Solana Foundation

Delegation Program

Solana Foundation is overhauling the Delegation Program to better serve the needs of the network. Through the new SFDP, the Solana Foundation is targeting the following goals:

  1. Maximize decentralization, reliability, and performance of Solana
  2. Maximize the number of validators who have diverse sources of stake
  3. Sustain a large and representative testnet

The following components make up the new SFDP with the aim to achieve the goals above:

Testnet Participation

In order to receive support through the SFDP, participants must first prove their ability to run a Solana validator successfully on testnet while meeting acceptable performance requirements (see Delegation Criteria) for at least 5 testnet epochs. Participants must also maintain their testnet node and keep acceptable performance in at least 5 of the last 10 epochs to continue receiving mainnet support and delegation.

Standard Priority Queue: Due to the large demand for the program there is a priority queue for onboarding from testnet onto mainnet. 25 Participants will be onboarded to mainnet each week. To better understand when a new participant will be onboarded please see FAQ: Onboarding Questions for more details.

Ecosystem Contributor Priority Queue (Experimental): With the new SFDP, the Solana Foundation is introducing an experimental priority queue for developers and ecosystem contributors. Individuals and teams who are already an active part of the Solana ecosystem have unique insight into the needs of the network. This cohort has aligned incentives when it comes to maximizing decentralization, reliability, and performance of the Solana network — making them ideal candidates for running a validator. This fully-separate queue does not affect the rate of onboarding for the standard queue.

Please fill out this form to be considered for the Ecosystem Contributor Priority Queue. For eligibility information and additional details please see the FAQ: Ecosystem Contributor Priority Queue.

Vote Cost Coverage

The SFDP will cover voting costs for validators in their first year of participating in the SFDP with a tapering amount over time. Starting from onboarding for the first three months participants will have 100% of vote costs covered, for the next three months 75%, for the third three months 50% and for the final three months 25%, with vote coverage ending after 12 months. For more details please see FAQ: Vote Cost coverage. This is only eligible for the first validator an organization or entity runs.

Why? Vote costs can be prohibitive to new, small validators and might discourage potential validators from even attempting to start a validator. Meanwhile, time bounding and tapering this support encourages validators to achieve sustainable stake levels before support ends.

Performance Requirements: Validators must meet the residual and stake matching requirements (see Delegation Criteria) for the epoch to be eligible for vote cost coverage.

Stake Matching

The SFDP will match stake, or stake not from Solana Foundation, 1:1—up to a cap of 100,000 SOL from the Foundation as long as the participants are meeting all of the performance requirements.

By matching stake, the SFDP creates a strong incentive for participants to engage with the broader Solana community and attract stake external to the delegation program thereby increasing their independence and encouraging them to optimize their performance and decentralization metrics. Secondarily, this gives the broader Solana ecosystem an opportunity to influence where the Solana Foundation stakes its SOL by having their own delegations decisions matched by the Solana Foundation. For more information please see FAQ: Stake Matching

Examples:

  1. If an SFDP participant has 10,000 SOL stake outside of the SFDP, then they would get an additional 10,000 SOL delegation from the Foundation, for a total of 20,000 SOL plus the residual delegation. (see residual delegation below)
  2. If an SFDP participant has 250,000 SOL staked excluding SFDP stake, then they would get 100,000 from the matching portion of SFDP, for a total of 350,000 SOL plus the residual delegation from the Foundation (see residual delegation below)

Performance Requirements: Validators must meet the residual requirements (see Delegation Criteria) and have a five epoch of average of sufficiently high block production.

Residual Delegation

Any residual SOL held by the Foundation that is committed to this program after all the stake matching delegations are made will be distributed evenly to eligible validators as long as they meet the residual performance requirements. This enables new validators to receive a sufficient amount of stake to get on the leader schedule and allow the participants to demonstrate sufficient block production performance needed to eventually receive a stake matching delegation.

Performance Requirements: Validators must meet the residual requirements (see Delegation Criteria) to receive residual delegation.

Interested in the program? Here is a step by step walkthrough of what to expect after you apply.

1

Create your validator identity keys for Testnet and Mainnet Beta

Validator keys
2

Apply for the Foundation Delegation Program and pass KYC

Apply for Foundation Program
3

Start your Testnet validator

Start validator
4

Start voting

Not sure how to start voting on Testnet?

Start voting
5

Get added to Testnet stake bot

Your testnet validator will automatically be added to the testnet stake bot in the order you registered for the Delegation Program. 100 testnet validators are added weekly. It may take a few months to be added.

Testnet stake bot
6

Start producing blocks

Continue voting well and start producing blocks on testnet

Producing blocks
7

Earn Bonus stake by the testnet stake bot

Earn Bonus stake and watch the epochs of Bonus performance stack up!

Earn Bonus stake
8

Get onboarded onto the Delegation Program

Get onboarded
9

Attract stake delegations from external parties

Work with other validators, stake pool managers, and community members to learn how to attract external stake from other delegators

Attract stake
10

Give back to the community. Stay involved. Don’t be a stranger!

Ask your technical questions on Discord

Keep up with the community on Twitter

Get the latest updates on our Blog

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Stay in the loop


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Learn more about when you’ll be onboarded by reading about the criteria

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Learn more about the Foundation Program

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Subscribe to Discord and Twitter alerts to learn more about any changes in requirements

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