Analyzing Staking Participation on the SKALE Network

Felix Lutsch
Dec 10, 2020 · 5 min read

It’s been over 2 months since the decentralization of the SKALE Network ( mainnet phase 2) began. With an unique approach of requiring participating investors to stake a minimum of 50% of their tokens for a period of at least 2 months ( Proof-of-Use), the SKALE team focused on attracting long-term supporters of the project, as opposed to speculators looking for a quick flip.

In this post, I want to take a look at a snapshot of the on-chain data that shines light on how SKL holders are engaging with the network now that the Proof-of-Use period has come to an end.

The SKL Token

SKL is an ERC-777 token (backwards compatible with ERC-20), so information about it is available on Etherscan. We can see that there are 4,083,530,877 SKL tokens, which are held by 3,903 different addresses. 166,857,860, or roughly 4%, of those were sold in a public sale through the Activate platform. For a detailed breakdown of the supply and associated lockups, check out this 1-pager.

I want to start this analysis by taking a look at token transfers. Visualizing the transaction counts and amounts, we can clearly see how the initial tokens were distributed to investors leading up to the phase 2 mainnet launch on October 1. We can also note an uptick in activity when the first SKALE staking period ended Dec 1 (as of now, tokens can only be staked for periods of 2 months). At this point, the first tokens unlocked and the SKL token gets listed, e.g. on Binance. On Dec 1, 6,358 transfers were carried out moving 267m SKL, or around 6.5% of the supply (see chart). Right after, activity declined significantly with on average around 500 transfers happening per day during the past week.

The State of Staking

Looking at the total stake in the network, which e.g. can be found here, we see that the overwhelming majority of tokens are involved in staking. 74.5% of all tokens are delegated, which places SKALE in the company of established networks such as Cosmos (71.42%) and Tezos (79.44%, see Staking Rewards). In terms of addresses that are involved in staking, we see that there are 1,167 unique delegators. 30% of all addresses that hold the SKL token are also staking.

Furthermore, one may wonder how many SKL tokens have been unstaked or are planning to unstake at the next boundary (Feb 1). The official dashboard shows 112m SKL (~3.7% of the currently staked supply) have been unbonded after the first staking period. So it seems like a majority of token holders plan to continue staking (it should be noted that a majority of token holders like the foundation, team, and early investors have longer lockup periods and cannot transfer their tokens yet).

Generally speaking, the interest in staking seems to remain high. While this amount will likely increase as the month continues, we can currently see that 15m SKL tokens plan to unstake at the next boundary (Feb 1). This is three times as much as new delegations that are coming in (i.e. accepted and proposed), which amount to around 5m SKL tokens at the time of writing. If we assume constant growth and that this ratio will remain until the end of January, then the staked supply would decline by roughly 80m, which would barely impact the staking ratio.

Of Validators and Delegators

There are currently 47 validator organizations running a grand total of 152 nodes, whose resources are distributed across elastic SKALE-Chains. The average reward per node, which is split between the node operating entity and its delegators, is 211,075 SKL per node. With 152 nodes, this means the SKALE Network is currently paying out 32,083,400 SKL (or 1.04% of the supply) per epoch.

Using the median commission rate across validators of 12%, this means the average SKL delegator is currently earning 0.9152% per month on his SKL, translating to an APR of 11.55% (including compounding).

Looking at the stake distribution among nodes, we can see that a majority of the stake is controlled by a small subset of validators with only 3 of the 47 entities controlling right about 33% of the stake (see chart).

Stake Distribution among Validators (Dec 9, 2020). Source: SKALE Dashboard.

Conclusion

SKALE’s design seems to have successfully incentivized an engaged base of holders that are interested in supporting the project through staking. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the project is still in a very early phase of decentralization, which can be seen both by looking at the token distribution among addresses (the top 100 addresses hold a majority of all tokens), as well as in the stake distribution across validators. For more on the importance of censorship resistance in Proof-of-Stake, check out e.g. this thread by the Solana team.

About Chorus One

Chorus One is offering staking services and building protocols and tools to advance the Proof-of-Stake ecosystem.

We are an active validator on the SKALE Network. Support our work by delegating to us. Learn more here.

Website: https://chorus.one
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chorusone

About SKALE

SKALE is an elastic blockchain network that gives developers the ability to easily provision highly configurable fully decentralized chains that are instantly compatible with Ethereum. SKALE chains can execute sub-second block times, run up to 2,000 tps per chain, and run full-state smart contracts in addition to decentralized storage, execute Rollups, and machine learning in EVM.

Website: https://skale.network/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skalenetwork

Originally published at https://blog.chorus.one on December 10, 2020.

Chorus One

We offer staking solutions and build interoperability protocols for decentralized networks.

Felix Lutsch

Written by

Business Development @ChorusOne. Editor @StakingEconomy. @FelixLts on Twitter.

Chorus One

Chorus One is a leading staking provider securing over $1bn of assets and facilitating interoperability between decentralized networks.

Felix Lutsch

Written by

Business Development @ChorusOne. Editor @StakingEconomy. @FelixLts on Twitter.

Chorus One

Chorus One is a leading staking provider securing over $1bn of assets and facilitating interoperability between decentralized networks.

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