Nowadays, projects based on the Delegated Proof of Stake consensus are gaining popularity in the blockchain economy, which inevitably leads to the emergence of companies that provide comprehensive services that have become known as Staking as a Service providers. The main service of StaaS providers is the launch and support of validators in various networks.
A validator is a member of the blockchain ecosystem that supports continuous, uninterrupted network operation confirming transactions and producing new blocks.
The users of the StaaS service providers are delegators who delegate (bond) their coins to the validator in order to participate in maintaining the stability of the network.
For ease of understanding, you can imagine an analogy with banking services in a traditional economy. The difference is that you can deposit money in a bank and receive a percentage of income or take a loan and pay for using the money, while in StaaS you can delegate coins to a validator and get a reward for maintaining the network’s stable operation.
BTC.Secure - Staking as a Service provider in 4 networks based on the core of Tendermint: Minter, Cosmos, IRIS and Terra. We have the opportunity to learn from the best experts in the world in creating validators and services for them. We successfully apply the acquired knowledge in the Minter network – the most demanding infrastructure of a validator and strong competition for getting into the top 16 validators.
The BTC.Secure validator infrastructure for Minter is divided into Private Zone and Public Zone, which allows to maintain excellent uptime under any possible load and attacks on the network. We have similar infrastructures in other networks, and the Minter network is the most demanding and using its example it is best to show our level of quality.
Private Zone – a closed, secure, high-speed network between important nodes in the validator's infrastructure for maximum security and stability, which consists of the following types of nodes:
- Validator. Two dedicated servers for validator, included simultaneously, which are located in different data centers and regions. Primary and backup.
- Monitoring. Two dedicated servers for monitoring and infrastructure protection. Primary and backup.
- Backup. Dedicated server for permanent backup of the full blockchain database. Used to quickly launch new servers or in case of problems with the base on existing servers.
- Private Sentry. Two dedicated servers to communicate with trusted validators infrastructures.
Public Zone is an open network for communication of the validator with the outside world, which is geographically distributed across key regions for the best connection with other validators and users of the blockchain, consisting of:
- Sentry. Six dedicated servers to communicate with any other public nodes on the network.
- Sentry (Cloud). Two cloud servers to communicate with any other public nodes on the network and the ability to quickly scale the cloud infrastructure.
- API. Dedicated server for the Interchain.Zone service.
As a result of many months of testing and optimizing the infrastructure for the Minter network, we have found the perfect balance between security, reliability and speed.
BTC.Secure is primarily about security. For us, it is a fundamental principle, and this is enshrined in the brand name.
In security, an integrated approach and attention to detail is important, because the slightest flaw in the system can lead to serious consequences.
We cannot disclose all the details, since the security of any system is much higher if the methods of protection are kept in secret.
But we can share some principles:
- Access to all servers of the validator's infrastructure is carried out exclusively with the help of hardware keys and strict IP restrictions with full encryption of the communication channel with guaranteed protection against external threats.
- For maximum physical protection of servers of the validator and exclusion of external factors, the servers are located in separate private server racks (Colocation).
- Servers of the validator and other important nodes are inaccessible from the external network, which additionally ensures their safety.
- Each of the servers is protected from physical hacking by hardware encryption, which protects the validator's private keys for the guaranteed absence of slashes for double-signs (5% and full unbond of all stakes). Even if an attacker suddenly gets physical access to the server, he will not be able to do anything with it except for shutting down, and to protect against this, we have an automated monitoring and backup system.
By reliability, we mean the ability of the validator's infrastructure to have uptime as close as possible to 100%, but without compromising security. We made it so that we are not dependent on any emergencies that may occur with servers, data center or individual communication channels.
The following solutions help us in maintaining 100% uptime validator:
- At the same time we use 2 identical servers for the validator, located in different data centers and regions, which guarantees uptime close to 100% in case of any equipment malfunctions or failures in the data center of the main validator. And this is a guarantee of the absence of slashes for 12 missed blocks in a row (1% of the stake). The protection system is fully automated and operates without the participation of a system administrator 24/7/365. The time of replacing the main server of the validator with a backup server is less than 1 minute, which is enough not to get 1% slash, but it is additionally insured by switching off and on the validator with Set Candidate Off/On transactions.
- Own system of monitoring and instant notification in any emergency situations in the network or with the infrastructure. For example, if the network stopped, we will know about it within 10 seconds and we will be able to notify other validators and developers, as well as to avoid possible consequences due to the untimely update of the main software Minter.
- The validator's infrastructure is located in several regions and data centers in the EU and the Russian Federation. The choice of data centers is made in such a way as to eliminate dependence on one data service provider, and taking into account the location of the other validators' infrastructures for the best communication, as well as in accordance with our high security requirements.
Speed is especially important for networks that are used for payments and trading (exchange). It is not by chance that there are restrictions on the number of validators in the Minter network (16 at the start), and in Binance DEX there are 11 of them, because the fewer nodes, the higher the speed. The BTC.Secure validator is already ready for maximum network loads and the signatures of each block so that users do not have to wait long for confirmation of transactions. Of course, it also depends on other validators in the network, but we started with ourselves and advocate in the community of validators and developers to achieve maximum performance of their infrastructures and services. Users should be surprised at how quickly all transactions take place in order to forget about outdated banking services and payment services.
The BTC.Secure validator infrastructure is ready to operate at maximum speeds due to the following solutions:
- We use only dedicated servers instead of virtual (cloud) servers for the validator and 85% of other nodes. Each node in our infrastructure has:
- the most modern and fastest processors in the industry (3.6-5 GHz based on 4-8 physical cores);
- large amount (64 GB) of fast DDR4 RAM;
- NVMe SSD drives for storing the full blockchain database (from 512 GB);
- 1 GBit/s communication channels.
- We use Sentry nodes to protect against DDoS attacks (Sentry Node Architecture), which are equal in power to the validator and have dedicated communication channels (secure local area network) with it, which allows it to withstand the maximum load of 10,000 transactions per block without a single pass and tested many stress tests in practice.
We are confident that our infrastructure is already ready for higher loads, such as those planned in Minter in 2021 (10,000 transactions per second, 50,000 transactions per block).
High-quality infrastructure is quite expensive, so from the first day we conduct strict financial planning, which includes a reasonable distribution of profits and the formation of trust funds.
Income from the commission validator is distributed daily as follows:
- 10% of the reserve fund, designed to compensate for the loss of delegators in the event of a 1% slash;
- 30% on costs associated with maintaining the work of the infrastructure, and marketing;
- 60% development fund, payroll and dividends to the team.
Our commission on the Minter network is 10% and is standard in the area of StaaS services. At the same time, almost each of our delegators has individual conditions due to participation in our loyalty program based on the BTCSECURE coin. You can find out more about this in the article – PCO BTC.Secure.
In addition to directly validating, we are developing other services.
Interchain.Zone – designed for easy user interaction with blockchain networks.
BTC.Secure Exchange is a service for the safe exchange of cryptoactive assets for fiat currencies.
From the very beginning, we are making a big bet on the development of our community in the Telegram, and we managed to make it one of the largest and most active among the validators in Minter (most of our community in Russian). All members of our community are the first who know about important events and have other privileges when using our services.
On an ongoing basis, the development of StaaS provider BTC.Secure involved 3 people.
Konstantin Meleshkin – validator infrastructure development and security.
Dmitry Kozhevnikov – strategy and finance.
Aleksey Kukhnovets – development of software products and services.
Join BTC.Secure and your assets will be safe.