Proposal to Increase Active Validator Set from 180 to 200: Fostering Inclusivity, Enhancing ICS Participation, and Lowering Entry Barriers

Change log

  • 2023-09-12 Created initial post


As the launchpad of the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) ecosystem, the Cosmos Hub has continually evolved through the governance of its active community. Currently, the active validator set stands at 180, with a minimum delegation of 78,430 ATOM—valued at approximately $505,089 USD. This proposal seeks to expand the active validator set to 200.


With the existing minimum delegation requirement of 78,430 ATOM, many potential validators—including Secure Secrets, which has been in and out of the active set—are being deterred from consistent participation in the Cosmos Hub’s governance and other activities.

Proposed Solution

We propose to expand the active validator set from 180 to 200 for the following reasons:

  1. Enable more Validator communities integration: Increasing the set to 200 would allow validators like Secure Secrets to stay in the active set, further enabling our integration plans with consumer chains and bring these communities like ShadeProtocol closer to the hub.
  2. Enhanced ICS Chain Participation: A larger validator set would mean more providers and partners participating in ICS chains, leading to increased ecosystem diversity.
  3. Lowered Entry Threshold: By expanding the validator set, the minimum ATOM required for entry would decrease, promoting broader participation with easy entry into the active set.


  1. Security risks, since more diversity of hardware for the hub.
  2. Networking risks, this can be due to peering issues with a bigger wider set.
  3. Central coordination risks, upgrades to main hub or ICS sets can lead to failed upgrades/patches without active voting power.

Parameter and new value

"changes": [
      "subspace": "staking",
      "key": "MaxValidators",
      "value": "200"

Forum post link


Governance votes

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

YES - You approve of the increase in the validator set from 180 to 200.
NO - You disapprove of this increase.
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 total votes, the proposal is rejected and the deposits are burned.
ABSTAIN - You wish to contribute to quorum but you formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal.

Additional Information/Discussion

For more context to the discussion, please refer to these past threads on the Cosmos Hub Forum.

By voting YES, you will contribute to a more inclusive, participative, and decentralized Cosmos Hub. Your support is invaluable. Thank you for considering this proposal.

Hi there,

As the submitter of the last proposal on increasing the active set, when doing the last time we decided to expand it not by 20 places, but by a smaller amount (5) as doing bigger changes, especially during the ICS adoption, may lead to unforeseen consequences.
Currently 200th validator has 736 ATOMs staked, so raising the active set by that much would drop the barrier required to be an active validator to almost zero compared to what we have now, and given that some of the inactive set validators can be abandoned so they’d go to jail less than 1 day after the proposal passes (and if it passes) it would drop even lower than 736 ATOMs.

I am not sure whether expanding the active set is a good idea (not that I am against it, I just do not know how it would influence the active set, so I do not have a strong opinion here), but seems like expanding it by 20 places at once can lead to something totally unexpected. Can you justify why do you propose that big change and not something smaller?

IMO going with some smaller values (like 5) would make it more safe (185th validator right now has 28,243 ATOMs staked), what do you think?

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  • As far as min requirements for being in active set. We have usually seen the minimum increases over time to be in active set even after a set increase is proposed.
  • We still have more than ~350,000 ATOM waiting to be in active set over the next 15 spots.
  • We at Secure Secrets are currently sitting 188 spot so are trying to be in active spot as well and one of the reason for our proposal.

I would be ok with doing a proposal for 10 new spots as well but i think a better solution is for 20 more spots.

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Wouldnt this increase overhead costs of the network significantly (10%+) at a time when sell pressure already outweighs buy pressure? Perhaps the increase of overhead costs of the network would be exponential with each additional validator since they would need to spin up ICS chains as well.

What exactly is solved by this increase? You state “being deterred from consistent participation in the Cosmos Hub’s governance” however stakers are still allowed to vote on chain and people are allowed to participate in governance chats.

I personally believe chaiins should be reducing overhead costs and reducing validator set sizes, rather than increase them. This seems like an attempt to get yourself into the validator set rather than an argument for why this is healthy for the ecosystem.


Currently, the top 45 verification nodes of cosmos hub account for 80% of the stake.

Adding 20 more verification nodes will not improve the decentralization of the cosmos hub, but will increase the operating costs of subsequent nodes.

Therefore, I personally do not recommend adding verification nodes to Cosmos hub.

My opinion is that increasing the active set to 200 won’t achieve any of the desired goals set forth above.

As it stands currently, most of the stake is concentrated as mentioned in the replies here. Secondly, distributing the ATOM further across more validators would just bite into the economic sustainability of some validators.

Most validators lose or barely break even in the current economic conditions we are seeing.

I would say we wait until a future date when we see the sustainability results of ICS to make a better-informed decision.


Hi there,

I believe that a lot of other validators are in the sidelines. Meaning you can’t count on the actual values as a drop in requirements will bring more interested validators who may not be validating at the moment.

I do agree that 736 is not much but in contrast to freak12techno i think requirements will be greater than 736 $atom. As the competition for the last places increase the requirements will go higher even if a few validators get jailed.

I agree that it will most likely be not 736 ATOMs, but way more and this number would only increase, 736 is how much 200th validator has now. This happened before, it was the same case with the last active set expansion, when if I’m not mistaken the last validator had around 20k ATOMs staked, and now the threshold is around 70k ATOMs. My point is that it would drop drastically and it’s unpredictable with that big active set expansion how exactly would it influence it.

Thanks for feedback everyone.

A few points i wanted to address with the comments made above.

  1. @freak12techno : Regarding the number of slots opening, this isn’t a new concept. We’ve previously proposed increasing the number of sets, with up to 25 slots being made available. A past example of such a proposal can be found here: Mintscan Proposal #54. The impact of this was significant, with all validator roles being filled within a few months of the proposal’s activation.

  2. @whitemarlin : Your point about hardware costs is debatable. While it’s true that there are upfront costs associated with running the network, many validators waiting to enter the active set are already incurring these costs. When the active set expands, they start earning ATOMs from their existing delegations. Importantly, the network’s inflation rate remains the same, so the overall payout doesn’t change—only the distribution does. One could argue that the ATOMs earned by new validators would be sold to cover hardware costs, but these are expenses they’re already bearing. Therefore, I don’t view this as a significant issue.

  3. @jagachu: This proposal isn’t aimed at improving decentralization but at providing an entry point for new participants. Decentralization issues should be addressed more through delegation policies than through active set slots.

In summary, one of the limitations of running a DPoS-styled network like Tendermint is the restricted entry for validators. I believe that validator spots should always be open in networks like the Hub—or Tendermint chains in general—compared to competitors like Solana and Ethereum, where validators must wait in a queue (But with a good chance of entry at some point). Making the Hub continuously open for new validators would ease entry for new parties. Yes, there is a break-even cost to being a part of the network, but it’s up to the individual validator to secure their delegations. Currently, the entry barrier is so high that unless you secure a significant initial delegation, you’re effectively barred from the active set.

I agree with these statements. I understand active validators want to maintain status quo. As inactive validators want an opportunity to get in.

I believe there are many competent validators in the sidelines waiting for an oportunity. In some case with a net positive validator business and securing the hub isn’t going to change that.

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how many validators are opting out validation of Neutron and Stride?

as long as we have this “issue”, increasing the validator set would be counter productive.


Just like the last prop that passed, not a good time to increase the validator set.

It currently makes no sense as most bottom validators already are opt-out.

I don’t see how it brings any benefits to our current situation.

The way I see it, you are just trying to lower the requirements to be validator so that Secure Secrets can be ‘permanently’ in the active set but this won’t help the purposely built dynamic for bottom validators.

IIRC on the past prop, the barrier of entry was 120K ish ATOMS. Since it’s now 80K I don’t see the need to do anything about it.
Makes even less sense when you see that kind of thread


How many of these validators are prepared or plan to support Consumer Chains through Replicated Security?

I don’t think there is ATOM sitting on the sidelines waiting for these validators to join the network but do think there’s a reasonably low probability that some of the existing ATOM staked would be re-delegated to these new validators, should they join.

Musical chairs only helps increase decentralization of the Hub active validator set if the current delegations are staked to the top 45 nodes. Do we have any indication this is a valid assumption (that the stake will be redelegated from 1 of the top 45 validators) and do we have any sense of how much we expect to be redelegated?

Can someone verify if 180th ranked validator is making $40k a year?

79,138 ATOM w 7% commission of 18.77% APY gives 5539 ATOM income a year.

Just a question, these validators currently in the inactive set have the infrastructure and running the nodes, they have expenses. How we will increase the network cost by making them active?

As of my understanding cosmos does not care about the validtaors sustainability. To me, this argument does not make any sense.

Also, this does not mean I am in favor of expanding the set by 20 slots.

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As the demands and costs associated with securing the hub increase along with Atom’s market cap, it’s only natural that the threshold for new validators tightens. Continuously opening the hub to an influx of new validators could inadvertently compromise the network’s stability by diluting the set with potentially less-quality validators that struggle to maintain operational costs. The fact that it is hard for new vals to join the set isn’t a flaw but rather a testament to the hub’s security. It’s a delicate balance between inclusivity and ensuring the highest standards of network security.


some bad faith here, isn’t it?

just need 5 five minutes to find topics/research right on this forum trying to brainstorm around potential solutions.

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No, that’s my version of truth.

I have been here for over a year, and dozens of discussions/essays on the topic, but you tell me what’s the conclusion? Funding prop gets passed in weeks and validator sustainability is an issue for backburner.

  • Fav RS-Chain (stride) just selected again only 32/180 validators to stake their Atom while free-riding on the ICS with negligible revenue share. They can make a very simple formula to support all the small validators (delegating 25K each with the bottom validator) to offset the costs. But they didn’t. And no one will speak because everyone with a voice got into the delegation program.

  • Neutron is running for 6 months or so, and again no income for validators running the node (the brightest excuse is to soft-opt-out) . Do we have a solution for it?

I see only ICF, actually trying to help the smaller validators with its improved delegation program and points for running ICS nodes.

Now you tell me honestly do you think it is all a good scenario for validtaors?

i think it’s quite a difficult topic that can’t be solved in 2 days.

btw validators are not children and should at first build their business in a way they are sustainable.

anyway saying “coSmOS dOEsn’T cARE” solves nothing.


Yes, not 2 days but not 2 years also.

they actually care less by not expediting the process of finding the solution and I can’t even say?

What are the priorities? making fun of people who point out the problems?