Running blockchain nodes require expertise as well as high-end computing resources. Although some applications may justify on-premise dedicated resources, most applications can't. Pocket Network offers a reliable gateway for those applications to most popular blockchains, e.g. Ethereum.
There are already solutions providing an easy acccess to some blockchains. But there is no other solution that is decentralized, and capability to support a wide spectrum of blockchains than Pocket Network.
A relay is basically a blockchain command/query executed by Pocket Network nodes on behalf of an application.
Relays by Pocket Network are very desirable for apps because it is a turn-key solution for them. They don't have to worry about the upkeep of blockchain nodes. For a one time fee, apps get a lifetime access to some of the most popular blockchains.
Pocket Network officially supports only Ethereum Full nodes at the moment. But the support for a large number
of new blockchains are being worked on.
Currently Supported Networks
A validator node is the actual server that performs the relay. Pocket Network performs each relay by 5 such nodes, cross checking their responses to prevent errors and fraud. Therefore, validator nodes not only perform the relays, but also validate the relays performed by other nodes, keeping each other honest and reliable.
Classically, blockchains have been "Proof of Work" (PoW). It means that participants needed perform work and prove it to have a voice in the network. Although this works fine, downside is that it requires a significant investment in hardware in terms of "miners". Worse, running those miners have extraordinary power needs. For example, BitCoin, a PoW network, has roughly the same power consumption as the whole country of Switzerland!
Modern blockchain networks, like Pocket Network, have an alternative approach, called "Proof of Stake". Instead of earning a voice in the network with (meaningless) work, participants "stake" value (which is probably earned by actual work in the real world, like fiat money). This staked value keeps participants honest and high performant, or else stake gets slashed (or totally lost in case of fraudulent activity).
To stake your Pocket Network validator node, you need to send at least 15,150 tokens to your node's public address. Now, technically, you can send less. However, your stake will incur some unavoidable small penalties as they perform. Over time, this may lower your initial stake below 15,000, which will cause you lose all your stake. Therefore, we recommend at least 15,150 POKTs for the stake.
Misbehaving nodes get a timeout in the jail. Bail out of the jail depends on the severity of the offense. For example, missing blocks and therefore not performing their validation duties results a small amount of monetary fine and 1 hour of sitting out of the network. Attempting fraud causes losing all of its stake and permanent ban from the network.
Throughout the day, a small fractio of validator nodes get jailed because of maintanence or other errors. However, this doesn't explain the relatively large number of jailed nodes.
Some investors keep their POKT in validator nodes. They are not interested in running the validator, but they are more interested in the value of POKT token itself. So, their nodes remain in jailed state. This doesn't have any negative impact to the network.
Running validator nodes requires some time investment. Most hobbiest start eagerly but then lose interest. Their nodes go to jail, costing their owners potential earnings from relays. If you are interested in running Pocket Validator Nodes, and keep them out of jail, too, consider us. C0D3R is a turn-key, fully supported Software-as-a-Service solution that provides well-maintained and well-spec'ed validator nodes.