Background: I would like to be a validator in the state of California and therefore I am expressing views from this angle.
About me: I am a business person, while I am familiar with the technology behind blockchains; in my work I focus on the business side of the industry. My day job is to build business models for blockchain enabled solutions.
Security and long term state of the network
- Premise: Validators are incentivized to keep the size of their group small to keep the token rewards for a selected few
- Technology: less validators means faster transaction speed
However, for security reasons both validators and users may be incentivized to increase the number of validators as the network builds up.
Let’s start small and say that we have 3 core validators:
The security of the network relies on 3 individuals who have their identity publically available which includes their up to date: name, residence address, and business address. In my state, under the public notary license, validators are liable if this information is not kept up to date within 30 days of a change.
Let’s assume that people keep their hardware, private keys, etc. safely away from their primary residence listed in the public registry. Still, as the network grows in value, it would be easy for malicious actors to intimidate validators and/or family members. In the worst case scenario, organized attacks by criminal organizations could be coordinated in a way in which every validator is physically attacked and incapacitated at the same time. From their primary residence, validators can be followed and routines can be established, which is enough for a criminal mind to predict the best time of an attack on the network.
Character assassination (this time not referring to physical harm, but an attack to one’s reputation) is also much easier and harmful as the number of validator is kept small. In addition, the hacking of an individual’s social media accounts, email accounts, and usurpation of one’s online identity are all very possible in a 3 validators scenario.
All these malicious actions are more likely to happen as the network is scaling up, additional factors to consider:
- Value of assets in circulation
In a twelve validators scenario, the network is still somewhat vulnerable to coordinated attacks on all validators or a majority of them. While this is starting to be a bigger group, I would assume that both the validator group and the users would be frequently monitoring the network and its environment for competitors and/or rise in the value of assets traded.
In a 25 validators scenario, the network has an increase resiliency to a coordinated attack on all validators or a majority of them. However, it is conceivable that a group could undertake such attacks mentioned before and undermine or even destroy the network.
If every state had at least one validator, there would be a significant increase in the difficulty and cost of coordinating an attack on every validator or a majority of them at once. While not impossible, the reward would have to be significant enough to offset the difficulty and cost of coordinating such an attack.
If the network becomes highly valuable, the reward of a large scale attack could offset the costs which may be a call for an even higher number of validators.
If every state had a minimum of a 100 validators per state, while not impossible, it would be extremely difficult to significantly impact the network through an attack on the validator group. The implication on the technical side is hard for me to predict, potentially the tradeoff on speed may be too significant to adopt a model with such a large number of validators.
I believe the Oracles POA Blockchain will be dynamic and its community will adapt as the network popularity increases and as the value of its tokens rise to provide added security to both users and validators. If this project is truly successful, a winning strategy might call for an increasing number of validator nodes over time.
As a start a 12 validators model seems reasonable but I can see a quick push for a higher number as the network scales up in size and value.