An Update On the NEAR Validator Upgrade

January 28, 2022 — NEAR Team

At NEAR Foundation, our goal has always been to provide the best experience for validators, delegators, community members, and project builders. As part of NEAR Protocol’s goal to increase the number of validators securing the network and improve decentralization, we invited the community to submit an application through our call for applications on December 2, 2021. 

We received an overwhelming interest of more than 160 applications for delegation.

After the latest upgrade, which now allows up to 100 validators to the Mainnet and a lowered seat price of 64,000 $NEAR, many validators (73) managed to enter the validator pool with their own funds. The Foundation only had 27 seats available for delegation, which means that the selection process was extremely competitive. 

As NEAR Protocol is certified carbon neutral by South Pole, we ask validators to think through how they offset their validator operation’s carbon footprint, and communicate any CO2 offsetting that they implement on their end, such as using a renewable energy source to operate the nodes. An important criteria in the selection for delegation was ecological, and validators who took steps to offset their carbon footprint were selected.

Additionally, please note that the minimum criteria to qualify for delegation, such as keeping commission to 7% and maintaining high uptime on testnet node or mainnet node, is essential and the Foundation reserves the right to withdraw delegation and re-delegate to another validator. 

Additional Opportunities 

For any validators that were not selected in this round, there will be many more opportunities to be involved in the NEAR Ecosystem. 

NEAR Protocol will introduce a new type of validator, Chunk-Only Producer, in mid-2022 to further decentralize NEAR and increase the number of validators on Mainnet from 100 to 300. 

For those interested in being considered for a Chunk-Only Producer, please fill out this typeform.

For additional information about Chunk-Only Producers, please visit the Decentralize page. Additional details can be found on the NEAR protocol roadmap. 

Another route to helping secure the network is via the Open Shards Alliance. The Open Shards Alliance (OSA) and the GuildNet network have been an ecosystem guild since the Mainnet launch. It’s been a home for validators, those interested in becoming one, and new devs that enter the ecosystem. Ideas are bootstrapped in the OSA and often move on into their own projects. The OSA is comprised of technical aficionados, sysadmins, and devs. 

Please join the Open Shards Alliance server at the OSA Discord.


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