Validator Watch List


As mentioned in an excellent post by @schnorr (Most Important Decision), the use of validators and other forms of “centralization in disguise” is an important and imminent crossroads facing the decentralized exchange (DEX) space. We believe that a decentralized means of transacting with others is critical to achieving Satoshi’s vision of a P2P trustless network, especially considering that all centralized models for exchange and trading fail that standard. DEX’s specifically have made great strides in breaking from traditional gatekeeping (such as KYC or AML), but also stumble when it comes to maintaining true decentralization (hosted order books or relays, validators, over reliance on one chain, etc…)

While the release of Borderless will be an exciting boon to the space, a rising tide lifts all boats and we want to equip any and all exchanges with a means of remedying any current shortcuts that result in centralized liabilities. This is why we are creating the Validator Watch List, a comprehensive list of all DEX’s and their points of centralization. It is our hope that this list, along with accompanying definitions, will encourage our neighbors who are striving for decentralization to find meaningful solutions to serious vulnerabilities.

Off-Chain Order Books

An order book is a critical component of an exchange. If the order book of an exchange is corrupted in any way (only possible if it is hosted in a centralized manner) the results could be devastating: front running, price manipulation, and more are very real dangers for a DEX using order books that are not decentralized .

Validators (Hosted Relayers / Indexers / Arbitrators)

Validators, or centralized means of verifying things like order books and multiple chains, are problematic as they is introduce a vulnerable node in an otherwise trustless transaction. Worse still, with these validators occur in self-branded “decentralized” exchanges, which could lead individuals using the platform to not realize they are at the mercy of a central entity.

Only Ethereum (ERC-20)

Over-reliance on one chain is itself a point of vulnerability, as bandwidth issues, similar to those we saw on Ethereum during the height of CryptoKitties, can throttle trades and dramatically impact speed. Furthermore, relying on one chain restricts the DEX to assets only available on that chain.

Representational Assets (Stellar)

Currencies that are not on Stellar are traded as representations (not the actual currencies), this results in centralization at the point of a representational asset being tied to a real asset.

Lightning Network

Atomic swaps do not use “validators” per se, but they do utilize the Lightning Network to execute their hashed time-lock contracts. By virtue of relying on the Lightning Network’s trusted nodes to execute contracts, these solutions are ultimately centralized to some degree.


To be honest, I do not like the attack of BC on other projects. It all depends on the definitions given by man. If a person calls white black by definition, then he can really call black white and be right. We can point to some contradictions if we agree on axioms and definitions, but it is not clear why the BC does it first, simply causing aggression in other projects and people supporting these projects.
In my opinion, we need to be more tolerant, allow everyone to do what they like, not attack and condemn first, as long as it does not concern our freedom. And people themselves will choose what is closer to them.

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Absolutely agree. By the time you are in EMB Nation for a while we can expect to speak more openly without offending projects. A couple of things to think about:

Let’s start by defining “decentralization” as unstoppable.

  1. This is a lead list. A list of exchanges that we can support and approach. We haven’t found anything but positivity so far from doing that.
  2. Large trends are triggered by adoption of one technology or another. For instance, Whale Oil was used for lighting in Europe which resulted in a massive whaling industry; kerosene as a viable and cheaper solution took over a 100 hundred years to spread. Fortunately, we live in an information age.
  3. Block Collider technology inherits some of it’s peers poor decisions (from a funding perspective). With many users unable to dig deep to evaluate the condition of the project. As the noise calms people will spend more time on the fundamentally different not just the forks of Ethereum and Bitcoin. Until then, individuals can see our conviction and adherence to our philosophy in our rejection of 71X contributors looking to get in. Accepting it was more than necessary and would mean that other ideas could not be supported. This is a academic grant-like perspective instead of a business “zero-sum” perspective game. If we were a “company” then we would want to take as much capital as possible that competitors may not enter.

I see it as identifying to help them resolve their issues.

In future BC could act as a security measure, holding the history of all chains, validator chains and all. Long range attacks of PoS? Why not use BC instead of checkpointing?

This post by @Roumanis is illustrative of the pitfalls of complacency:

An Historical Treatise on the use of Validators in Digital Money and their Implications on Our Ability to Exchange Value

Ethereum Constatinople HardFork