We just hosted an AMA on Discord. I was joined in a panel discussion by my fellow Board Members at the Foundation—Kei Kreutler (Strategy at Gnosis) and Gregory Landua (CEO at Regen Network Development) as well as Chris Remus (Validator with Chainflow).
I took some notes, which I’ll share here:
Kei, Gregory, and Chris are all in support of option 2. Kei would like to see the development of a reputation system. Chris is interested in tracking validator performance; he pointed out that often times people equate the validators with the most stake as the most performant, and this simply isn’t the case (many validators with small stake are still very well-run and big contributors to the community).
I pointed out that the question at hand is how we upgrade our current delegation strategy, but mentioned that this is an iterative process, and we can certainly continue to upgrade as this turns into a redelegation strategy. For example, I see it as unlikely that we’ll be able to pull together a comprehensive reputation system over then next few weeks, but this could be something that is integrated by the time we get to relegation.
Gregory expressed interest in a quadratic cap model—a way of addressing validator centralization at the consensus mechanism layer. Of course, this is a big undertaking, and is more of a mid-term goal. Gregory’s interested in focusing on other ways of achieving a health Nakomoto coefficient in the near-term.
I raised the fact that, the Foundation can’t do anything directly to remove stake from top validators, but we can make a difference in the distribution of staked tokens.
The conversation then turned to barriers to entry for the bottom of the set. Currently, the 74th and 75th validators only have 10 REGEN delegated. This means the barrier to entry is extremely low. Chris pointed out that this shows significant dedication on behalf of these validators—they’re losing money doing this, so they must be in it for other reasons (such as caring about our mission at Regen Network around planetary regeneration). It would be nice for the Foundation to consider delegation all the way down through the 75th validator, but how much should we delegate to number 75, as that will effectively set the barrier to entry for other validators?
We also discussed the race to the bottom that other validator sets have seen. Osmosis had to implement a minimum commission of 5% because otherwise big validators would go down to 1% or 0%. A recent network governance vote to lower that to 1% failed because of the way it biases towards centralization. Chris mentioned that it is possible this race to the bottom hasn’t happened yet on Regen because we’re still a bit under the radar. He mentioned that on Solana, it is very clear who is operating validators to attract stake, versus those focused on own profits (they’re 100% commission, no name, just an address). Apparently Akash will only delegate to people at 3%; Chris feels that this is low.
Another related point we discussion is how are commissions used? For example, Akik Takat has committed to reinvesting profits into the mission of the ecosystem, so a higher commission is justified, especially if these commitments can be audited.
Robert brought up that Cardano hasdynamic block rewards, to have more decentralized validator set, and that Sunny had been highlighting this in Cosmos, but that discuss has fizzled out. Robert spoke to the need for education: avoid anonymous validators!
There’s a need for digital identity. One example Dan mentioned is Aneka’s integration with KeyBase.
Dan gave an example of an exploit here, how with Hive blockchain, while still on Steem, Justin Sun came in, created a bunch of validators, delegated to himself, essentially took over the blockchain. (More on that here.)
Discussion then turned to the question of, should Community Staking DAOs run their own validators? Kei responded that this could happen eventually, and that we’re going to start with a buddy system (DAOs paired with existing validators).
Paul shared that he wants to run a validator because it helps justify spending attention on the network, and Chris echoed this sentiment. Chris said that we should do everything we can to make operating a validator accessible. Chris got into PoS because PoW was becoming inaccessible—now there’s the same trend in PoS.
That’s the extent of the notes that I was able to take during the call. If anyone else has something to add, please jump in here!