Is Solana really decentralized? A health report validator

The Solana Foundation recently released its first report evaluating the health of the Solana network.

The first report digs into key metrics assessing the health of its validator network. These include the total number of validators, Nakamoto consensus, and distribution.

Breaking the nodes

According to the foundation report on Wednesday, Solana currently consists of more than 3400 validators spread over six continents. Validators are responsible for independently verifying new transactions and storing the status of Solana’s ledger.

“A large, diverse set of validator operators is essential to maintain a resilient, distributed and credible neutral network that can be used globally,” explains the foundation.

Validators are divided into two camps: consensus nodes and RPC nodes.

Consensus nodes create and propose new blocks for the network while verifying blocks proposed by other network nodes. In general, the more consensus nodes there are, the less likely a user’s transaction is to be tampered with.

Meanwhile, Remote Procedure Call (RPC) nodes perform the same tasks as consensus nodes, but also provide an “application gateway” to the Solana infrastructure. They often provide users with a convenient way to interact with the Solana core network in a way that specializes in a particular application.

More than 1900 Solana validators are consensus nodes. In addition, since June 2021, an average of 95 consensus nodes and 99 RPC nodes have joined the network every month.

Nakamoto coefficient and distribution

Meanwhile, Solana’s “Nakamoto coefficient” is 31. This statistic represents the minimum number of validators needed to compromise a network’s consensus, commonly defined as 33.4% of the vote.

The relatively low Nakamoto coefficient compared to the number of validators is due to Solana’s proof-of-stake mechanism. Evidence of stake gives greater influence on network consensus in the hands of those who have and deploy more SOL.

According to CoincarpDespite there being 9 million holders, only the top 100 SOL holders control 30.81% of the total supply. However, the report noted that none of the major data centers with Solana nodes comes close to exceeding 33% of the active stake.

On a geographic basis, approximately 50% of Solana’s interest is concentrated in just three countries: Germany, the United States and Ireland.

The foundation points out that this is still healthier than Ethereum’s 45% miner concentration in the US. However, Ethereum will transition to a consensus proof-of-stakes model in September, rendering this metric irrelevant.

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