What Are Radix Network Validators?
Validators secure the network and validate transactions. In turn for the work they do, they are rewarded in the network’s native currency, XRD. They can also receive a percentage of the rewards earned by delegators, who stake XRD through their nodes.
What is staking?
Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to secure their blockchains. PoW is an energy-intensive process that requires specialist hardware to carry out a very large number of computational operations, as nodes compete to add the next batch of transactions to the blockchain and collect block rewards.
Radix uses a type of proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus called delegated proof-of-stake (dPoS), which requires very little energy and only low-cost, consumer-grade hardware or a hosted server. Validators lock their “stake” of XRD (and that of their delegators) to gain the right to process transactions and participate in establishing consensus. Validators are selected at the start of each epoch to propose consensus for each of 10,000 rounds (similar to blocks in a blockchain). The odds of being chosen are roughly proportional to the amount of XRD staked to the node.
At present, the 100 nodes with the highest stake (including XRD both held by the node and delegated to them) validate the network. In 2024, with the release of the fully-sharded Radix network upgrade, called Xi-an, this limit of 100 nodes will be lifted, increasing decentralization and allowing any node to participate in securing the network. This will also enable even the smallest participants to take part in consensus and earn rewards.
How to choose validators when delegating your stake
When considering where to stake your XRD, there are several factors to bear in mind. Take a look at the official guide from Radix for more information.
- Choose quality over quantity: uptime is generally more important than fees.
- Distribute your stake among several validators, to minimize the risk of any given validator missing consensus.
- Avoid staking to the top validators. Choose validators with a lower stake as a percentage of the total, and higher uptime, if you can.
- Encourage network diversity by staking across geographies and service providers.
The official Explorer offers some useful information, but you can gain additional insights by using community-built dashboards such as RadixScan or Radix Dashboard, which list uptime and other useful metrics. Radix Exchange shows validators by geographic location.
How to set up a validator node
Setting up a validator node requires some technical expertise. To get started you’ll need access to a server (self-hosted or cloud), as well as familiarity with building servers, plus configuring security groups and firewall rules. You’ll typically also need some knowledge of Linux and Docker, though other approaches are possible.
Radix has published full documentation detailing the hardware and software you’ll need, as well as the process for configuring the server and installing the Radix node software.
You should also consider installing tools to monitor your server and provide notifications if anything goes wrong, enabling you to react quickly in the event of an outage and preventing your node from being penalized due to poor uptime.
Once your node is ready, you can register as a validator. You’ll need XRD in your node’s hot wallet to pay registration and transaction fees. 30 XRD should be more than enough.
Code of conduct
Due to the critical roles that validating nodes play, all validators are encouraged to agree to the Validator Code Of Conduct hosted on RadixTalk (https://radixtalk.com/), which commits them to maintaining certain standards of security, uptime, and responsiveness in the event of an issue.
While the code of conduct is voluntary, agreeing to it gives the community assurances that validators are taking their work seriously, increasing confidence and the likelihood of being delegated XRD.