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May 1, 2021

20 takeaways from the Proof Of Stake Validator Panel | SKALE

Marcos Sanchez
Head of Communications

After a great conversation with top Proof of Stake Validators, we want to give you the Too Long Didn't Watch version of the learnings they gave us.  

The panelists included:

Brian Fabian Crain Co-Founder at Chorus One
Chris Remus, Founder at ChainFlow
Ionut Scirlet, Founder at Chainode Tech
Tim Ogilvie, Co-Founder & CEO at Staked

Moderator: Jack O'Holleran, Co-Founder and CEO at SKALE Labs


"As of April 27, $146 Billion USD is locked in proof of stake networks. There's roughly a 14% rate of return across them, which is Approx $20Billion in returns... This is one of the biggest stories in this next phase of decentralization ... we're in AWS territory in terms of dollar size." - Jack O'Holleran

"There's a huge cost advantage to proof of stake (POS) networks ... it's orders of magnitude cheaper than a proof of work (POW) network. At the same time you also have more economic security because a lot of the coin supply can be put up as collateral ... making it super expensive to do anything bad." Brian Fabian

"(Validators) are in the business of trying to help investors who want to participate, who want to exercise their rights to stake in the network and to do that in as risk minimized a way as they can." Tim Ogilvie

"POS reduces the barriers for new entities to join ... and allows protocols to achieve higher level of scalability when compared to POW ... we can see the space like a decentralized economy where everyone can play an important role." Ionut Scirlet

"POS is a more inclusive environment than POW ... for people who have skills and interest supporting the network from an infrastructure perspective is a lot more accessible for most networks ... than mining bitcoin." Chris Remus

"We're just starting to convince people that the FUD around POS is largely just that. You have billions in assets secured in a highly reliable fashion... and all the things that POS promised is being delivered... As we gain confidence, you'll see the floodgates open." Tim Ogilvie

"The POS ecosystem has grown at 10X the pace (of crypto) ... the growth is gigantic but we're still early ... we're going to continue to see that the POS ecosystem will grow at a much higher rate than the overall Crypto ecosystem... we're building the foundational infrastructure for the economic and financial system of the future." Brian Fabian

On reputation as a factor in POS

"We care more about our brand name more than anything else... core to our business is the trust that people give us." Tim Ogilvie

"There's a visibility factor that goes along with reputation in POS ... we put our names out there, we put our brands out there, we put our reputations on the line and how we perform on one network impacts how people view us performing on other networks ... there is that pooled affect across the networks we all operate on... I think reputation plays a huge role in how the networks are secured." Chris Remus

On network upgrades

"There is a lot less that can go wrong in a centralized system... Testnets are mandatory ... the core teams develop the software that is deployed on testnet, where validators, along with the core team and maybe some attackers, test the software and functionality ... it goes through multiple iterations until it reaches a quality level that can be released on mainnet. The network upgrade is a crucial part of the lifecycle of a network." Ionut Scirlet

"On the surface (being a validator) looks pretty easy to people, especially if you have a devops background. But there is a problem of coordination that inherently working in a decentralized space makes things difficult ... finding a happy balance in the middle is the challenge a lot of the time." Chris remus

"We run all of the nodes on bare metal servers, not in the cloud and what's been interesting is hiring for that, it's really hard to find people. I realized ... this is a level of the stack that few people work with today, where mostly people work with AWS and google cloud ... and don't deal with the low level stuff ...   Validators have to deal with a lot of low level system, networking type problems than most devops people today. " Brian Crain

On hiring

"Hiring is always tough... there are two headwinds, one, crypto is sexy overall, two POS is pretty interesting, new, so you have some hotness... Relative to other tech businesses I've been involved with tough, our close rate is high." Tim Ogilvie

" (finding people for) Running the nodes has by far been the hardest because the skills have become relatively rare." Brian Crain

"To trust someone with access to the keys is super important, it's critical... There's also a lot of new stuff to learn before you become productive." Ionut Scirlet

On best practices

"I think we're seeing more standardization, but it's the wild west still a little bit." Tim Ogilvie

"The most important area right now is communications, clear communications and requirements." Chris Remus

Wishlist for what every team should do to make upgrades easier

"Some sort of uniform communication channel, one network will do it via email one on discord, they communicate in different ways and that makes it hard to keep track of ... if you could have a general medium where messages about urgent network events are shared that would be nice ... Another thing is some networks it feels like the staking design were just done completely ignoring the user experience or experience from validators ... and that's something that could use improvement ... networks should get input from validators on the design choices they're making earlier ... it's important to get right because it's hard to get right after the network has launched." Brian Fabian

"Clear communications and having a checklist is super important... we run an internal checklist for every network we run." Ionut Scirlet

"Consistent adherence to a governance process if that process exists... there might be an emergency bypass for certain types of security upgrades ... but when it starts to get used for convenience we start to get into trouble." Chris Remus

Watch the full panel here:

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