​MultiversX: Staking Economy Research

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MultiversX is a recently redesigned blockchain that enables innovative applications in various fields, including the emerging metaverse. The platform has a bold vision, and its staking scheme is also quite unique. At P2P.ORG, we have decided to closely examine the rewards formula, analyze validators’ and delegators’ intentions, and try to predict the future of MultiversX's staking economy.

MultiversX. A high-margin validator market. Less institutional, more community-oriented approach

Unique facts about MultiversX staking:

As we can gather from the official explorers, most of the heavily staked validators charge 15% fee or higher.  This makes MultiversX attractive even for small validators looking to survive the severe bear market conditions.

Many validators are also big community contributors and work hard on projects alongside the foundation. This is because nodes can currently only be allocated by the foundation or by the "queue". There are currently 79 nodes in the queue waiting to join the active set. During this period, they use stake but do not generate any profit. This queue can take several months due to high demand and a fixed number of nodes. This explains why white-label node services are not widely distributed.

In short, the interest in staking is consistently rising among MultiversX users. Due to the fixed number of nodes, there is high demand for each staking provider, and they can therefore charge higher fees. It is also worth noting that validating in MultiversX requires running multiple nodes instead of just one. Validators typically spend more on infrastructure and engineering teams.

The greater the stake a validator receives, the lower the APR it can offer. This is why institutional clients tend to distribute their stake across multiple validators, rather than heavily focusing on one.

A detailed description of the MultiversX staking model. All the possible ways to maximize the number of rewards

Stake in MultiversX is separated into 2 parts:

•       Base stake

•       Top-up stake

The base stake is allocated to nodes participating in network validation. The maximum number of nodes that can participate in validation is 3200, and each node must be staked with a minimum of 2,500 EGLDs. Validators can have as many nodes as they want, but there are a few points to keep in mind:

Imagine you have five nodes, all of which participate in the validation process and generate income for you. Your total stake is 12,500 EGLDs. Someone has given you an additional 5,000 EGLDs, which you can use to run two more nodes, increasing your stake to a total of 17,500 EGLDs across seven nodes. However, the maximum capacity of 3,200 nodes in the network is already occupied by nodes of other validators, which means that your two new nodes, with only 5,000 EGLDs each, must wait in a queue before they can begin validation. While they wait in the queue, they do not generate any rewards but still cost to maintain. Unfortunately, the queue moves slowly, and it's possible that you'll have to wait for months because there are other nodes ahead of yours and nodes in the validating pool don't leave very often. What's the solution? The solution is to top-up your stake.

The top-up stake is a type of stake that you can use if you don't have the possibility to run new nodes or wait in a long queue. In the example above, we have 5 nodes with 2,500 EGLDs each, totalling 12,500 EGLDs at stake. We have an extra 5,000 EGLDs of stake, but we can't run new nodes to stake it. In this case, these 5,000 EGLDs will automatically become a Top-up stake. Therefore, we have a total of:

So, what is the difference between Top-up and base stake? The difference lies in the number of rewards that the validator gains for each stake.

You can find all the formulas behind our calculations here:

Genesis Total Supply = 20M EGLDs
inflation Rate = 8.56% (year 3)
P = 2 000 000
Total Nodes = 3 200
Eligible Top Up Stake = 3 863 418,56
Total Top Up Stake = 7 571 288,70
Protocol Sustainability Rewards = 10%
Num Days in A Year = 365
Top-up Factor = 0.5

As you can see, there is a reward of 2753 EGLDs for base stake and 1469 EGLDs for Top-up stake. The reward for base stake is twice as large as the reward for Top-up stake, and it will be distributed among validators. To calculate these rewards, use the following formulas:

We can calculate final rewards for an epoch. Let’s consider P2P.ORG and The Palm Tree Network:

The main reason is that The Palm Tree Network's base stake accounts for 58% of their total stake, which is allocated on 76 nodes. On the other hand, P2P.ORG only has 39% of their base stake out of the total. The current APR for each type of stake is as follows:

Reward Base x 365/ Base Stake = 12.5% for base stake

Reward Top-up x 365/ Top-up Stake = 7% for Top-up stake

One key point is the idea that if you have a large amount of base stake, you can charge higher fees to your clients while still providing a good APR. To calculate a client's APR with the real validator fees of P2P at 10% and Palm Tree at 17%, use the following formula:

We have been delegated approximately 6,000 EGLDs twice. As a result, our overall stake has increased by almost 10%, while our top-up stake has increased by 20%. Although our TVL and share have both increased and our APR has dropped. The Palm Tree Network, on the other hand, has not experienced any major changes in their stake. They only received an additional 1,500 EGLDs, which is approximately 1% of their top-up stake.

Should a validator increase their Total Value Locked (TVL) if they do not have enough nodes to allocate all stakes? Increasing your Top-up stake may result in a drop in client APR, making you less attractive to potential delegators. However, you must grow your TVL to be profitable or at least cover costs, which is not easy these days. Cryptocurrency prices are not as high as they were a year ago, while infrastructure costs have increased significantly.

After some research, we have found a solution that may seem strange at first, but will ultimately help us work efficiently, cover all costs, and provide a stable service for our delegators. The solution is to raise fees. While raising fees will increase our income, there is a good possibility that our delegators won't lose in the long run.

Initially, after the fee raise, our delegators may lose some of their rewards, and we should expect a churn of delegators and TVL. However, just as new delegations become a top-up stake due to a lack of nodes, in the case of an unstake, the top-up stake goes first. As a result, the share of the base stake increases, and the client's APR starts to grow along with the growth of rewards share for the base stake.

The plot above illustrates how income and APR will change after a fee raise and the next stake churn. The blue vertical line represents our current APR, which is around 8.15%. The lowest blue horizontal curve shows our current state where we have the same fee at 10%, and how income and APR will change if we face churn of stake. Churn will lead us to a situation where our top-up stake and income drops at the same time. However, the client's APR will grow as the share of the base stake grows. The end of the line signals that all top-up stake was unstaked, and we are left only with the base stake. The result is a high client's APR; however, we face a loss of 1/3 of our current income.

All other lines show the same for different fees. The more fees we take, the more income we have. However, it also provides a very low client's APR, and we have to lose a significant amount of our TVL to return to the situation of our current APR.

To give you a better understanding of how it works, we have provided a plot above. The blue line indicates the optimal point for the current APR (~8.15%), which depends on stake, top-up stake, and fee. The top point on the blue line represents the current state with a fee of 10%, stake at 116,000 EGLD, and top-up stake near 71,000 EGLD.

If we were to raise the fee to 34-35%, we would need to lose nearly half of our stake (55,000 EGLD) to return to the value of 8.15% for the client's APR. This would occur if our TVL dropped to 62,000 EGLD from 116,000 EGLD, and the share of base stake became nearly 70% (currently only 39%).

However, after some time, the APR will return to its previous values as the share of top-up stake drops.

Future prospects.

In the MultiversX network, the amount of staked tokens is rapidly increasing. According to the MultiversX roadmap, liquid staking is coming, which will cause a slight decrease in the average APR across the entire network. It's good that the foundation is not trying to increase the APR, it could affect the stability of the exchange rate and prevent the coin from becoming deflationary.

The next big change in MultiversX is called "Phase 4", in which the queue will be replaced by the auction list. Validators who are shuffled out of the Eligible list will be moved to this auction list, and only the ones with the highest top-up will be further promoted to the waiting list and made eligible. The amount of base stake per node will remain at 2,500 EGLD. Thus, validators will have the intention to attract delegation, making the field more competitive. This might transform validators into builders, while maintaining high margins for validators.

As shown in the previous section, P2P.ORG could be more efficient and save the current APR by reducing the TVL and increasing the fee. On April 25th, P2P.ORG will change the fee to 17% and for a short period of time, the APR will decrease from 8.1% to 7.5%, but we expect growth to the previous values after some time due to the churn of top-up stake.

We want to thank all our delegators for their continuous support and for staking with us!

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