Radix Blog

Staking & Validating: What You Need to Know

August 9, 2021

With the successful launch of Olympia, Instapass, and Instabridge, attention now shifts to staking and validating.

Staking is an important activity for Radix token holders, not only to earn staking rewards, but also to support the security and decentralization of the Radix Public Network. To help ensure the community is prepared, we have put together the key things you need to know and do over the coming days and weeks to be ready to participate in staking on Radix.

Remember, there is no rush to stake immediately as there is no advantage to staking prior to the bootstrapping epoch ending (approximately Wednesday August 11), when normal 30 - 90 minute epochs commence and the Radix Protocol automatically enables emissions rewards. So take your time. Make the best decision. Your rewards and the Radix network are counting on you. 

You can read more on the exact timeline for this initial bootstrapping period here: Radix Mainnet Launch Timeline.

If you want the TL;DR on choosing validator nodes to stake to, follow the 5-by-5 rule: Spread your stake across 5 good validators, none with more than 5% of the total stake.

To understand more about why this matters, read on.

What is staking and validating, and why are you important?

Radix uses a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) system to weight the votes of validators to protect the network against Sybil attacks.

This means you, the decentralized community of XRD token holders, are the ones who decide which validators verify transactions and secure the network. In the Olympia release of the Radix Public Network, the Radix Protocol selects the top 100 validators with the most stake at the beginning of every epoch to be in the validator set for that epoch.

The protocol only provides emissions XRD tokens to stakers who have delegated to validators that are in that 100 – and are correctly participating in consensus with high uptime (uptimes below 98% mean no emissions rewards for that validator).

Picking which validators to stake to is therefore of utmost importance – both to network operation, and to your own rewards. Before choosing who to stake to, you should thoroughly research which validator node-runners are trustworthy and have the technical and operational capability to be performant.

You can start with the Radix Explorer, which shows how much stake each validator already has delegated to it, how much stake the node’s owner has staked to their own node, the fee % the node charges, and the node’s uptime over the past 2 weeks. It also links to the website of each validator that they have provided to tell you more about themselves. You can also engage with validators through the Radix DLT Official Telegram, #node-runners channel on Discord, the hashtag #RadixValidators on Twitter, and the Radix Validators Subreddit.

Here are some recommendations to keep in mind when choosing the validators that you stake to:

  • Stake to quality. Make a judgment on the quality and trustworthiness of validator node-runners through their interactions with the community. While it may be tempting to pick validators with the lowest fee, please do also consider that running a performant validator node takes effort, skill and carries costs. Your staking rewards are only valuable if Radix is decentralized and secure, so please bear this in mind.
  • Distribute your stake across multiple validators to minimize your risk in case a validator goes offline or misses consensus rounds, which may result in you missing out on all of your staking rewards, as well as to encourage greater network diversity. We recommend staking to at least 5 validators that you trust.
  • Don't stake to the very top validators. If a validator has more than 5% of stake (visible on Radix Explorer), we recommend not further increasing that stake and instead picking validators with less stake. This is important to ensure that no one validator or group of validators becomes a single point of failure.
  • Stake across a range of geographies and deployments. A diverse network is a more resilient network that can withstand outages at a specific physical location, or at a specific service provider (e.g. AWS). 

Here are some hand-picked articles from Radix Learn to help you better understand staking and choose which validators to stake to:

Staking information for validators

If you think you may have interest in running a validator node, the best technical resource for all things validating begins with An Introduction to Radix Nodes on the Radix Tech Docs. This should provide you all the technical details to get you going on running a validator node. But remember, running a validator node takes some technical know-how. It’s also worth reading specifically about Validators and Incentives before deciding if node-running is for you.

For those that do have the technical and operational capability, we expect validating on Radix to be competitive. This means you need to actively engage with the Radix community and convince XRD token holders why they should stake with you.

If you are planning to be a validator, we encourage you to market yourselves to the Radix community. Explain why you have the technical know-how, how you are able and committed to operating a node reliably 24/7, and what other value you can bring to the community.

The channels available for this are:

We would appreciate it if you could keep your self-promotion activities in the Radix DLT Official Telegram channel to a brief introduction. All of the other channels above are open for this purpose.

Community Validator Node-Runners

For over two months from April 28, we ran the Radix Betanet. The purpose of Betanet was to test Radix Node software under as close to real-world conditions as possible. Over 110 validators with nodes from over 20 countries took part. 

Betanet was a resounding success. There were no major safety or liveness issues; we efficiently uncovered and squashed bugs, and we improved and optimized the node software as well as significantly improving our documentation. This wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and priceless feedback from the community of betanet validators.  

We want to thank all of those validators that took part in betanet. This is especially true for those of you who went above and beyond by setting up your own technical docs, guides, trackers, troubleshooting bugs, and coming up with ideas to optimize node performance. Even if our engineering team were not available, the community stepped in to provide whatever support was needed. Visit our #node-runners channel on Discord and you’ll find an amazing community of skilled node-runners.

It’s no easy feat to set up a brand new layer 1 network, and we couldn’t have asked for more from the betanet validator community. We’re pleased to see that many of these community node-runners are already registering as validators on the Olympia mainnet.

Industry-leading Validator Node-Runners

In addition to the excellent community node-runners, Radix has been working with experienced professional node-runner services to help them offer validator options on the Olympia mainnet. These organizations bring a wealth of expertise and experience from running validator nodes on multiple other networks. This is why we are delighted to announce that three such organizations will be running validator nodes on the Radix Public Network right from the very start, with more soon to follow. These are:

What is the Radix Foundation’s policy on staking?

As a reminder, the Radix Foundation may run validator nodes and stake to its own validator nodes – but will configure its nodes to not allow delegation of stake from anyone but itself. This is to ensure that all community staking is delegated to non-Foundation nodes, such as community and professional node-runners that ensure network decentralization as well as great performance.

For the full set of Radix Foundation policies, please see the following articles from Radix Learn.

Calculating Staking Rewards

For the definitive guide on how to calculate staking rewards, please take a look at the Radix Staking and Incentive Rewards Guide blog post.

We will also be releasing a staking rewards calculator that you may use to calculate current staking rewards in the coming days.  

Summary

To wrap up, staking your XRD to well-chosen validators is the most important thing you can do as a community member of Radix. Your rewards, and the security and performance of the network is reliant upon you making a good choice.

In the meantime, do please check out Staking & Validating on Radix Learn. Or ask community members in Telegram or Discord if you still can’t find what you’re looking for. Happy staking!

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