Dear Community,

Open staking has been launched for ONE month which has kick-started our journey towards full decentralization. Many lessons have been learned from our phenomenal community and every refinement is a step closer to our destination.

Over the past month, we have been iterating on how to bootstrap open participation of hundreds of validators. We have implemented a few community proposals on both protocol and UI levels, including reducing the undelegation delay from 7 to 0 epochs and adding more emphasis on small/unelected validators on the staking dashboard.

However, the relatively small number of 320 open slots is making the median stake prohibitively high for the small validators to be elected, which has been a major obstacle for decentralization. Although increasing the number of open slots is already planned to happen later in the year, we believe the time-sensitivity of the centralization issue can not wait longer. Therefore,

We will be doubling the number of open validator slots from 320 to 640.

The slot increase will be implemented in two batches (timeline):

  1. First from 320 to 480 at epoch 208 happening around Tuesday, June 23
  2. Second from 480 to 640 at epoch 213 happening around Wednesday, July 1

During the transition period, Effective Median Stake in the network will decrease as staked tokens are distributed among more slots — currently elected validators should follow the network status closely to adjust the numbers of keys accordingly; new/unelected validators who are able to join the expanded committee should guarantee good uptime and readiness for consensus!

After this change, the median stake should be reduced roughly by half, allowing smaller validators to participate in the network. This change will NOT have any impact on our tokenomics model thus rewards per block will remain 28 ONEs. We had already planned to increase the number of external nodes, so this only pushes this timeline forward.

This change will accelerate our push towards decentralization and lays the foundation of complete decentralized architecture. Eventually, all 1000 nodes will be external. Harmony’s internal nodes will retain 68% of the voting power for the safety of the network. We will release voting power for full decentralization once we have implemented the last security features such as resharding and our randomness beacon.

We will keep the current 106 slots limit per validator fixed regardless of slot increase.

Currently, the slot limit per validator is set to be 1/3 of the open slots, which is 106 given 320 open slots. This number will remain at 106 even after the slot increase, which will force the biggest few validators to stop accumulating delegations or have to create a new validator, further preventing centralization among validators.

This decision has been made via “off-chain governance” with significant input from our community, who have helped initiate the conversation with our forum proposal, dove deeper during our weekly community call, and voted in our validator survey with an almost unanimous “strongly support”. Again, we want to thank you for the dedication and ownership in navigating Harmony to this next stage of openness.