What is a Validator in Crypto?
A crypto validator is responsible for verifying blocks in the blockchain network so that they can be added to the distributed ledger.
It’s important to understand why networks need to verify blocks in their blockchain. Every blockchain network consists of blocks that hold data, which are sent out to different nodes across the network. It is the responsibility of the validator to verify the authenticity and accuracy of this data. Think of a validator like a banker who is responsible for verifying every incoming transaction in the bank.
Validators participate in blockchain networks as part of a validation protocol called a “consensus mechanism” to carry out the validation processes. Depending on the consensus algorithm employed, validators may have different responsibilities and requirements. A consensus mechanism ensures that all the network participants are in agreement and that all transactions are recorded accurately.
When a transaction is initiated, it is queued in the network. Validator nodes check and confirm the legal authenticity of the transaction before they are recorded permanently into the blockchain.
In the Proof-of-Work or PoW consensus protocol, transactions are validated through a process known as mining. Validators, known as miners for PoW, compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles using computational power, and the first miner to solve the puzzle is allowed to propose a new block to the network. Other miners then validate the proposed block before it is added to the blockchain. Once the information is verified and deemed correct, the network creates and adds a new block to the blockchain. In return for their service, miners earn cryptocurrency rewards.
In the Proof-of-Stake validation system, validators are chosen based on the amount of cryptocurrency they ‘stake’ in a shared pool. This process is called staking. For example, if you stake 10% of the total amount of cryptocurrencies that are currently staked in the network, then you have roughly 10% validation right. Some PoS blockchains require validator nodes to stake a specific number of cryptocurrencies to qualify as validators. In return for their service, validators earn staking rewards.