# Running a Node

Now that the application is ready and the keyring populated, it's time to see how to run the blockchain node. In this section, the application we are running is called simapp (opens new window), and its corresponding CLI binary simd.

# Pre-requisite Readings

# Initialize the Chain

Make sure you can build your own binary, and replace simd with the name of your binary in the snippets.

Before actually running the node, we need to initialize the chain, and most importantly its genesis file. This is done with the init subcommand:

Copy # The argument <moniker> is the custom username of your node, it should be human-readable. simd init <moniker> --chain-id my-test-chain

The command above creates all the configuration files needed for your node to run, as well as a default genesis file, which defines the initial state of the network. All these configuration files are in ~/.simapp by default, but you can overwrite the location of this folder by passing the --home flag.

The ~/.simapp folder has the following structure:

Copy . # ~/.simapp |- data # Contains the databases used by the node. |- config/ |- app.toml # Application-related configuration file. |- config.toml # Tendermint-related configuration file. |- genesis.json # The genesis file. |- node_key.json # Private key to use for node authentication in the p2p protocol. |- priv_validator_key.json # Private key to use as a validator in the consensus protocol.

Before starting the chain, you need to populate the state with at least one account. To do so, first create a new account in the keyring named my_validator under the test keyring backend (feel free to choose another name and another backend).

Now that you have created a local account, go ahead and grant it some stake tokens in your chain's genesis file. Doing so will also make sure your chain is aware of this account's existence:

Copy simd add-genesis-account $MY_VALIDATOR_ADDRESS 100000000000stake

Recall that $MY_VALIDATOR_ADDRESS is a variable that holds the address of the my_validator key in the keyring. Also note that the tokens in the SDK have the {amount}{denom} format: amount is is a 18-digit-precision decimal number, and denom is the unique token identifier with its denomination key (e.g. atom or uatom). Here, we are granting stake tokens, as stake is the token identifier used for staking in simapp (opens new window). For your own chain with its own staking denom, that token identifier should be used instead.

Now that your account has some tokens, you need to add a validator to your chain. Validators are special full-nodes that participate in the consensus process (implemented in the underlying consensus engine) in order to add new blocks to the chain. Any account can declare its intention to become a validator operator, but only those with sufficient delegation get to enter the active set (for example, only the top 125 validator candidates with the most delegation get to be validators in the Cosmos Hub). For this guide, you will add your local node (created via the init command above) as a validator of your chain. Validators can be declared before a chain is first started via a special transaction included in the genesis file called a gentx:

Copy # Create a gentx. simd gentx my_validator 100000000stake --chain-id my-test-chain --keyring-backend test # Add the gentx to the genesis file. simd collect-gentxs

A gentx does three things:

  1. Registers the validator account you created as a validator operator account (i.e. the account that controls the validator).
  2. Self-delegates the provided amount of staking tokens.
  3. Link the operator account with a Tendermint node pubkey that will be used for signing blocks. If no --pubkey flag is provided, it defaults to the local node pubkey created via the simd init command above.

For more information on gentx, use the following command:

Copy simd gentx --help

# Configuring the Node Using app.toml and config.toml

The Cosmos SDK automatically generates two configuration files inside ~/.simapp/config:

  • config.toml: used to configure the Tendermint, learn more on Tendermint's documentation (opens new window),
  • app.toml: generated by the Cosmos SDK, and used to configure your app, such as state pruning strategies, telemetry, gRPC and REST servers configuration, state sync...

Both files are heavily commented, please refer to them directly to tweak your node.

One example config to tweak is the minimum-gas-prices field inside app.toml, which defines the minimum gas prices the validator node is willing to accept for processing a transaction. Depending on the chain, it might be an empty string or not. If it's empty, make sure to edit the field with some value, for example 10token, or else the node will halt on startup. For the purpose of this tutorial, let's set the minimum gas price to 0:

Copy # The minimum gas prices a validator is willing to accept for processing a # transaction. A transaction's fees must meet the minimum of any denomination # specified in this config (e.g. 0.25token1;0.0001token2). minimum-gas-prices = "0stake"

# Run a Localnet

Now that everything is set up, you can finally start your node:

Copy simd start

You should see blocks come in.

The previous command allow you to run a single node. This is enough for the next section on interacting with this node, but you may wish to run multiple nodes at the same time, and see how consensus happens between them.

The naive way would be to run the same commands again in separate terminal windows. This is possible, however in the SDK, we leverage the power of Docker Compose (opens new window) to run a localnet. If you need inspiration on how to set up your own localnet with Docker Compose, you can have a look at the SDK's docker-compose.yml (opens new window).

# Next

Read about the Interacting with your Node