Radix deep dive continued…Part 2 of 4
Dan Hughes, Founder & CTO: As a veteran in the mobile services, telecommunications, and financial systems industries, Hughes is an accomplished developer, creator, and leader. He was one of the first to develop applications for near-field communication (NFC) technology and contactless payment services such as mobile wallets. He designed and co-built T-Mobile’s 1st mobile app platform. In addition to founding Radix, he founded and led two other companies, one for more than five years, and the other got acquired. Hughes is a proven leader and developer who employs incredible determination and intelligence when creating novel solutions for the technology space.
Piers Ridyard, CEO: A Y Combinator Alumni, Piers joined Radix after exiting his previous company which built DLT based deal rooms for clearing syndicated insurance contracts. CEO was Ridyard’s first job title after internship. Before Radix, he led three companies as CEO for a total of six years, his first company for nearly five of those six. It is unclear whether he had the requisite leadership experience to start leading Radix back in 2017; however, under his leadership, the project has reached unicorn status with a current market cap of about $2.5 billion. Radix’s ability to execute its roadmap on time reflects on Ridyard’s leadership capabilities.
Russel Harvey, CTO: Harvey adds over 20 years of technology industry experience — with 17 years in leadership roles – to Radix’s executive team. Delivering projects in diverse software development domains including quality assurance at Microsoft (his first post-university job), database and server management at Kaiser Permanente, machine learning, and distributed ledger technology, Harvey is an expert at shipping complex products on schedule. His five years of CTO and CEO experience before joining Radix combined with his deep technical background make him an ideal leader, alongside Dan Hughes, commanding the technical direction of Radix.
Staking and Passive Income on Radix For Radix Developers
Developers are highly incentivized to contribute functional and useful code to Radix’s on-ledger DeFi component library, or blueprint catalog. They will earn direct royalty fees when other projects use their components to build applications. They will also receive a royalty payment for every transaction in which their code is used. User transactions encompass component usage while application-use encompasses blueprint usage. (Radix DeFi White paper, pg. 23.) Of the two different types of usage, developers must set a fee for each, pricing their own work. The blueprint catalog and fee structure for reused code is a great way for developers to continually earn income from their software contributions to the Radix ecosystem.
Staking as a Delegator
Staking on Radix comes in the form of delegation — delegating your right to earn validation rewards on your XRD to a validator who does the work of running a node and splits the rewards with you, the delegator, by taking a fee off the top. The current staking rewards rate, or emissions rate as Radix prefers, hovers between 11–12%, competitive with many of the top crypto assets that offer staking today. You will notice most validator fees are anywhere in the range of 1–10%, where some outrageous ones charge more than 10%. The Radix protocol automatically stakes your XRD emissions on top of your staked assets, compounding your earnings and bypassing the typical process that most delegated staking mechanisms employ of requiring users to claim rewards before staking them.
As is the case with every delegated PoS protocol, some validators are better than others. You want 100% recent uptime from every validator you delegate to. Radix partially slashes (and burns) emissions as a penalty if a validator fails to participate in consensus some of the time during the epoch, which incentivizes good, consistent behavior from validators… so choose wisely. You can stake your XRD in literally a few clicks from the Radix Desktop Wallet. You can similarly unstake assets in a few clicks too; however, you must wait for an unstaking delay time before your assets are available for use. This delay lasts for 500 epochs, which are measured as a fixed number of consensus rounds. Today, 500 epochs take roughly 10–14 days. The Radix wallet also pairs with the Ledger hardware wallet, offering users an extra layer of security when they sign transactions.
Staking as a Validator on Radix
Staking as a Radix validator, although achievable, is very competitive. Anyone is allowed to operate a node and register to become a validator, which requires shockingly low hardware requirements like 4 cores (CPU), 16 GB of memory, 100 GB of SSD, an Ubuntu Linux OS, and up to 10 Gbps of network bandwidth. It is also straightforward enough to set up with decent server administration experience — which is sufficiently intelligible to learn.
The caveat, however, is that the consensus protocol selects only the top 100 registered nodes by delegated stake to participate in consensus and receive emissions rewards. The logic behind only 100 nodes is to make node-running competitive and encourage high standards of operation. At the start of a new epoch (an epoch lasts under two hours), the total amount of XRD staked to each validator node is checked and a new set of 100 validators is selected, giving aspiring validators a chance to secure the network.
Note: Compared to a popular blockchain like Solana, becoming a Radix validator is much more achievable. For instance, compare Radix’s validator hardware requirements to Solana’s: 12 cores / 24 threads (CPU), 128 GB of memory at a minimum (256 GB RAM suggested), three separate storage units (recommended) totaling 2 TB (500 GB for accounts, 1 TB for ledger, 500 GB for OS).
The act of staking as a validator is almost no different from staking as a delegator. Node owners continue to stake to their own node, earning emissions exactly as delegators do. The extra step for a validator comes from having to specify an “owner address” when registering their node; owners use this address to stake to their own node. This address is visible from the Radix Explorer and is also used as the account that validator fees are credited to. In addition to the normal emissions rewards, validators specify and receive a validator fee, which is a percent of total emissions earned by stakers to the node. All emissions are earned in a staked state, as described above for delegators, accumulate on top of the already staked assets, and can be claimed with the same unstaking delay as delegators.