A Dummies Guide

Testnet, Incentives, Snapshot, Testnet ADA, Testnet Wallets, Real Rewards…

If like me you are definitely not a ‘Dev’, have zero understanding of code and all this technical talk between engineers (it’s another language).

Then I hope this article is useful and helps you understand what is going on with the Cardano Blockchain and what you need to do. A dummies guide…

Cardano is going through a lot of changes, development and progression. There is so much activity happening in Phase 2 of the Testnet, Nodes talking to each other all over the planet, they will literally be running the Cardano Blockchain soon.

So Phase 3 – The Incentivised Testnet

Even though everyone can participate in all stages, this is the part where you really don’t need to know any code. The processes for the average person are not complicated and quickly, it becomes easy to understand.

(I hope I don’t upset too many engineers here… Folks, this is actually really high-tech, super complicated and a massive achievement for everyone involved. But I am about to dumb the poo out of it).

On, or close to the 12th November 2019 the first of two snapshots will be taken of the entire Cardano Blockchain, the trail run for the Incentivised Testnet. But what is a Snapshot?

A snapshot in simple terms is a copy of the blockchain and pasting it to create a new blockchain… (Not literally but ease for understanding. Told you this is a dummies guide)

At a certain point in time a complete image of the blockchain will be taken (copy), including all addresses, transactions, ADA and anything on the blockchain. The whole history up to the present will be copied and (paste), a completely identical blockchain will be created. – The start of the Incentivised Testnet Blockchain.

As this is a different Blockchain to the Cardano Blockchain, there needs to be wallets that give the user access to the currency (Testnet ADA). I bet you are starting to get this… So with an identical Blockchain to Cardano, a copy of your ADA will already be available on this new Blockchain. Thus, if I download a wallet (Special version for testnet) that connects to this Blockchain, I would be able to put in my seed words to unlock my wallet and get access to the testnet copy of ADA that was on my mainnet wallet for the snapshot. (I knew you were starting to get this ).

But wait, did I not mention this was the first of two snapshots? Yes, so once everyone confirms they can access their Testnet ADA, the whole copied Blockchain will be wiped out including your new Testnet ADA… “Booo!” Don’t worry, it will happen again, that will be a trial run; well done if you got it first time around. But anyone who lost their seed words or didn’t have their ADA in the correct place for the snapshot, all get another go. (Don’t be quick to judge, that could be any of us).

I can hear you all thinking ‘What do I have to do to not be one of those people who get it wrong on the first snapshot, I don’t want to look silly’.

Well the good news, it’s actually quite simple and not much is required from us as end users:

As I mentioned above, a new, completely different Blockchain will require a special testnet wallet to access your testnet ADA using your main net wallet seed words. Therefore your ADA needs to be in a supported wallet prior to the snapshot. The Testnet Blockchain will support:


Daedalus Paper Wallet


Yoroi mobile wallet

Yoroi Paper wallet

Not supported:

Hard Wallets – now, let me go into a little more detail here… You can access your hard wallet through Yoroi, but that will not be supported in the testnet blockchain, therefore you will not be able to access your ADA if it was on a hardwallet for the snapshot.

For people that wonder why, there are many reasons but the most satisfying and easy to understand for me (the end user) is that Hard wallets like Ledger, only allow updates to be implemented once a month. This is a testnet, so updates will happen all the time. What a horrible and long testnet it would be if we had to wait until the end of the month each time they wanted to update – talk about delays.

Exchanges – Testnet ADA is fake, doesn’t really exist and will no longer exist when the test phase is over. So you can’t send that ADA to an exchange (like the idea though). So you won’t be able to access your testnet ADA if it was in an exchange for the snapshot.

Third Party Wallets – Third party wallets e.g. AdaLite are not supported.

AND that’s it… Make sure your ADA is in the correct wallet (NOT in a hard wallet), then it will be included in the snapshot ‘ Brilliant’.

Now, after the Second snapshot, we will be able to download a Special Daedalus and/or Yoroi Wallet which gives us access to the Testnet ADA and ability to stake. In here you will need to write your seed words for the wallet your ADA was in for the snapshot – MAKE SURE THEY WORK PRIOR TO THE SNAPSHOT.

The new testnet wallets will be similar but have differences to the main net wallets so you don’t confuse them. These wallets will allow you to delegate ADA to a stakepool and earn rewards.

Side note: Your main ADA and testnet ADA have nothing to do with each other. Once the 2nd snapshot is taken you can do what you want with your main net ADA, you will still be able to access your testnet ADA (exact amount that was in your wallet at the time of the snapshot).

Rewards – The reward percentage isn’t yet known exactly, but hopefully somewhere between 6% - 12% annually. Rewards are paid out after each Epoch (Basically every 5 days, this article isn’t explaining Epochs). Note that you will not be able to access the rewards until the test net is complete. ADA you earned as rewards will then be transferred to the main net for you to have ‘ Oh yeahh’ .

Quick Recap:

  • Make sure your ADA is in either Daedalus or Yoroi (not a hard wallet) Prior to snapshot
  • 1st Snapshot = Around 12th November 2019 – This is a trial run to give us an opportunity to make sure we can access our testnet ADA.
  • 2nd Snapshot = Date not finalised, but a few weeks after 1st Snapshot – This is the ‘Main Performance’ it counts… The testnet will start after this event.
  • Download and access the testnet Daedalus and Yoroi – Enter your Seed words to the new wallet
  • Pick a stakepool to delegate your ADA to.

Answers to common questions F.A.Q.:

Q1. What if I do not want to move my ADA or participate in Testnet?

A1. You do NOT have to participate in the incentive test net, it is your choice . If your ADA happens to be in the correct wallet for the snapshot you can always change your mind later and participate by recovering your Testnet Wallet.

Q2. Can I add more funds to my wallet before the snapshot? Can I send/sell funds immediately after the snapshot?

A2. Yes you can buy as much ADA as you want prior to the snapshot, it will be included if it is in the correct wallet. Once the second snapshot is complete you can send/sell your funds immediately, it will not affect your Testnet ADA.

Q3. Can I add more funds to the testnet after the snapshot?

A3. No, you cannot add more ADA to the testnet after the snapshot. The only way to get more ADA is if someone else sends you their Testnet ADA from their wallet to yours.

Q4. When I stake my ADA will it be locked up or do I send it to anyone else?

A4. No, your real ADA will always remain in the wallet you are delegating from, it is never locked up and you can send or sell it whenever you want. You certainly NEVER send your ADA to anyone else.

A little on Personal Safety

For some, this is quite a vulnerable time. Having to move your ADA around, while not quite understanding why can be scary. I understand this, but most of us are here to help you. Unfortunately there are a number of criminals that will take advantage of this situation by trying to defraud you into handing over your crypto assets. For that reason please remember some basic bits of advice:

  • You will never have to send anyone else your ADA, make sure your ADA is always in a wallet only YOU have access to. (no one else should ever know your Seed words, NEVER give them out)
  • Never use a wallet someone set up for you
  • There are NO giveaways, you certainly should NEVER send your ADA to someone under the promise they will send you more back. YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED.
  • Criminals have impersonated Officials before, if something doesn’t seem right no matter how real or convincing they sound, please report them through the official channels on Telegram or other media platforms. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you need to put a password into a website. Never access it through emails or links sent by others, go to the official site yourself (look out of the secured padlock in the address bar).
  • Most the time it is common sense, if it is an amazing deal or sounds too good to be true, it is a scam walk away.
  • Your Crypto Assets have real value, they are not insured, and no one will reimburse you if you give them to someone else or make a mistake.

I hope this article helped things make a little bit more sense, at least so you know how to participate. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the next stage in the Cardano Blockchain.


The above is a compilation of information available to us as of 4th November - in a simplified - not necessarily technically correct language, but worry not - there will also be official announcements made at various points to be sure you’re up to date with actions. So if you are not already, do ensure to follow forum(https://forum.cardano.org/c/announcements) / telegram (https://t.me/CardanoAnnouncements) announcement channels


Thnx lgbeano!

This dummie understands your explanation and gives answers to my question i asked on the forum in “how many ada needed”

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Thank you very much for your kind comments.

The minimum amount of ADA to stake is 1, so everyone who holds ADA can participate in staking

Great explanation, Luke.


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Thanks for the summary; very much appreciated. I have a question regarding Daedalus paper wallets.

After the snapshots (ie a copy of the mainnet blockchain to be used for the testnet), we will have to restore paper wallets on the testnet version of Daedalus to participate in staking. Based on my understanding, restoring a paper wallet on the testnet should not affect the status of this paper wallet (useable cold storage) on the current mainnet. Correct?

It’s a shame that I didn’t see this post until now @Risus76 , after we already discussed it in Telegram. I would have preferred the forum for it. :slight_smile:

Maybe you can share your conclusion?

Thank you!!

question: if my ada is stored in paper wallet how then do i go about participating in the incentivized testnet?

so we have to restore paper wallets on testnet??

Yes that is correct. If your ada is in a Daedalus or Yoroi paper wallet then just wait for announcements about the testnet wallets

Thank you for this great guide.

Quick question about the staking: how the reward is split after given to a pool if any split happen?

Not sure what you mean by that, but staking rewards come direct to the staker, not through the pool.


Hey mate quick question, Lets see if I understood correctly,
I want to participate, so I have to keep my Cardano in the Yoroi wallet close to 12th and take a snapshots. And can’t move my currency from there for few weeks/days until the Devs announce the date for second snapshot. Is that correct ? I just hope I did not make this difficult for you. Thanks for the info anyway. Much appreciated.

Kind Regards

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If you have your ADA in a Yoroi wallet and not planning to move it until after the second snapshot. Leave it there until IOHk confirm the second snapshot has finished (complete)

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Ok, got it, I thought it was the “operator” of the pool that would get the reward.
Thanks, it’s clear now

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One thing to point out in the post is that when you validate the balance of your accounts, after the first snapshot, you may realize that from Yoroi or Daedalus of the testnet does not show the transaction history of your accounts. Don’t worry, this is because both snapshots are made on the balances, leaving out the transaction history.

This will also considerably reduce the synchronization time of Daedalus with the test network.


Was nearly there :+1:.

Makes sense not to have the history of transactions, no need for them on the testnet.

What if I have multiple wallets in one Daedalus on my PC which includes my Paper Wallet that I just restored and I want all those ADA in each wallet to be included on the snapshot, do I have to keep those ADA in each wallet or I have to move them to a single wallet to participate?

Hi. It depends how you want to delegate. Watch the recent video by Philpa and he goes over all of this. Best of luck.

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Hey @LAWRENCE.F8 So like Brad mentioned it depends how you want to delegate. If you’re happy to have individual rewards for each wallet and keep them seperate then you’re all good. Potentially you could delegate to the same pool so in that sense it wouldn’t really matter, just a little extra work. Or additional it gives you the option to delegate to multiple pools. So its all personal preference, but to answer your question no you don’t have to have all your ADA in a single wallet :wink::+1: