Since the Solana Foundation re-opened the Delegation Program, the community has had some great questions and feedback. The FAQ below seeks to answer the most common questions. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask them in the #delegation-program Discord channel.
Delegation Program FAQ
I’m running a validator on Testnet now. When will I be onboarded into the Solana Foundation Delegation Program on Mainnet Beta? #
To see your onboarding number, search by your Testnet identity key on https://solana.foundation/validators-search. If you divide the onboarding number you see by 25 you will get a rough estimate of how many weeks it may take to be onboarded.
The onboarding numbers are calculated according to the following criteria: 1) % average Bonus performance since Epoch 207 on Testnet, and 2) % average Bonus performance in the last 13 epochs on Testnet. You can read more about the specific weights and calculation of these metrics In the onboarding formula.
Your performance in both categories will determine the exact order in which you will be onboarded. Out of fairness to validators who have been running high quality validator nodes since Tour de SOL, if there are two equally quality validator nodes with the same performance numbers for 1 and 2, precedence will be given to the validator who has been running their node longer (the validator from Tour de SOL). If the two equally quality validator nodes with the same performance numbers for 1 and 2 are both from Tour de SOL, they will be ordered according to TdS stage, from earliest to latest.
To reward all validators who are running quality nodes, validators who signed up during Tour de SOL but are not running a quality node will not be onboarded ahead of high quality operators who’ve signed up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program since August 2021.
I have an onboarding group number but I haven’t been onboarded yet. Will I lose my onboarding group number in the new process? Will I lose my place in the queue? #
If you have an onboarding group number that is greater than 16, there is no guarantee that your group number will stay the same. Validators in groups 15 and 16 will continue being onboarded through the existing process. For everyone else, if you have an onboarding group number that’s greater than 16, you will likely receive a new onboarding group number. The new onboarding group number will be based on the following criteria: 1) % average Bonus performance since Epoch 207 on Testne and, 2) % average Bonus performance in the last 13 epochs on Testnet. Your performance in both categories will determine the exact order in which you will be onboarded. Starting September 30th, you will be able to see your new onboarding group number On the validators search page.
The new onboarding process is meant to reward those who have been running their Testnet nodes well. This means participants in Tour de SOL who’ve stopped running their Testnet nodes will see their onboarding group numbers increase, and newly signed up validators, who are running high quality nodes with good performance, may be onboarded before them.
What does getting onboarded to the Solana Foundation Delegation Program mean? #
Getting onboarded means receiving an email from the Solana Foundation notifying you that 1) your status on the CLI is now approved and 2) you are eligible to receive a delegation of stake from the Solana Foundation if your validator node on Mainnet Beta meets the stated performance criteria outlined In the delegation criteria.
How long will it take for me to get staked by the Foundation once I’m onboarded onto Mainnet Beta through the Foundation Delegation Program? #
Once your node on Mainnet Beta meets the stated performance criteria outlined On the delegation criteria page, it may take up to 6 epochs for the stake delegation from the Solana Foundation to become active.
Do I need to keep running my validator on Testnet after I’ve been onboarded to the Delegation Program? #
Yes. Starting August 1, 2021 in order to remain eligible to receive stake delegation from the Solana Foundation, all validators in the Delegation Program must also maintain a well-performing (i.e. staked) Testnet node.
Newly Signed up Validators (as of August 2021)
After August 1, 2021, how can I sign up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program? #
New validators who meet certain performance criteria (see The delegation criteria page) and are interested in the program, will be onboarded. Interested parties can apply for the program On the Delegation Program homepage.
How do I sign up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program and what can I do after I sign up? #
Here are four short steps.
Step One: Before registering for the program on the signup portal, create your validator keys and use them to register for the program through the solana-foundation-delegation-program-cli. The CLI documentation will walk through creating your Testnet and Mainnet validator keypairs for the first time, if you don’t already have these keys. If you already have these keys, use your existing keys to register through the CLI. The CLI registration will create an on-chain record of your registration. This must be done before registering for the program on the Solana Foundation website.
Step Two: Sign up with your Testnet and Mainnet keys On the Delegation Program homepage.
Step Three: Assuming you’ve passed KYC and signed up successfully, you can now start running your Testnet validator. Follow the steps In the validator docs to do so.
Step Four: The stake-o-matic bot will pick up all new Testnet keypairs within twelve weeks of registering. In the meantime, you can follow these instructions to airdrop yourself some Testnet SOL and start voting!
How do I get SOL on Testnet to start voting? #
After you’ve started up your tesnet validator, you can airdrop yourself some test SOL to get started. You can follow these instructions to learn how to do so.
I just signed up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program and received an email from the Foundation saying “Thank you for registering”. Am I approved? Is this the same as getting onboarded to the Solana Foundation Delegation Program and receiving stake? #
No. This email confirms that you have registered for the program. You will not be onboarded and receive a delegation as part of the Solana Foundation Delegation Program until you are onboarded. To understand when you will be onboarded please refer to the questions above.
I just signed up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program at solana.foundation/delegation-program. When will the stake bot on Testnet see me? #
Please note that you can start your Testnet validator at any time. The stake bot will see your Testnet validator in the order you signed up. 100 new validators will be added to the stake bot at a time, each week, according to when they signed up. Depending on the backlog of validators that signed up, it may take weeks or even months to be added to the Testnet stakebot. To determine approximately when you will be added to the Testnet stakebot, locate your validator page On the validators search page and find the approximate date under “Program metrics” on your page.
When will the stake bot stake me? #
After the stake bot sees you (see question above to understand what this entails), and you meet the criteria outlined On the delegation criteria page, you will be eligible to receive stake from the stake bot on Testnet. Note: In order to meet the criteria you need to start voting. You can airdrop yourself some Testnet SOL in order to start voting with these instructions.
I’ve signed up for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program. When do I get my onboarding group number? #
For validators who sign up for the program after August 1st 2021 and meet certain performance criteria, they will receive an onboarding group number starting September 30th, 2021, according to the following criteria: 1) % average Bonus performance since Epoch 207 on Testnet and 2) % average Bonus performance in the last 13 epochs on Testnet.
Do I have to run a Testnet validator without rewards or compensation until I am onboarded to the Solana Foundation Delegation Program on Mainnet Beta? #
There are no rewards for running a validator on Testnet which means you run the validator at your own cost. Running a Testnet validator for months without compensation is a financial decision that every validator must make for themselves. Please note if you stop running your tesnet validator, you will lose your place in the onboarding queue.
I won’t receive a delegation from the Foundation for another 9 months but I want to start my Testnet node and start receiving delegations now. What can I do? #
Great question! You can of course start a Testnet (and/or Mainnet) node at any time. You can self stake or attract external stake in many ways. A few such options could be 1) starting a website and explaining why delegators should stake to you, 2) starting a stake pool that promotes decentralization, or 3) joining a stake pooland receiving additional delegation from them. These are just a few ideas, your fellow validators will have more (and better) ideas for how to do this well.
I already registered for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program on the website but didn’t register via the CLI. Do I still need to register via the CLI? #
Registering for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program via the CLI ensures your registration is on-chain. For a short week after the website was live, the CLI registration was not mandatory in order to sign up. If you were one of the first validators to sign up through the website, please register for the program through the CLI to be eligible to receive stake from the stake bot on Testnet.
In order for new validators to successfully register for the Solana Foundation Delegation Program, validators should both register on the website and CLI. Moving forward, if you try to sign up through the website you will need to have first registered your keys via the CLI.
The following criteria apply to all validators, whether or not they have participated in Tour de SOL, or join the program later
What is the criteria for receiving stake from the Foundation on Testnet and Mainnet Beta? #
To see the most up to date requirements for receiving a delegation from the foundation please see the delegation criteria page.
How are onboarding numbers calculated? #
Onboarding numbers are calculated based on the following criteria: (% average Bonus performance since Epoch 207 on Testnet x 50%) + (% average Bonus performance in the last 13 epochs on Testnet x 50%).
The % average Bonus performance since Epoch 207 metric and the % average Bonus performance in the last 13 epochs metric are both calculated as (# of epochs where validator has earned Bonus stake/ # of epochs in the metric’s timeframe).
How come epochs look different on the Solana Foundation Delegation Program website compared to the wiki? #
When the wiki displays metrics for let’s say Epoch 216 (e.g. “Bonus stake in Epoch 216”) what it's actually displaying is performance data earned in Epoch 215 (e.g. “Validator received Bonus stake in 216 for performance in Epoch 215”). On the Solana Foundation Delegation Program website, validator performance data is displayed for the epoch in which the performance was measured. For example, if a validator earned Bonus stake in Epoch 215, the validator will show “Bonus stake in 215” (since it actually corresponds to the validator earning that Bonus stake in Epoch 215, not 216). For this reason, you may see the epoch’s shifted down by one on the Solana Foundation Delegation Program website, but all the data should be exactly the same. Additionally, the Solana Foundation Delegation Program website does not display information about the ongoing epoch.
How can I calculate my vote credits? #
If you would like to calculate your vote credits from scratch, you can run solana vote-account <vote_account_address> --output json. You may have to run this over a few epochs to get a full 64 epochs worth of data.
To see your total vote credits (used in the numerator of the vote credits score calculation) and the max vote credits for each epoch (used in the denominator of the vote credits score calculation), you can refer to the expanded table in your validator page. You can find your validator page by searching by your Testnet identity key on https://solana.foundation/validators-search.
What are vote credits? #
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. You can learn more about what vote credits are In the stake delegation and rewards doc and the importance of them to the Delegation Program On the delegation criteria page.