This section introduces you to the validation process and some additional resources.
NEAR Protocol is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain, and validators are nodes that aggregate transactions into blocks, execute them, and maintain the latest state of the blockchain. Validators are rewarded for participation for every epoch they are doing their work. A validator node must stake a certain amount of NEAR tokens, which are used to prevent Sybil attacks and as collateral against malicious behaviors. Staking protects the network from attacks like "double signing" (signing multiple blocks at the same height) and, generally, committing an invalid state transition of the blockchain. The tokens at stake are locked even after the validator goes offline or decides to stop validating. The stake becomes liquid only after a certain number of epochs, to prevent nothing-at-stake attacks within a short period of time.
The protocol automatically elects validators by issuing an auction for each epoch: new nodes can join by bidding a higher stake than existing ones, while funds from accounts that didn't provide sufficient amount will be returned at the end of the next epoch.
Important to note: As a validator you do not have to know about the underlying blockchain infrastructure. Once you have set-up a validator node, it runs all processes automatically. Meaning, that you do not have to interfere with the node and you are only required to set up one node to start validating.
Heads up! Stake Wars is back!
Stake Wars is NEAR's incentivized testnet for professional validators.
NEAR’s MainNet recently launched into its first phase, called “POA” (see full roadmap). This means that a small handful of validating nodes are currently being run by the core team. In order to progress to the next phase, “MainNet: Restricted”, the operation of the network will be handed off to a large group of node operators called validators.
The goal of Stake Wars: Episode II is to onboard those validators, test the stability of the system, and begin introducing some of the unique aspects of NEAR’s delegation in preparation for the next phase of MainNet itself.
If you want to know more about this opportunity, read the Stake Wars Episode II blog post.
The Process to Become Validator
Understand the economics of Proof of Stake, and how do they work for NEAR validators. Please go to the economics section on Economics of a Validator
To begin validating, please go to the technical section on Staking and becoming a Validator.
You are still here? If you want to learn more about NEAR, have a look at
- The Beginner’s Guide to the NEAR Blockchain to get a high level overview on NEAR.
- The NEAR Whitepaper to see the big picture.
- Economics in Sharded Blockchain to know more about the incentives structure of NEAR.
- Sharding Design: Nightshade to gain a more detailed understanding of our consensus mechanism.
If anything is unclear, you get stuck, or you just want to chat with fellow validators, please head over to our Telegram group or Discord. There we have a dedicated validator channel to answer all of your questions.