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Staging Files for a New Network


Staging files is not needed for already established running networks.

Only use these instructions if you are creating a new Casper network and hosting protocol files for this network.

Hosting Server

Files for staging protocol versions are hosted on a typical HTTP(S) server.

Scripts included with the casper-node-launcher have network configurations for Mainnet and Testnet. These scripts point to the server hosting files and network name.

Since a given server can be used for multiple networks, a network named directory is used to hold files for that network.

This is a description of Mainnet protocol version hosting (with network name: casper). is the web server URL with the following directory structure:

  • casper
    • protocol_versions - File listing active protocol versions so scripts know what directories to use
    • 1_0_0 - Genesis protocol version
      • config.tar.gz - Configuration files to be expanded into /etc/casper/1_0_0
      • bin.tar.gz - Binary files to be expanded into /var/lib/casper/bin/1_0_0
    • 1_1_0 - First upgrade
      • config.tar.gz - Configuration files to be expanded into /etc/casper/1_1_0
      • bin.tar.gz - Binary files to be expanded into /var/lib/casper/bin/1_1_0
    • ... (skipping many other protocol versions)
    • 1_4_6 - A later upgrade
      • config.tar.gz - Configuration files to be expanded into /etc/casper/1_4_6
      • bin.tar.gz - Binary files to be expanded into /var/lib/casper/bin/1_4_6

More on protocol_versions

At the root of the hosting server directory for a given network, a protocol_versions file exists. This holds the valid protocol versions for a network.

We can look at this manually on Mainnet using curl. As of writing this, 1.4.6 is the latest version and the contents of this file will change.

$ curl -s

We should find bin.tar.gz and config.tar.gz in those directories under casper.

Protocol Version

The protocol version of a network is not related to the casper-node version. In Mainnet, these have often been the same. However, with a new network, you would use the latest casper-node version for your 1.0.0 protocol.

Network Configuration File

When the casper-node-launcher package is installed, both casper.conf and casper-test.conf are installed in /etc/casper/network_configs. Once a valid config file for a new network is copied to this location, all commands with will work as they do on existing networks.

By convention, we name the config file the same as the network. So Mainnet has a network name of casper and we use casper.conf for the config file.

For a new network using server to host files for our-network network, we would have a our-network.conf file that looks like this:

Host this our-network.conf in the root of at the same level as protocol_versions.

This allows any node which wants to use the new network to run the following to install this configuration:

cd /etc/casper/network_configs
sudo -u casper curl -JLO

Any command needing a network config from can use our-network.conf.

Staging protocol versions for a new node with this network or staging an upcoming upgrade would just need this command:

sudo -u casper /etc/casper/ stage_protocols our-network.conf

Setup Configuration Files

For a network to be started, we to build the configuration files for a certain genesis time and with nodes that will be running. These files need to be configured in advanced, so a genesis time should be selected that allows packaging the files, loading onto nodes and starting nodes prior to the genesis time.


The chainspec.toml file is configuration for the network and must be exactly the same on all nodes.

The name for a network is specified

Each protocol will have a version and activation_point. At genesis this is a date and time in format shown below. For future upgrades it would be an integer of the era_id for activation of the upgrade.

version = '1.0.0'
activation_point = '2022-08-01T10:00:00Z'

name = 'mynetwork'


The config-example.toml is used to generate config.toml for a protocol after the node's IP is inserted. The public_address is auto-detected with stage_protocols. If using a NAT environment, the public IP can be specified with the --ip argument.

This file should have known_addresses added that are relevant to the network. Nodes that will be genesis validators are added to this list in the form:

known_addresses = ['<ip 1>:35000','<ip 2>:35000','<ip 3>:35000']

The config.toml can be setup to customized fields for a given node. config-example.toml is a default configuration.

Staging a Protocol Version

For the initial genesis protocol version or future upgrade protocol versions, you will typically use prebuilt and tested bin.tar.gz that have been tested and staged for existing networks. The config.tar.gz file must be customized for the specific network with a network name, protocol version and activation point at the very least.

These archives should be created with no directory information stored. This is done by using tar in the same directory as the files.

mkdir config
cd config
mv [source of chainspec.toml] ./chainspec.toml
mv [source of config-example.toml] ./config-example.toml
tar -czvf ../config.tar.gz .

You can test what was compressed with untar'ing the file.

mkdir conftest
cd conftest
tar -xzvf ../config.tar.gz .

This will expand files for verification.

For custom casper-node builds, the minimum contents of bin.tar.gz is the casper-node executable.

mkdir bin
cd bin
cp [source of casper-node] ./casper-node
tar -czvf ../bin.tar.gz .

A directory for the protocol_version will be created on the server. For example: 1_1_0.

We will copy bin.tar.gz and config.tar.gz into 1_1_0. Once this is done, we are safe to update protocol_versions by appending 1_1_0 to the end of the file and uploading it into the root of the network directory.

Any node that runs the following command will get this new upgrade:

sudo -u casper /etc/casper/ stage_protocols <network.conf>