Recap of Community AMA with 5 Different Fetch.ai Validators on Reddit

Nov 4, 2021

Fetch.ai Reddit AMA Recap with AC Validator, SmartNodes, Cros-nest, 3Tekos, and PandaTeam:

Moderator: Hey everyone! Please ask any questions you’ve got for the validators in the replies, and over the next hour they will do their best to answer all of them. The official validators we’ve got here today answering your questions are AC Validator, SmartNodes, Cros-nest, 3Tekos, and PandaTeam!

 

Q: The decentralization has been a big worry for me. I’m wondering what each of you are planning to do to help this issue.

Cros-Nest: Good question. We’re not a top 10 validator, so encouraging people to delegate to our validator helps with the decentralization. We also help the community on the several social media channels to make the right decisions and choose the right validators. But as individuals we can’t do much about it, it’s up to the community as a whole to come to a consensus and make sure that the network is decentralized.

AC_Validator: We are discussing internally to lower the fees to 5%. But every validators should do the right thing. It will be a slow process IMO.

Smart_nodes: Good day! This is a very hot topic in the cosmos ecosystem. It is not just the responsibility of the validators but also our delegates. In order for decentralization to occur, we need to make people more aware of how the ecosystem is designed from the ground up. We all want to make money, and it is an emotional topic, so it is only human to try to find the lowest % commission validator, but doing so means more power to the top 10 and can overrule governance proposals, which is something of course no chain wants. To this end, our team is writing guides and a simple wiki kind of document to explain the ecosystem and governance.

I would personally like to see a proposal for 5%, like other chains have at the moment. 5% is a little high when looking at 0% and 1% validators but IMHO I believe this would make a move to decentralize to avoid the “cut-throat”

 

Q: A question for all: What measures have you taken to ensure an always-on connection to have 100% uptime?

Cros-Nest: We have an infrastructure that we’ve been using on 7 different blockchains and that we’re improving every day. We aim to offer the highest quality of service possible by having multiple redundancy in our infrastructure. This together with an advanced monitoring and 24/7 alerts allows us to offer virtually 100% uptime to our delegates.

3tekos: For our part, we are investing in several lines for the local where we host our validators, so as not to be dependent on a single provider.

Even if the datacenter provides a reliable connection, we have chosen a decentralization for our validators, our sentries being datacenter.

Smart_nodes: Personally, we have monitoring in place, sentry nodes, archive nodes, RPC & APIs. We have backups and replicas in place to ensure we are always up. Our infrastructure is quite in-depth, so please feel free to reach out to us, so I don’t take over the chat here. We currently run 16 validators over multiple locations and replicas in different geolocation. When it comes to people’s money, you CANNOT have a wooden front door!

PandaTeam_: We use Servers in a Datacenter with 99.99% of uptime. We use DDoS protection, Sentry, and have another server ready to take back if the first one is down.

 

Q: We would like to ask what factors must the community take into account while delegating their stake to validators?

To also deal with the elephant in the room — why should they spread their stake across multiple validators and not look at just 0% commission rewards?

Smart_nodes: Yes, so, in order to help the chain, we should look at validators outside the top 10 for example. Research your validators and ask them questions. Some of the big names are not in chats, so I guess it is hard to reach out to them, but all those here today are very active and very helpful. I would suggest maybe splitting your bags to a few validators and use small amounts. Gather faith in the validators.

AC_Validator: When you choose a validator, some aspects should be taken into consideration:

– The commitment of the validator in visible activities (technical support to the chain, support to other validators, support to users)

– The validator’s engagement in non-visible activities (creation of monitoring tools, chain analysis)

– The type of servers and hardware (infrastructures distributed in private datacenters, with dedicated hardware)

– 24 hour Alarm systems with staff always available

– The use of security solutions such as block signing with dedicated Hardware keys

Spreading the stake across multiple validators reduces the risk of “slashing” or downtimes, maximizing the rewards.

PandaTeam_: 0% commission is just a fee’s war. Anyone who runs a server can’t have 0% commission all the time. We are dealing with an Elephant, you’re right, but we use the same Server / Service and because this is our baby we are more aware than “the Elephant”. They have a great community behind them, so they are in the top 10. But everyone here could be in the top 10. The more you delegate, the better the decentralization.

Cros-Nest: I agree with what AC_Validator has said. The most important thing in our opinion is to do proper research on the validator, see the team that’s behind them and what kind of experience they have. About the 0% commission discussion, delegators must keep in mind that validation services are not free. Validators have to keep servers running by buying or renting machines, power, and bandwidth. A 0% commission validator does all that for free and this can be an issue in the long term.

 

Q: Could you ELI5 for the community what is slashing, and does it make sense to choose validators with skin in the game to avoid getting jailed?

Further to that, how much does a member lose if a validator is jailed on the Fetch.ai chain?

Smart_nodes: OK, so slashing occurs if the validator misses chain upgrades, have network issues, done something wrong in configuration (can happen — we are all only human). So if a slash occurs, you risk losing some rewards. You will NOT lose your own tokens as they are stored in your own wallet and never leave that. If you have a validator that offers Slash Protection, then they will refund the loses as it is not a delegate’s issue if a validator has a problem.

Moderator: But in the likelihood a validator doesn’t offer slashing protection, what kind of loss is a delegator looking at in percentage terms if his/her choice of validator is jailed? Is that 0.01% or 0.10%?

Smart_nodes: 0.01%

 

Q: The fear I have of investing right now is how centralized this project seems. What if a top validator goes down? How does downtime of any validator affect the network?

Smart_nodes: Unless the validator has control of 33.3% of the network then yes, it could cause issues, however, however, this chain does not have this issue at present. It is of course a main concern on any chain, so decentralization is very important to any chain’s survival.

AC_Validator: I understand the concerns. One validator cannot “stop” the chain, but if the majority of the voting power is in the top validators, this can certainly be something to be on alert for. Fetch team already took action to solve the problem, research more in “smaller” validators and move the stake where you feel more safe. I surely don’t feel safe with those with zero fees. Do you know someone who works for free? I don’t.

 

Q: A common talking point often shared by the community is that the validators do not provide information (website, telegram, technical metrics etc.) and that they cannot be asked to join Discord to DM a validator, gather information and choose to delegate to.

In cases like these, what would you suggest to these members as minimal starting points to take into account before delegating their stake?

PandaTeam_: Best practice is to make sure, then you can contact “the man who have your money”. Community have to check : Discord / Telegram / Keybase / Twitter / Website. Some information are displayed in validator detail

Smart_nodes: I would like to apologize here for a possible disagreance of your comment. “The man who have your money”. I would change that to “the man how have your delegation”. I would only suggest this as tokens never leave the wallet.

PandaTeam_: Yes, thanks 😉

Hard to find the good word ^^

Smart_nodes: I mean no disrespect here. Just didn’t want people to have concerns, as money is an emotional word. I agree fully with you that it is sometimes hard to explain on text. Speaking to people via video etc. is easier to explain sometimes.

 

Q: We would like to ask what factors must the community take into account while delegating their stake to validators?

To also deal with the elephant in the room — why should they spread their stake across multiple validators and not look at just 0% commission rewards?

AC_Validator: When you choose a validator, some aspects should be taken into consideration:

  • The commitment of the validator in visible activities (technical support to the chain, support to other validators, support to users)
  • The validator’s engagement in non-visible activities (creation of monitoring tools, chain analysis)
  • The type of servers and hardware (infrastructures distributed in private datacenters, with dedicated hardware)
  • Alarm systems h24 with staff always available
  • The use of security solutions such as block signing with dedicated Hardware keys

Spread the stake across multiple validator to reduce the risk of “slashing” or downtimes, maximizing the rewards.

Cros-Nest: Agree with what AC_Validator has said. The most important in our opinion is to do proper research on the validator, see the team that’s behind and what kind of experience they have. About the 0% commission discussion, delegators must keep in mind that validation services are not free. Validators have to keep servers running by buying or renting machines, power, and bandwidth. A 0% commission validator does all that for free, and this can be an issue in the long term.

PandaTeam_: 0% commission is just a fee’s war. Anyone who use a server can’t have 0% commission all the time. We are dealing with an Elephant, you right, but we use the same Server / Service and because this is our baby we are more aware than “the Elephant”. They have a great community behind, so they are on top 10. But all here, we can be in the top 10. More you delegate better is the decentralization.

Smart_nodes: Yes, so, in order to help the chain, we should look at validators outside the top 10 for example. Research your validators and ask them questions. Some of the big names are not in chats, so I guess it is hard to reach out to them, but all here are very active and very helpful. I would suggest maybe splitting your bags to a few validators and use small amounts. Gather faith in the validators.

 

Q: Would each one of you be willing to do an elevator pitch and outline why a member should consider delegating his/her stake to you?

Cros-Nest: We’re Cros-Nest, a group of 5 individuals from Finland, France, The Netherlands, and Italy that met during the Crypto.org test net. Since then we’ve been combining our skills and worked hard in order to build an infrastructure that’s very robust thanks to its deployment across different locations around the world and the redundancy of its different parts.

We’ve applied this secret sauce on 7 different blockchains and have virtually 100% uptime on each and every one of them. Our team is very active on Telegram/Discord to help delegators but also other validators. We’re also working with Cryptocurrency companies and offer them our infrastructure as a service.

Smart_nodes: I would prefer not on this channel, as I don’t wish to try and get delegates from the AMA itself. I would say in general that delegates should do research. Is a validator contactable ? Do you they have a website, telegram, discord, twitter, keybase and so on… We could all sit here and say we have one of the best setups etc. and this maybe 100% accurate… But I would prefer people did research and reach out to the validators and ask questions and look what is best for them. That being said, I would suggest to look at validators outside the top ten to ensure we can decentralize the project and ensure we all grow together.

3tekos: We are a team of French passionate, we started the cryptocurrency adventure as miners in 2015. We’ve been working in IT for 15 years as sysdmin, devs and security. We have gone through mining, masternodes and we are currently active in the COSMOS ecosystem.

Our mainnet validators are: STARGAZE, KAVA , FETCH, IXO, DESMOS, EMONEY, SIFCHAIN, MICROTICK, KICHAIN and BITCANNA.

We are actively relaying in osmosis, ixo, bitcanna, microtick and stargaze recently. All our systems are monitored 24/7, and are investing in improving our infrastructure every time it is possible. You can send us messages if you need help.

The 3Tekos team

 

Q: I know this is about to end, but I have one more question. Do you believe it’s possible at all for validators to maintain 0% commission? Or is it basically just a gimmick to attract more users, and inevitable that they’ll have to increase anyway?

AC_Validator: It’s not sustainable. Our validator charge 8%, and we practically spend most of the income for the infrastructure. A validator with zero fees only care about themselves, not the chain.

Smart_nodes: 100% agree with you here.

Personally, I think for some it is a gimmick, for others, they may have very large investors to offer 0%. Servers, power, network and as the cliché goes “Nothing in life is free”. I have personally witnessed a validator offer 0% then change to 100% in 24 hours. This is against best practice and of course a very big scam indeed. The only thing to look at would be the change daily %. If someone has this set to 100%, be very very very careful.

Cros-Nest: As stated above, 0% commission can’t be a long-term offering. It costs a lot of money to have the proper infrastructure.

 

Q: So would you guys then say that validators above 0% are already setting themselves up for long-term support of the network?

AC_Validator: Long term is a “big word” in this space. We certainly want the growth of the project we validate, and we do our job with the most high standard infrastructure, no matter the stake.

Cros-Nest: 100%. Validators with a commission above 0% understand the costs involved with having the proper infrastructure and are not just running a validator from their bedroom 🙂

Smart_nodes: I would agree with that statement 100%. A project needs validators and delegators. We cannot do this alone and should think of it as a community to support each other.

PandaTeam_: Sure, impossible to maintain a server with 0%

 

Moderator: Well everyone, thank you for all your questions and thank you to the validators here for giving great answers! Hopefully many people can read up on everything and make some smart decisions going forward!