What is the Role of Negative UNLs in the XRP Ledger’s Consensus Protocol?
The XRP Ledger’s Consensus Protocol features a tool called the Negative Unique Node List (Negative UNLs) which allows the network to make decisions during partial failures. This list, verified and communicated by active UNL validators, contains trusted validators that are currently offline or malfunctioning. This tool allows nodes to continue running without the need to reconfigure to another UNL, and enables validation and formation of new ledger versions even when some UNL validators are offline. It’s a practical solution that addresses common issues encountered during network outages.
Understanding the Importance of UNLs in the XRP Ledger
When running a server on the XRPL, the default connection configuration is set to the recommended UNL, but a server operator can choose to connect to another UNL if they prefer. The default and primary UNL includes 35 trusted entities that are expected to act in the best interest of the network’s stability and health, and are unlikely to collude against the operator. These entities validate proposed transactions and update the state of the ledger, which becomes the most recent version. This state is achieved through a quorum of 80%.
How Negative UNLs Affect the XRP Ledger’s Consensus Protocol
Validators may not always be available due to maintenance, internet issues, human error, or malicious attacks. In the event that over 20% of validators disconnect from the network, the network stops validating new ledger versions and the remaining servers provide past and tentative transactional data until 80% of the validators are online again. This design prevents changes to transaction outcomes after the last-closed ledger has been shared, but the network may stop making progress if several trusted validators go offline. In the case of the XRPL UNL, a total of over 20% of validators need to go offline before the network stops validating new ledger versions, and the remaining servers provide past and tentative transactional data until 80% of the validators are online again.
For more information regarding quorum requirements and negative UNLs click here.
Becoming a UNL Validator on the XRP Ledger
It is possible to become a validator for the XRPL network, but to be a UNL validator, you must be voted in by other entities that are considered trustworthy. Before being eligible for this, you must run a server for the XRPL network as a validator and prove your trustworthiness by connecting to a network of peers using Peer Protocol, transmitting signed transactions and keeping a local copy of the network’s shared ledger.
Hereunder, you will find an overview of the process:
Tips for Running a Reliable Validator on the XRP Ledger
Becoming a validator on the XRP Ledger involves several steps to ensure the reliability, consistency, and trustworthiness of the network. The first step is to ensure the availability of the server by running it continuously, submitting votes in a timely manner, and consistently agreeing with the votes of other validators. This is achieved by setting up a high-performance server with a reliable power source and internet connection. Additionally, it’s important to have a unique and clearly identifiable owner for the validator as it is a requirement for the UNL.
The next step is to install and run a rippled server, which is the software that facilitates communication and validation on the XRP Ledger. This includes configuring the server with the validator token and connecting it to the network through one of three options: connecting to discovered peers, using proxies, or connecting to public hubs.
Once the server is set up and connected to the network, it’s important to verify the connection by monitoring the server’s performance, checking the network metrics, and ensuring that the server is receiving and processing transactions correctly. Additionally, providing domain verification is essential to help validation list publishers and other participants understand who runs the validator and its reputation.
Security Measures for Protecting Your Validator on the XRP Ledger
To ensure the security of the validator and the network, it’s important to keep the server and rippled software up-to-date, monitor the logs for any errors or suspicious activity, and secure the server with firewalls and other security measures. Furthermore, it’s important to have a disaster recovery plan in case of any unexpected failures or outages.
Additional Resources for Understanding the XRP Ledger’s Consensus Protocol
It’s important to keep in mind that becoming a validator on the XRP Ledger is a complex process that requires technical expertise and a deep understanding of the XRP Ledger’s consensus protocol. It’s always a good idea to consult the official documentation and guides to understand the specific requirements and steps required to become a validator on the XRP Ledger.
For more information on how to become an XRPL validator click here.