This blog article refers to the Olympia Betanet that operated in early 2021. It is not relevant to the Babylon Betanet that is operating in early 2023. For more details on the Radix Roadmap, see What is the Radix roadmap?
We’ve received a huge amount of interest from our community, and from professional node operators, in running validator nodes on the Radix public network. Ahead of the mainnet release, Radix is running a betanet test network, and so we know there is also great interest in running validator nodes on betanet to prepare for mainnet.
Because betanet is a pure test network controlled by Radix (and that will be shut down before the launch of the true, decentralized public mainnet), selection of the validator nodes on betanet will be a little different from mainnet. We are choosing these validators through a Validator Community Proposal Program that is available to everyone and that we will describe in this post.
But first a little background information.
Validator Node Basics and Network Incentives
The first release of the Radix public mainnet, called Olympia, will use an unsharded form of our Cerberus consensus algorithm with delegated Proof of Stake (dPoS). Consensus is conducted by a set of special “validator” nodes, with a fixed validator set size of 100 nodes.
A node wishing to become a validator registers with the network, opening it for others to stake (“delegate”) tokens to it. The 100 top-staked nodes become the validator set, and then participate in consensus for a period of consensus time called an “epoch” (during betanet, we expect epochs of 1-2 days, although they will be longer on mainnet). Anyone can make their own choice about which validator they wish to delegate staked tokens to, allowing the community to effectively vote on the best validators (and receive incentive rewards when those validators do the right thing).
Radix provides a set of economic network incentives for both stakers and validators that ensure network security and reliable operation.
Any holder of XRD tokens may delegate stake to validator nodes and receive a proportional share of network incentives, as referenced in the Radix Economic Whitepaper. Encouraging as much staking as possible is the primary security backstop against attacks on consensus, and we expect this is how most people will participate in network incentives.
Physical validator node-runners also receive special network incentives in order to encourage consistent, performant validator node operation as well as to incentivize drawing as much delegated stake to validators as possible. This means two forms of validator incentive:
First, a base level of fixed incentive will be issued in order to cover typical per-node operation costs – ensuring that node-running is accessible to anyone who can gather sufficient stake from the community to reach the top 100. Second, and more significantly, each validator will receive additional network incentives proportional to the amount of stake they have gathered – providing an incentive for validators to actively seek more staking and to compete to spread stake across the 100 validators as much as possible.
Both of these incentives may be discounted or eliminated for nodes that incorrectly participate in consensus, or demonstrably limit network performance.
These network incentives on Olympia will come from a combination of two sources. “Network emission” will be tokens issued automatically by the network protocol at each epoch end and are claimable at any time. These tokens are emitted at a rate of approx. 300m XRD per year. Additionally, a “network subsidy” fund of 600m XRD tokens will be used by the Radix Foundation to provide additional network incentives. Further details on the calculation of network incentives will be released closer to mainnet release.
Validator Community Proposals for Betanet
The primary purpose of the Radix betanet is to perform real-world testing of network operation, performance, and stability. Betanet will operate very similarly to mainnet, but a critical difference will be that Radix will control the majority of the betanet’s “fake” XRD tokens. This is so that we can maintain control (via dPoS delegation) of validator selection for testing purposes.
Because the Radix network (both betanet and mainnet) will have a fixed validator set size of 100, there must be some choice made for who runs validators during the betanet period. Radix’s priority in choosing betanet validators will be to give node-running experience to those who are the most likely to be selected as validators on mainnet, and provide high-quality validator service to the network.
To try to identify and highlight the best possible potential validators, and ensure they get node-running experience on betanet, we would like to gather open proposals from anyone who is committed to being a Radix validator node-runner. Your proposal is an opportunity to make your case to the Radix Community for why they should delegate their XRD tokens to your validator node on the Radix mainnet.To provide the best security and performance of mainnet, we believe the community should choose to delegate their stake to multiple validator node-runners who meet these criteria:
- Clearly committed to the health and welfare of the Radix network
- Have the technical savvy necessary to operate a reliable, performant server-style validator node, with currently recommended hardware spec of an AWS c5.xlarge instance provisioned with a gp2 storage volume
- Either control a significant amount of XRD tokens to delegate to their node, and/or have a compelling case that the community of token holders should and will delegate tokens to them
So we have put together a proposal form (linked below) that asks a set of questions around these criteria. The community will be able to compare the answers to these questions, and the replies will inform our choice of validators for inclusion in betanet. (Obviously the choice of validators on mainnet will be an ongoing choice of the community directly!)
Please feel free to provide answers that are as lengthy as you feel is necessary to clearly make your case to the community. We will publish all replies we receive in full to the Radix community shortly after the cut off date for submissions. We will make a selection of betanet validators based on the answers we receive, as well as some focused polling of significant token holders, attempting to include as many as we can during betanet.
To submit a proposal, please follow these instructions:
- Load the Validator Community Proposal Google doc template here.
- If you are logged in with your Google account, you may select File → Make a copy. Fill in your answers, and then select File → Download → PDF document.
- If you do not wish to log into Google, in the Google doc menu bar, select File → Download, and select either Microsoft Word or OpenDocument format. Fill in your answers in your preferred editor, and then save or export the document as a PDF.
- Email your completed PDF to email@example.com.
All submissions must be received on or before March 15 and will be published shortly after that date for the Radix community. Your email address will not be shared with anyone outside Radix and will only be used to communicate with you about Radix betanet.