The goal of Stake Wars: Episode II is to onboard validators, test the stability of the system and begin introducing some of the unique aspects of NEAR’s delegation system in preparation for the next phase of MainNet itself. The primary reward for participating successfully in Stake Wars: Episode II is that top operators will be onboarded as the initial set of validators of MainNet. Additionally, validators will receive 10,000 NEAR a month.
All node operators who are already running their node on BetaNet will have only to deploy the Staking Pool Contract, and update VALIDATORS.md file on Github accordingly.
The overall goal is for validators and token holders to take over technical governance of MainNet (see MainNet Roadmap for more details). To achieve this, Stake Wars is an opportunity to identify the best validators and for them transition from BetaNet to TestNet and then MainNet and provide them with the ability to attract delegations.
Every validator will go through these phases:
The teams who will transition from one network to the other will be asked to unstake their tokens, and focus on the new network. This process will both make room for new Stake Wars entries on BetaNet, and will progressively increase the number of validators running on MainNet.
Note: every reward will pass case-by-case evaluation and KYC controls, to discourage automated scripting to bias any metrics, or participants not interested to run a node on MainNet.
For more details on differences between BetaNet and TestNet checkout last section of the Roadmap to MainNet blog post.
As a validator, one of the main criteria to determine success is running secure and live infrastructure. This means setting up infrastructure for updating software, having a hot swap setup to keep uptime when updating software (NEAR has the unique ability to atomically switch staking from one node to another). Additionally, it’s about participating in discussions, helping other community members and attracting more delegations.
A new leaderboard will rank validators based on:
A new leaderboard will be published in the Stake Wars Repo on Github, however some parameters will be shared, if requested, during 1:1 conversations and reviews.
The primary reward for participating successfully in Stake Wars: Episode II is that top operators will be onboarded as the initial set of validators of MainNet. This makes them the initial stewards of the network and leaders in the community, which is very helpful for attracting the delegation of other token holders from across the ecosystem.
Additionally, because “MainNet Restricted” doesn’t have inflation yet, to cover the costs and motivate for getting in this set, such validators will receive 10,000 $NEAR a month.
Stake Wars: Episode II is a dynamic program that will evolve over time. It will introduce increasingly difficult challenges on BetaNet and will progressively migrate to TestNet. Activities for validators will be hard-forks, unplanned restarts, deploying new node releases, updates to delegation contracts, and following best practices on their infrastructure. On a bi-weekly basis, new challenges will be announced in the community channels, and participating will unlock additional rewards, including the opportunity to be officially invited to join TestNet and then the MainNet.
These challenges will unlock additional rewards: NEAR Foundation allocated up to 1 Million NEAR tokens in total for the participants of these initiatives.
NEAR also launching the Validator Advisory Board, a selected group of professional validators who,over time, will become key voices in the technical governance of the community.
These validators are engaged in group discussions, product advice and feedback, testing beta releases, and suggesting features that support other validators, and the ecosystem at large.
The initial members of this board were the first participants who started running validator nodes on BetaNet, helping the NEAR Collective with technical details of validation and supporting fellow validators with setting everything up. Going forward, this group will stay at the forefront of NEAR’s advances in staking, providing product feedback and building tooling.
There are still a few vacant spots on the Board. If you are a professional validator participating in Stake Wars and want to join this group, reach out to us.
Even if you aren’t planning to participate in Stake Wars, there are a number of things you might be interested in:
Tokens: Some validators will use their own stake and others will receive delegation. If you would like to get a stake in the network via acquiring tokens, be sure to sign up for the token list to hear news of any opportunities to do so.
Developers: Check out the docs quickstart for information about how to get started building on TestNet and ask questions in the chat. If you are ready to deploy to MainNet, register for the Developer Program.
Startup Founders: NEAR is a supporter of the Open Web Collective, a protocol-agnostic community of startup founders who are focused on building on the decentralized web. They provide education, networking and support during this process. Learn more and join at https://openwebcollective.com.
Business Leaders: If you are curious about how to integrate with NEAR or whether it might be a good fit for your business needs, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.