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📡 Avalanche Doubles Relays, Moves Up Top 10

Relay Recap #82 features Avalanche making a big move up the Top 10 relay chains, a number of other chains posting double-digit relay gains, and some Merge-related notes for node runners. This recap covers stats from September 8 - September 14, 2022.
📡 Avalanche Doubles Relays, Moves Up Top 10

Happy weekend everyone! After a historic week for Web3, with the successful merge of Ethereum, we’re back with another Relay Recap.

Note: this edition includes some Merge-related action items for node runners - see more below.

Relays were remarkably steady this week, both in comparison to last week’s total numbers and on a day-to-day basis within this timeframe. Relays stayed within a very tight, 13-million-wide channel every day of this week, with the daily low at 863 million and the daily high at 876 million. We saw more growth at the very top (from Polygon), while Ethereum took a breather from some of its recent volatility and stayed mostly steady compared to last week (increasing its weekly relays slightly). Beyond those two chains that have been making noise of late, we saw at least double-digit percentage growth in a number of other chains this week - more on that in the Chain Highlights section. On the other hand, we saw some pullbacks from some of the other top chains, with Harmony and BSC not able to keep up with the growth of Polygon this week.

Throughout the week, the network serviced an average of 869 million daily relays, with the daily high for this time period recorded at 876 million on September 10th.

Overall, 6.08 billion relays were serviced during the week, representing a 0.4% increase over the 6.05 billion relays the prior week.

Chain Highlights

The top story this week has to go to Avalanche, as it more than doubled its relays compared to the prior period (110% increase). Avalanche had a rapid climb upwards from September 7th on, and cleared 35 million daily relays after being below 20 million daily relays most of last week. With the surge in relays, Avalanche moved up from the #10 spot to the #8 spot, just barely behind Fantom.

Solana also had a big jump this week, growing its relays by 60%. Solana had a quick move up from under 500,000 daily relays to nearly 900,000, before dipping to end the period.

NEAR also had strong relay growth of 39% this week, with steady performance that was consistently above last week’s numbers. Throughout this period, NEAR’s daily relays remained between 160,000 and 180,000.

DFKchain was another Top 10 chain with a great showing this week, growing relays by 33%. With this growth, the chain also boosted its proportional share of total relays from 6% to 8% this week, holding down the #6 spot overall. DFKchain was consistently around 70 million daily relays during this period, after being below 60 million all of last week.

Among our more recently supported chains, Metis was also able to grow its relays by 25% this week. This was thanks in large part to a big spike up to nearly 300,000 relays the first day of the period, before dipping back to last week’s levels over the course of the next three days.

Klaytn also increased its relays by 23% this week. Much like Metis, Klaytn started off the week by clearing 300,000 daily relays (after not breaking 200,000 all of last week), before gradually returning to last week’s performance over the next few days.

Gnosis - xDai also showed strength in the Top 5, boosting its relays by 11% this week. This was thanks to a steady increase over the course of the week, approaching 100 million daily relays by the end of the period. This helped the chain reach a double-digit proportional share of total relays, moving it up to 10%. Gnosis - xDai is currently holding down the #4 spot amongst all chains.

Finally, the #1 chain Polygon continues to show steady signs of incremental relay growth week-over-week, this time posting a 6% gain. With some drops in relays from other top chains like Harmony and BSC, Polygon cleared the 30% mark for its proportional share of total relays this week (31%). The chain has remained very steady lately, with relays mostly between 270 and 280 million per day this week.

For the developers out there, remember to visit the Pocket Portal to get set up with RPC endpoints for these and other chains that Pocket Network supports!

New Chain Support Incoming

During this timeframe, we announced preparations to allowlist two new chains: StarkNet Mainnet (0060) and StarkNet Testnet (0061). Our plan is to officially allowlist these chains for relays on September 19.

StarkNet is a permissionless and decentralized ZK-Rollup, which operates as a Layer 2 network on Ethereum. StarkNet enables unlimited scale for dApps, while maintaining Ethereum’s composability and security. Proofs are produced off-chain, and then verified on-chain, helping to preserve security.

StarkNet uses a native language, Cairo, to fully optimize the chain’s scaling potential, but also features a Solidity to Cairo transpiler so that developers are not required to write contracts in Cairo.

Node Earnings

From September 8th through September 14th, Polygon was the only chain whose nodes earned more than 1 million POKT, putting it significantly ahead of the other Top 3 chains for node earnings. This Top 3 list remained the same from last week, with Harmony and BSC coming in a distant 2nd and 3rd place behind Polygon.

In terms of average daily POKT earned per node, the top 5 chains at the end of this time frame were:

  • Polygon
  • Harmony
  • BSC
  • Polygon Archival
  • Gnosis - xDai

This Top 5 list largely stayed the same this week, with the exception of Polygon Archival replacing Meter in the 4th spot. While we don’t normally see archivals make this list, Polygon Archival managed to grow its relays by 93% this week, helping to propel it into the Top 5. Its appearance on this list was also aided by the fact that there are about 1,000 nodes servicing the chain, while many of the other top earning chains have more than 25,000 nodes servicing them. Double the relays + less nodes servicing = one big spike in average node earnings.

Node Infrastructure

As of September 14th, Pocket Network’s decentralized infrastructure included 27,389 active nodes across nearly 30 different countries, allowing the network to provide constant uptime and resiliency while supporting dozens of different chains.

Note: PIP-22 and PUP-19 have brought big changes to the incentives that shape Pocket’s node infrastructure, by way of introducing stake-weighted servicer rewards and increased validator rewards. We’ll likely continue seeing a consolidation of nodes, as node runners and providers combine stakes to take advantage of these new incentive structures that have been rolled out in v0.9.0.

Merge-Related Action Items

Finally, for any node runners that haven’t already made the necessary adjustments for the Merge, we wanted to mention some important steps to take in order to avoid any disruption in Ethereum rewards.

As announced in our official Discord:

With the merge complete, Relay Chain ID 0021 is the new Proof of Stake chain (sometimes also called Eth 2.0).  For anyone who has not already, make sure to update your nodes. Nodes who do not upgrade their configurations for the merge will experience a disruption in rewards for service on chain 0021.

If you're currently running an Ethereum node, you're already running the Execution Layer. However, you'll need to make sure you're running a version that's updated to be merge-compatible:

- geth – v1.10.23: https://github.com/ethereum/go-ethereum/releases/tag/v1.10.23

- erigon – v2022.09.01-alpha: https://github.com/ledgerwatch/erigon/releases/tag/v2022.09.01

- besu – 22.7.2: https://github.com/hyperledger/besu/releases/tag/22.7.2

- nethermind – v1.14.1: https://github.com/NethermindEth/nethermind/releases/tag/1.14.1

You'll also have to install, configure, and sync a Consensus Layer client. The choices for these include:

- Lighthouse – v3.1.0: https://github.com/sigp/lighthouse/releases/tag/v3.1.0

- Lodestar – v1.0.0: https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar/releases/tag/v1.0.0

- Nimbus – v22.9.0: https://github.com/status-im/nimbus-eth2/releases/tag/v22.9.0

- Prysm – v3.1.1: https://github.com/prysmaticlabs/prysm/releases/tag/v3.1.1

- Teku – 22.9.0: https://github.com/ConsenSys/teku/releases/tag/22.9.0

Once you have both installed, you'll want to follow the guides from the corresponding clients about how to set them up to communicate with the Consensus Layer client:

- geth: https://geth.ethereum.org/docs/interface/consensus-clients

- erigon: https://github.com/ledgerwatch/erigon#beacon-chain-consensus-layer

- besu: https://besu.hyperledger.org/en/stable/public-networks/how-to/prepare-for-the-merge/#1-configure-the-engine-api

- nethermind: https://docs.nethermind.io/nethermind/first-steps-with-nethermind/running-nethermind-post-merge#step-3-configure-json-rpc-api

For more details, you should consult the official Ethereum release on the topic: https://blog.ethereum.org/2022/08/24/mainnet-merge-announcement

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us in Discord or elsewhere with any questions or confusions!

Wrap Up

  • Avalanche more than doubles its relays, and moves from #10 to #8.
  • Solana jumps 60%, with a large spike upwards early in the period.
  • NEAR, DFKchain, Metis, Klaytn, and Gnosis - xDai each also post double-digit percentage gains in relays.
  • Polygon continues its steady growth as the #1 chain, taking a larger share of relays as Harmony and BSC have their own pullbacks.
  • Node runners should review specific Merge-related action items if they have not updated their setups yet.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

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