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NEAR Enhances Decentralization with Validator Upgrade

January 7, 2022 — NEAR Team

Since the NEAR Mainnet launch in October 2020, the network has seen a steady increase in the number of validators, with many more wanting to participate. Nevertheless, the extremely high threshold of 3.6M $NEAR has made it challenging for new validators to join the network. So much so, the NEAR Foundation has, at times, supported validators with substantial delegations in order to allow for some of the 60 validators to remain active on Mainnet.

That is why, in December 2021, the NEAR Protocol team released the updated validator selection algorithm. The new selection algorithm now allows for up to 100 validator nodes on the Mainnet, and reduces the validators’ barrier to entry by bringing down the seat price from 3.6 million $NEAR to 67,000. This lowered seat price makes it easier for them to join the active validator set and to maintain their seats. 

Additionally, the NEAR Foundation aims to limit delegation amounts to a maximum of 100,000 NEAR per validator, as part of its continuous commitment to building a fully decentralized network. 

NEAR Delegation Role 

Historically, the NEAR Foundation has used delegation to bootstrap network decentralization by helping new validators enter the active set and build their following but it wasn’t intended to be a long term grant. Current validators on NEAR Mainnet who had received historical delegation from NEAR Foundation should expect to see current delegations from NEAR Foundation to be withdrawn in the next 48 hours as part of this change.

This will be followed by the NEAR Foundation delegating up to 100,000 NEAR to validators who had been selected to receive delegation by submitting their delegation application up to December 13, 2021. This new wave of delegation will take place during the coming weeks.

This change is only the beginning of a number of ecosystem-wide initiatives that will continue increasing the number of validators and improving network decentralization. With the upcoming launch of phase 1 of sharding in early 2022, we expect another 200 validators to join Mainnet. 

NEAR has always been, and will always be committed to building a secure, scalable, and decentralized network to help onboard the world into Web3. To take advantage of the upcoming expansion, there are other opportunities for NEAR Foundation delegation, including participating in the validator governance progress. 

Please consider joining the NEAR Validator governance process by participating in the NEAR Validator Advisory Board general election in early 2022. Stay tuned for more announcements.

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