ITN Saturation

Many people say that saturation for the ITN is at 1% pool size. To me it seems that everyone just tells what he heard and noone really knows.

I put the rewards from epoch 19 into Excel (only the top 70 pools plus some smaller ones because of tiring work) to get the following graph:

It clearly shows that saturation begins way below 1%. I would say between 0.5% and 0.6%. Maybe someone can create an automated diagram using all pools? Then it would show up even more clear.


Very interesting. How are you calculating the saturation percent?

Not at all. All I take is the staker’s rewards and the pool reward’s and add them to get the total rewards for the pool in this epoch. And this parameter is plotted versus the pool size at this epoch. All data I took from . They have for each pool now information for each epoch. Go to the little spy image at the far left side, which says “quick details”. And there I took the data from epoch 19. Take care with the date, there is a liitle error. They have twice the 30. December in the table so they seem to be one day back with the date.

Hmmm, I’m not so sure any more…

I added more data points, so now I have the top 120 pools. Here is a graph with linear pool size axis between 0 and 1% size.

If saturation would start at 0.6%, that would mean we have a lot of small pools which underperform strongly (green line). On the other hand if we assume saturation at 1%, it fits better to the density of the data points (orange line). But then we would have to assume that a lot of pools can also overperform quite a lot. So much indeed that their rewards already get capped at relatively small pool sizes. I think I’m still missing some understanding of how the process of electing and rewarding pool leaders works.

1 Like

Very interesting. Thank you very much for the efforts and this nice visualization.

I didn’t compare that much nodes, but watches this for the last 10 epochs and can confirm what you noted here.

I’m not fully sure but my explanation is this: as long as not all pool nodes are producing “enough” blocks (uptime, reliability) , even a non saturated pool which is elected for less than [saturation-point] blocks, can produce enough blocks to reach the 1/100 saturation point.


What you’re plotting is not saturation per se, but the reward capping. This will hurt saturated pools much more than unsaturated pools which got plenty of blocks to sign thanks to the lottery.


don’t want to hijack your awesome graph and topic, just add it as an idea for future such graphs.

With the given randomness (good/bad luck) a pool can show up in different areas in this graph.

Blue is what I would call the expected performance.
Below 1% it is just OK. not more and not less. and hopefully, they can find their way upwards to the saturation point in this area.
Saturated pools above 1% have more than enough slots to reach the maximum rewards. A pool surpassing 2x the saturation point can miss to fill 50% of his slots, and still reach the maximum in rewards. The only drawback for this “assurance” is that rewards are divided into more stake. So guaranteed but fewer rewards.
These Pools are either whales or good marketers.

Red area instead is where pools - for whatever reason - don’t produce enough blocks. They under-perform.

Green area instead is where the pools seize every opportunity (assigned slot) in an extraordinary reliable way and produce blocks like real champs. Maximum rewards for the early delegators. Until other take notice and re-delegate, by pushing this pool up in the blue saturated area.


Saturation dropped significantly today on pool tool, too 72.5m. Is this accurate?

Someone correct me if I’m wrong…

It’s clear that pool rewards aren’t capped based on pool saturation, but simply based on 1% of total network rewards. This means that probabilistically speaking, the saturation point for rewards will likely impact stake pools that have even .7% of the total staked ADA at some point due to swings in total # of blocks created varying in each epoch. Because of this, it seems like being in a smaller pool would be more beneficial because you’re never going to have your upside capped at ~35k block rewards for an epoch.

I think you are completely right! I try to delegate to a pool with less than 0.6% stake to avoid rewards clipping even when the pool is lucky and creates more blocks than average in an epoch.

Some new strange miracle happened: A pool with only 0.03% pool size created nearly 1% of all blocks. How is that possible? That’s no statistical effects any more. I just don’t understand what’s going on.

Perhaps they have inconsistant data from the last epoch for some small nodes?

1 Like