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Is Solana Really Decentralized? Validator status report

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

The report notes that a minimum of 31 validators can collude with each other to compromise network consensus.

Its initial report delves into key metrics that gauge the health of its validator network. These include total validators, Nakamoto consensus, and distribution.

Breaking Down the Nodes

As reported by the organization on Wednesday, Solana now includes more than 3400 validators on six continents. Validators are responsible for independently verifying new transactions and storing Solana’s ledger state.

A large, diverse set of validator operators is essential to maintaining a neutral, resilient, distributed, and trusted network for the world to use,” the organization explains.

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

Consensus nodes generate and propose new blocks to 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 a convenient way for users to communicate with the core Solana network in a way that is specific to a particular application.

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

Nakamoto Coefficient and Distribution

Meanwhile, Solana’s “Nakamoto coefficient” is 31. This metric represents the minimum number of validators required to compromise the network’s consensus, commonly defined as 33.4% of voting power.

Nakamoto’s relatively low number of validators is due to Solana’s proof-of-stake mechanism. Proof of stake has a greater influence on the consensus state of the network in the hands of holders and staking of more SOL.

According to Coincarp, despite 9 million holders, the top 100 SOL holders alone control 30.81% of the total supply. However, the report notes that no major data center running Solana nodes is close to surpassing 33% of the active stake.

On a geographical basis, more than 50% of Solana’s shares are concentrated in just 3 countries – Germany, the United States and Ireland.

The platform points out that this is still healthier than Ethereum’s 45% concentration of miners in the United States. However, Ethereum is set to transition to a proof-of-stake consensus model in September, which would make this statistic irrelevant.

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