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PolkaBTC Beta Testnet Upgrade Incoming

Published date: May 25 2021

We are thrilled to announce that the PolkaBTC Public Beta Testnet is undergoing a major upgrade! After receiving countless feedback forms and suggestions to improve, we are relaunching the testnet on 27 May 2021.

Shortly after the beta relaunch, we will also announce the last two challenges for a total of 400 DOT. What better way to get some DOT to help your favorite parachains launch in the upcoming auctions?

Follow @polkaBTC and @interlayHQ on Twitter to stay up to date with Beta events, challenges and rewards.

What new features are added?

Burn PolkaBTC. We will re-launch with a burn feature. This allows you to burn PolkaBTC for DOT when Vaults are liquidated. Any user can exchange PolkaBTC for DOT at a beneficial rate (in USD terms).

Issue BTC refund mechanism. One of the major feedbacks we got is that if a user sends the wrong amount of BTC to a Vault on issues, the BTC is lost. This is now updated:

  • If a user sends too little BTC, the user can still issue this amount of BTC with the vault (needs to be done manually by the user).
  • If a user sends too much BTC, we either (1) issue more PolkaBTC if the selected Vault has sufficient collateral or (2) ask the Vault to return the surplus BTC to the user.

Improved Oracle failure handling. In the beginning of the beta testnet, we experienced our oracles being offline. We are now extending the time to complete issue and redeem requests by the time that oracles are reportedly offline (have not submitted an exchange rate for 60 minutes).

Vault client stability. We made a lot of under-the-hood improvements to the Vault clients to prevent them from crashing and handle interrupted connections gracefully.

Chain performance improvements. We also made a lot of under-the-hood performance improvement to the chain itself.

What does this mean for you?

Shutting down the current Beta testnet. We will reset the current beta environment and start with a new genesis state. This means:

  • All of your existing testnet PolkaBTC and DOT will be set to 0 on 27 May 2021.
  • If you are running a Vault or Relayer, these will be de-registered and your SLA score will be set to 0 on 27 May 2021.

Donate your testnet BTC. Since testnet BTC is a bit hard to come by, feel free to donate your testnet BTC to this address from the old network: tb1q2rsr5xytrat86eqlumm6pszg0zkp5mc2239a9a

Starting the Beta v2 Testnet. We will switch to the latest version of the testnet on 27 May 2021. Feel free to test the new and existing features.

Wait for the next challenges to earn 400 DOT. Shortly after the Beta v2 launch, we will announce the last two challenges. Stay tuned.

How do I participate?

The Beta testnet is open to all who are interested. You can test as one of the following roles:


Lock testnet BTC with Vaults to mint 1:1 backed testnet PolkaBTC on Polkadot.

Please see the Getting Started Guide. You will need (1) a Bitcoin wallet and (2) the Polkadot.js browser extension.


Collateralized intermediaries who hold BTC locked on Bitcoin. Any user can become a Vault by simply locking DOT collateral.

Requirements: Download and run the Vault client (follow instructions here). You will need a Bitcoin testnet node.

Staked Relayers

Make sure the BTC Parachain is up to date with the state of Bitcoin by submitting block headers to BTC-Relay.

Requirements: Download and run the Vault client (follow instructions here). You will need a Bitcoin testnet node.

About Interlay

Interlay is building a decentralized cross-chain settlement layer, “a network to connect them all”. As a first step, Interlay is building PolkaBTC, in collaboration with Parity Technologies and funded by the Web3 Foundation. PolkaBTC will allow Bitcoin holders to access Polkadot’s DeFi directly from their BTC wallet. Interlay is committed to decentralization, following a research-driven approach, shipping open-source code, and collaborating with leading research labs around the world.

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PolkaBTC Beta Testnet Upgrade Incoming was originally published in Interlay on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.