The Mars Hub is based on Tendermint, which relies on a set of validators that are responsible for committing new blocks in the blockchain. These validators participate in the consensus protocol by broadcasting votes that contain cryptographic signatures signed by each validator's private key.
Validator candidates can bond their own MARS and have MARS "delegated", or staked, to them by token holders. The active validator set is determined by which validators have the most bonded and/or delegated $MARS, with greater bonded and/or delegated $MARS amounts held by a validator increasing the likelihood that the validator will be included in the active set. The Mars Hub initially allows up to 50 validators to be in the active validating set at any given time, but over time the number of validators can increase if so approved by the Martian Counsel.
Validators and their delegators earn MARS as block provisions and tokens as transaction fees through execution of the Tendermint consensus protocol. Note that validators can set a commission percentage on the fees their delegators receive as additional incentive. You can find an overview of all current validators and their voting power on Mintscan.
If validators double-sign, are offline for an extended period, their staked ATOM (including ATOM of users that delegated to them) can be slashed. The penalty depends on the severity of the violation.
For validator key management, validators must set up a physical operation that is secured with restricted access. A good starting place, for example, would be co-locating in secure data centers.
To meet uptime requirements and avoid slashing penalties, validators should equip their datacenter location with redundant power, connectivity, and storage backups. Expect to have several redundant networking boxes for fiber, firewall, and switching and then small servers with redundant hard drive and failover.
As the network grows, bandwidth, CPU, and memory requirements rise. Hard drives should be large enough to store years of blockchain history, and significant RAM will be required to process the increasing amount of transactions.
Set Up a Website
A dedicated validator's website can increase visibility. You can signal your intention to become a validator in a variety of channels, the Mars Discord being a common one. Posting your validator website can help delegators gather information about the entity they are delegating their MARS to.
Seek Legal Advice
You should seek legal advice if you intend to run a validator node.
Discuss the finer details of being a validator on our community Discord and follow us on Twitter to get regular updates:
- Mars Discord - https://discord.com/invite/marsprotocol
- Twitter - https://twitter.com/mars_protocol