This doc addresses a variety of topics related to Silvermint validators. We will update this doc as development toward mainnet launch continues.
What is a Silvermint validator?
A Silvermint validator is an individual or organization of people operating machines running Silvermint node software and locking up Silvermint coins as stake. Validators are the pillars of the Silvermint network. Validators do the following:
- Support the decentralized Silvermint network
- Provide bandwidth to the network
- Perform the work of consensus by validating transactions and producing blocks
- Secure the network with stake
- Contribute to the governance of the protocol
Validators help make the Silvermint network fast, secure, and decentralized.
Why be a Silvermint validator?
Being a Silvermint validator is an important and technical endeavor that can be very rewarding.
Some key reasons to be a Silvermint validator include:
- Validators support the Silvermint mission to unite people and technology to incentivize and deliver financial freedoms and opportunity for everyone.
- Validators earn rewards in SLVR coins for doing the work of validating transactions and producing blocks.
- Validators are part of the select community charged with contributing to the governance and operation of the Silvermint network.
How to become a Silvermint validator?
Prior to the launch for the Silvermint mainnet you can purchase a validator slot, join the validator community, and begin working with the Silvermint node.
How does validation work on the Silvermint network?
Silvermint uses a consensus protocol called Casanova. Casanova is a leaderless, proof-of-stake protocol. Validators do the work of processing transactions, producing blocks, validating blocks, and monitoring the behavior of other validators.
What is staking?
In a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism stake is a validator’s skin in the game to incentivize good behavior. Validators can lose stake if they fail to adhere to the rules of consensus, behave dishonestly, or fail to maintain minimum network requirements. In exchange for locking up stake and doing the work of consensus, validators earn block rewards and revenue from transaction fees.
Becoming a Silvermint validator
Who can be a Silvermint validator?
Anyone can be a Silvermint validator. That being said, there are some considerations and limitations.
- Validators require funds for setting up a validator operation
- Validators need technical expertise for deploying and operating a Silvermint node. Failure to operate a node per protocol requirements can result in loss of stake.
- Validator slots on the Silvermint root shard are limited to 2,000.
- Validator slots are unique and specify where the node must be located. Ensuring geographic decentralization of nodes is an important factor in network performance and stability.
How can I become a Silvermint validator?
Prior to the launch of the Silvermint mainnet, people who wish to become validators should become familiar with the validator system and validatorcontractual requirements, join the validator community on Discord, register interest in purchasingfor a validator slot, and start working with the Silvermint node and publicpubic testnet.
How do I purchase a Silvermint validator slot?
Silvermint validator slots will be sold in tranches starting in Q1 2023. To purchase a validator slot go to the validator page and complete the form.
How do I sell a Silvermint validator slot?
If you purchased a Silvermint validator slot and no longer want to exercise the right to validate on the network, you can sell the slot.
Are there limits to the number of Silvermint validators?
Yes. The Silvermint root shard can have up to 2,000 validators. This cap reflects the point at which having more nodes would degrade network performance. With the introduction of smart contracts to the network and sharding there will be more opportunities for additional validators to join.
What is the minimum amount of stake required to be a Silvermint validator?
To secure the network, we expect 70% of circulating coins should be locked up as stake. We are still working to define the Silvermint monetary policy. We expect the root shard of mainnet to have 2,000 validators and to mint 1 billion coins at genesis. In this scenario, validators would need 350,000 coins for stake.
Can I delegate stake to a validator?
At this time no decision has been made about how individuals might delegate stake to a validator. This may be a service the Silvermint Corporation provides. It may also be a service independent Silvermint validators offer.
Incentives, returns, and costs
What are the incentives for being a Silvermint validator?
Validators are pillars of the Silvermint network and governance structure. Validators can receive:
- Block rewards
- Transaction fees
What is the expected return for being a Silvermint validator?
We are still working on the details of the tokenomics model.
What are the expected costs for being a Silvermint validator?
Expected costs include:
- Capital expenditures to set up and run the validator operation
- Validator slot purchase
- Stake purchase
- Operational expenditures to run and maintain the validator operation
Early estimates for validator operational costs in year one are estimated to be in the range of $36k-$60k.
How are block rewards distributed?
Validators earn block rewards for producing blocks. The Silvermint protocol distribuetes earned rewards to wallets specified by validators for rewards. Earned block rewards are not subject to any lockup.
How are transaction fees distributed?
Validators earn transaction fees for validating transactions. The Silvermint protocol distribuetes earned transaction fees to wallets specified by validators for rewards. Earned transaction fees are not subject to any lockup.
How frequently are block rewards and transaction fees distributed?
We are still working out the details of the rewards distribution model.
How are penalties assessed?
The consensus protocol governs penalty assessment. When validators underperform or behave dishonestly, they can lose some or all of their stake as a result. The consensus protocol governs the deduction of stake and holds it it a designated wallet until the offense is confirmed. Where do penalty fees go? See What is slashing? for more detail on what actions can be penalized.
Responsibilities and risks
What are the responsibilities of a Silvermint validator?
Validators have 2 main responsibilities:
- Run a Silvermint node
- Consistently run the correct version of the Silvermint node software
- Ensure the node is always online
- Ensure private keys are not compromised
- Participate in Silvermint governance by voting on proposals to change operational parameters, coordinate updates, or make decisions on other matters related to the network.
What are the potential risks for being a Silvermint validator?
The major risk is the loss of stake. Stake drains away slowly for validators that don't keep up with processing blocks. Stake is slashed immediately when there is cryptographic evidence of a validator deviating from the protocol.
How will I learn about network changes and information related to governance work?
Official communications to validators will be shared via Silvermint Twitter, Discord, and the Silvermint website. We may use email to push validators to these channels to learn about news.
What is slashing?
Slashing is the loss of stake for malicious behavior that violates the consensus protocol. The purpose of slashing is to make it expensive to attack the network and to penalize validators for being lazy and not meeting the requirements of an active validator.
What are the slashing conditions?
- Failure to produce blocks per protocol requirements (too slow or too fast)
- Failure to process a transaction at the earliest opportunity
- Failure to validate transactions per protocol requirements
- Producing invalid transactions and/or blocks
What are the penalties for being offline?
- Being offline while a supermajority of validators remain online results in a drain of stake until the validator comes back online or reaches the threshold for being ejected for being offline.
- Being offline at the same time as more than ⅓ of the total number of validators will have harsher penalties since transaction finalization will no longer be possible.
For complete information on hardware and system requirements, see the page on system requirements.
What are the operational requirements?
An effective operation for running a validator is key to avoiding unexpected ejection or slashing. Validator operations must be able to maintain security, and respond to outages and attacks.
What are the system requirements?
What are the maintenance requirements?
Validators must perform regular software updates related to protocol upgrades and bug fixes.
How do I install and run the Silvermint node?
See the releases page for officially supported packages. We officially support Debian and Ubuntu distributions, But, silvermint should run on any distribution that uses deb packages.
How do I manage keys?
Carefully. To protect stake and network security, it is critical for validators to secure keys. This is the responsibility of each validator.
What are the security requirements?
Validators are responsible for securing keys and mitigating against denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
When will the Silvermint testnet launch?
The Ember testnet launched in March 2023. See About Ember Testnet for more details.
How can I join the Silvermint testnet?
The Ember testnet does not support public validators. See About Ember Testnet to learn more about the functionality of this testnet and how to get started experimenting with
silvermint-tools to send transactions to this testnet.
When will the Silvermint mainnet launch?
We expect the Silvermint mainnet to launch in late 2023.
Operating a Silvermint validator
What are the different states a Silvermint validator can be in?
Various states of the node are still in development.
What is the bonding transaction?
The bonding transaction initiates the process for a validator joining the active validator pool on the network. This feature is in the backlog for development.
What is the unbonding transaction?
The unbonding transaction initiates the process for a validator withdrawing from the active validator pool. This feature is in the backlog for development
What happens to my stake after unbonding?
At the end of the 6-month lockup period, stake is returned to the validator.
How can I check my validator stake balance?
This feature is still in design.
How can I top off my stake balance?
This feature is still in design.
Can I add more than the minimum stake amount?
Yes and having a higher amount of stake does not have any advantage when it comes to earning rewards.
Community and support
Where can I join the Silvermint validator community?
The Silvermint Discord server is the official community for people who are interested in validation on the Silvermint network. Join us and select the validator role.
Are there events for Silvermint validators?
Yes. We host office hours via Zoom for people interested in validation on the Silvermint network. We post upcoming events is Discord. Recordings of past events are on YouTube.
I have questions not answered here, how can I get support?
Join the Silvermint Discord community and ask there or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.