Do You Have What It Takes To Be a Witness?
What does it take to be a witness?
The first thing it takes is having a passion for the platform. Seeing potential in what it can be in the (near) future. The willingness to support the launch and dev team to reach their goal.
The second thing is less passionate, money. You have to have funds to pay for some host's server plan. These funds should not depend on the WLS generated by your server. We have already seen witnesses disable their server due to lack of funds. Their effort has not been lost, every minute their server was running, it helped to support the chain. However, to maintain a stable chain, we need witnesses to be able to run a server for a longer period of time.
When you start as a witness, you receive 0.885998 WLS, per block you produce. Starting at the lower end of the witness list means you probably produce 1 block every few hours. The higher up in the list you are, the more blocks you produce.
Once you enter the top20 list, you will produce a block every 63 seconds, but at a lower rate, namely 0.176999 WLS. All top20 witnesses earn the same amount of WLS.
These earnings are not fixed, they were better when I started my witness server. The amount you earn per block slowly decreases over time. But let's do the math.
There are 30 * 24 * 60 * 60 seconds in a month (roughly)
That is 2,592,000 seconds.
1 block per 63 seconds, results in 41,142 blocks per month
In a month a top20 witness earns 41,142 * 0.176999 WLS = 7,282 WLS
With a current WLS rate of 0.002 USD, it means you earn $ 14.56 per month
Not bad, but there is a catch. As a top20 witness you have to run additional servers, namely a backup server and a seednode. Picking the cheapest plan out there is probably not your best bet, chances are it will error a lot. Going with the most expensive one may prevent you from server headaches but may cost you your lunch money.
In short, to depend on just the earnings of block production to fund your server costs is a bad idea.
Some Linux knowledge. There is a great guide to set up your witness server, but sometimes things go wrong. It helps to have some knowledge of the Linux system or the willingness to learn about it, to help you solve problems. You are not on your own though. The current group of witnesses is a group of people more than willing to help out everyone who gets stuck.
Trust. At this stage in the project, still in beta, the dev team needs witnesses who support their dev work. They need witnesses who trust them to perform the task they were asked to do, create a platform the way it has been roughly outlined in the Whalepaper.
Thick skin and good behavior. Being a witness means you are being watched all the time. Other members can scam their way through the day on the platform and find excuses to make it "right", but when you as a witness move an inch in an unexpected direction people will be all over you. Becoming a witness forces you to be a role model, be prepared.
More thick skin. Your witness rank depends on witness votes cast by the members of the platform. These individuals have their own reasons for casting that vote. They can and will, seemingly randomly, remove their votes. It's is just what it is, no witness should worry about it too much.
Approving new member requests. Top20 witnesses have a say in whether a signup request gets approved or rejected. This takes some time. You need to check the provided information to prevent "bad" people from joining. The top20 witness list contains a variety of people, who all define "bad" in a different way. This immediately results in a variety of new members who join.
A project. All the daily witness tasks are more or less invisible to the regular user. Therefore most witnesses have some kind of project. This can be your own project, or support of other projects, a tool and so on. Anything, that supports the members and/or helps the platform forward, goes.
What do you think, do you have what it takes to be a witness?
Use your witness votes wisely
Jump over to the Block Producer / Witness page and cast your witness votes. Simply click on the (^) up arrow next to the witness names of your choice (consider voting for "krazywitness" and "ijmmaiwitness") and supply your private active key to lock in your vote. Refresh the page in case your vote doesn't seem to stick.