[PROPOSAL ##] [DRAFT] - Increase the validator set of cosmos hub to 200 from 175

Problem

Currently, the validator set size in the Cosmos Hub is 175, and the last validator has 77K Atom delegated to them (at the time of writing) Which translates into 1 million USD worth of Atom. This higher requirement barred many Cosmos community validators from validation on the HUB.

Proposed solution
Increasing the validator set to 200 from 175 can solve this problem.

Originally, the Cosmos whitepaper stated that the validator set size should increase 13% yearly until it hits 300 validators as a cap. In July 2019, [proposal #10 ]suggested a new way to set the validator set size: through governance.

Governance votes

The following items summarize the voting options and what it means for this proposal:

YES - You approve this increase in the validator set to 200 from 175.
NO - You disapprove of this increase in the validator set to 200 from 175.

NO WITH VETO - A ‘NoWithVeto’ vote indicates a proposal either (1) is deemed to be spam, i.e., irrelevant to Cosmos Hub, (2) disproportionately infringes on minority interests, or (3) violates or encourages violation of the rules of engagement as currently set out by Cosmos Hub governance. If the number of ‘NoWithVeto’ votes is greater than a third of the total votes, the proposal is rejected and the deposits are burned.

ABSTAIN - You wish to contribute to the quorum but you formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal.

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Welcome to the forum! A couple recommendations on formatting your proposal to make it easier to read and clearer:

  • The title should probably be in present tense “Increase the validator set of Cosmos Hub to 200 from 175” to indicate that it’s up for debate. Past tense “Increased” implies that we have already done it.
  • A clear problem statement and proposed solution separate from the context. You’ve laid out an explanation of the whitepaper and Proposal #10 but the actual description of the proposal doesn’t clearly say that you want to change the set size.
  • Correct false information - “also extended the active validator set size to 125, which still is the current network parameter.” is not true. I think you copied this from Proposal #54 but it’s no longer the case :slight_smile:

Past discussions:

Block explorer: Proposal 10

In March, just before Proposal #66 passed, the minimum stake to be in the active set was quote by BlocksUnited as 65,000 ATOM.

It has been roughly six months since then, and we saw the minimum stake drop to about $1000 for a short period as new validators joined the set, then it rose again.

Some relevant questions I think are worth exploring:

  1. Does the original Cosmos whitepaper stand the test of time as a good source for informing current design decisions about the Hub? It has been 3 years and the Hub has gone through enormous change. Is 13% per year with a cap of 300 still a sensible idea? Should we be increasing faster? Slower? Smaller? B I G G E R?
  2. Does increasing the validator set truly lower the minimum stake? Does the proposed change align with the stated goal?
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Love the follow up. Thank you.

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Thank you for the suggestions, I have updated it.

Increasing the validator set by gov is not a permanent solution as I believe the same thing will happen again this time, the minimum stake will drop to a few thousand and rise up again to these levels.

After concluding this prop, we should all devise a method to solve the problem mathematically.

Hi! When are you planning to put this on chain to vote? We are doing some analysis to think through the pros and cons in the form of a Swiss Booklet but given folks are occupied with Comsoverse events for the next week, this may take a while longer.

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It’s good to remember that ICF will undelegate their 11M in couple of weeks and some validators will drop of because of this. This will drop the minimum to 40-50k ATOM and will open room for few new validators to join.

Anyway, $1.13M needed for the bottom is a huge amount and there are very good validators waiting to join Cosmos Hub so expansion surely needed at some point.

For reference, here is the minimum needed for few different chains and Cosmos Hub really is completely unique in Cosmos:

image

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By the yast week of this month.

Do we know exactly who got how much of a foundation delegation? We have got 10 validators sitting inactive having more than 10K delegated to them. In fact, 2 of them got more than 50K atoms staked to them.

Also thanks for the comparison table.

I write here about some of the growing pains of decentralization that should be addressed:

I think it’s a good idea to bump this to 300, as in the wider cosmos there are more validators, and many would love to join to secure the hub to provide shared security.

I would also love to see if we can explore bigger numbers of lets say 1000, or 10s of thousand. This still needs to be battle-tested as tendermint does not recommend a very big set as it requires 66% to come to a consensus before a block is committed, meaning this could increase block times. I would also like further development in this space (From tendermint).

This is my first gov-prop I don’t know if I can propose this big of an increase when the previous history suggests an increment of 25 in one go.

There’s no technical prohibition against a larger increase. You could propose MaxValidators = 1000 if you wanted.

Socially, people seem to be accustomed to increasing by 25 at a time but there was also discussion under Proposal #66 that we should be increasing faster. Whether you can get people to vote ‘yes’ on a larger increase is really up to community sentiment. You may wish to socialize the proposal more on Twitter and other platforms to see how people feel about it.

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Before we put this on-chain, let’s first answer the question why we want to do this?

A commonly heard argument is “decentralisation”. But time and time again it has shown that this is nonsense… the top remains heavy with a long tail of validators fighting mainly eachother for the scraps. Funny thing is, this discussion is running on multiple chains and I am (at this point in time) against expanding the active sets until we start finding route to offload the top and strengthen the lower ranked validators. By keeping expaning the sets we give people counter-arguments like “yeah, we just expanded the set, let’s first see what happens”. Meaning that a real solution for decentralisation is getting delayed and delayed.

It does have effect on storage spaces on the nodes as well as network throughput. Bumping it up too fast is not a risk I would take tbh. IF we decide to go to 300, let’s do it in small faster increments to avoid chain halts or alike.

But as said, let’s first answer the question what we would like to achieve by expanding the set. Just because it was in the initial whitepaper is not enough for me to support it. And without a proper solution for the centralisation we see in the Cosmoverse I would have different preferences anyway to start thinking about before expanding

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Expanding the validator set is not just to onboard the new validators but the value they bring to the network, (their technical skills, marketing, and awareness to name a few) I believe if more validators create awareness about the delegations and decentralization things will get better. I agree to increase the valset hasn’t done a significant dent in the large validator’s delegations but instead in the middle-to-low delegated validators.

But does this mean we should keep large validators growing more? by not introducing the new validators.

Also, we should think about the CEX validators and how much voting power they hold. If you ask me this is a helpless scenario in the decentralization.

Also, one suggestion is to increase the Nakamoto coefficient by implementing the Sifchain’s model. Where they hope to increase the coefficient to 15-20 by limiting the new delegations to large delegators.

Remember when stakecito started the validator on the hub and how much voting power he has now? I don’t think it has come from the tale. it has defiantly come from everywhere. This is the value a certain validator can bring to the network.

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If val set expansions have shown one thing is that in general chains become more centralized instead of the other way around.

I am in favour of doing something “radical” to make the chain more decentralized. One way or another things are not ok as they are right now, so we can’t break too much in that perspective :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with the rise of some validators. But for every success-story there are multiple who have not had that luck, also because they might be offering things which are not so popular, but still really needed (participation in pre-governance discussions, all kinds of support on the tech on the backend of chains, etc). And also those we need to support imo

I think we all want to increase the number of validators both for decentralization and for the capacity that new validators can bring into the ecosystem, so I’m totally with you OP. It would be challenging to dramatically increase the number of validators overnight so the original idea for 200 is good. You’ll have my votes.

I don’t necessarily think that increasing number of validators will improve the Nakamoto coefficient but that is another discussion and potential future proposal to think through.

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We agree that chain expansions haven’t historically done much for the Nakamoto Coefficient. The only way to “enforce” decentralization is with delegation limits, or caps on voting power. Another idea is to allow for varying commission rates based on percentile in the active set (with lower vals having a lower min commissions). However, those discussions are for another time.

We support this expansion proposal because it undeniably lowers the barrier for entry into the active set & provides an incentive for new validators to actively contribute to the Hub. Especially if that barrier to entry can be overcome via a foundation delegation that is given based on that validator’s contributions. Otherwise, only active validators will be incentivized to contribute.

We feel this proposal is especially relevant now that the ICF has made it clear that validators will only be eligible for upcoming foundation delegations if that delegation pushes them into the active set.

While it is great to know that the minimum will drop dramatically to 40-50k once the existing ICF foundation delegations are removed, that is still a barrier to entry of $500k at current prices (~$12.50/atom), which is quite high. It would be great to set some sort of acceptable threshold for a barrier to entry using the 60 day avg price of ATOM. Not sure what others think, but something closer to $100-250K USD seems more reasonable and is on par with other chains.

If we (as a community) can find an acceptable threshold, then future chain expansions are just a matter of protocol. Once the threshold is too high, a chain expansion would follow. This would create a more equitable environment for high quality validators who have skillsets they want to contribute to join the active set if they don’t have a massive treasury/budget.

Kleomedes supports this proposal, and we appreciate @waqarmmirza’s efforts in rallying the troops both on Twitter on on this thread.

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This I do agree on. It certainly lowers the barrier. However, as long as the argument “we just expanded the set, so stop working on decentralisation initiatives” isn’t used, then I am ok.

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Yeah, totally agreed.

Leonoors, happy to chat more off the forum about decentralization efforts. We are very invested in continuing that conversation. Feel free to send me a DM @KleomedesDAO.

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Some may be concerned that network speeds slow as the validator set grows, because more nodes need to come to consensus. Smaller steps forward might be advisable vs huge increases.

Valid points, but cosmos should be the one to expand with the biggest set over any chain.

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