Validator Entry Thresholds on the Decline as Cloud-Based Staking Challenges Surmounted
Through the novel use of hardware security modules in conjunction with a communication module, a collaboration between Bluzelle and Equinix will significantly reduce the barriers preventing the equal distribution of opportunities for potential proof-of-stake (PoS) node validators.
Lower Cloud Hosting Barriers Transform The Validator Landscape
The gradual transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithms has tackled some of the most urgent problems facing greater blockchain adoption, like scalability and energy consumption. Despite these enormous benefits over the more traditional proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains, staking accessibility has been a high hurdle for prospective node validators.
For an industry bent on leveling the playing field for all stakeholders and participants, the costs for running a validator node are notoriously high due to the accompanying hosting and security requirements. These costs involve running a robust and highly performant private infrastructure, which precludes most individuals from participating.
Accordingly, only companies with the capital to finance private hosting infrastructure and enterprise-grade security protocols can participate in staking, effectively denying access to small and medium-sized validators.
Concurrently, even though cloud hosting architecture is super accessible for ordinary individuals and can effectively match private server infrastructure in terms of speed, performance, and uptime, securing information in a cloud network has proven to be a formidable
With the latest hardware security module (HSM) solution delivered for cloud environments, the infrastructure stranglehold on validator nodes can no longer prevail.
Migrating Into The Cloud Hosting Environment
One of the primary reasons why node validators do not work on cloud infrastructure is security conditions that could expose a validator’s private keys. Validator nodes must be highly performant to maintain the node’s reputation. If a node is compromised for any reason and breaches the blockchain’s staking protocol, it can reduce the reputation and result in slashing, which effectively means losing some or all the coins staked in a node.
With no means to secure the private keys needed to communicate with the network and validate blocks of transactions, cloud staking has been ignored as a solution for small and medium-sized validators. This is where HSMs have arisen as the answer to leveling the validator playing field.
Distributed database solution Bluzelle, in collaboration with digital infrastructure provider Equinix, has introduced a workaround that effectively enables validators to protect their private keys from cloud-network exposure. By connecting Equinix’s Smartkey HSM with Bluzelle’s communication module, exchanges between a blockchain network and a validator node can go uninterrupted without exposing the private keys protected by the HSM.
Validator Potential For All
The novel solution arrived at by Bluzelle will lower all staking barriers by making it significantly more affordable to run a cloud-based node without compromising on security. This effectively opens the doors to any participant with an ordinary computer who wishes to become a network validator.
The inclusion of the enterprise-grade HSM means that validators don’t have to build private infrastructure while benefiting from the affordable costs of availing providers like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Moreover, cloud hosting delivers the high speeds and performance needed to maintain validator node reputations.
This new staking solution will only be available for Cosmos at the outset. Still, Bluzelle intends to expand compatibility to other blockchains in the future, including Ethereum, granting unprecedented staking accessibility to community members previously left behind by high infrastructure barriers.
Do you think that reducing the entry barrier for validators will significantly increase their number? Let us know in the comments section below.