Recently harmony increased the available slots for election from 640 to 800. You would think this would have allowed new validators to gain election, instead, the validator count barely budged from 98 to 99.
It’s hard for new validators to become elected due to the difficulty of acquiring 4m+ delegations. Delegators are unwilling to risk getting 0% ER by taking a chance on an unelected validator since the 4m+ ONE barrier is so high.
To give these new validators a better chance to gain a foothold into the Harmony ecosystem and in turn become incentivized to promote and grow harmony, as well as to increase decentralization we could reserve the bottom 50 to 100 slots for new or unelected validators via the creation of a “trial” pool. The criteria for this pool could be something like: 1 BLS key only and election status is < 100 epochs since the first election or being unelected. Those who graduate from 1 BLS key can join the normal pool of validators.
This could also weave into a subset of the 5% minimum validator fee proposal. The validators in this “trial” pool would also be able to charge 0% fees.