Effects of Akash Proposal #14

Analyzing the voting power distribution changes in the validator set following a validator set expansion.
May 30, 2022



The goal of the proposal was to increase decentralization of the network. We tracked the validator cumulative share for 8 days prior to the proposal and 8 days after the proposal to compare its effects. To us, meaningful decentralization would mean shifting the benchmark of the 2/3 cumulative share, which is what determines the prevote. Graph #1 displays the cumulative share controlled by the top 5, top 10, top 25, and top 50 validators. While less important than the prevote level, it is useful to more holistically observe decentralization, especially when evaluating lower timeframes such as our 16 day period. The thick black line in the center of the graph is representative of the proposal taking effect.

As is clear, the cumulative share did not change in any significant or noticeable way. However, there were a couple issues with our dataset that deserve recognition. Acheron, ranked 31, was jailed at the beginning of our study and then unjailed on January 5. We removed them from our dataset until January 8 to isolate the effects of the proposal on the dataset we had from before the proposal had passed. We reintroduced Acheron on the last day of data gathering to identify the true current distribution of validator cumulative share. It did not impact the dataset in any noticeable way. GStaking, ranked 41, was jailed on January 6. We continued to include them in the dataset until January 8 as they were active during the pre-proposal data collection period. We removed GStaking from the dataset on January 8 to identify the true current distribution of validator cumulative share. It did not impact the dataset in any noticeable way.

Ultimately, Proposal #14 has not proportionally increased network decentralization, as is evidenced by the ultra-mildly strengthening share of the top 10/25 and the stable share of the top 50. It is probable that in the long-run this will contribute to decentralization as opposed to an 85 validator set. However, the question over whether this was the right time to expand the set remains. The negatives to Proposal #14 are that the larger set is less efficient than the smaller set and increasing the set may fracture delegations to smaller validators. The positives are that many new validators entered the Akash ecosystem and can experiment with deploying infrastructure, increasing activity and participation within Akash.