In order to stake your DVPN you need to find the right validator to stake to. Validators are the ones taking care of the backbone of Sentinel, namely the blockchain itself. Collectively they maintain the blockchain, making sure all transactions are signed, upgrades are carried out ect. In order for Sentinel to be successful we need to make sure the right validators are selected that are dedicated to the future of Sentinel. Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing a validator in no particular order:
When you have specific questions about what the validator is doing or not doing, are they reachable? You want your validator to be reachable when something happens. Also, if you want to know about how a validator has all these things mentioned in this article set up (if they even have this set up at all), see if this validator is reachable to ask them or talk to them about it. Some validators are better reachable than others, most of them have a link on the explorer when you click on a validator.
You want validators to stay involved with the community. To be active in the chat, help new or old community members and to be a good active member of the community. Who do you come to when you have a question or need help? Help those validators that help you and others.
You want the validator to have good validator setup with good hardware (is it a cheap PC from the store around the corner or enterprise hardware that lasts forever?) and securely configured (firewalled, anti brute force, anti DDoS, monitoring, sentries, fail-over) to prevent downtime/slashing/jailing.
You want your validator to support testnet. Testnet is what the last stage before changes are made on mainnet/live environment and is essential to the growth and success of the project. Selecting a validator that support testnet is supporting those validators that don’t just show up for mainnet when money can be earned, but also show up when testing needs to be done in order for us all to improve. Just seeing there names on there is enough. The rank and commission rates ect. does not matter since it’s not mainnet.
Full archive node
Some validators run a full archive node. This means they are supporting the network even further by setting up an extra server to keep track of all the blockchain transactions and not just a part of it needed for a validator. This helps the network be stronger, the more validators support this.
You want validators to be involved with the project. To be up-to-date on the latest announcements, proposals en upgrades. To see if a validator is involved with proposals, you can check the validator page on the explorer where there is an easy overview of how many proposals a validator participated in. Lack of this can result in validators going down as they don’t take the necessary steps on time when action is required. This also coincides with validators being involved with the community as how can they help the community if they are not up-to-date on the project?
The lower the commission of a validator the more rewards you as a delegator will earn. This has to strike a good balance as validators do also put in a lot of work (if they care) into securing the network and actively helping the project get better.
It’s good to decentralize voting power on the Sentinel blockchain. That way when a vote is proposed not 1 validator or a small group of validators can decide the outcome themselves. When you stake to a validator you are giving them your voting power.