    value: OX65CA4ca/FYrcwz1cRcoSJFeLW940n9FaC9HK25zXc=

Monitoring a Cosmos SDK Validator

1. Setting up Prometheus for Monitoring

Prometheus is a powerful time-series database used for monitoring.

Installation:

  1. Set Up a Prometheus Server: Begin by setting up a dedicated server for Prometheus. Ensure it’s separate from your validator to avoid resource competition.

  2. Install Prometheus: Follow the official installation guide to get Prometheus up and running.

Configuration:

  1. Edit Configuration: Modify the prometheus.yml file to specify which nodes to scrape data from. For a Cosmos SDK node, you’d typically scrape data from the node’s Prometheus endpoint, usually on port 26660.

  2. Restart Prometheus: After making changes, restart the Prometheus service to apply them:

sudo systemctl restart prometheus

2. Setting up Grafana for Visualization

Grafana allows you to visualize the data that Prometheus collects.

Installation:

  1. Install Grafana: Follow the official installation guide to set up Grafana.

Configuration:

  1. Connect Grafana to Prometheus: In Grafana, add Prometheus as a data source. This allows Grafana to pull in the data that Prometheus collects.

  2. Import a Dashboard: There are pre-made Grafana dashboards for Cosmos SDK nodes. Import one of these dashboards for a visual representation of your node’s metrics. You can find some on the Grafana dashboard directory.

3. Monitoring Your Validator

Key Steps:

  1. Check Node Status: Regularly check the status of your validator node to ensure it’s operational and syncing with the network.

  2. Monitor Validator Performance: Use Grafana to monitor key performance metrics of your validator, such as block height, voting power, missed blocks, and more.

  3. Set Up Alerts: Grafana supports alerting. Set up alerts for critical metrics to be notified if something goes wrong.

  4. Regularly Update & Backup: Ensure your node software is regularly updated. Also, take regular backups of your validator’s keys and configuration.

Commands for Monitoring:

  • Check Grafana Status:

    sudo systemctl status grafana-server
    
  • View Prometheus Metrics in a Browser: Navigate to http://your_node_ip:26660/metrics to view the raw metrics that Prometheus is scraping from your Cosmos SDK node.

Remember, monitoring is crucial for validators. It helps ensure the validator is operational, secure, and performing optimally. Regularly check your monitoring tools and respond promptly to any alerts or issues.

Closing

If you run into any issues or have suggestions, please reach out the info@unigrid.org.