SECTION 1: OVERVIEW
The VechainThor blockchain uses a Proof of Authority (“PoA”) consensus in which each transaction is validated by Authority Masternodes (also referred as “AM”), however, the VechainThor blockchain node program is open source, which means it does not require any permission to synchronize the full ledger of VechainThor blockchain and initiate transactions on it. An AM is a network-connected server running the VechainThor full node program, which keeps a complete copy of the blockchain. Additionally, Authority Masternodes are the full nodes authorized via an on-chain whitelist to validate and produce blocks of the VechainThor blockchain. The whitelist of Authority Masternodes is managed through the Authority built-in smart contract, which requires multi-signature authorization of the vechain Steering Committee members to make any modification.
All AM holders must do the following: a) be vetted to ensure that they have a legitimate identity, b) hold 25M VETs as collateral, and c) run and manage a server with a certain guaranteed level of performance and availability. More importantly, in addition to those minimum qualifications, AM holders are responsible for actively contributing to the vechain ecosystem in their own fields.
As an incentive to AMs for maintaining the integrity of the blockchain, contributing to the vechain ecosystem, and participating in the platform governance, the network rewards the AMs with VTHO tokens which is a native VIP180 token serving as the only way to purchase gas for the transaction fees of the VechainThor blockchain. In each block, 30% of the VTHO consumed by transactions are paid out to the AM that produces the block. The other 70% of VTHO are burned. On the VechainThor blockchain, Authority Masternodes do not compete to produce blocks, rather the block producer is selected by a random algorithm. This helps solve one of the key concerns of enterprises to run a consensus node on a public blockchain regarding computing power and energy consumption: the PoA consensus consumes far less energy than Proof of Work. In addition, Authority Nodes are entitled to the highest weight per vote among all stakeholders throughout the voting process, based on the vechain Governance Model. Collectively, AMs hold a total of 40% of the total voting authority.
The design of the PoA consensus and Authority Masternodes lies at the center of the vechain Governance Model. Unlike most public blockchains on the market, the vechain AM holders are subject to strict KYC, and their identity and reputation are part of the stake, in addition to the financial collateral. Vechain will conduct strict identity verification and hold AMs accountable for their activities and obligations to the ecosystem.
SECTION 2: TARGET CANDIDATES OF THE AUTHORITY MASTERNODE HOLDER AND SELECTION CRITERIA
2.1 Target Candidates
The award of AMs centers on entities which can encourage rapid expansion of the ecosystem and network transaction activity. For that reason, the designation of Authority Masternodes is given to organizations or individuals in the following five categories:
The adoption of enterprise users is critical in industrializing the VechainThor blockchain technology. Enterprises can leverage the Authority Masternodes to easily and quickly deploy their blockchain applications and lower the cost of using the platform to provide services to their customers. Authority Masternodes also provide the enterprise user with flexibility in the service fee scheme for their customers who may still prefer to pay in fiat currency, which is extremely important in the early stage of blockchain adoption. In addition, they can influence the technological and business development of the platform to suit their business needs.
Blockchain Development Teams
A dynamic ecosystem needs high-quality developers. The Authority Masternodes can incentivize the developer to build their blockchain applications or sidechain solutions on the VechainThor blockchain and express needs for the improvement of the platform. Developers may also use the Authority Masternode to develop and run cross-chain services.
Business and Technical Development Partners
By leveraging the features of the VechainThor blockchain, tools, and turnkey packages of vechain enterprise solutions, business and technical development partners can accelerate the enterprise mass adoption at a broader scale. Being the experts of the VechainThor blockchain and solutions, these partners will help get more enterprises running applications on the VechainThor blockchain.
Community contributors actively help the growth rate of the vechain community and ecosystem in areas such as community outreach, community management and professional expertise. They also represent the interests of the community in the governance of the platform. The use of earned VTHO can be used to facilitate community events and further expand vechain ecosystem reach.
Academic Research Partners
Academic research partners contribute to the technological research and development of the VechainThor blockchain and leverage the Authority Masternodes to test or run blockchain applications for their research purposes.
2.2 Selection Criteria
Vechain reviews Authority Masternode applications based on a set of criteria, which cover both basic requirements and ecosystem contribution requirements.
Each Authority Masternode holder must go through the identity verification process by sharing the relevant documents with email@example.com. After the KYC is approved, the applicant can submit an application for the Authority Masternode.
Each Authority Masternode applicant is required to stake at least 25M VETs in a VechainThor address. When the applicant is selected, this address will be added to the Authority Masternode whitelist as the node holder’s collateral address. The collateral address of each Authority Masternode must hold at least 25M VETs at all times.
Authority Masternode Environment
Authority Masternode applicants are responsible for preparing the node environment, which could be a server or VPS (virtual private server). Applicants should carefully read the recommended vechain Authority Masternode hardware and software specification (CPU, RAM, Hardware disk, bandwidth, OS) and network environment (server access method, firewall, network segment) and set up the node environment accordingly. The recommended configuration is subject to change based on vechain’s assessment of the overall blockchain status.
As Authority Masternodes are the foundation of the VechainThor blockchain, maintaining the security and availability of the Authority Masternode requires technical capabilities. Applicants need to be equipped with the technical capability to test and deploy the VechainThor node program, maintain the availability of the node, timely upgrade to the latest version on the official VechainThor GitHub, and keep the node server secure. In addition, we recommend the Authority Masternode holder regularly scan the node server to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.
SECTION 3: AUTHORITY MASTERNODE LIFECYCLE POLICY AND PROCEDURES
3.1 Application and On-boarding
Authority Masternode applicants need to have their identities verified before submitting the application. Vechain and its Steering Committee review the applications based on the aforementioned selection criteria, and approved applicants are eligible to become Authority Masternode holders.
1. Applicants (individuals or enterprises) complete the identity verification by sending relevant documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. After sending the documents, applicants must fill in the Authority Masternode application form here with the required information. Applicants should carefully read and understand the requirements of being an Authority Masternode holder and only provide factual information.
3. Vechain performs a preliminary review of an application based on the criteria stated in the above section within two weeks of receiving the required information and documents. Approved applicants are subject to further review by the Steering Committee. If the criteria are not met, the application is rejected.
4. Before each quarterly Steering Committee meeting, a shortlist of applicants is summarized and submitted to the Steering Committee for review. Steering Committee review normally takes place quarterly, unless the vechain team deems it necessary to summon an ad hoc review.
5. The Steering Committee will revisit the profiles of the candidates, make a strategic assessment and deliberate which applicants are qualified to be AM holders, based on the satisfaction of the criteria. Applicants deemed unqualified by the Steering Committee will be rejected.
6. Applicants approved by the Steering Committee are added to the AM holder waiting list maintained by the vechain team. In case there are less than 101 Authority Masternodes functioning on the VechainThor blockchain, the approved applicants can proceed directly to the on-boarding process.
7. Every time an Authority Masternode slot is available, candidates on the waiting list are eligible to become Authority Masternode holders. Vechain picks candidates from the waiting list with an independently verifiable, random algorithm.
8. After being selected by the algorithm, the candidate is contacted by the vechain team for pre-deployment verification. The pre-deployment check validates the accuracy of the masterkey address and collateral address provided as well as the ownership of the collateral address.
9. When passing the pre-deployment check, the candidate is responsible for deploying the Authority Masternode based on the guide and recommended configuration. The Authority Masternode will go live after vechain and its Steering Committee proceed with the Authority Masternode whitelist modification process.