Ripple is very closely related to XRP, something which is a well-known fact. There is a blurred line between Ripple and XRP for some people; but for supporters, there is a clear demarcation. However, XRP network also relies strongly on Ripple running validators and in recent days, some XRP community members have brought up hypothetical scenarios where XRP network could lose its decentralization, and even come to a standstill.
XRP community members have sought to resolve this problem and have suggested quite a few ideas to not let that hypothetical become a reality. The developer of Toast wallet came up with a tool that will allow incentivizing via tipping validators directly to their key pairs. This tipping can be accomplished using any wallet, or tipping service.
The Validator Problem
The XRP community wants the XRP network to stay sufficiently decentralized to keep the network from halting. For that to happen, the XRP network should be independent of the validators that Ripple is running, such that in a worst-case scenario, the network would continue working.
In a recent Twitter feud between Tiffany Hayden and Galgitron, Nik Bougalis, a software engineer and cryptographer at Ripple, tweeted how dire the situation is. He said,
“So with the current topology, if 7 validators are offline, the network will halt and forward progress won’t be made. That is by design. The solution to that is more validators that are operated by as diverse a set of operators as possible as mission-critical infrastructure.”
According to the Mini Validators list, the current active validators are at 134. Moreover, the number of UNLs [Unique Node List] is at 31 and Ripple-owned UNLs is at 7. So, if these 7 validators, as explained by Bougalis in the aforementioned tweet, shut down, the XRP network would come to a standstill, much like the XLM network did a few months ago.
Bougalis further added,
“And that’s the important thing: the operators need to treat validators as mission-critical and to make a commitment to the network as a whole to operate their validators like that. It also means that we all need to work to develop improved network health monitoring tools.”
There is one idea that is catching on among members of the XRP community, i.e. “Validator Good Behaviour Rewards System,” suggested by @ZIGXRP.
“Codius contract to monitor validators against a list of healthy KPIs, and Coil to stream (publicly donated) rewards to them. Reward good behaviour, not just “participation.”