Smaller Validators and How to Reduce Over Concentration

In the Cosmos FAQ on validators there is this question:
How to prevent concentration of stake in the hands of a few top validators?
The Answer:
For now the community is expected to behave in a smart and self-preserving way.

The purpose of this post is to start a discussion of how to encourage delegation to smaller validators. I am no doubt self interested in this, I run a validator with the moniker the_dusky with a very small stake, but I also think it is undeniably in the interest of all to decentralize.

I realize that the larger validators have put in a ton of work to build really robust setups and tools for the community. To be clear, there is a good reason the top 5 - 10 are who they are and I, myself, am working on adding value to the network through promotion and hopefully tools as well. But in the end, there may - probably will - be good reason for natural consolidation regardless of efforts at the lower levels, and this can’t be desirable long term for anyone.

Again the point here is to start a discussion to get thoughts and ideas from community about this. So I will start with my own ideas.

My initial thought is that there are two ways to best foster the delegation to smaller validators and I think the SCRT Foundation as well prominent community members can play an integral role here.

The first is for us to encourage people to spread their stake across multiple validators. This is not only a good idea for the network, but it is a good idea generally to diversify risk. A statement in the documentation suggesting this would be extremely helpful.

The second is to come up with a sort of certification process that smaller untrusted validators can go through to affirm that they are following all best practices and are safe to delegate to. I understand the last part, saying that they are safe to delegate to, may be too hard to do. But the idea of having best practices and allowing validators to affirm they are following them, would be easier and go a long way.

Sandy

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I second this!!
I run the validator ‘SecureSecrets☄’ and would love some form of community certificate for my validator from the foundation that would make new delegates know of all trusted validators!!

Again i would also love new avenues to reach with new delegators of the SCRT community!!

Also i would love to hear as a validator what other contributions the community would appreciate.

Moniker - SecureSecrets☄
Address - secret1rfnmcuwzf3zn7r025j9zr3ncc7mt9ge5tcsd5h
Discord - https://discord.gg/dtF4CjW

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One thing that I think would really help in this regard is for the explorers to show percentage uptime for more than the last 50 or 100 blocks. If you are going to delegate to someone that is a bit of an unknown quantity then at very least it would be good to know their % uptime over the last week / month / quarter. Blocks are only 6 seconds so telling us their uptime over the last 100 blocks is only the last 10 minutes! Almost meaningless…

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Great point @JimmyJingjang. I totally agree. Along with this it would be great if the validator could comment on missed blocks. eg “Restarted validator during upgrade to v0.2.1”

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One thing we can do in the interim is allow active mainnet validators to contribute to the Secret Wiki page on the network: https://learn.scrt.network/network.html

If you contribute information about your validator, it can be publicly referenced, and the Foundation can continue to direct prospective delegators to that resource. It’s not really “badging” but it’s a good way to add visibility.

Thoughts here @jlwaugh?

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I think thats a good idea.

Again i am still against having a learn.scrt.network and build.scrt.network. I understand that they are maintained by two different groups of people but we really need a middle ground for that!!

Otherwise its a cool idea!!

@JimmyJingjang

If you are going to delegate to someone that is a bit of an unknown quantity then at very least it would be good to know their % uptime over the last week / month / quarter.

I second that!!

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I’ll add it to our list of things to do for Puzzle @JimmyJingjang . You can track everything we are working on here.

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@tor That could work. I’d love to see more delegators and greater accountability for validators. If it becomes an expectation to contribute details on the wiki, our community would have more information available in a neutral place:

This conversation reminds me of Livepeer’s approach to identifying validators:

I wonder if having validator profiles would be good for trust and security of the network. We should generally support all kinds of node operators who are contributing to the ecosystem in various ways. For example, they might be helping with documentation, building secret apps, creating educational content, participating in governance, sharing updates on the forum, etc.

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That’s what a committee structure is primarily useful for - recognizing those validators (and other active community members) who are making direct contributions to various aspects of the network and its ecosystem.

We’re also still exploring a community membership structure for the foundation as well. That’s another way to build trust / accountability.

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@the-dusky, thank you for bringing these points up. Our goal is to have all 50 validator slots filled as we launch Secret Network v2 (secret contract support) in fall.

Currently 90% of the voting power is concentrated among top 8 validators. I’m curious to see how this compares to other networks. I am all for having broader distribution.

Going forward (with new mainnet launch), Enigma will also have a plan to delegate more of the coins held at the company. This would be based on contributions to the ecosystem and I believe opportunities will arise. Obviously, in order to get delegation the validator must prove reliable operations.

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