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Situation: I am trying to implement a payment network, I guess kind of similar to World Wire, and I am not sure how should I start off. Have yet to use docker before, so I'm a bit overwhelmed by the instructions. And I'm not sure if I should proceed with core as there seems to be a lot of configurations.

Outcome: The end goal would probably be a POC to simulate on testnet/privatenet with about 1000 nodes transacting from small to huge amounts, and if possible being able to see it being ready to move to public.

Extras: If I come across as asking to be spoon-fed, I'm sorry! Please at least leave link/guides for me so that I can narrow down my searches. As I currently have 1 month deadline to work towards to, and I cannot afford to explore for too long. All help is appreciated!! Thank you!

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You will need to run a Stellar Core + Horizon instance. However it probably won't help you to install and configure these by hand for your use case and timeline.

Check out the summary doc here for a short list of the paths you can take: https://github.com/stellar/go/tree/master/services/horizon

To start out quickly, I would definitely recommend the Docker route. See the Quickstart guide for detailed instructions. You shouldn't need to know much about Docker to make good progress. You can run the Docker container in "persistent" mode with an external mounted volume (all described in the instructions), which gives you access to the configuration for both Core and Horizon, so as you grow from your initial experiments, you can tweak things easily.

Full disclosure: I went through a similar process myself recently and reworked these docs to cover the issues I ran into. Hopefully they will be useful. :)

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For a proof of concept, definitely go with the quickstart image. A thousand nodes sounds arbitrarily insanely large though. IMHO you should first properly understand your architecture before attempting such a thing. Given you are asking this, you obviously don't (no offense). So, learn to walk before you attempt to run.

For a small demo, I would just use the public endpoint (for the testnet) or run a standalone node locally.

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