Choosing a validator? Assess the Fee change rate and max fee carefully

Harmony has a large number of validators. Picking a validator can get overwhelming. I don’t want to influence your line of thinking for picking a particular validator over another but I do want to highlight couple of things that each delegate should carefully assess when picking a validator. This is particularly important as staking is generally a long term commitment and overtime people are not watching their delegations and validators closely.

  • Max Fee Change: This is visible in the staking dashboard for all validators. Max fee change indicates the max % by which validator can change the fee in a given epoch (~1.5 days). Among the elected validators, the max fee change varies from 1% per epoch to 100% per epoch. e.g. a validator with a max fee change of 10% can jump from 5% fee to 15% fee in one epoch and a validator with 90/100% fee can increase the fee to 100% within one epoch.

  • Max Fee - Max fee is valuable setting for each validator. It limits the maximum fee that the validator can charge. Unfortunately, max fee is not visible on the staking dashboard. It is however visible for each validator at harmony.smartstake.io. There are quite a few elected validators with a max fee of > 20% and more than a handful with max fee of 100%.

Many of the validators are long term community supporters or staking service providers and are unlikely to try something funny. Obviously any validator that misuses the settings for sudden fee increases will lose trust of the community. Still, as a delegate, you should assess these settings and if you have any questions, connect with the validator that you like (and connecting with validators is a good idea irrespective of max fee change rate).

Sesameseed has a different offering and is obviously excluded from the purview of this advice.

Thoughts? Comments? Happy staking.

BigB/Smart Stake

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Now to get the decelerators to read this.

Update: 16 of the currently elected validators have had fee increases since harmony.smartstake.io started tracking validator data. 9 of them had fee increases that went beyond a total fee of 5%. 6 of the validators had a fee that increased to 10% or more.

Will add a feature in the dashboard to make it easy to spot fee changes. In the meantime, check your validators details on staking dashboard (perhaps once a week), follow your validator on twitter. Most validators announce such changes on Twitter/Telegram/Discord.

Happy staking

-BigB/SmartStake

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