At the successful Ready Layer One Conference, Anatoly underlined the importance of validators as the first customers of Solana and acknowledged the importance of stakers incentivising validator performance improvement.
Therefore staking is a major step for Solana, its validator community and token holders. It starts to involve token holders and gives them an opportunity to be rewarded for delegating tokens. However, there is a wide range of validators, giving token holders the difficult task of deciding with whom to stake. Get this right and they enjoy the benefits, but get it wrong and they face poorer returns or potentially losses, if slashing is enabled.
The future of the network depends on the decisions that stakers collectively make. A good outcome would be for stake to be more evenly distributed between capable validators, as this would reduce the risk of too much centralization or reliance on inconsistent operators.
We hope that the majority of stakers will perform due diligence and make informed decisions. The prospect is that most may be unwilling or unable to put much effort into this. One possible negative outcome is that the majority of the stake ends up with the top few Staking-as-a-Service names. This may lead to smaller, capable, operators who, unable to compete with established names, abandon the project. This would concentrate risk.
We would like to suggest two ideas that could make it easier for token holders to make good decisions:
Provide something close to a ‘one-click’ solution for a token holder to evenly spread their stake amongst a number of validators. (ie. enable them to easily select multiple validators in one step and then have a single signing transaction that delegates their stake evenly across those selected.)
Keep a register of basic objective measures by validator. Such measures could be:
a) involvement in testnets
b) higher than 99.5% uptime in mainnet beta
c) prompt upgrades within X hours
We would welcome discussion on the viability of these 2 ideas which, when combined, may enable token holders to be presented with a default option of spreading their token delegations across validators meeting basic performance criteria. Those who wish to delegate their stake with a smaller or different selection of operators would not be impeded or prevented from doing so, but those who may not put much effort in to this process would be presented with a default that would help strengthen the network.