NEAR Foundation staking updates - Q1 2021

Edit Feb 8 2021:

This post was ready for publication today, but the unstaking process below happened at the same time with other NEAR large delegators moving their funds, pushing some of the validators impacted by this measure out of the active set.
Therefore, some tokens have been promptly re-staked to bring back validators fallen below the minimum stake. Details below.

Original post:


Dear community,

This is the follow-up to our previous blogpost How the NEAR Foundation is Supporting Network Decentralization, and an update on the past 3 months.

In this period of time, the total stake on NEAR Protocol increased from 250 million to 400 million NEAR tokens, and the minimum validator stake increased from ~2.2 million to ~3 million.
The NEAR Foundation continued its staking operations as follows:

  1. Reorganized the staking funds from the account foundation.near into a set of separated accounts, named nfendowmentXX.near.
  2. Staked tokens with new and existing validators, or unstaked from the ones that grew enough to become successful and independent.

1. Accounts reorganization

NEAR Foundation is now staking from a set of 50 accounts, named nfendowmentXX.near (replace XX with an integer between 00 and 55), of which the wallets between nfendowment06.near and nfendowment55.near control lockups with 1 million tokens each. Each of these lockups stakes an amount between 200,000 and 1,000,000 NEAR tokens with selected pools, as already explained in the blogpost linked above.
A query on the NEAR explorer is sufficient to know exactly how and when these funds were allocated: as an example, 1 million NEAR tokens from the account nfendowment53.near was delegated to the pool everstake.poolv1.near, with the transaction EJEfjdAvukYN5p2yUSFHwH6bsNKhbY8VPMESnyXX1Xn9.

2. Staking and Unstaking updates

NEAR Foundation is keeping an internal weekly meeting with the Core Team, discussing the current number of active validators, the minimum seat cost, and the distribution of stake between the pools. Where possible, NF delegates its tokens in a way that can improve the protocol decentralization.

Onboarding new validators

Since the last update, NF provided the stake to onboard four new validators:

  • Audit One, a leading organization in the Indian speaking communities, already active on Cosmos: 3,000,000 from nfendowment accounts 20, 21 and 22.
  • Cryptotribe, a validator that played a primary role in the development of tools for the EOS ecosystem: 3,000,000 from nfendowment accounts 16, 17 and 18.
  • Sweden, a validator with expertise in archival nodes, also coming from the EOS ecosystem: 3,000,000 from nfendowment 13, 14 and 15.
  • p2p.org, one of the top validators on multiple PoS networks, with a large community: 3,000,000 from nfendowment accounts 08, 09 and 10.

While these validators are gaining traction in the NEAR community, NEAR Foundation will keep them in the active set, adding more stake when possible. They are subject to periodic performance reviews, and could lose part of all of the stake if they don’t reach the goals promised in their application.

Providing additional stake

Along with the stake above, NF supported with additional stake the validators that submitted promising projects for the community:

  • 01Node for a staking-centric block explorer: 1,000,000 from nfendowment55.near
  • ZKValidator for a series of community events: 2,000,000 from nfendowment11.near and nfendowment12.near
  • Moonlet for the staking on their mobile wallet: 500,000 from nfendowment30.near
  • Sweden to maintain their MainNet seat: 500,000 from nfendowment07.near
  • p2p.org to maintain their MainNet seat: 500,000 from nfendowment06.near
  • Cryptotribe to maintain their MainNet seat: 500,000 from nfendowment11.near

Unstaking from successful pools

Lastly, NF unstaked tokens from the validators that don’t need anymore support to maintain their seat. They leveraged the initial delegation by NEAR Foundation to attract community interest, and today they are well above the minimum stake.
The list of unstaked validators are:

  • Openshards: -500,000 to nfendowment28.near
  • Stakin: -500,000 to nfendowment27.near
  • ZKValidator -1,000,000 to nfendowment11.near
  • Jazza -500,000 to nfendowment32.near
  • 01node -1,000,000 to nfendowment55.near
  • Electric -400,000 to nfendowment25.near
  • Buildlinks -1,200,000 to nfendowment49.near and nfendowment50.near
  • Baziliknear -400,000 to nfendowment26.near
  • Freshnear -500,000 to nfendowment34.near
  • Inotel -600,000 to nfendowment54.near

None of these validators risks being kicked out for insufficient stake, so this stake reduction has little or no impact on their operations.

Updates on Feb 8 2021

As mentioned in the introduction, NF unstaking triggered the unstake from other large token-holders, causing some validators to lose way more delegation, and falling off the active set:

  • Inotel: staked 1,500,000 from nfendowment54.near and nfendowment33.near
  • Freshnear: 1,000,000 from nfendowment34.near
  • Bazilik: 600,000 from nfendowment26.near

How to apply to receive stake

If you are running a NEAR validator that is in the lower 50% of the active set, you can ask up to 1M NEAR tokens to increase your stake and reduce the risks of falling out of the active set.
The process, as introduced in the blogpost above needs two steps:

  1. make a duplicate of the request template here and write down why NF should stake with you
  2. submit your application using this form, and linking a commentable/editable version of the document above
  3. reach out to me on Discord (StefanoPepe | NEAR#4591) or reply in this thread if you need to speed-up the evaluation of your application (e.g. because you are already out of the active set)

Next step: making this process more transparent

Starting Wednesday, March 3rd 2021, the NF Staking sync will be public on Zoom. The agenda, the frequency, and the format are still a work in progress; the overall goal is to be more transparent.
If you want to join, keep an eye on the NEAR community calendar to know the exact time of the day, and feel free to ask questions in this thread, or using the public channels on Discord in the validator channels.

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Great insights! Super cool report! Love the consistency of the approach.

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