Meet the Validators AMA Series - Smart Stake

Alright! so lets start from the beginning :smile_cat:

Tell us more about you and the team behind Smart Stake?

*BigB/I am the founder of Smart Stake and have been working in software development for 20+ years. Besides me, there is another engineer and there are two Community Managers. Smart Stake has been providing validation services since 2019 and validates in 20+ networks.

How many out of those 20 networks are from the Cosmos Ecosystem?

*i think its 16

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How you discover the validation business and decided to get started?

*I have been in crypto since 2017 and the daily drill used to be watching prices, fundamental analysis and just watching activity from bit far. I was invested in another project for a long time and when they launched staking in 2019, validating seemed like a good way to contribute to the network. One thing led to another and I started building analytics dashboard for the network. The dashboard provided answers to commonly asked questions from the community.

that combination of validating and building analytics is smart stake’s usp (unique selling proposition) and apart from 1 network, it has analytics tools for every other network

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now that you mention that, great stuff with the relayer page you shared the other day
If anyone in the community hasnt yet visited akash.smartstake.io, this would be good time to see all features it has :smile:

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I loved your “how to contribute” approach, what are other ways you contribute to the networks you are in?

*how smart stake contributes to networks has varied in many ways over time and depending upon specific networks

the contribution for tendermint based networks has sort of gravitated majorly towards building feature rich dashboards that act as a starting point for conversation on various aspects of networks. so more like build tools and then smart stake and other community leads engaging in educational conversations

Regarding dashboards: Smart Stake builds custom, easy to understand, and user centric tools for all the network participants. Smart Stake has analytics dashboards for almost all the networks. Smart Stake has built the below analytical/educational tools for the Akash community:

  1. akash.smartstake.io - is an analytics dashboards providing features related to
    a) validator assessment/comparison on 30+ metrics, detailed history of validator performance and statistics
    b) network assessment, historical statistics
    c) governance proposals and voting history
    d) decentralization metrics including historical stats

  2. decentralization.smartstake.io - A decentralization analytics dashboard providing comparison of 20+ smart stake supported networks on various decentralization metrics

  3. relayers.smartstake.io - is a dashboard providing basic analytics for assessing Relayers. Features include:
    a) Listing of relayers and all the networks they support
    b) Network specific listing of all relayers along with their address balances and transactions performed in various different timeframes
    c) Relayer specific views

just like the PSA for staked tokens that are not providing yield because of unbonded validators, smart stake tries to contribute further by a) educating community based on the dashboards b) observing community needs and building more features in the dashboards. The relayers dashboard came out just two weeks ago and similarly several features are released every month

What’s in the pipeline for the rest of the year?

Any alpha for us? :smile_cat:

*there is a long list of things that smart stake is yet to build but I try to be as adaptive as possible and ultimately the features that get released quicker than others end up being the one that answers burning questions from community. You can expect more features on all dashboards/aspects: validator metrics, network statistics, decentralization metrics, and relayers metrics.

smart stake started off as focussed on performance. relayers dashboard is missing a key feature - having some sort of historical data (say hourly/daily views) on performance. this will be useful for relayers to know if/when their relayer might be hitting issues and see if there are any trends. since it is driven by tx counts, not a fool proof way but hopefully will help improve some aspects

on community needs: wallet growth and tx count growth are next major features on the todo list. hopefully sooner than later

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So we’ll jump into the next segment, the community questions :smile_cat:

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Q1

How smartstake generates revenue except the nodes ? Or how do you plan to generate revenue?

*Smart Stake is completely dependent on validator commissions for revenue. All our dashboards are free for use to anyone in the community. The 0% commission promo for Akash is offset by commission we earn from other networks

Q2

How is the process to delegate token to a validator in Smart Stake? Is it really easy? Do you have user guides to help novice users to do their first delegation?

*We dont have any how to guide for delegating your AKT tokens to Smart Stake but I am sure there are many guides available. If you need help, @SmartStake support group can help you out

Q3

How does SmartStake plan to make AKASH network more decentralized, capital efficient and increase value and user’s experience for $AKT holders?

decentralization is a long journey and has dozens of different aspects and each of them are in the control of different stakeholders. the contribution that smart stake makes to Akash is two folds: 1) - as a validator much lower than average voting power, your delegations to smart stake will help decentralization to some degree on one of the aspect 2) - educating the community through the decentralization.smartstake.io and akash.smartstake.io

Q4

I heard about new features of Smart Stake analytics & decentralization analytics dashboards. What are they and how this new features will be added value for users?

the new features that we release are generally all about increasing transparency, building understanding the current state of network on various aspects. explore the dashboards to see what is out there and what else you would like to see

Q5

- Could you tell us which networks and exchanges, DEXes & CEXes does it support currently?

** - How you do see the DeFi space and the Liquidity Aggregators market niche in five years? What do you think will be the role of SmartStake in it?**

  • perhaps check Akash on CMC or gecko. Q2 - that’s a very deep question. given the pace at which this industry moves, hard to say where the industry will be in 5 years. here to enjoy the ride and contribute in the best way we can

Q6

What tools do you use to automate the validation process?

*smart stake uses custom build tools to internally monitor its validators by building integrations with telegram (alerts/health checks) & pagerduty (urgent issues)

Q7
How can you insure that our founds are safe?

validators dont control your funds. slashing risks are there for tendermint networks and with our monitoring we ensure that downtime slashing doesnt happen (see above). double signing is always a concern and the fear for it means that anytime we move hardware, we accept a downtime for few minutes to minimize such risks

Q8

Considering that you have a large number of opponents, can you share with us a few killing features that make you superior to them? What are strengths that enable you to look to the future with hope?

*good question. it’s not about one validator being superior vs other. smart stake focuses on what it does best and keeps working away at that. if delegates like our offering, they will stake with us. we just keep improving our offering /contributions gradually :pray:

Q9
In the lights of the last announcement from Smart Staking about AKT tokens on dead validators, is there a way for validators to negotiate and for example, if my node is down more than 5 days, the stakes tokens automatically transfer to a different validator

all such things are always possible, i think it just becomes a case of where you draw the line. right now it is free will.

Q10

At least, i counted there are 17 networks, has been delegated by Smart Stake. Is it true?
How many more networks will Smart Stake target next? Are there special selections and considerations for delegating a project?

*apart from couple of exceptions, most networks we participate in have very unique offerings that make them standout from others and from the ones that we validate in

not planning to expand dramatically. will always be pick and choose.

Q11

Many projects have problems with UI / UX and this one turns off new users. How do you plan to improve the interaction with new users and with users outside the crypto space?

adoption comes from the best ux (making it super easy for end user). it is not an easy undertaking as many projects tend to focus on technical excellence or functional excellence but figuring out what brings in the next wave of million users is not easy. wish i had answers for this :slight_smile:

Q12
Why should we choose smart stake for staking our AKT ? Can you give us some reason as why it is better to stake our AKT with Smart Stake, what are your advantages ?

*- Enjoy 0% commission promotion till end of Jan 2023. Commission fixed at 5% after promotion ends

  • Enjoy auto compounding via restake at validator’s expense
  • High uptime means best APR (performance data transparently available at akash.smartstake.io)
  • By delegating with Smart Stake, you will be supporting development of all the analytics features we build
  • Support Smart Stake relaying service costs for relaying between Akash and Cosmos, Osmosis, Juno, & Secret.
  • Dedicated support at @SmartStake

Q13
Does SmartStake have any plans to issue tokens or NFTs for your staking addresses?

no such plans at this time. our offering is limited to validating and building analytics

Q14

Actually, like what Smart Stake does? How many networks Smart Stake operate in currently?

*Smart Stake is a validator in several tendermint based projects and some non-tendermint projects. The projects in mainnet are: Akash, Band, Cosmos, Crescent, Crypto.org, Evmos, Findora, Harmony, IoTeX, Injective, Juno, Kujira, Oasis, Osmosis, Persistence, Secret Network, Stargaze, Stride, Terra, & Terra Classic

Q15

Do you have a self-healing system for a node? Like if a node drops on one provider, it’s automatically getting up on another?

no, would love to have self-healing but much more fearful of double-signing and as a result, smart stake relies on its monitoring to react to issues right away instead of using a more traditional IT approach of high availability or the emerging self-healing approaches

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