With the onboarding of new blockchains into the Pocket ecosystem imminent, we should consider how they will be supported by existing node operators and what affect new blockchains will have on the network.
Defining the Problem
Unstaking a node to update its supported chains is a 21-day process that renders a node and its stake unusable. Previously it was thought that the unstaking time would be reduced after decentralization day, but that does not seem to be the case based on the PIP here.
In the near future, new networks will become whitelisted and available through Pocket. The DAO obviously wants these networks to be well supported on the node runner side. Without a method to update a node’s stake, there are two ways node runners can support a new chain:
- Launch a new node using more POKT
- Unstake their existing nodes to re-stake in 21 days
Either choice could have disastrous affects on the network stability.
If node runners choose to launch new nodes, it will exacerbate the issue raised by PUP-4 – increasing validator count. In the case of a valuable network like Ethereum Archival coming online, you can imagine that dozens, if not hundreds of new nodes will come online to support it.
If node runners choose to unstake their existing nodes to re-stake, it is possible that large groups of nodes will go offline all at once. If multiple major operators choose to unstake to support the new networks, the number of active nodes serving the current chains might drop under the necessary threshold for quality service.
It is also worth mentioning, that unstaking a node for 21 days is very unappealing to node operators as all of the node’s income is lost. This downside could affect support of new networks.
Now it is true that the two approaches above may offset each other – enough nodes go offline to re-stake that the new nodes coming online don’t upset the validator count. But that is a risk that is difficult to quantify. And as the network grows, node operators should be thought of more as independent entities that may choose whatever option best suits them and not what is best for the network as a whole.
Implement an UPDATE STAKE function so that node operators can update their staked chains without requiring a 21-day thaw.
- How difficult is this to implement?
- Does the ability to modify staked chains affect QoS?