Part 3 - Pocket Configuration

1. Download Snapshot

Instead of synchronizing your node from block zero, which could take weeks, you can use a snapshot. A snapshot of the Pocket blockchain is taken once a week and can be downloaded using the instructions on the Pocket Snapshotter page.

Downloading a snapshot will likely take a few hours, so we’re going to use the screen command so that the download can run in the background, allowing you to perform other tasks while it's downloading.

To download the most recent snapshot:

  1. Create a screen instance:


    Press Enter to return to a prompt.

  2. Move into the .pocket directory.

    cd ~/.pocket
  3. Download the latest snapshot using the following command:

    wget -c "$(curl -s" -qO - | tar -xv

    Note that this command downloads the uncompressed, unpruned snapshot and that to save storage space extracts it to the data directory while downloading. For instructions on how to download pruned or compressed versions, or how not to extract while downloading, see the Pocket Snapshotter page.

While the snapshot is downloading, press Ctrl-A and then d to let the process run in the background and be returned to a prompt.

To return to your screen instance to see how things are going:

screen -r

You can also check on the status of the download by watching your disk usage:

df -h

Once your download completes, make the pocket user the owner of the data directory:

sudo chown -R pocket ~/.pocket/data

When you’re done with your screen instance, exit out of it:


2. Create a POKT wallet account

Pocket nodes work with a POKT wallet account, which handles sending and receiving transactions from the node. You can use an existing account or make a new one with the Pocket CLI (Command-line interface) tool we just installed. For this guide, we'll make a new account.

Creating an account

To create an account, run the following command:

pocket accounts create

You’ll be asked to set a passphrase for the account. You can use any passphrase you like, but for security reasons it’s best to use a random one that's at least 12 characters long.

If you already have a POKT account that you’d like to use to run the node, you can import it here. Upload the JSON file associated with your account to the server and run the following command:

pocket accounts import-armored <armoredJSONFile>

You will be prompted for the file's decryption passphrase, and then for a new encryption passphrase to store in the keybase.

Listing accounts

After you’ve created the account you can use the pocket accounts list command to confirm that the account was added successfully.

pocket accounts list

Setting the validator address

Next, set the account as the one the node will use with the following command:

pocket accounts set-validator [YOUR_ACCOUNT_ADDRESS]

Confirm the validator address

Finally, confirm that the validator address was set correctly by running the following command:

 pocket accounts get-validator

Create config.json

The Pocket core software uses a file to store configuration details. By default this config file is located at ~/.pocket/config/config.json. In this step we’ll look at how to create a new config file.

  1. Run the following command, which will create the default config.json file, add the seeds, set port 8081 to 8082, and increase the RPC timeout value:

    export SEEDS=$(curl -s \
    | tr '\n' ',' \
    | sed 's/,*$//')
    pocket util print-configs \
    | jq --arg seeds "$SEEDS" '.tendermint_config.P2P.Seeds = $seeds' \
    | jq '.pocket_config.rpc_timeout = 15000' \
    | jq '.pocket_config.rpc_port = "8082"' \
    | jq '.pocket_config.remote_cli_url = "http://localhost:8082"' \
    | jq . > ~/.pocket/config/config.json

The above command is a long one! Make sure you’ve copied all of it.

  1. Verify the config.json file setting by viewing the contents of the file:

cat ~/.pocket/config/config.json

3. Create chains.json

Pocket nodes relay transactions to other blockchains. So, you’ll need to configure the chains to which your node can relay. For this guide, we’ll be setting up our node to relay only to the Pocket Mainnet blockchain.

To maximize your rewards, you’ll want to relay to other chains too, but running other chains is not covered in this tutorial. Here is a list of Pocket Network's Supported Chains.

Generating a chains.json file with the CLI

You can use the Pocket CLI to generate a chains.json file for your node by running the following command:

pocket util generate-chains

This will prompt you for the following information:

  • Enter the ServiceID of the chain as listed on the Supported Chains page, which in this is case for Pocket Network Mainnet.

  • Enter the URL of the chain, which in this case is the local network identifier since the Pocket chain is running on this computer.
  • When you’re prompted to add another chain, enter n.

By default the chains.json file will be created in ~/.pocket/config. You can use the --datadir flag to create the chains.json file in an alternate location. For example: pocket util generate-chains --datadir "/mnt/data/.pocket".

4. Create genesis.json

Now that we have a chains.json file set up, we can proceed to test our node.

When you start a Pocket node for the first time, it needs to initialize with a genesis.json file that has details about the first block in the blockchain.

To create a JSON file with the genesis information:

  1. Go to the .pocket/config directory:

    cd ~/.pocket/config
  2. Use the following command to get the genesis.json file from GitHub and install it in that directory:

    wget genesis.json

5. Set open file limits

Ubuntu and other UNIX-like systems have a ulimit shell command that’s used to set resource limits for users. One of the limits that can be set is the number of open files a user is allowed to have. Pocket nodes will have a lot of files open at times, so we’ll want to increase the default ulimit for the pocket user account.

Increasing the ulimit

  1. Before increasing the ulimit, you can check the current ulimit with the following command. The -n option is for getting the limit for the number of open files:

    ulimit -n
  2. Increase the ulimit to 16384. The -Sn option is for setting the soft limit on the number of open files:

    ulimit -Sn 16384
  3. Check the new ulimit to confirm that it was set correctly.

    ulimit -n

Permanent settings

Using the above method for setting the ulimit only keeps the change in effect for your current session. To permanently set the ulimit, do the following:

  1. Open the /etc/security/limits.conf file.

    sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf
  2. Add the following line to the bottom of the file:

    pocket           soft    nofile          16384
  3. Save the file with Ctrl+O and then Enter.

  4. Exit nano with Ctrl+X.

6. Configure systemd

Next, we’ll configure the Pocket service using systemd, a Linux service manager. This will enable the Pocket node to run and restart even when we’re not logged in.

Creating a systemd service in Linux

To set up a systemd service for Pocket, do the following:

  1. Open nano and create a new file called pocket.service:

    sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/pocket.service
  2. Add the following lines to the file:

    Description=Pocket service mnt-data.mount systemd-networkd-wait-online.service
    ExecStart=/home/pocket/go/bin/pocket start
    ExecStop=/home/pocket/go/bin/pocket stop
  3. Make sure the User is set to the user that will be running the Pocket service.

  4. Make sure the ExecStart and ExecStop paths are set to the path for the Pocket binary.

  5. Save the file with Ctrl+O and then return.

  6. Exit nano with Ctrl+X.

  7. Reload the service files to include the Pocket service:

    sudo systemctl daemon-reload
  8. Start the Pocket service:

    sudo systemctl start pocket.service
  9. Verify the service is running:

    sudo systemctl status pocket.service
  10. Stop the Pocket service:

    sudo systemctl stop pocket.service
  11. Verify the service has stopped:

    sudo systemctl status pocket.service
  12. Set the service to start on boot:

    sudo systemctl enable pocket.service
  13. Verify the service is set to start on boot:

    sudo systemctl list-unit-files --type=service | grep pocket.service
  14. Start the Pocket service:

    sudo systemctl start pocket.service

Other system service commands

  • Restart the Pocket service:

    sudo systemctl restart pocket.service
  • Prevent the service from starting on boot:

    sudo systemctl disable pocket.service
  • View mounted volumes:

    sudo systemctl list-units --type=mount
  • View the logs for the Pocket service:

    sudo journalctl -u pocket.service
  • View just the last 100 lines of the logs (equivalent to the tail -f command):

    sudo journalctl -u pocket.service -n 100 --no-pager
  • You can use grep to find errors in the logs.

    sudo journalctl -u pocket.service | grep -i error

In case you forgot to make thepocketuser the owner of the datadirectory after downloading the snapshot of the Pocket blockchain, do so now with the following command:

sudo chown -R pocket ~/.pocket/data

And when you’re done with your screen instance, exit out of it:


We are almost done! Our next step is to set up an HTTP proxy, and then we’ll be ready to go live.

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