Quickstart: Build a decentralized app with Nautilus (Solidity, Hardhat)

This quickstart is for web developers who want to start building decentralized applications (dApps) using Nautilus. It makes no assumptions about your prior experience with Ethereum, Nautilus, or Solidity. Familiarity with JavaScript and yarn is expected. If you're new to Ethereum, consider studying the Ethereum documentation before proceeding.

What we're building

We're going to build a digital cupcake vending machine using Solidity smart contracts. Our vending machine will follow two rules:

  1. The vending machine will distribute a cupcake to anyone who hasn't recently received one.

  2. The vending machine's rules can't be changed by anyone.

Note that although this vending machine appears to follow the rules, it doesn't follow them as much as we'd like. The vending machine's business logic and data are hosted by a centralized service provider. We're trusting that this service provider isn't malicious, but:

  1. Our centralized service provider can deny access to particular users.

  2. A malicious actor can change the rules of the vending machine at any time, for example, to give their friends extra cupcakes.

Centralized third-party intermediaries represent a single point of failure that malicious actors may become incentive to exploit. To mitigate this type of risk, we can decentralize our vending machine's business logic and data, rendering this type of exploitation infeasible.

This is Nautilus's core value proposition to you, dear developer. Nautilus makes it easy for you to deploy your vending machines to Ethereum's permissionless, trustless, decentralized network of nodes while keeping costs low for you and your users.

Let's implement the "web3" version of the above vending machine using Nautilus.


  • VS Code: The IDE we'll use to build our vending machine. See code.visualstudio.com to install.

  • Metamask: The wallet we'll use to interact with our vending machine. See metamask.io to install.

  • Yarn: The package manager we'll use to install our dependencies. See yarnpkg.com to install.

We'll install the rest of our dependencies as we go.

Review our JavaScript vending machine

Here's our vending machine implemented as a JavaScript class:


   class VendingMachine {
        // state variables = internal memory of the vending machine
        cupcakeBalances = {};
        cupcakeDistributionTimes = {};

        // Vend a cupcake to the caller
        giveCupcakeTo(userId) {
            if (this.cupcakeDistributionTimes[userId] === undefined) {
                this.cupcakeBalances[userId] = 0;
                this.cupcakeDistributionTimes[userId] = 0;

            // Rule 1: The vending machine will distribute a cupcake to anyone who hasn't recently received one.
            const fiveSeconds = 5000;
            const userCanReceiveCupcake = this.cupcakeDistributionTimes[userId] + fiveSeconds <= Date.now();
            if (userCanReceiveCupcake) {
                this.cupcakeDistributionTimes[userId] = Date.now();
                console.log(`Enjoy your cupcake, ${userId}!`);
                return true;
            } else {
                console.error("HTTP 429: Too Many Cupcakes (you must wait at least 5 seconds between cupcakes)");
                return false;

        getCupcakeBalanceFor(userId) {
            return this.cupcakeBalances[userId];

The VendingMachine class uses state variables and functions to implement predefined rules. This implementation is useful because it automates cupcake distribution, but there's a problem: it's hosted by a centralized server controlled by a third-party service provider.

Let's decentralize our vending machine's business logic and data by porting the above JavaScript implementation into a Solidity smart contract.

Configure your project directory

Create a decentralized-cupcakes directory for your project and install hardhat using VS Code's integrated terminal:

mkdir decentralized-cupcakes
cd decentralized-cupcakes
yarn init -y
yarn add hardhat @nomicfoundation/hardhat-toolbox -D

This installs two packages: hardhat lets us write, test and deploy our smart contracts, and hardhat-toolbox is a bundle of popular Hardhat plugins that we'll use later.

Next, run yarn hardhat to configure Hardhat. Select Create a JavaScript project when prompted. Make sure you specify your decentralized-cupcakes directory as the project root when asked.

At this point, you should see the following items (among others) in your decentralized-cupcakes project directory:



Contains your smart contracts. You should see the Lock.sol contract here.


Contains scripts that you can use to interact with your smart contracts. You should see deploy.js here.


Contains the configuration settings for Hardhat.

Replace the contents of hardhat.config.js with the following:



// NEVER record important private keys in your code - this is for demo purposes

/** @type import('hardhat/config').HardhatUserConfig */
module.exports = {
  solidity: "0.8.18",
  networks: {
    hardhat: {
      chainId: 1337
    NautilusTestnet: {
      url: "https://triton.api.nautchain.xyz",
      chainId: 91002,

Run yarn hardhat compile to compile the default contracts. You may be prompted to install additional dependencies - follow those instructions until this command runs successfully. You should see Compiled 1 Solidity file successfully in the terminal output. You should also see a new decentralized-cupcakes/artifacts/ directory. This directory contains the compiled smart contract.

Open scripts/deploy.js and replace its contents with the following:


const hre = require("hardhat");

async function main() {

  const VendingMachineFactory = await hre.ethers.getContractFactory("VendingMachine");
  const vendingMachine = await VendingMachineFactory.deploy();
  await vendingMachine.deployed();

    `Cupcake vending machine deployed to ${vendingMachine.address}`

main().catch((error) => {

We'll use this to deploy our smart contract in a moment. Next, delete contracts/Lock.sol and replace it with contracts/VendingMachine.sol, the smarter alternative to our Javascript implementation:


pragma solidity ^0.8.9;

// Rule 2: The vending machine's rules can't be changed by anyone.
contract VendingMachine {
    // state variables = internal memory of the vending machine
    mapping(address => uint) private _cupcakeBalances;
    mapping(address => uint) private _cupcakeDistributionTimes;

    function giveCupcakeTo(address userAddress) public returns (bool) {
        // this code is unnecessary, but we're keeping it here so you can compare it to the JS implementation
        if (_cupcakeDistributionTimes[userAddress] == 0) {
            _cupcakeBalances[userAddress] = 0;
            _cupcakeDistributionTimes[userAddress] = 0;

        // Rule 1: The vending machine will distribute a cupcake to anyone who hasn't recently received one.
        uint fiveSecondsFromLastDistribution = _cupcakeDistributionTimes[userAddress] + 5 seconds;
        bool userCanReceiveCupcake = fiveSecondsFromLastDistribution <= block.timestamp;
        if (userCanReceiveCupcake) {
            _cupcakeDistributionTimes[userAddress] = block.timestamp;
            return true;
        } else {
            revert("HTTP 429: Too Many Cupcakes (you must wait at least 5 seconds between cupcakes)");

    // Getter function for the cupcake balance of a user
    function getCupcakeBalanceFor(address userAddress) public view returns (uint) {
        return _cupcakeBalances[userAddress];

Note that this smart contract is written in Solidity, a language that compiles to EVM bytecode. This means that it can be deployed to any Ethereum-compatible blockchain, including Ethereum mainnet and Nautilus.

Run yarn hardhat compile again. You should see Compiled 1 Solidity file successfully in the terminal output. You should also see a new decentralized-cupcakes/artifacts/contracts/VendingMachine.sol directory.

Deploy the smart contract locally

To deploy our VendingMachine smart contract locally, we'll use two terminal windows and a wallet:

  1. We'll use the first terminal window to run Hardhat's built-in local Ethereum node

  2. We'll then configure a wallet so we can interact with our smart contract after it's deployed to (1)

  3. We'll then deploy our smart contract to (1)'s node

Run a local Ethereum network and node

Run yarn hardhat node from your decentralized-cupcakes directory to begin running a local Ethereum network powered by a single node. This will mimic Ethereum's behavior on your local machine by using Hardhat's built-in Hardhat Network.

You should see something along the lines of Started HTTP and WebSocket JSON-RPC server at in your terminal. You should also see a number of test accounts automatically generated for you:

Account #0: 0xf39Fd6e51aad88F6F4ce6aB8827279cffFb92266 (10000 ETH)
Private Key: 0xac0974bec39a17e36ba4a6b4d238ff944bacb478cbed5efcae784d7bf4f2ff80


Your wallet's private key is the password to all of your money. Never share it with anyone; avoid copying it to your clipboard.

Note that in the context of this quickstart, "account" refers to a public wallet address and its associated private key.

Configure Metamask

Next, open Metamask and create or import a wallet by following the displayed instructions. By default, Metamask will connect to Ethereum mainnet. To connect to our local "testnet", enable test networks for Metamask by clicking Show/hide test networks from the network selector dropdown. Then select the Localhost 8545 network.

Your mainnet wallet won't have a balance on your local testnet's node, but we can import one of the test accounts into Metamask to gain access to 10,000 fake ETH. Copy the private key of one of the test accounts (excluding the 0x prefix, so eg ac0..f80) and import it into Metamask:

You should see a balance of 10,000 ETH. Keep your private key handy; we'll use it again in a moment.

Next, click Metamask's network selector dropdown, and then click the Add Network button. Click "Add a network manually" and then provide the following information:

Nautilus Triton Testnet

Chain NameNautilus Triton Testnet

Chain ID


Block Explorer


Public RPC Endpoint


Currency Symbol


As we interact with our cupcake vending machine, we'll use Metamask's network selector dropdown to determine which network our cupcake transactions are sent to. For now, we'll leave the network set to Localhost 8545.

Deploy the smart contract to your local testnet

From another terminal instance, run yarn hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network localhost. This command will deploy your smart contract to the local testnet's node. You should see something like Cupcake vending machine deployed to 0xe7f1725E7734CE288F8367e1Bb143E90bb3F0512 in your terminal. 0xe7...512 is the address of your smart contract in your local testnet.

Ensure that the Localhost network is selected within Metamask. Then copy and paste your contract address below and click Get cupcake!. You should be prompted to sign a transaction that gives you a cupcake.

Deploy the smart contract to the Nautilus testnet

We were able to deploy to a local testnet for free because we were using Hardhat's built-in Ethereum network emulator. Because Nautilus's testnet is powered by a real network of real nodes, we'll need to pay a small transaction fee to deploy our smart contract. This fee can be paid with the Nautilus testnet's token, tZBC.

First, update the hardhat.config.js file to specify the private key of the test account that you'll use to deploy your smart contract (and pay the transaction fee):


// ...
const TESTNET_PRIVATE_KEY = ""; // <- this should **not** begin with "0x"
// ...
accounts: [TESTNET_PRIVATE_KEY] // <- uncomment this line
// ...


Note that we're adding a private key to a config file. This is not a best practice. Consider using environment variables instead.

Next, let's deposit some tZBC into the wallet corresponding to the private key we added to hardhat.config.js. You can acquire some testnet Token in https://faucet.nautchain.xyz/.

Once you've acquired some tZBC, you'll be able to deploy your smart contract to Nautilus's testnet by issuing the following command:

yarn hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network Nautilus

This tells hardhat to deploy the compiled smart contract through the RPC endpoint corresponding to Nautilus in hardhat.config.js`. You should see the following output:

Cupcake vending machine deployed to 0xff825139321bd8fB8b720BfFC5b9EfDB7d6e9AB3

Congratulations! You've just deployed business logic and data to Nautilus. This logic and data will be hashed and submitted within a transaction to all nodes in the Nautilus network.

Select Nautilus from Metamask's dropdown, paste your contract address into the VendingMachine below, and click Get cupcake!. You should be prompted to sign a transaction that gives you a cupcake.


In this quickstart, we:

  • Identified two business rules: 1) fair and permissionless cupcake distribution, 2) immutable business logic.

  • Identified a challenge: These rules are difficult to follow in a centralized application.

  • Identified a solution: Nautilus makes it easy for developers to decentralize business logic and data (using Ethereum mainnet as a settlement layer).

  • Converted a vending machine's JavaScript business logic into a Solidity smart contract.

  • Deployed our smart contract to Hardhat's local development network, and then Nautilus's testnet.

If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to us on Discord , we're listening!

Last updated