On this guide, we decided to go over the different validators inside the Cosmos Network ecosystem and classify them into 9 different categories:
- Validators as a Core Business
- Validators from Private Funds / VC
- Validators from Tendermint Team
- Validators from Mining Pool
- Validators from Exchanges
- Validators from Wallet
- Validators from Cosmos Project
- Individual Validator
This study is made to show the variety of different players operating nodes inside the Cosmos Network. We also decided to do it, in order for you to have better visibility in one and only place, and maybe we will convince you to delegates to smaller validators, as it is really important for the network decentralization.
Feel free to have a look at our Google file to find more data.
This is the way we decided to classify the validators inside the Cosmos Network but there is some other repartition possible such as this one made by Will Little or you could also have a look at this article made by Zaki Manian to know which validators were among the Game of Stake winners.
Repartition of Validators in the Cosmos Network
Before starting the analysis please notify that data is accurate as of 15 May 2019 and may vary in the future.
Several actors with different backgrounds operate nodes on the Cosmos Network.
Validator as a Core business
The main category of people working in this field operates Validator as a Core business, with~34% are focusing on this business as their main activity.
While in this category some player such as Staked, Infstones, Bison Trails or Figments already raised funds, others validator as a core business such as ourself, and many others, are doing their best to offer the same kind of services and compete with these multi-million dollar funded companies.
Consider some before jumping into the funded one, you could be at the beginning of a nice story and definitely will help some great team succeed in this new business.
Furthermore, the two biggest right now in the Validator as core business categories such as Stakin or others.
This is not good for a decentralized network, and everyone is trying their best to give the same level of services using more or less the same kind of infrastructure.
Validator from Private funds / VC
The 2nd types of actors in the Cosmos Network validator ecosystem are VC and private funds.
Validator from Tendermint Team
The 3rd category on the pie chart shows that validators from Tendermint team own all together 13.1% of the voting power.
In this category, we decided to put people who are working in the Tendermint team. In terms of customers, Sunny Aggarwal with Sikka is leading the road with 429 clients, almost 5% of the voting power, followed by Zaki Manian with Iqlusion and 83 delegated addresses, Jack Zampolin and Cryptium Labs team. (Btw, you should also take a look on Awa Sun Yin articles 😉)
Validator from Mining Pool
The 4th category in term of voting power is Mining Pool with 13%. Funny to see that validator from Mining Pool own almost the same voting power that the Tendermint Team. Some such as F2Pool (with Stake.fish) or Sparkpool already launched some validator on the Cosmos Ecosystem.
In terms of clients, this is the category attracting the most clients by far. For example, Sparkpool is the only validator with more than a thousand clients for now in the Cosmos Network. It is clearly leading the ecosystem on this indicator. For example, the second-largest validator in the Cosmos Ecosystem, Stake.fish has 480 clients: half less than Sparkpool. As a comparison, POS Bakerz is ranked n°28 in terms of numbers of delegators with only 27 delegators, so do not hesitate to try us out.
In terms of numbers of delegators, we can also see a big difference between Validator from Mining Pool and Validator who operates nodes as a Core business or independent validator. Analyzing the validators we can also see that validators with no fees attract many clients as the two biggest in terms of clients are taking 0% fees at the moment.
As a delegator, you should be worried as it’s not sustainable for anyone in the long term. Some validator can also change their fees as they want and even sometimes by 100% within 24h so be worried and be sure to follow your validator on social media to know when/if he raises his fees.
Once again, this is why you should consider some other validator and not only go with the biggest one or with the one without any fees.
Staking is a business and it requires resources to develop different tools for the community and maintain a secured infrastructure. So while Validator from the mining pool attracts hundreds if not thousands of clients, 70 validators have less than 25 delegated addresses. By delegating to one or several of them, you will contribute to the network decentralization and encourage great teams to continue on this business.
Validator from Wallet
This category is the 5th category in our Cosmos Network Validator study, and they have 6.51 % of the voting power; led by Cosmostation, with 5.03% voting power. It’s an ATOM wallet, who also created a Cosmos Network block explorer called Mintscan.io.
The 2nd in the category “Validator from Wallet” is Lunamint who owns 1.25% of the voting power. It’s a Korean startup that created Lunagram, a messenger app that uses the Telegram API with a built-in Cosmos wallet.
In this category, you have also Cobo who is starting to earn interest among the community and unfortunately, for now, MathWallet is not an active Validator anymore.
Validator from Cosmos Project
Let’s now have a look at the 6th category, Cosmos projects that also run validators.
This category represents around ~6% of the total voting power inside the Cosmos ecosystem at the date of the article.
As you can see in the image there are two main validators in this category. One of which is Validator.network. They own 2.75% of voting power in Cosmos right now and are creating e-money.com and strive to become the leading European provider of currency-backed tokens.
If you want to know what is IRISnet, you should have a look at this article.
Validator from Exchanges
For now, there are not a lot of exchanges doing this business, as we only find 3 actors operating also nodes in the Cosmos Network.
At POS Bakerz we think it would be something necessary for exchanges because redistributing staking interest to exchange users will make sense and will be a huge selling point.
For now, the leading exchanges in term of the Voting Power inside this category is Coinone Node with 2.25% of the voting power inside the Cosmos Network. Even if in terms of voting power they are now ranked number 13, in terms of delegated addresses, they are ranked number 3 with 462 clients.
Then on this category, we can find Bity, a Swiss brokerage firm offering buying, selling, trading, and crypto payments for online purchases, with 0.68% of voting power, and Everstake the staking platform run by Codex & Attic Lab CEO.
Validator from Individual & other
Finally, the last category we decided to include, is Validator run by long time Cosmos supporters. In this category, we can find passionate people running their own nodes to support their loving protocol.
It’s important to mention that they run on the same kind of infrastructures that the biggest players and we can find on this category some Validator such as Chainflow run by Chris Remus, Meleatrust or Anonym.ninja.
It’s the same as Validators as a Core business, they put a lot of time and effort to develop community tools or resources. It is sure that, with time, some of them will grow their team and turn into the category Validator as a core service.
Then on others, we included Nodes we could not identify such as BouBouNode, kochacolaj, Omega3…
So why delegate to smaller validator is IMPORTANT?
As you can see in this image, the top 10 own 56.6% of voting powers.
Worst, the first 50 validators own 96.2% of voting power while the others 50% only own 3.8% of the network.
Below you can see a chart with the repartition of voting power between the 100 current validators in Cosmos.
As you can see, Dokia, Stake.fish and Polychain are “fighting” hard for the top 3 with a little bit more of 8% of voting power each. The three of them combined own as much as 25% of the Cosmos Network, as much as 82 others Validators!!
So help us and other small delegators who contribute to the community every day by delegating some of your ATOM.
This will also benefit you as diversification is always a good strategy to reduce risks. Read more here.
Before concluding this analysis of Cosmos Validators, we would like to thanks Felix Lutsch for his precious advice on Twitter, Mira Nugumanova from Ztake, the Cosmos Network, the Cypher Core team, Wetez, KalpaTech, 01node, and many others for sharing our previous pic and showing us some support on social media.
DISCLAIMER: This is not financial advice. Staking and cryptocurrencies investment involves a high degree of risk and there is always the possibility of loss, including the loss of all staked digital assets. Additionally, delegators are at risk of slashing in case of security or liveness faults on BPoS protocols. We advise you to DYOR before choosing a validator.