Efficient Node Management with Join Protocol V2 on Shardeum

Efficient Node Management with Join Protocol V2 on Shardeum

Shardeum's Join Protocol V2 streamlines the process for standby nodes to join the active validator set, while enhancing network intelligence and...

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Join Protocol V2 upgrade was one of the critical milestones toward achieving feature-completeness. We are now excited to delve into the details and impacts of this significant enhancement!

What is Join Protocol on Shardeum?

The Join Protocol is used by standby nodes in order to submit a join request to start syncing and become an active (validator) node in the network. This protocol determines which randomly selected standby nodes will become active validators and start earning rewards.

Join Protocol V1

So, how did the Join Protocol originally work? In Join Protocol V1, standby nodes, which are waiting to become part of the active/main network, regularly send a join request, typically once every cycle (1 cycle on Shardeum is equal to 60 seconds). From all these requests sent in a cycle, the network autonomously selects the highest-rated nodes. These chosen standby nodes are then allowed to join the main network and start syncing up with the state data to validate transactions and reach consensus. This choice is recorded in the most recent cycle record, a cycle record being a record that includes all the information about the state of all nodes in the current cycle.

In addition to sending a join request, standby nodes also communicate directly with an active node once per cycle to fetch the cycle record. By checking this record, they can see if they’ve been chosen to join the main network. Here’s where the challenge lies: if there are significantly more standby nodes than active ones, the active nodes get swamped as a result of handling multiple join requests and providing cycle records to all these standby nodes each cycle. Moreover, the network currently can’t gauge the exact number of standby nodes waiting in the wings.

Having many standby nodes is great! It boosts the network’s decentralization and allows the network to handle traffic surges by rapidly incorporating more nodes. However, these benefits come at a cost as explained in our tokenomics page. Nodes need to be incentivized with rewards for their activity, making it essential for the network to ascertain how many standby nodes exist. Knowing the amount of nodes in the network (including both standby and active ones) allows us to help set the right reward amount for the active node operators.

Join Protocol V2

Previously, standby nodes in the network sent a join request repeatedly, once during every cycle. This means that if a node was ready to participate but hadn’t been integrated into the network yet, it could continue to send out a new join request in each cycle until it was recognized and added to the network. Each standby node now only send a join request ONCE, instead of once every cycle, letting the network know that the standby nodes are waiting to be rotated in (as part of traffic surges and/or standard security practices).

Join requests are then verified by the network ensuring that the node has fulfilled staking requirements before they can proceed to validate transactions. Also with V2, nodes no longer need to renew their stake certificate repeatedly.

Further, the new mechanism now ensures that once a node is on the standby, syncing, or active list, it can’t just unstake. It has to send an unjoin request first. This ensures network is always in the know about how many nodes are there in the standby mode which is a fantastic improvement.

Benefits of Join Protocol V2 on Shardeum

Following are the benefits of Join Protocol V2:

  • Less Traffic: The new protocol drastically lessens the number of messages related to the joining process, meaning less unnecessary network traffic and less chance of the traffic causing any bottlenecks.
  • Simplified Node Management: By eliminating the need for nodes to repeatedly renew their stake certificates, V2 simplifies the administrative burden on node operators. This change not only reduces the operational complexity but also cuts down on the administrative overhead involved in maintaining node status within the network.
  • Responsive System: A node either receives an error or a success message swiftly to join the main network enhancing responsiveness while further minimizing administrative bottlenecks.
  • Network Efficiency: With Join V2, the network can now be aware of how many nodes are in the standby mode instantly. This allows better decisions to be made in terms of key parameters such as node rewards for the validators. Further, this enhanced visibility improves decision-making related to node management and resource allocation. It ensures that the network can dynamically adjust to load changes without overburdening active nodes
  • Security and Stability: The new protocol strengthens the network’s security framework by enforcing a more structured process for nodes to enter or leave the network. Nodes must now send an unjoin request before unstaking, which prevents abrupt changes in the network’s composition and maintains stability.
  • Fair and Transparent Validation Process: The V2 protocol ensures that all nodes have a fair chance of being selected to become active, based on clear and transparent criteria. This fosters a more democratic and equitable environment where node performance and reliability are rewarded.


As we unveil the promising updates with Join Protocol V2, we want to take a moment to paint a picture of Shardeum’s ever-upwards trajectory. Our commitment isn’t just about the here and now; it’s about crafting a future that’s innovative and transformative. And if there’s one thing we want you to remember, it’s this: Shardeum will never stop building!

Eager to explore more about Shardeum’s innovations? Check it out here.

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