Delegator Guide (CLI)

This document contains all the necessary information for delegators to interact with the Cosmos Hub through the Command-Line Interface (CLI).

It also contains instructions on how to manage accounts, restore accounts from the fundraiser and use a ledger nano device.

Very Important: Please assure that you follow the steps described hereinafter carefully, as negligence in this significant process could lead to an indefinite loss of your Atoms. Therefore, read through the following instructions in their entirety prior to proceeding and reach out to us in case you need support.

Please also note that you are about to interact with the Cosmos Hub, a blockchain technology containing highly experimental software. While the blockchain has been developed in accordance to the state of the art and audited with utmost care, we can nevertheless expect to have issues, updates and bugs. Furthermore, interaction with blockchain technology requires advanced technical skills and always entails risks that are outside our control. By using the software, you confirm that you understand the inherent risks associated with cryptographic software (see also risk section of the Interchain Cosmos Contribution terms) and that the Interchain Foundation and/or the Tendermint Team may not be held liable for potential damages arising out of the use of the software. Any use of this open source software released under the Apache 2.0 license is done at your own risk and on a "AS IS" basis, without warranties or conditions of any kind.

Please exercise extreme caution!

Table of Contents

Installing gaiacli

gaiacli: This is the command-line interface to interact with a gaiad full-node.

Please check that you download the latest stable release of gaiacli that is available

[Download the binaries] Not available yet.

Install from source

gaiacli is used from a terminal. To open the terminal, follow these steps:

  • Windows: Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt
  • MacOS: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
  • Linux: Ctrl + Alt + T

Cosmos Accounts

At the core of every Cosmos account, there is a seed, which takes the form of a 12 or 24-words mnemonic. From this mnemonic, it is possible to create any number of Cosmos accounts, i.e. pairs of private key/public key. This is called an HD wallet (see BIP32 for more information on the HD wallet specification).

     Account 0                         Account 1                         Account 2

+------------------+              +------------------+               +------------------+
|                  |              |                  |               |                  |
|    Address 0     |              |    Address 1     |               |    Address 2     |
|        ^         |              |        ^         |               |        ^         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        +         |              |        +         |               |        +         |
|  Public key 0    |              |  Public key 1    |               |  Public key 2    |
|        ^         |              |        ^         |               |        ^         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        |         |              |        |         |               |        |         |
|        +         |              |        +         |               |        +         |
|  Private key 0   |              |  Private key 1   |               |  Private key 2   |
|        ^         |              |        ^         |               |        ^         |
+------------------+              +------------------+               +------------------+
         |                                 |                                  |
         |                                 |                                  |
         |                                 |                                  |
         +--------------------------------------------------------------------+
                                           |
                                           |
                                 +---------+---------+
                                 |                   |
                                 |  Mnemonic (Seed)  |
                                 |                   |
                                 +-------------------+
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The funds stored in an account are controlled by the private key. This private key is generated using a one-way function from the mnemonic. If you lose the private key, you can retrieve it using the mnemonic. However, if you lose the mnemonic, you will lose access to all the derived private keys. Likewise, if someone gains access to your mnemonic, they gain access to all the associated accounts.

Do not lose or share your 12 words with anyone. To prevent theft or loss of funds, it is best to ensure that you keep multiple copies of your mnemonic, and store it in a safe, secure place and that only you know how to access. If someone is able to gain access to your mnemonic, they will be able to gain access to your private keys and control the accounts associated with them.

The address is a public string with a human-readable prefix (e.g. cosmos10snjt8dmpr5my0h76xj48ty80uzwhraqalu4eg) that identifies your account. When someone wants to send you funds, they send it to your address. It is computationally infeasible to find the private key associated with a given address.

Restoring an Account from the Fundraiser

NOTE: This section only concerns fundraiser participants

If you participated in the fundraiser, you should be in possession of a 12-words mnemonic. Newly generated mnemonics use 24 words, but 12-word mnemonics are also compatible with all the Cosmos tools.

On a Ledger Device

At the core of a ledger device, there is a mnemonic used to generate accounts on multiple blockchains (including the Cosmos Hub). Usually, you will create a new mnemonic when you initialize your ledger device. However, it is possible to tell the ledger device to use a mnemonic provided by the user instead. Let us go ahead and see how you can input the mnemonic you obtained during the fundraiser as the seed of your ledger device.

NOTE: To do this, it is preferable to use a brand new ledger device.. Indeed, there can be only one mnemonic per ledger device. If, however, you want to use a ledger that is already initialized with a seed, you can reset it by going in Settings>Device>Reset All. Please note that this will wipe out the seed currently stored on the device. If you have not properly secured the associated mnemonic, you could lose your funds!!!

The following steps need to be performed on an un-initialized ledger device:

  1. Connect your ledger device to the computer via USB
  2. Press both buttons
  3. Do NOT choose the "Config as a new device" option. Instead, choose "Restore Configuration"
  4. Choose a PIN
  5. Choose the 12 words option
  6. Input each of the words you got during the fundraiser, in the correct order.

Your ledger is now correctly set up with your fundraiser mnemonic! Do not lose this mnemonic! If your ledger is compromised, you can always restore a new device again using the same mnemonic.

Next, click here to learn how to generate an account.

On a Computer

NOTE: It is more secure to perform this action on an offline computer

To restore an account using a fundraiser mnemonic and store the associated encrypted private key on a computer, use the following command:

gaiacli keys add <yourKeyName> --recover
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You will be prompted to input a passphrase that is used to encrypt the private key of account 0 on disk. Each time you want to send a transaction, this password will be required. If you lose the password, you can always recover the private key with the mnemonic.

  • <yourKeyName> is the name of the account. It is a reference to the account number used to derive the key pair from the mnemonic. You will use this name to identify your account when you want to send a transaction.
  • You can add the optional --account flag to specify the path (0, 1, 2, ...) you want to use to generate your account. By default, account 0 is generated.

Creating an Account

To create an account, you just need to have gaiacli installed. Before creating it, you need to know where you intend to store and interact with your private keys. The best options are to store them in an offline dedicated computer or a ledger device. Storing them on your regular online computer involves more risk, since anyone who infiltrates your computer through the internet could exfiltrate your private keys and steal your funds.

Using a Ledger Device

Only use Ledger devices that you bought factory new or trust fully

When you initialize your ledger, a 24-word mnemonic is generated and stored in the device. This mnemonic is compatible with Cosmos and Cosmos accounts can be derived from it. Therefore, all you have to do is make your ledger compatible with gaiacli. To do so, you need to go through the following steps:

  1. Download the Ledger Live app here.
  2. Connect your ledger via USB and update to the latest firmware
  3. Go to the ledger live app store, and download the "Cosmos" application (this can take a while). Note: You may have to enable Dev Mode in the Settings of Ledger Live to be able to download the "Cosmos" application.
  4. Navigate to the Cosmos app on your ledger device

Then, to create an account, use the following command:

gaiacli keys add <yourAccountName> --ledger 
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This command will only work while the Ledger is plugged in and unlocked

  • <yourKeyName> is the name of the account. It is a reference to the account number used to derive the key pair from the mnemonic. You will use this name to identify your account when you want to send a transaction.
  • You can add the optional --account flag to specify the path (0, 1, 2, ...) you want to use to generate your account. By default, account 0 is generated.

Using a Computer

NOTE: It is more secure to perform this action on an offline computer

To generate an account, just use the following command:

gaiacli keys add <yourKeyName>
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The command will generate a 24-words mnemonic and save the private and public keys for account 0 at the same time. You will be prompted to input a passphrase that is used to encrypt the private key of account 0 on disk. Each time you want to send a transaction, this password will be required. If you lose the password, you can always recover the private key with the mnemonic.

Do not lose or share your 12 words with anyone. To prevent theft or loss of funds, it is best to ensure that you keep multiple copies of your mnemonic, and store it in a safe, secure place and that only you know how to access. If someone is able to gain access to your mnemonic, they will be able to gain access to your private keys and control the accounts associated with them.

After you have secured your mnemonic (triple check!), you can delete bash history to ensure no one can retrieve it:

history -c
rm ~/.bash_history
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  • <yourKeyName> is the name of the account. It is a reference to the account number used to derive the key pair from the mnemonic. You will use this name to identify your account when you want to send a transaction.
  • You can add the optional --account flag to specify the path (0, 1, 2, ...) you want to use to generate your account. By default, account 0 is generated.

You can generate more accounts from the same mnemonic using the following command:

gaiacli keys add <yourKeyName> --recover --account 1
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This command will prompt you to input a passphrase as well as your mnemonic. Change the account number to generate a different account.

Accessing the Cosmos Hub Network

In order to query the state and send transactions, you need a way to access the network. To do so, you can either run your own full-node, or connect to someone else's.

NOTE: Do not share your mnemonic (12 or 24 words) with anyone. The only person who should ever need to know it is you. This is especially important if you are ever approached via email or direct message by someone requesting that you share your mnemonic for any kind of blockchain services or support. No one from Cosmos, the Tendermint team or the Interchain Foundation will ever send an email that asks for you to share any kind of account credentials or your mnemonic.".

Running Your Own Full-Node

This is the most secure option, but comes with relatively high resource requirements. In order to run your own full-node, you need good bandwidth and at least 1TB of disk space.

You will find the tutorial on how to install gaiad here, and the guide to run a full-node here.

Connecting to a Remote Full-Node

If you do not want or cannot run your own node, you can connect to someone else's full-node. You should pick an operator you trust, because a malicious operator could return incorrect query results or censor your transactions. However, they will never be able to steal your funds, as your private keys are stored locally on your computer or ledger device. Possible options of full-node operators include validators, wallet providers or exchanges.

In order to connect to the full-node, you will need an address of the following form: https://77.87.106.33:26657 (Note: This is a placeholder). This address has to be communicated by the full-node operator you choose to trust. You will use this address in the following section.

Setting Up gaiacli

Before setting up gaiacli, make sure you have set up a way to access the Cosmos Hub network

Please check that you are always using the latest stable release of gaiacli

gaiacli is the tool that enables you to interact with the node that runs on the Cosmos Hub network, whether you run it yourself or not. Let us set it up properly.

In order to set up gaiacli, use the following command:

gaiacli config <flag> <value>
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It allows you to set a default value for each given flag.

First, set up the address of the full-node you want to connect to:

gaiacli config node <host>:<port

// example: gaiacli config node https://77.87.106.33:26657
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If you run your own full-node, just use tcp://localhost:26657 as the address.

Then, let us set the default value of the --trust-node flag:

gaiacli config trust-node false

// Set to true if you run a light-client node, false otherwise
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Finally, let us set the chain-id of the blockchain we want to interact with:

gaiacli config chain-id cosmoshub-2
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Querying the State

Before you can bond atoms and withdraw rewards, you need to set up gaiacli

gaiacli lets you query all relevant information from the blockchain, like account balances, amount of bonded tokens, outstanding rewards, governance proposals and more. Next is a list of the most useful commands for delegator.

// query account balances and other account-related information
gaiacli query account <yourAddress>

// query the list of validators
gaiacli query staking validators

// query the information of a validator given their address (e.g. cosmosvaloper1n5pepvmgsfd3p2tqqgvt505jvymmstf6s9gw27)
gaiacli query staking validator <validatorAddress>

// query all delegations made from a delegator given their address (e.g. cosmos10snjt8dmpr5my0h76xj48ty80uzwhraqalu4eg)
gaiacli query staking delegations <delegatorAddress>

// query a specific delegation made from a delegator (e.g. cosmos10snjt8dmpr5my0h76xj48ty80uzwhraqalu4eg) to a validator (e.g. cosmosvaloper1n5pepvmgsfd3p2tqqgvt505jvymmstf6s9gw27) given their addresses
gaiacli query staking delegation <delegatorAddress> <validatorAddress>

// query the rewards of a delegator given a delegator address (e.g. cosmos10snjt8dmpr5my0h76xj48ty80uzwhraqalu4eg)
gaiacli query distribution rewards <delegatorAddress> 

// query all proposals currently open for depositing
gaiacli query gov proposals --status deposit_period

// query all proposals currently open for voting
gaiacli query gov proposals --status voting_period

// query a proposal given its proposalID
gaiacli query gov proposal <proposalID>
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For more commands, just type:

gaiacli query
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For each command, you can use the -h or --help flag to get more information.

Sending Transactions

On Cosmos Hub mainnet, the accepted denom is uatom, where 1atom = 1,000,000uatom

A Note on Gas and Fees

Transactions on the Cosmos Hub network need to include a transaction fee in order to be processed. This fee pays for the gas required to run the transaction. The formula is the following:

fees = ceil(gas * gasPrices)
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The gas is dependent on the transaction. Different transaction require different amount of gas. The gas amount for a transaction is calculated as it is being processed, but there is a way to estimate it beforehand by using the auto value for the gas flag. Of course, this only gives an estimate. You can adjust this estimate with the flag --gas-adjustment (default 1.0) if you want to be sure you provide enough gas for the transaction. For the remainder of this tutorial, we will use a --gas-adjustment of 1.5.

The gasPrice is the price of each unit of gas. Each validator sets a min-gas-price value, and will only include transactions that have a gasPrice greater than their min-gas-price.

The transaction fees are the product of gas and gasPrice. As a user, you have to input 2 out of 3. The higher the gasPrice/fees, the higher the chance that your transaction will get included in a block.

For mainnet, the recommended gas-prices is 0.025uatom.

Sending Tokens

Before you can bond atoms and withdraw rewards, you need to set up gaiacli and create an account

Note: These commands need to be run on an online computer. It is more secure to perform them commands using a Ledger Nano S device. For the offline procedure, click here.

// Send a certain amount of tokens to an address
// Ex value for parameters (do not actually use these values in your tx!!): <to_address>=cosmos16m93fezfiezhvnjajzrfyszml8qm92a0w67ntjhd3d0 <amount>=1000000uatom 
// Ex value for flags: <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx send <to_address> <amount> --from <yourKeyName> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice>
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Bonding Atoms and Withdrawing Rewards

Before you can bond atoms and withdraw rewards, you need to set up gaiacli and create an account

Before bonding Atoms, please read the delegator faq to understand the risk and responsibilities involved with delegating

Note: These commands need to be run on an online computer. It is more secure to perform them commands using a ledger device. For the offline procedure, click here.

// Bond a certain amount of Atoms to a given validator
// ex value for flags: <validatorAddress>=cosmosvaloper18thamkhnj9wz8pa4nhnp9rldprgant57pk2m8s, <amountToBound>=10000000uatom, <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx staking delegate <validatorAddress> <amountToBond> --from <delegatorKeyName> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice>


// Redelegate a certain amount of Atoms from a validator to another
// Can only be used if already bonded to a validator
// Redelegation takes effect immediately, there is no waiting period to redelegate
// After a redelegation, no other redelegation can be made from the account for the next 3 weeks
// ex value for flags: <stcValidatorAddress>=cosmosvaloper18thamkhnj9wz8pa4nhnp9rldprgant57pk2m8s, <amountToRedelegate>=100000000uatom, <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx staking redelegate <srcValidatorAddress> <destValidatorAddress> <amountToRedelegate> --from <delegatorKeyName> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice>

// Withdraw all rewards
// ex value for flag: <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx distribution withdraw-all-rewards --from <delegatorKeyName> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice>


// Unbond a certain amount of Atoms from a given validator 
// You will have to wait 3 weeks before your Atoms are fully unbonded and transferrable 
// ex value for flags: <validatorAddress>=cosmosvaloper18thamkhnj9wz8pa4nhnp9rldprgant57pk2m8s, <amountToUnbound>=10000000uatom, <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx staking unbond <validatorAddress> <amountToUnbond> --from <delegatorKeyName> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice>
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If you use a connected Ledger, you will be asked to confirm the transaction on the device before it is signed and broadcast to the network. Note that the command will only work while the Ledger is plugged in and unlocked.

To confirm that your transaction went through, you can use the following queries:

// your balance should change after you bond Atoms or withdraw rewards
gaiacli query account

// you should have delegations after you bond Atom
gaiacli query staking delegations <delegatorAddress>

// this returns your tx if it has been included
// use the tx hash that was displayed when you created the tx
gaiacli query tx <txHash>

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Double check with a block explorer if you interact with the network through a trusted full-node.

Participating in Governance

Primer on Governance

The Cosmos Hub has a built-in governance system that lets bonded Atom holders vote on proposals. There are three types of proposal:

  • Text Proposals: These are the most basic type of proposals. They can be used to get the opinion of the network on a given topic.
  • Parameter Proposals: These are used to update the value of an existing parameter.
  • Software Upgrade Proposal: These are used to propose an upgrade of the Hub's software.

Any Atom holder can submit a proposal. In order for the proposal to be open for voting, it needs to come with a deposit that is greater than a parameter called minDeposit. The deposit need not be provided in its entirety by the submitter. If the initial proposer's deposit is not sufficient, the proposal enters the deposit_period status. Then, any Atom holder can increase the deposit by sending a depositTx.

Once the deposit reaches minDeposit, the proposal enters the voting_period, which lasts 2 weeks. Any bonded Atom holder can then cast a vote on this proposal. The options are Yes, No, NoWithVeto and Abstain. The weight of the vote is based on the amount of bonded Atoms of the sender. If they don't vote, delegator inherit the vote of their validator. However, delegators can override their validator's vote by sending a vote themselves.

At the end of the voting period, the proposal is accepted if there are more than 50% Yes votes (excluding Abstain votes) and less than 33.33% of NoWithVeto votes (excluding Abstain votes).

In Practice

Before you can bond atoms and withdraw rewards, you need to bond Atoms

Note: These commands need to be run on an online computer. It is more secure to perform them commands using a ledger device. For the offline procedure, click here.

// Submit a Proposal
// <type>=text/parameter_change/software_upgrade
// ex value for flag: <gasPrice>=0.025uatom

gaiacli tx gov submit-proposal --title "Test Proposal" --description "My awesome proposal" --type <type> --deposit=10000000uatom --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice> --from <delegatorKeyName>

// Increase deposit of a proposal
// Retrieve proposalID from $gaiacli query gov proposals --status deposit_period
// ex value for parameter: <deposit>=10000000uatom

gaiacli tx gov deposit <proposalID> <deposit> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice> --from <delegatorKeyName>

// Vote on a proposal
// Retrieve proposalID from $gaiacli query gov proposals --status voting_period 
// <option>=yes/no/no_with_veto/abstain

gaiacli tx gov vote <proposalID> <option> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice> --from <delegatorKeyName>
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Signing Transactions From an Offline Computer

If you do not have a ledger device and want to interact with your private key on an offline computer, you can use the following procedure. First, generate an unsigned transaction on an online computer with the following command (example with a bonding transaction):

// Bond Atoms 
// ex value for flags: <amountToBound>=10000000uatom, <bech32AddressOfValidator>=cosmosvaloper18thamkhnj9wz8pa4nhnp9rldprgant57pk2m8s, <gasPrice>=0.025uatom, <delegatorAddress>=cosmos10snjt8dmpr5my0h76xj48ty80uzwhraqalu4eg

gaiacli tx staking delegate <validatorAddress> <amountToBond> --from <delegatorAddress> --gas auto --gas-adjustment 1.5 --gas-prices <gasPrice> --generate-only > unsignedTX.json
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In order to sign, you will also need the chain-id, account-number and sequence. The chain-id is a unique identifier for the blockchain on which you are submitting the transaction. The account-number is an identifier generated when your account first receives funds. The sequence number is used to keep track of the number of transactions you have sent and prevent replay attacks.

Get the chain-id from the genesis file (cosmoshub-2), and the two other fields using the account query:

gaiacli query account <yourAddress> --chain-id cosmoshub-2
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Then, copy unsignedTx.json and transfer it (e.g. via USB) to the offline computer. If it is not done already, create an account on the offline computer. For additional security, you can double check the parameters of your transaction before signing it using the following command:

cat unsignedTx.json
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Now, sign the transaction using the following command. You will need the chain-id, sequence and account-number obtained earlier:

gaiacli tx sign unsignedTx.json --from <delegatorKeyName> --offline --chain-id cosmoshub-2 --sequence <sequence> --account-number <account-number> > signedTx.json
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Copy signedTx.json and transfer it back to the online computer. Finally, use the following command to broadcast the transaction:

gaiacli tx broadcast signedTx.json
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