Staking changes to CENNZnet

Nicole Upchurch
Published in
4 min readMar 17, 2021


Yesterday, we reported the following improvements to the CENNZnet staking protocol were being implemented:

  1. Only the highest value 128 stakers per Validator will receive CPAY rewards.
  2. Votes or stakes cannot be changed in the last 10 minutes of an era.

Having reflected on messaging and timing, we recognise that it was a sudden announcement that will understandably have taken the CENNZnet staking community by surprise. In the future, the network will move to a decentralised community governance system, but until then we realise that our team needs to take more time to communicate network improvements before we make them.

We want to take this opportunity to apologise to our token holders for this and transparently explain the improvements that have been made and how they will benefit the whole community in the future.

What we noticed about the performance of staking this week.

The fantastic staking response from the community meant we have had over 700 new stakers this week alone. The sheer number of new stakers has resulted in the CENNZnet validator election process slowing down at the end of each staking era. This meant network validators were producing blocks at a rate slower than the normal 5 seconds, sometimes taking up to 1 minute at election time.

This caused the network protocol to think some validators were offline when they weren’t, as they were unable to submit blocks in the expected timeframes. As a result, the backup election conditions were triggered, preventing new stakers from applying in elections until a fix was deployed.

What we did to fix this quickly

Optimisations were made to the existing election algorithm. Part of the required improvements to the algorithm involved limiting the number of payouts per validator to the top 128 per validator

This particular improvement to the election algorithm is also essential for increasing decentralisation on the network. Decentralisation is the ultimate goal of the CENNZnet network and we need to ensure that the incentives in the network are set up to drive this.

What is now needed is more validator nodes on the network so that more stakers can be rewarded for their input. This will also ensure that staking isn’t concentrated to a smaller number of nodes. This makes for the greatest variety of staking options for the community and also protects the system by preventing the chain from being controlled by one very wealthy individual. You can learn more about what is required to be a validator here.

Why was my stake impacted?

While we were working on the required fixes the network remained very slow. As a result, a lot of events weren’t being processed, which meant people weren’t getting rewards even though they had staked. The changes required a runtime upgrade as well as work on the validator nodes. That’s why it took a while to implement those changes to staking on the network.

Will changes happen in the future?

It’s important that everyone understands that blockchain networks will always evolve. Changes and improvements are a continuous process and in making them we learn more together. We always try our best to balance different opinions in the community and the continued improvement of the network while we transition to community governance.

Why weren’t the community consulted in advance of the changes?

The CENNZnet tech roadmap for 2021 has been finalised and will be released in the next couple of weeks. Establishing a decentralised governance process for CENNZnet is set for Q3 of 2021, which will allow the community to participate in governing decisions on the network.

Decentralisation of governance is important but we have always wanted to take a safe and gradual approach to ensure our community comes on the journey with us too.

The next step in this process is for CENNZnet is for the community to deploy more validators. Centrality encourages the community to run validator nodes and will provide support via guides, discussion channels, and nominations.

It’s important to understand that everyone involved in CENNZnet is always working to improve and innovate the network so that we keep moving forward.

What will our new communications process be going forward?

Going forward, when we need to make a change to the network you will be able to follow the change processes via our github account.

The team will announce these proposed changes in our weekly developer community sessions.

You will then be able to submit comments on our proposed changes and, if you’re a developer, even suggest improvements or submit code for us to review and include if it makes sense.

Some changes and fixes might need to be implemented sooner than others, so while we would ideally like to have a few weeks’ notice before implementation, this won’t always be possible.

If you have a change you would like us to make, you can also submit these requests via github.

These measures will be temporary as the next phase of governance will centre around the community voting in new changes on the CENNZnet mainnet using their CENNZ tokens, much like a DAO.



Nicole Upchurch

Not going to win a Pulitzer, but I don’t completely suck either