Terra Validator Ranking

Вика Егорова
5 min readAug 15, 2021

This notebook explores the questions:
Are the same validators that were in the top 10 (by rewards received) last month in the top 10 this month? Top 5? Break this down by change over the weeks in the past 2 months as well.

Top Validators for Last Month

In the graph below examines the ranking of the Terra Validators over last month and this month (to July 11). The rankings are based on the USD rewards collected via the ‘withdraw_delegator_rewards’ action from the Flipside Crypto terra.rewards table. The graph is drawn with a log y-axis — this is to allow easier discrimination between the data groups near the top of the chart.

We see in the graph that the top 10 in June are mostly the top 10 in July also, with a few positional changes. A couple of noteable points are hashed, who dropped from 1st place to 27th, and BTC.Secure mooned from 100th to 3rd. Of the top 5 validators in June, only 3 are in the top 5 in July.

Validator Rank Weekly over the Last 2 Months

Here we plot the same data over the last 2 months, but zooming in to weekly intervals instead. We have used the same batch of validators as in the previous graph — either top 10 in June or July.

These results were not as expected, making this chart very hard to interpret. Take, for example, HuobiPool. It maintains a very low ranking, except on the 30th of May and the 27th of June when it rockets to the top of the charts. A good portion of other validators follow a similar pattern.

Something is up with the reward collection timings. We will drill further into the data to find out what is happening.

What’s up with the reward collection?

The graph below shows the validator reward collection, by day, from all validators. Note the big spikes — 18th & 31st of May and the 30th of June. It seems as though some big players are collecting infrequently — perhaps only once per month.

Case Study — HuobiPool

Let’s have a look at the rewards claimed by HuobiPool to test our hypothesis of infrequent collection.

The graph below has the smoking gun — only two big collections over the past 2 months! This changes our assumptions around the data for comparing the Validator Ranking. Rather than look at rankings by week over the last 2 months, we should look at monthly data over a longer period. We should also avoid part months in the dataset to allow fair comparisons between those who collection regularly and those who leave it until the end of the month.

Validator Rank Monthly, Jan-Jun 2021

Keeping the same set of validators identified in the first section (top 10 in either June or July), we will plot their relative rankings over the last 6 months. This time we will use monthly buckets to avoid any bias from the reward collection behaviour of the validators. The results are much more in line with expectations now.

As seen from the graph below (again, note the log scale for ease of reading), the validator hashed has been either the 1st or 2nd highest returning validator for the last 4 months. A couple of relatively new players, HuobiPool and Orion.Money, have rocketed to the top of the leaderboard in a short time. Of the current leading validators, none of them were in the top 4 validators back in January. It seems that there is plenty of competition in the validator space and we can expect to see more place rotation in future months.

Top Validators For Last Month — Revisited

Now we know that taking a part month of data may lead to misleading rankings, let’s revisit the original question looking at May & June 2021 — the last two full months.

Of the top 10 validators in May, only 5 are still in the top 10 in June. 4 validators were bumped down into the top 20, but one, Fair Square Lab, fell all the way to position 69.

The top 5 was also shaken up — 2 new entrants forced their way into this esteemed group in June. Of note is HuobiPool who went from position 81 to position 2 in just a month. The validator hashed maintained top billing across both months.

Conclusions

The Terra Validator space has a lot of competition — there are over 100 validators competing for staking rewards. There is enough innovation, whether through raw returns, uptime guarantees or building a community, to drive consistent change in the validator rankings. This speaks to a health ecosystem of Terra validators without any major centralisation.

It is also worth noting the lessons learned from the data analysis. Conclusions drawn from one level of granularity may be totally different from those drawn at a wider level. It’s always worth zooming in or out a couple of levels to check your results.

Credits

All data from the Terra tables at Flipside Crypto

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Вика Егорова

indicator system for working according to the Volume Spread method