Validators in the Polkadex network

Over a week after the successful Polkadex Mainnet launch, dive into the importance of validators on the Polkadex network

7 min readOct 9, 2021

We are a little over a week into the launch of the Polkadex blockchain and there are already 60 validator nodes spread across the world who are currently verifying transactions and producing blocks. Over 25 more nodes are waiting to validate in the next era. The almost 90 validators are backed by over 400 nominators. Between validators and nominators, there are over 440,000 PDEX currently staked on the Polkadex blockchain (around 14% of the circulating supply or over 2% of the total supply). A vibrant validator community and a large amount of PDEX staked at one time are two essential ingredients for the long-term prosperity of the Polkadex network.

To recap — what are validators?

In nominated Proof of Stake (nPOS) blockchains like Polkadex, validators are in charge of verifying transactions as they are broadcast to the network. They maintain system efficiency, participate in voting and form new blocks in the blockchain.

Validators run costly operations, ensure high communication responsiveness, and build a long-term reputation of reliability. In fact, they stake their PDEX as a show of good behaviour. If validators deviate from their protocol, their staked PDEX gets slashed. However, if they play by the rules, they get paid in PDEX. While any willing node can become a validator, only a limited number (expected to be hundreds in Polkadex’s case) is selected when the validator set is refreshed (once a day).

What about staking?

Polkadex’s nPOS consensus allows anybody in the network — not just validators — to stake their PDEX and help secure the network. In this case, anybody can ‘nominate’ validators by adding their PDEX to the validators’ total stake. By staking with a validator you become a nominator and can start earning returns on your staked PDEX. At the time of writing, the annual percentage yield (APY) from all validators is around 112%, but it is expected to drop to around 10–15% APY depending on the validator. If that sounds appealing, here’s a guide on how you can stake your PDEX on Polkadex.

Which validator(s) should you nominate?

When staking, it is important that you trust the validators you are nominating While you can nominate up to 16 validators at one time, you should consider some parameters before making your nominations. For example, validators can select a commission for their service which is a cut taken from their nominators rewards. Nominators can also see how much of the validators’ PDEX is at stake and judge validators’ ‘skin in the game’. Validators can also add layers like their Twitter ID, email, or website to their on-chain identity to increase their level of transparency. A Polkadex registrar will verify these layers of identity which in turn will give the validators a ‘verified’ check mark similar to what you would see on a celebrity’s account on Twitter. All these metrics are designed to give nominators the tools they need to make the most of their PDEX and to make for a more transparent validator community. To learn more about how to determine which validators to nominate, check this support article on Polkadot.

So who are the validators?

They could be anybody! Polkadex is a decentralized public chain, which means anybody who chooses to can become a validator of the chain. However, running a validator node might require more advanced technical knowledge and hardware (hardware requirements will probably increase as Polkadex matures and it becomes more and more competitive to validate). Therefore, while validating is open to anyone, some community members may find it easier than others to do so. Check out this guide if you are thinking of becoming a validator.

If you are not as tech-savyy or if you don’t have the hardware necessary, you will still be able to run your own validator node with the help of a few one-click validator infrastructure partnerships which will be announced soon.

Initial validator set

Since anybody can validate, it was important for Polkadex to have a trusted initial set of validators upon launch in order to strengthen the network while in its infancy. To achieve this, we reached out to credible and professional validators who were already participating as validators Substrate-based solo-chains, Kusama, and other Polkadot-based projects. In the early stages of the mainnet, having a validator set filled with validators who have experience in Substrate-based projects is a critical part of the process to guarantee the chain’s short and long-term security and stability. With this purpose in mind, 17 validators have been nominated by the Polkadex team (using part of the Ecosystem & Growth allocation as intended by the PDEX tokenomics) since the September 29th launch.

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the validators the Polkadex team reached out to in order to guarantee a strong network upon launch and who we are currently nominating/have nominated. Most of the validators below are a part of the Dot Validator Alliance and have set up their nodes — and are running them — with supervision from the Polkadex team.

  1. Simply VC runs highly reliable and secure infrastructure in their own datacentre in Malta, built with the aim of supporting the growth of the blockchain ecosystem.
  2. Blockscope is a company of Blockchain passionate individuals that aim to help decentralize the world while having fun with technology. It provides staking services for crypto investors and its validators just became carbon neutral.
  3. Peloclick is ‘the non-custodial, 100% CO2 free OPS staking provider with no complications’. It currently provides staking services for almost 15 networks including Polkadex, Solana, and Moonriver.
  4. Stakin is a devoted validation service provider for over two dozen Proof-of-Stake blockchain networks. Stakin allows token holders to earn interests on their holdings and shape the future of the networks in which they believe.
  5. Pathrock Network provides secure non-custodial staking for Proof of Stake blockchain projects like Centrifuge, Moonriver, Polkadex, and more.
  6. Crifferent is made up of Web3 enthusiasts and offers secure and reliable staking as a service with a focus on Polkadot networks.
  7. Masternode24 is a German staking as a service provider for almost 30 networks including Polkadot, Kusama, Solana, and Polkadex
  8. Stake Craft offers validator services across 20 networks including Polkadot, Moonbeam, Polkadex and more, and has over $40 million staked assets.
  9. Cosmic Validator offers staking opportunities that are safe, secure and easy to understand. They use their expertise to help their stakers realize profits and participate in building curated projects to their full potential.
  10. Validatrium provides validator services for ‘only awesome networks’ including Polkadot, Kusama, Solana, and now, Polkadex.
  11. Stardust Staking is a low fee, reputable, and trusted non-custodial provider on Proof-of-Stake protocols and has a secure server infrastructure that provides an uptime of ~99.9%. All of their servers run across multiple non-US regions and they even have customer support channels.
  12. ANAMIX is a passionate team that has been validating in dPOS networks since 2016 and is passionate about the Polkadot ecosystem.
  13. Brightlystake runs validator nodes on Moonriver, Casper Labs, and Polkadex, and provides explainer videos for stakers.
  14. Pinknode is ‘the gateway to the Polkadot ecosystem’. It empowers developers by providing node-as-a-service solutions for Polkadot projects.
  15. Bware Labs provides an interface between Blockchain APIs, consumers, and node providers with integrated payment options and verified reliability, all embedded within their platform and protocol service.
  16. Polkadotters are Czech bloggers & community builders for Polkadot and Kusama networks. In adition to the aforementioned, they are validators on Darwinia, Centrifuge, Polkadex, and more.
  17. GPvalidator are ‘experts in blockchain validation’ and they take pride in ‘choosing the best projects’. They also always make sure to participate in the Testnet phases of the projects they validate and strive for the best uptime and lowest response time in case of equipment failure.

The validator community

Of course, as mentioned above, the Polkadex blockchain is public and anybody can become a validator. This means that not all validators who started validating on September 29th are part of the ‘validators joining Polkadex at launch’ listed above. In fact, most validators are independent members of the community with a passion for the Polkadex vision and a wider range of previous validating experience levels. Independent validators are the backbone of the validator community and will ensure continued, sustainable, and decentralized growth for the Polkadex network.

Future validator program

While the Polkadex team has not nominated any validator not mentioned in the list above, that doesn’t mean that the team won’t be nominating other validators in the future. The initial validator set nominated by the Polkadex team will continue to receive nominations from the team for the time being. However, in the coming months, the team will gradually take back nominations as it prepares to launch a validator program around late November. The purpose of the validator program will be to use some of the team’s PDEX to nominate and endorse validators who are actively participating in the mainnet.

Growing the network

While the validator set is capped at 50 validators at the time of writing, it will be gradually increased to 100 validators by the end of the year. As validator slots increase, more and more people are able to contribute to the Polkadex mainnet, thus gaining helpful experience and earning PDEX in return. However, the rate of PDEX returns will gradually decrease as more and more nominators and validators join the network. Because of this, it is important to start staking as soon as possible in order to maximize PDEX rewards. In order to stake, you will need native PDEX on the Polkadex network. Fortunately, you can now migrate your ERC-20 PDEX from Ethereum to Polkadex using the Polkadex Migration app. Here’s a walk-through guide on how to migrate your PDEX.

See you on the Polkadex network!

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