Regen will launch its mainnet with 50 validators. This post explains why, how the initial 50 are selected and how that number will grow after launch.
As a lead validator since the first testnet, I'm writing this to share the current plans as communicated to me by the team. The lead validators also contributed to this initial plan.
Note that the information in this post reflects the team's current thinking. We're happy to engage in constructive discussion and modify the strategy after launch.
The main reason the network will launch is 50 validators is sustainability. True to Regen's mission of fostering sustainable ecosystems, the team wants the initial validator set to be self-sustaining.
50 felt like a number that's sufficient to encourage decentralization, while also small enough to give the initial 50 validators a reasonable chance to cover their operational costs.
How are the initial 50 selected?
The initial 50 validators will be the 50 validators holding the largest delegations. These delegations are a combination of self-delegation and third-party delegation.
The intention is that long-term Regen supporters have acquired enough tokens to place in the top 50 at launch. However, the team recognizes that it's possible some supporters may get squeezed out by larger holders.
That's why foundation delegations will happen soon after launch. The foundation plans to publish their delegation guiding principles too.
These principles will focus on both objective criteria, such as validator performance, as well as subjective criteria, like values alignment.
These delegations will help level the playing field, regardless of validator operational and financial size. It's likely to take a few days for the initial 50 to settle and stabilize.
So if you're a long time supporter and not in the initial 50 at launch, don't despair. Chances are you'll find yourself in the active set when the launch dust settles. There will also be an appeal process if you believe you should qualify for a delegation yet don't receive one out of the gate.
How and when will the set grow?
A governance proposal will determine when the set will grow and to what number. Remember, because this is a decentralized network, anyone can submit this proposal.
It's not necessary to wait until the core team does it. It's preferable for the proposal to come from the community.
Consistent with the thinking behind selecting 50 as the initial number, validator sustainability will be key to determining whether the proposal passes. Validator sustainability is related to the amount of fees moving through the network. The amount of fees is tied directly to network utility.
So as network adoption and utility increases, fee volume increases too. Higher fee volumes can support a larger validator set. A proposal to increase the validator set should then be more likely to pass as the network's utility grows.
It's everyone's responsibility.
It can't be emphasized enough that it's the entire community's responsibility to make sure that the right validator set supports the network. Delegators make this happen by carefully choosing the validator or validators they delegate to. And remember, delegators also have the power to vote, independent of their selected validator.
Prospective validators play a role too. If you're not in the initial set, stay active.
Operate a full node, while keeping an eye on network utility and validator earnings. Don't be afraid to champion a proposal to increase the validator set size if the time looks right to you.
Let's work together to build a decentralized, effective, inclusive and supportive validator set, that's synchronized with the needs of the network and the utility it supports. This is our responsibility and together we can make it happen.