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Social Layer Incentives for DEcentralization (SLIDE)

Smoothly is excited to share its latest endeavor: Social Layer Incentives for DEcentralization. This initiative, herein referred to as SLIDE, is a call to action designed to support independent stakers on Ethereum.
Introducing SLIDE:
At its core, SLIDE is designed to incentivize individuals to solo stake by harnessing donations from organizations in the Ethereum ecosystem. The long tail of independent stakers are indispensable in safeguarding the network’s decentralized, credibly neutral, and censorship resistant qualities. Despite their value, they often find the road challenging and unrewarding. Recent efforts advocating for staking diversity are commendable, but the absence of financial incentives has stunted their impact and reach. Through Smoothly, a fee recipient smoothing pool, (docs here) and SLIDE, we seek to bridge the gap by providing a conduit for entities and individuals to directly reward this cohort of network participants.
How SLIDE Works:
  • Engage Public Goods Maxis: Smoothly is active in Gitcoin Grants Round 19 (here). All the funds contributed during this round will be sent to the smoothing pool upon mainnet launch! Additionally, were reaching out to diverse projects within the Ethereum ecosystem, encouraging them to contribute to the Smoothly Pool contract as a way to increase the yield of registered validators.
  • Equitable Distribution: Donated funds accumulate in the Smoothly Pool contract alongside execution layer rewards from block proposals. Every 21 days these are equally distributed amongst participants.
The Caveat:
  • Smoothly is permissionless: While SLIDE aims primarily to incentivize and support solo stakers—those who independently run and operate Ethereum nodes—it does not exclusively serve this group due to the permissionless nature of the Smoothly protocol.
  • The Un-caveat: The top entities would need to modify their infrastructure in order to join, which is unlikely as the incentives to join will not outweigh the switching costs.
  • What this means: There will be validators who register that don’t meet the definition of ‘solo staker’ in its truest form. With that being said, even small staking entities and independent operators do much more for the health of the network than dominant staking providers, and they deserve to be rewarded as well.
Why Support SLIDE:
  • Promoting Decentralization: Centralization of stake degrades the credibility of the network. Incentivizing solo staking naturally leads to a more decentralized, secure, and robust Ethereum.
  • Remain Credibly Neutral: Businesses built on top of Ethereum have a vested interest in keeping the network credibly neutral and censorship resistant, two properties which are core to it’s survival.
  • Community Engagement: Beyond rewards, SLIDE actively engages the community to appreciate and back minority stakeholders.