Solana Foundation

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

Solana Foundation

Validators who are approved to participate in the Solana Foundation Delegation Program are eligible to receive a delegation from a pool of tokens held by the Solana Foundation. In order to receive this delegation, each eligible validator must meet certain criteria, which are polled regularly.

A validator must meet the Testnet Participation Criteria and all of the Residual Criteria to receive a “residual” delegation from the Solana Foundation. If any of the criteria are no longer met, the delegation will be removed until the validator meets all the criteria, at which point the delegation will be re-applied.

If a validator meets all criteria to receive the residual delegation and also meets all of the Stake Matching Criteria, the validator will receive a matching delegation equal to the stake they have outside the delegation program. The size of the bonus delegation is dynamic, as the Foundation’s Delegation Program attempts to continually rebalance and distribute all tokens within the program to those validators who have earned a delegation. As changes to stake delegations require a transition period on Solana, there is often a delay between a validator becoming eligible for a certain level of delegation from the Foundation and those stake tokens becoming active. This delay is often 1-2 epochs, or up to 4 days.

Validators must meet all requirements to receive stake
Residual requirementResult

Vote credits

At least 97% of the cluster average vote credits

Maximum commission

7%

Solana release

≥ 1.17.28

Self stake

0 SOL or more

Infrastructure concentration

10% or less

Total stake

Total stake 1,000,000 or less

Testnet criteria

Baseline in 5 of last 10 Testnet epochs

Metric reporting on Mainnet Beta

Reported in 8 of the last 10 epochs

Metric reporting on Testnet

Reported in 8 of the last 10 epochs

Responsiveness

Within 24H

Validators must meet all of the residual requirements in addition to the matching requirements to receive matching stake
Stake matching requirementResult

5 epoch average skip rate

Must not exceed 26% + cluster average skip rate


Validators must meet all requirements to receive stake
Baseline requirementResult

Vote credits

At least 97% of the cluster average vote credits

Maximum commission

100%

Solana release

≥ 1.18.8

Self stake

0 SOL or more

Infrastructure concentration

100% or less

Onboarding quickly

Started Mainnet Beta node within 10 epochs of onboarding date

Metric reporting on Testnet

Reported in 8 of the last 10 epochs

Responsiveness

Within 24H

Validators must meet all of the residual requirements in addition to the matching requirements to receive matching stake
Bonus requirementResult

5 epoch average skip rate

Must not exceed 15% + cluster average skip rate

MonthEpochs

April 2024

618–623

March 2024

604–617

February 2024

591–603

January 2024

585–590

December 2023

564–577

November 2023

549–561

October 2023

534–548

September 2023

519–533

August 2023

505–518

July 2023

490–504

June 2023

476–489

May 2023

463–475

April 2023

450–462

March 2023

436–448

February 2023

425–435

January 2023

408–421

December 2022

393–407

November 2022

384–392

October 2022

369–383

September 2022

356–368

Testnet participation #

What is this?

In order to receive a delegation from the Foundation on a validator’s mainnet beta node, the validator must also operate a node on testnet which is subject to similar performance requirements. Any differences between the mainnet beta and testnet delegation criteria are noted accordingly.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

A validator’s testnet node must meet all of the Baseline criteria for at least five of the latest 10 testnet epochs in order for the validator’s mainnet beta node to receive a delegation.

Vote Credits #

What is this?

Vote credits are earned when a validator submits a consensus vote on a block that becomes finalized by the network. Each vote on a finalized block earns 1 vote credit. Voting more frequently and on the correct fork, a validator earns more credits. Voting on an incorrect fork or failure to submit votes on time or at all results in fewer vote credits. The SOL reward issued to a validator and their stakers is proportional to the number of credits earned over an epoch.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

In order to receive or maintain a stake delegation from the Solana Foundation, a validator must earn no less than 3% fewer vote credits than the cluster average for a given epoch. For example, if the cluster average for the last epoch was 100,000 vote credits, a validator must have earned at least 97,000 credits to meet this criteria. This criteria is the same for nodes on mainnet beta and testnet.

Max Commission #

What is this?

A validator’s commission, or fee, is the percentage of total rewards earned by an individual validator in an epoch that are deposited into the validator’s vote account. The remainder of the reward is distributed to the stake accounts that have delegated to that validator’s vote account.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

A validator must maintain a commission of 10% or less to meet this criteria. This criteria applies to mainnet beta nodes only. There is no maximum commission enforced on testnet.

Data Center Concentration #

What is this?

Multiple validators may run their node in the same physical facility. As more validators which are housed in the same location attract stake delegations, this can cause a centralization of stake and a possible point of failure for the network if the concentration grows too large. Data Center Concentration is the ratio of stake which is delegated to validators in a single data center to the amount of stake delegated to all validators on the network. Data center is determined by using this API.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

The Data Center Concentration must not exceed 10% for new validators at a data center to pass this criteria. Validators receiving a delegation from the Foundation before the maximum concentration is reached are assigned a seniority score, based on the number of epochs that validator has been receiving a Foundation delegation while located in a given data center. In the event the data center concentration threshold is exceeded dueto new validators coming online in the same data center, the Foundation will remove its delegation from validators based on seniority score, from lowest to highest. This means that nodes that are the first Solana validators in a given data center have the highest seniority, and should not be destaked, and new validators are discouraged from locating their server in data centers which already have a high concentration of staked validators. On mainnet beta, the concentration limit is 10%. On testnet the limit varies. The most recent concentration limit can be found here.

Self Stake #

What is this?

Self Stake are tokens that are owned by the operator of a validator node which are then delegated to their node. A stake account is considered self-stake if the Withdraw authority of a stake account is the same as the Withdraw authority of the vote account which the stake account is delegated to. As the Withdraw authority key denotes ownership over a stake or vote account, if these are set to the same value, it proves that the staker and the validator are the same entity.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

A validator must have at least 100 SOL of self stake in order to meet this criteria. Tokens in time-locked stake accounts can also count as self-stake, as long as the Withdraw authority matches between the stake account and vote account. Self-stake can be distributed across multiple stake accounts (Two accounts of 50 SOL each, for example), as long as the total is at least 100 SOL. This only applies to mainnet beta, there is no self stake requirement on testnet.

Total Stake #

What is this?

This refers to the total amount of stake from all sources (self stake or otherwise) that have been delegated to a validator.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

A validator must have less than 1,000,000 SOL in total stake to be eligible for a delegation from the Foundation. This only applies to mainnet beta, there is no maximum stake on testnet.

Software Version #

What is this?

The release version of the solana-validator code that an individual node is running.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

Validators are expected to consistently update their nodes to the latest stable software release in a timely manner. The minimum software version is updated 48 hours after the supermajority of the network has adopted that same version. Testnet often runs on a newer software version than beta. A minimum version is enforced on both networks, though the values are often different.

Skip Rate #

What is this?

Skip rate is the percent of leader slots in which a validator fails to produce a block which is eventually confirmed by the network. Skip rate and block production are two numbers often used to refer to the same metric. Block production is the percent of scheduled slots in which the validator produces a confirmed block, whereas skip rate is 1 - block production.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

A validator must have a skip rate that does not exceed 30 percentage points plus the network average skip rate. For example, if the network average skip rate was 20%, a validator must have a skip rate of 50% or less to meet this criteria. This criteria is the same on mainnet beta and testnet.

Metric Reporting #

What is this?

Whether or not a validator is continually submitting metrics about their validator to the correct cluster(s).

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

Starting in epoch 337, validators are expected to report metrics about their validator nodes in eight of the last 10 epochs on both the testnet and mainnet beta clusters in order to receive residual stake. To meet the reporting requirements, validators must continually report metrics throughout the epoch. Metric reporting will be sampled multiple times an epoch. Validators on mainnet beta would need to report metrics on both testnet and mainnet beta for eight out of the last 10 epochs (in addition to existing residual criteria) in order to receive residual stake. Validators on testnet would need to report metrics for eight out of the last 10 epochs to get residual stake.

Earned Stake #

What is this?

Earning stake means receiving a delegation from the Solana Foundation at either the residual or Bonus amount.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

To ensure node operators are responsive and monitoring their validators closely, validators should be continually meeting the requirements for residual or Matching stake and not go 10 or more epochs without receiving stake from the Foundation. If validators do not receive any stake in any 10 epoch window on mainnet beta, they will be rejected from the program. If validators do not receive any stake in any 10 epoch window on testnet, they will lose their current onboarding number and be sent to the bottom of the onboarding queue. Testnet validators that begin re-earning stake will once again be eligible for an onboarding number. As a reminder, for those onboarded to mainnet beta, earning stake on testnet is a requirement for continuing to receive Delegation stake on mainnet beta. If you do not receive stake on testnet for 10 epochs, you will also not receive stake on mainnet beta. If you do not receive stake on mainnet beta for 10 epochs, you will be rejected from the program.

Onboarding quickly #

What is this?

Starting your node means getting your server on mainnet beta running, ensuring it can be found in gossip, and starting to meet the rest of the requirements necessary to receive residual stake from the Foundation.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

To ensure node operators are responsive and monitoring their Delegation Program participation closely, validators will receive a 10 epoch window to start their mainnet beta node from their onboarding date. If they do not start their node within 10 epochs, they will be rejected from the program.

Responsiveness #

What is this?

Running a validator successfully involves continuously participating in gossip, packing new blocks, and voting on other leader's blocks. In order to help maintain consensus, it also means ensuring your node is available with good uptime.

Solana Foundation Delegation Criteria

To ensure node operators maintain good uptime, are responsive and are monitoring their servers closely, validators are expected to respond to critical network events (e.g. restarts) within 24 hours. If they do not respond within 24 hours, they will be rejected from the program.