The goal for Near is to enable community driven innovation, which requires us to build a community operated network first. As part of this goal, we decided to involve validators early and encourage them to participate in an incentivized TestNet called Stake Wars.
As we launched this program Nov 2019, we immediately started to get lots of real world feedback on network stability and performance and what was missing in our system.
At the same time, we have been evaluating components of our system and saw the need to improve our fork choice rule. This led to a bunch of experiments in our code base and subsequent Doomslug research (near.ai/doomslug) which is currently being implemented.
This means we were pushing freshly written code into the Stake Wars network. Which inadvertently led to frequent network failures. We also invested more time into testing infrastructure for testing large distributed networks and malicious behavior. Our internal testing started to surface the problems but we got stuck in keeping Stake Wars running, so kept pushing releases before we had time to fully address observed problems.
This leads us to the decision to stop Stake Wars until the implementation is fully finalized and our internal testing becomes all green, meaning we hit what we call a “Release Candidate” (code named Sky Breaker).
And in the spirit of iteration, we will restart the Stake Wars after that, discontinuing Tatooine and inviting participants to validate official TestNet (continues state since last April) and with more generous rewards for operating nodes in the network. The professional validators who have and will be actively participating will also roll into the Validator Drop program that guarantees some amount of delegated stake which we will announce soon.
Everyone who had participated in this iteration will be rewarded, we also will update the leaderboard to represent that. If you think your score wasn’t computed correctly – just ping us. With relaunch we will also announce points conversion to tokens.
If you are a developer and want to try your chops at writing malicious behavior agents – ping @AlexSkidanov.
To be in the loop for upcoming updates for validators, join this Telegram group – click here.
-The Near Team