All About the Incentivized Testnet for the tea Protocol

Are you an open-source software developer who’s not getting rewarded for your contributions as a builder or maintainer? Starting with an Incentivized Testnet, the tea Protocol is launching to solve this problem for OSS developers everywhere. 

Learning any new technology or protocol can be intimidating. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about the Incentivized Testnet for the tea Protocol.

What is tea?

tea is a decentralized technology protocol that enables open-source developers to be rewarded for their software contributions. tea uses blockchain technology to enable the automated and near-instant distribution of digital tokens including a protocol-supported token known as TEA.

The tea Protocol works by integrating with all the major package managers—Homebrew, npm, and pkgx, among others. (pkgx is a cross-platform package manager created by Max Howell, the founder of Homebrew.) The protocol uses an algorithm called Proof of Contribution, which accomplishes several important tasks:

  • Quantifies the impact of an OSS project across all open-source systems;
  • Assigns each project a dynamic score—referred to as a project’s teaRank—based on the open-source project’s orientation within, and utilization from, the broader open-source ecosystem over time; and
  • Distributes rewards according to the software’s teaRank. 

Even open-source software that’s buried deep in the tech stack is eligible to receive TEA—an important innovation for often-overlooked software contributions.

Anyone can support any open-source project that’s integrated with the tea Protocol by staking TEA tokens to the software project. Staking tokens to a project enables you to earn rewards while also contributing to the security of the software supply chain. 

The tea Protocol is built on Base, the layer-2 blockchain launched by the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase.

All about the tea Incentivized Testnet

The tea Protocol is approaching a pivotal milestone—in the coming months, its community will  launch an incentivized test network to enable developers, software users, and other stakeholders to experiment with tea. The tea Incentivized Testnet is designed as an exact replica of the tea Protocol, with nearly all of the functionality that will be available from tea’s Mainnet. 

Participants in the Incentivized Testnet will be encouraged to actively engage with the protocol—to learn how it works and earn virtual, non-transferable “points” by completing various tasks. Widespread participation is critical and facilitates testing at scale to battle harden the protocol prior to its official launch.

The Incentivized Testnet phase is an important part of successfully launching the tea Protocol for the entire OSS community. The Incentivized Testnet’s updated protocol will be used to establish tea’s main network upon completion of the testing phase.

How to start using the tea Incentivized Testnet 

Participating in the Incentivized Testnet phase of the tea Protocol may occur many different ways. Software developers and maintainers can follow these basic steps to get started: 

  1. Onboard to the tea Protocol: Your first step is to use tea’s web application to onboard to the tea Protocol. The onboarding process is seamless and supports registering your GitHub login, which automatically creates a tea-native digital wallet.  
  2. Register a software project: Developers and maintainers can register existing software repositories from supported package managers. Registering a project takes less than five minutes and involves uploading and signing a “constitution” file to your project’s repository.
  3. Start receiving points: Software projects registered with the tea Protocol begin receiving points. Points are distributed in proportion with a software package’s teaRank. The greater the impact of your project, the more points it can earn!
  4. Stake rewards to your software project: Owners of registered software projects are required to stake 25% of the daily teaRank rewards received by the software project that they register with tea. Meeting this requirement enables registered software projects to continue receiving rewards and incentivizes owners to maintain their software and address any vulnerabilities reported by the community.
  5. Monitor project performance: Software project maintainers can monitor their project’s teaRank and teaRank rewards, which may fluctuate over time. 
  6. Receive additional rewards: A project with an increasing teaRank may receive an increasing proportion of the teaRank rewards distributed by the tea Protocol on a daily basis. 

Which features should users test?

Anyone can contribute to the development of the tea Protocol by using and testing the key features of the technology. Much of the testing will also be organized into targeted and timebound challenges that enable participants to earn points. 

When the tea Incentivized Testnet launches, users can explore these key features: 

  • Protocol onboarding: Developers can test the onboarding process by registering with the tea Protocol and creating a tea-native digital wallet.
  • Adding and removing project contributors: Users can add and remove signatories to a project’s treasury or change its quorum to experiment with managing contributors.
  • Registering a software project: Users can experiment with registering existing software projects or repositories with the tea Protocol.
  • Receiving test tokens: Owners of registered software projects can experience and report on the process of claiming the test tokens distributed by the protocol’s teaRank rewards system on a daily basis.
  • Staking tokens to a software package: Project owners and protocol users can experiment with staking testnet TEA tokens to software projects in the tea Protocol.
  • Monitoring a project’s teaRank: Incentivized Testnet users can pay attention to a project’s teaRank to test the logic of the Proof-of-Contribution algorithm.
  • Compromising teaRank: teaRank scoring can be tested by users creating software that attempts to yield maximum token rewards with minimal value created by the software.
  • Testing a project being forked: The process of forking (duplicating) software projects can be tested by users.  
  • Project offboarding: Incentivized Testnet participants can experiment with the process of offboarding software projects from the tea network.

Understanding the Incentivized Testnet incentive structure

The tea Protocol uses testnet TEA tokens to incentivize participation in the tea‘s testing phase. The tea Incentivized Testnet uses an incentive structure that replicates the incentive structure planned for tea’s Mainnet, with additional rewards (points) available to protocol testers who participate in various activities. Eligible participants in the tea Incentivized Testnet can earn virtual, non-transferable points by completing various tasks within the protocol.

Let’s take a look at how users can earn rewards during tea’s Incentivized Testnet phase:

  • Onboarding software projects to the tea Protocol: Owners of impactful open-source projects can earn points and Incentivized Testnet rewards for onboarding their software to tea.
  • Maintaining software projects on the tea Protocol: Project owners can earn points and daily test token rewards for maintaining their software on tea.
  • Staking test tokens to registered software projects: Participants who stake tokens to support registered projects that comply with the protocol’s rules can expect to be rewarded with a consistent stream of testnet TEA tokens.
  • Identifying and reporting software bugs: The tea Protocol is rewarding network participants who identify and report software errors—in both the tea Protocol and projects registered with the tea network. Core developers will be organizing and  sponsoring incentivized challenge events to encourage users to attempt to compromise the protocol.    
  • General protocol participation: Incentivized Testnet participants have many opportunities to earn points. Creating an account, logging in, experimenting with staking, joining a challenge event, and reporting protocol errors are just some of the activities eligible for reward points.

Incentivized Testnet adoption risks to consider 

Using or participating in any decentralized test network always confers risk. Let’s examine the risks associated with using the beta version of the tea Protocol:  

  • Participants will receive a tea-native wallet: At the Incentivized Testnet’s launch, the tea Protocol will only support a software-based embedded digital wallet.
  • Users must include a configuration file in their project repositories: Onboarding to the tea Incentivized Testnet (and later, the Mainnet) requires developers to add a new file to their project repository. The file must remain in the repository for the entire time that a software project is active in the tea network.
  • Testnet points have no value: Testnet points are not redeemable and simply show the loyalty level of a tea Protocol participant. Testnet points are planned to become redeemable by eligible persons for blockchain tokens and/or other benefits at a later time. NOTE: The tea Association makes no guarantees or promises regarding the issuance of any blockchain tokens. The timeline for a token issuance, whether or not an issuance occurs, and the conversion rate between reward points and tokens are all at the tea Association’s sole discretion.
  • Testnet TEA tokens have no value: Testnet participants will receive testnet TEA tokens distributed by the protocol’s teaRank rewards system on a daily basis. The testnet TEA tokens distributed during tea’s Incentivized Testnet phase have no redeemable value during the testing period. Testnet TEA tokens are worthless and are designed for testing purposes only, and cannot be redeemed for blockchain tokens and/or other benefits at a later time.
  • Staked testnet TEA tokens can be slashed: Registered software projects that don’t comply with protocol rules may be penalized. Testnet TEA tokens held by both project maintainers and project supporters can potentially be slashed.

tea Incentivized Testnet participants can minimize their adoption risks by thoroughly reading all available documentation. Another way to become knowledgeable about the tea Incentivized Testnet and its associated risks is to actively engage with the tea community via Twitter, Discord, or Telegram.

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