People who cannot or do not want to operate validator nodes can still participate in the staking process as delegators. Active validators are chosen and ranked based on their total overall AREA staked (this is the sum of their self-delegated stake as well as their delegators' stake). They are by no means solely chosen by their self-delegated stake. This is an important property and acts as a safeguard against validators that are bad actors. In a decentralized ecosystem, if a validator is a bad actor, delegators will undelegate their AREA from them to avoid incurring any slashings of their delegated stake. Good actors will invariably have more AREA delegated to them. Game theory dictates that over time, validators who are bad actors will exit the active validator set whilst good actors will remain or climb higher up the ranks, eventually resulting in a stable and secure ecosystem.
Delegators share the revenue of their validators, but they also share the risks. In terms of revenue, validators and delegators differ in that validators can apply a commission on the revenue that goes to their delegator before it is distributed. This commission is known to delegators beforehand and can only be changed according to predefined constraints.
In terms of risks, delegators' AREA will be slashed if their validator misbehaves.
To become delegators, AREA holders need to send a "Delegate transaction" where they specify the amount of AREA they want to stake and with which validator. A list of validators will be displayed in AreonScan (opens in a new tab). Subsequently, if a delegator wants to unbond part or all of their stake, they will need to send an "Unbond transaction". Delegators will have to wait for 10 days to retrieve their AREA after sending an "Unbond Transaction". Delegators can also send a "Redelegate Transaction" to switch from one validator to another, without having to go through the 10 days waiting period.
In order to choose their validators, delegators have access to a range of information directly in AreonScan.
- Validator's moniker: Name of the validator.
- Validator's description: Description provided by the validator's operator.
- Validator's website: Link to the validator's website.
- Initial commission rate: The commission rate on revenue charged to any delegator by the validator.
- Commission max change rate: The maximum daily increase of the validator's commission. This parameter cannot be changed by the validator operator.
- Maximum commission: The maximum commission rate this validator candidate can charge. This parameter cannot be changed by the validator operator.
- Minimum self-bond amount: Minimum amount of AREA the validator candidate need to have bonded at all time. If the validator's self-bonded stake falls below this limit, their entire staking pool (i.e. all its delegators) will unbond. This parameter exists as a safeguard for delegators. Indeed, when a validator misbehaves, part of their total stake gets slashed. This included the validator's self-delegateds stake as well as their delegators' stake. Thus, a validator with a high amount of self-delegated AREA has more skin-in-the-game than a validator with a low amount. The minimum self-bonded parameter guarantees delegators that a validator will never fall below a certain amount of self-bonded stake, thereby ensuring a minimum level of skin-in-the-game. This parameter can only be increased by the validator operator.
Being a delegator is not a passive task. Here are the main directives of a delegator:
- Perform careful due diligence on validators before delegating. If a validator misbehaves, part of their total stake, which includes the stake of their delegators, will be slashed. Delegators should therefore select validators carefully and to their own research on who they are delegating to.
- Actively monitor their validator after having delegated. Delegators should ensure that the validators they delegate to does not misbehave, meaning that they have good uptime, do not double sign or get compromised, and participate in governance. They should also monitor the commission rate that is being applied to the revenue they are receiving. If a delegator is not satisfied with its validator, they can unbond or rebond and switch to another validator (Note: Delegators do not have to wait for the unbonding period to switch validators. Rebonding takes effect immediately).
- Participate in governance. Delegators can and are expected to participate actively in governance. A delegator's voting power is proportional to the size of their bonded stake. If a delegator does not vote, they will inherit the vote of their validator(s). If they do vote, they override the vote of their validator(s).
You can easily re-allocate your stake from one validator to another without having to wait 10 days to unbond. However, there's a limit or catch to this relegation feature.
10 Day Cooldown: Remember this recurring number
When a user requests to undelegate from a validator, the amount of AREA that was requested for undelegation will be locked in unbonding state for 10 days. For simplicity, we call this the 10 day cooldown. After the 10 day cooldown passes, a user will be able to make transactions with the AREA that was previously in unbonding state. This cooldown also applies to certain scenarios in redelegation. In order to redelegate a portion of delegated AREA from Validator A → Validator B, there are two options a user could choose from.
Undelegate from Validator A and wait for the 10 day unbonding period (cooldown) to pass. Then, delegate the AREA to Validator B.
- Taking this path may seem un-wise because you’ll have to wait 10 days to delegate that stake with another validator. This is where the redelegation feature comes in handy.
Use the redelegation feature to immediately redelegate the AREA from Validator A → Validator B.
- This redelegation feature seems wonderful. You no longer have to wait 10 days to unbond and then delegate that stake to another validator. But there’s a catch.