Top staking pools: coin distribution

Hi,

I do not understand well how the coins are distributed among top staking pools (validators).
How many staking pools owns 33%, 51% and 67% of the coins? According to this website, about 33% of total stake is owned by 2 pool operators (2327 delegator/counts), about 51% of total stake is owned by 8 pool operators (2439 delegators/count) and about 67% of total stake is owned by 18 pool operators (2572 delegators/count). Is it correct?
For instance, the Single Pool Operators has 5.36 B and 2327 delegators so an average of 2.21 M of stake per delegators.
Moreover, I read about max delegated stake that should saturate around 68 M coin. However, according to this web site, the saturation should be 32 M, but only a few pools meet this constraint.
I’m a bit confused.

Im not really sure if you may misinterpreted the data on adapools.org but this should show you what you want to know

Chart (1)

source : Groups | Cardano Staking / Explorer

This is correct.

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That website is out of date. They write: “In around [sic!] Q3 of 2021, k is anticipated to go to 1000, meaning the saturation point will change to around 32M ADA.”

That change did not happen. Maybe, it will come at some point, but at the moment discussions revolve more around lowering the minimum operator rewards or changing the effect of pledge.

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Hello @pachainti

This is NOT correct.

First stake pools do not ‘own’ all the coins. The are delegated to stake pools (unless they are private pools).

Second in that Adapools link you posed the 21.73% part is actually composed of 2252 pools run by single pool operators. You can just hover over that green part and it will tell yo how many pools are in that group. So, definitely NOT 2 pool operators.

Actually that website says saturation is at 68 million at K 500. However they also show K1000 to compare. They are just advising to delegate to 32 mill or less stake pool (such as their own) in anticipation of K going to 1000. As per their site:
CanuckAdvice

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Also, important to note that because of the “Single” in “Single Pool Operators”, the 2252 for that group has a totally different meaning than the 62 with Binance (and similar numbers with the other groups). Binance’s 62 pools are all controlled by one company, while the single pool operators are 2252 individual entities. Totally different thing. A problem for decentralisation are only the large groups controlling multiple pools, not the single pools.

(We cannot completely exclude the possibility that someone controls mulitple pools posing as single pools, but it’s not that likely, I think.)

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Right, this is the figure I was referring to:

  • about 33% from 2 pool operators (Single Pool Operators and Binance)->2327 delegators
  • about 51% from 8 pool operators (Single Pool Operators - New Girl)-> 2439 delegators
  • about 67% from 18 pool operators (Single Pool Operators - Bloom) ->2572 delegators

What is the meaning of the Single Pool Operators? It resembles a mining pool of a PoW blockchain, where different users join in order to increase the chance of success.
At the moment Cardano has no on-chain governance, but in the future the majority could be achieved by only 8 pools.
Correct me, if I’m wrong.

The numbers are not the number of delegators, but the number of pools.

Single pool operators is a group of 2252 individual operators with countless delegators.

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Ok. I will correct it:

About 33% from 2314 pool operators (Single Pool Operator and Binance) → many, MANY delegators

I do understand that the way Adapools presented that information may a bit confusing.

Each Single Pool Operator is equivalent of individual Bitcoin miner. Each Single Stake Pool Operator resembles a mining pool of a PoW blockchain and they can do it themselves of have different users join (delegate) to increase a chance of success.

So that metric you saw that states Single Pool Operator 21.73% is same as 2252 different mining pools in PoW blockchain.

Cardano at the moment is most decentralized crypto in existence. There are few hundred pools that are across bunch of groups that compromise 51%. You can read below what independent research by Kraken exchange concluded about Cardano decentralization using the same info you are looking at from Adapools in a clip below:

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So has Cardano a hierarchy of pools? Very interesting, this is the first time I’ve seen something like this.
Is there any way to know the total number of delegates per pool (not sub pools)?

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In order to fully understand:

  • Cardano: stake pool operators->pool operators->delegators
  • Generic PoS: validators->delegators/nominators
  • Generic PoW: mining pools->miners

Stake pool operators should be equivalent to validators. Why does Cardano require this double level?

Nope, nobody said that. Cardano has pools and individual wallets delegated to them. Period.

Sites like adapools.org analyse, which pools belong to which group. But that is not a concept of Cardano, but a third-party analysis about it.

The network and protocol don’t care a bit that all the “[BNP] Binance Staking - XX” pools belong together.

But for seeing if the network is properly decentralised, it is obviously important that the 62 pools of Binance are all controlled by the same company.

On sites like adapools.org or pooltool.io, you can see the individual count for each pool. For example, [FISH] (currently the largest stake in the single pool operators group) has 6279 delegators:
https://adapools.org/pool/37c37fde7262737abd98024a96e5c25c25ab10c0d69f5b77180b1efe (middle of the right column in the data block)

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Right, I am looking into decentralisation. So, I am bringing the question back to you as well:

  • Cardano: stake pool operators->pool operators->delegators
  • Generic PoS: validators->delegators/nominators
  • Generic PoW: mining pools->miners

Stake pool operators should be equivalent to validators. Why does Cardano require this double level?

Cardano does not require, does not even have a “double level”.

Stake pool operators and pool operators are not different. They are the same.

They can just own multiple pools. Just like in “Generic PoS” one entity can own several validators without problem. And in “Generic PoW” one entity can own multiple mining pools.

I think you are overthinking it. Not sure if you are trying to fit some assumptions into the idea of PoS or if you are trying to make 1 to 1 comparison with other system that is not representative. There are no double levels.

Let me try to clear it up:

Stake pools are servers that produce blocks.
Stake pools (servers) are operated by stake pool operators (humans).
Every time stake pool produces a block they get a rewards for stake pool operator and delegators, so they are equivalent to miners.

Delegators (humans) are anyone holding ADA that has chosen to delegate to a stake pool (server).
Delegators (humans) get % return on their delegated ADA as a reward for supporting a stake pool (server).
Stake pool has a higher chance to produce a block if it has more ADA delegated to it up to a maximum amount (currently at 64 million).

Delegators (humans) can choose to support any stake pool they want.
Delegators are not locked in and can choose to change stake pools any time they want.

In PoW the resource to enable a miner to get blocks is hash rate.
Hash rate is directly proportional to computing power for block creation of each miner.

In PoS the resource to enable a stake pool to get blocks is staked token (ADA in case of Cardano).
Staked token is directly proportional to delegated power for block creation of each stake pool.

Hope this cleared it up a bit. :smiley:

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Good, so my calculations in my question are correct.

Thank you for the clarification. So my calculations in my question are correct, but several users have stated otherwise and made me doubt.
Cardano is no different from a generic PoS blockchain with validators and delegators/nominators in this respect.

Which calculations?

These?

No, they are horrendously wrong – from “stake is owned" over not getting that the numbers are pools, not delegators, up to counting the 2252 pools in the “Single Pool Operators” group as one “operator”.

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Correct would be:

33.8% of stake are delegated to 184 pools owned by 8 different entities (Binance to MS).

50.44% of stake are delegated to 334 pools owned by 22 different entities (Binance to CCV).

66% of stake are delegated to 457 pools owned by 53 different entities (Binance to CCJ).

You are right, to own is wrong, maybe to manage.

Correct would be:

33.8% of stake are delegated to 184 pools owned by 8 different entities (Binance to MS).

50.44% of stake are delegated to 334 pools owned by 22 different entities (Binance to CCV).

66% of stake are delegated to 457 pools owned by 53 different entities (Binance to CCJ).

Where did you find such numbers?

I added up the numbers on https://adapools.org/groups from Binance down (“Share” column for the percentage, “Count” column for the number of pools).