Three weeks ago, our fellow node-runners "Stakesafe" released their validator dashboard which gave us some great insights into the way in which stake is distributed across the Radix network. You can check it out here: https://validators.stakesafe.net/
What was most concerning was the amount of stake at one particular server provider, Hetzner - with a whopping 28% of the total network stake! Furthermore, Germany seems to be the location of choice for validators, accounting for 25% of the total network stake.
Although not based in Germany, our primary validator has been served by Hetzner for the past 9 months, which means we were contributing to this centralisation problem! Given our commitment to decentralisation and the long term health of the Radix network, we immediately set out to find a new server and location with the following criteria:
Validator server to be located in a data centre with less than 5% of the total network stake
Data centre to be located in a geography with less than 5% of the total network stake.
After much research and testing, I'm pleased to report that we have found our new home...in France (2.6% total stake). Furthermore, we are (to our knowledge) the only Radix Validator currently based in this data centre!
After testing with our backup node, we decided that yesterday's release of the new node software (v1.2.2) would be an ideal opportunity to move our mainnet validator to our new provider and completed a live failover, ensuring zero downtime for our stakers.
Despite the higher cost of our new server, we are committed to maintaining the same high standard of hardware, using 2TB NVMe SSDs, 6 core CPUs and a 1Gbit uplink and pledge to maintain our 2% fee (fixed since epoch 2!) until at least Babylon release.
We hope that the staking community continues to stake responsibly and will consider server provider and geography when selecting validators. Although we have only moved a modest stake percentage from Hetzner (0.5%) we hope that other validators might follow our example and join us in improving the decentralisation of the Radix network.