April 30, 2024 2:04 am

Strategy Tests Usage Guide

Dash Platform strategy tests allow users to automatically submit combinations of state transitions to Dash Platform testnet at a rate of their choosing and for a duration or number of blocks of their choosing. Their purpose is to test Platform’s robustness and stability.

This document starts with a step-by-step guide demonstrating how to quickly begin creating and executing strategy tests and then goes into a deeper explanation of the different aspects of strategy tests.

Quick Start with Platform TUI

The Platform Terminal User Interface (TUI) is the easiest way to create and execute strategy tests. This section will walk through the steps to create a basic strategy test in the TUI and run it against the Dash Platform testnet.

    1. First, you need to run a Dash Core testnet node in order to connect to the testnet. Download the latest version of Dash Core here. Run Dash Core and then configure the `dash.conf` file as follows, replacing `***` with a username and password of your choosing (find the `dash.conf` file by right-clicking the Dash Core icon and selecting `Open Wallet Configuration File`):

      Restart Dash Core for the changes to take effect.

    2. Next, clone the TUI repo:
      git clone https://github.com/dashpay/rs-platform-explorer.git
    3. Open the TUI repo in your terminal and install Rust
      cd rs-platform-explorer
      curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf https://sh.rustup.rs | sh

      After installing Rust, restart your terminal and navigate back to rs-platform-explorer.

    4. Add the WebAssembly target to Rust
      rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown
    5. Install build-essential tools, SSL development libraries, and Clang. On Ubuntu, use:
      sudo apt install -y build-essential libssl-dev pkg-config clang

      On other Unix-like systems, use the equivalent package management commands.

    6. Install wasm-bindgen-cli:
      cargo install [email protected]
  1. Install Protocol Buffers Compiler (protoc):
    1. Download the appropriate protoc binary for your system:
      wget https://github.com/protocolbuffers/protobuf/releases/download/v26.1/protoc-26.1-linux-x86_64.zip
    2. Install unzip if not already installed:
      sudo apt install unzip
    3. Unzip and install `protoc`:
      sudo unzip protoc-*-linux-x86_64.zip -d /usr/local
  2. Install CMake:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install cmake
  3. Now, create a `.env` file in the highest level of the TUI directory, and copy the contents of `.env.testnet` into it
  4. Set the username and password in the `.env` file to the username and password in your Dash Core `wallet.conf` file and save
  5. Do `cargo run` to start the TUI
    cargo run

Now that we are inside the TUI, we need to load a wallet and an identity.

  1. Go to the Wallet screen and add a wallet by private key. You can generate a private key on this website by typing in a seed (it can be any random word or phrase), and then paste that key into the TUI.
  2. After entering the private key, copy the Wallet receive address and paste it into the testnet faucet to get some Dash funds. Use promo code `platform` to get 50 DASH (normally it only dispenses around 2-5).
  3. In the TUI, refresh the wallet balance until the funds appear.
  4. Register an identity and fund it with 1 DASH. This is more than enough for the example test we’ll be running.
  5. Refresh the identity balance until you see the funds appear.

Now, we’re ready to build and run a strategy. We’re going to register 20 start_contracts, 10 start_identities, and broadcast 1 document per contract per second for 5 minutes, making it 20 tx/s for 5 minutes.

  1. Go back to the main screen and open the Strategies screen
  2. Create a new strategy and name it whatever you want
  3. First, we’ll add start_identities. So go to the Start Identities screen and add 10 identities with 3 keys each and no transfer key. Then, set the balance of the identities to 0.2 DASH. This will be just enough to cover the entire strategy run. Go back to the Strategy screen.
  4. Next, we’ll add start_contracts. Go to the Start Contracts screen and press `x`. Select a contract and create 20 variants. Go back to the Strategy screen.
  5. Now, go to the Operations screen, press `x`, select “1” for one document per contract (it defaults to the first document type of the contract alphabetically), select “Minimum” to insert the minimum amount of data required for each document, and select “No” in order to not populate fields that aren’t required. Go back to the Strategy screen.
  6. The Strategy is now ready to run. Press `r` to run the strategy. Select `second` mode to run 20 tx/s. Enter `300` to run for 5 minutes. If you select `second` mode, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to verify proofs or not – they aren’t verified in second mode either way. Confirm you would like to run the strategy.

Now, the strategy should begin initialization and then execution. You can check the `explorer.log` file to see the progress. You may also check the testnet block explorer to see your strategy in action, as well as the public Grafana metrics UI hosted by Dash Core Group, which shows metrics like average tx/s and mempool size. When the strategy is finished running, the execution results will be displayed in the TUI. Next, we’ll go into a bit more detail on the Strategy structure which defines strategy tests.

Strategy Structure

Strategies are defined with the Strategy structure (GitHub): 

struct Strategy {


This field defines the identities to insert into the state at the start of the strategy. They will be used to broadcast the rest of the state transitions. Users can specify the number of identities, the number of keys to add to each identity, whether or not to include a special key for Credit Transfers, and the starting balance of each identity.


This field defines the contracts to register at the start of the strategy. It also allows users to define contract updates to be executed on the initial contracts after a certain number of blocks or seconds (for now the updates are hardcoded to happen every 3 blocks or seconds). The TUI reads from the `supporting-files/contract` directory when giving users the option of contracts to register, so you can add contracts to that directory if you wish.


Operations are the state transitions to be executed for the duration of the strategy after the start_identities and start_contracts are registered. They can be any of the supported state transitions, which include Document Inserts, Contract Inserts, Contract Updates, Identity Inserts, Identity Updates, Identity Top Ups, Credit Transfers, and Credit Withdrawals. Users can specify the number of times to execute each state transition per block or second, the percent chance that the operation is executed per block or second, and other state transition-specific parameters; for example, for a Contract Create, they can select which contract to insert, and for a Document Insert, they can specify whether or not to populate not-required fields. Users can create any combination of operations to execute per block or second at their desired frequency. This is where the bulk of the strategy test execution happens.


This field does the same thing as the operations field, just for Identity Inserts. It will probably be merged into the operations field at some point.

Strategy Execution

Once the user has defined or loaded their strategy, wallet, and identity into the TUI, they can run the strategy test after specifying the execution mode: block mode or second mode. Block mode is designed to prepare and broadcast the state transitions on a per-block basis, while second mode is designed to broadcast the state transitions on a per-second basis. Users are then able to specify the number of blocks or seconds to execute the strategy, and whether or not they would like to verify the proofs returned from the StateTransitionExecutionResults (proof verification only applies to block mode).

Once the strategy execution is confirmed, two things will happen before any state transitions are submitted. First, the nonces of the TUI’s Loaded Identity for all the contracts the strategy interacts with are fetched. Then, asset lock proofs need to be obtained for all the Identity Inserts and Top Ups. Normally, the asset lock proof creation rate is about 2 per second, so it may take some time if you’re doing a lot of these transitions. You can check the `explorer.log` file to see the real-time progress.

After these initialization steps, the start_identities are inserted. The strategy will broadcast the state transitions and then wait for nodes to respond with StateTransitionExecutionResults, ensuring that the identities have been inserted into the state (unless there’s an error) before moving on. Then, the start_contracts are inserted, using the start_identities as owners. We again broadcast the state transitions and then wait for the nodes to respond with StateTransitionExecutionResults to confirm all the state transitions have been processed before moving on. Finally, the execution of the operations begins and runs for the course of the strategy. In time mode, the state transitions from here on out are only broadcast and there is no waiting for results. In block mode, we do wait for the results, and optionally verify the proofs as well.

The progress of the strategy can be followed in the `explorer.log` file of the TUI.

Once the strategy is completed, execution results will be displayed.

Importing Strategies

One notable feature of the TUI is that users can import and export strategies. When you export a strategy, a binary file of the Strategy structure is created in `rs-platform-explorer/supporting-files/strategy-exports`. This binary file can be added to a Github repository and later imported into the TUI via the raw Github link. Dash Core Group maintains a repository of strategies along with versioned execution results against the Platform testnet. Of course, this means users are free to import these strategies and run them themselves. This also makes it easy for users to create their own repositories in a similar fashion.

Nonce Errors

One of the biggest hurdles in creating an effective time-based strategy test is getting around nonce errors. Basically, what one needs to know is that identities are limited to 24 transitions per block, or in the case of Document Inserts, 24 documents per contract per block. Since we’re usually submitting state transitions at a rate that is faster than they are being included in blocks, and the nonces need to be set in the state transitions before we send them, the nonces can get too far ahead of what’s actually in the chain state, and so we get errors about them being “too far in the future”. An example of how to get around nonce errors is as follows: if a user wants to do 80 Document Inserts per second, they should do something like register 80 contracts at the start, 30 identities, and then do 1 Document Insert per contract per second. This specific combination consistently produces 99% state transition success rate for a strategy executing at 80 Document Inserts per second for 10 minutes, as can be seen in the results in the repository of strategies.

About the author

Paul DeLucia

Researcher and Rust Developer