Solana validator network growing in health and stature

Solana validator network growing in health and stature

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One of the largest proof-of-stake networks, Solana is increasingly becoming more resilient against attacks.

The Solana network is flourishing according to the number of nodes, their distribution and diversity, and the Solana Nakamoto Coefficient. Together, this makes the Solana network one of the largest and most distributed in the crypto ecosystem.

The Solana Foundation recently published its Validator Health Report for 2023, in which it lays out how it has evolved in how it measures the health of its validators.

The authors of the report explain that it isn’t just the number of nodes in a network that proves its health, but their quality. In spite of still having some recurrent network issues, the report highlights a recent example of how the network maintained its resiliency in the face of an unforeseen removal of service.

According to the report, more validators on a network make it more resilient. The Solana network has two types of validators: Consensus Nodes and RPC nodes. Solana has 3,400 validators, of which 2,400 are consensus nodes. This is a higher figure than most other PoS blockchains.

Nakamoto Coefficient

The Nakamoto Coefficient is widely considered to be a good way of measuring a blockchain’s resilience to attack. The following definition is taken from the report:

“The Nakamoto Coefficient, a metric first proposed by Balaji Srinivasan, is defined as the minimum number of nodes that would need to be compromised to alter or stop consensus in a network, thereby preventing some or all new blocks (and therefore the transactions within them) from being confirmed.”

The Solana Nakamoto Coefficient is given as 31, which means that the lowest number of validators that would need to be able to work together to take over the network would be 31.

Source: Solana Foundation Validator Health Report

Validator client diversity

Until recently there was only one validator client for Solana, developed by Solana Labs. However, Jito Labs released another validator client in August of last year. 

At the same time Jump Crypto started building its Firedancer validator client, which is built from the ground up in C++, and which has a theoretical throughput of one million tps.

Data centre concentration

Using private data centres carries its risk, as was seen when the Hetzner server provider decided to block Solana nodes. A 20% denial of service on the network was ultimately what this achieved, and led the Solana Foundation to think deeply about how the Solana stake is distributed.

Source: Solana Foundation Validator Health Report

As the graphic illustrates, the Solana Stake distribution is spread evenly across ASNs (Autonomous System Number) with no autonomous system having anywhere near the 33.3% of stake needed to attack the network.

Source: Solana Foundation Validator Health Report

The same is true by geographical location. The US is the country with the most Stake, containing 23.5% of the total. Germany is second with 13.2%. Many other countries hold varying percentages of Stake, meaning that no one geographical location has the 33.3% needed to halt the network.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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