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BNB/BSC, is it centralized or decentralized? How to setup a node? How to become a validator?

Not here to shill the binance smart chain, just to give information as this sub is overflooded with disinformation, lies, falsehoods, confusion, misconception, repetitions and more of that. And I’ll note I am not an expert in the least. There’s lots of things I don’t fully understand. I try to, but a lot of it is just beyond me. But, I try!

First, how do we really define decentralization? I’d say we can’t really qualify many as centralized or decentralized very easily, but rather as “how decentralized“. A cryptocurrency where every single node is run by one entity is simply centralized. But when more entities come into play it becomes more difficult.

When we look at ETH compared to BSC, it’s obvious ETH is far more decentralized. But that doesn’t mean BSC is automatically centralized. For that statement we need more information.

The binance smart chain runs on 21 nodes (validators).
[Section 1: This is the list of validators, both active and inactive](https://bscscan.com/validators#)


[Section 2: Node setup information](https://docs.binance.org/smart-chain/validator/guideline.html)
[Section 3: Becoming a validator information](https://docs.binance.org/faq/bsc/val.html)

Technically anyone could become a validator, but, more than hardware requirments are in order. As it works currently, there’s only 21 active validators at any time. To become one of the 21 validators, you need to be in the top 21 of voting power. Currently, rank 21 has 288k bnb staked to them. You also need to have 10k+ BNB self-delegated. (ouch)

So, how do you become a node operator? How a validator?

1. You setup a node as per instructions with some minimum hardware requirements.
2. You get enough BNB delegated to you to reach the top 21.
3. Self-delegate 10k+ BNB.
4. Success, you’re now a validator.

Sounds relatively simple. But there’s more to it.

1. You can be punished for misbehavior as a node. This is called slashing.
2. What counts as misbehavior is listed in the section 3 link and some more info in section 4 link below.
3. The punishment can be both being removed(perm or temp) as a node and/or a BNB fee.

[Section 4: Validator parameters information](https://docs.binance.org/smart-chain/validator/Parameters.html)

[Section 5: How to delegate](https://docs.binance.org/smart-chain/delegator/del-guide.html)
[Section 6: More about being a delegator](https://docs.binance.org/faq/bsc/del.html)
Delegating is simply staking your BNB via an addon to your preferred node. You will only get staking rewards if your node is an active (top 21) node. You need to delegate a minimum of 1 BNB. There are no risks to becoming a delegator except that if your chosen validator gets slashed you’re not getting staking rewards.

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How decentralized the system is can be hard to define as we have little knowledge of who exactly is running these nodes. But, though not exactly easy, anyone could technically become a validator and become part of that Binance smart chain. The technology here is setup with strict requirements that aren’t easy to obtain, but I’d say BSC is decentralized based on that information. Just, not very decentralized as there’s only 21 nodes max in the current way it’s setup. But this is just my opinion.

What your opinion is only you can decide. Maybe 21 nodes is always centralized in your eyes. But I believe people should know this information rather than just blatantly repeating what other people are saying. Because that repetition just leads to a large chain of unfair disinformation.



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5 Comments

  1. Anyone who says BNB is decentralized should look at the 10k+ BNB needed to become a validator on your own. Thats 5,6 Mil if you wanna do it all on your own. Yeah. Easy money.

  2. TLDR: Richest have all the power (and make up the rules), everyone else has none at all.

    Sounds familiar? That’s our traditional financial system. Combating this is the very reason cryptocurrencies were created in the first place.

    The only justification for using their chain is getting a feeling for defi in their sandbox environment with low fees. Send $10 to pancakeswap, swap something, look at Blockchain explorers and smart contracts. Farm something for a week. Then decide: if you like the experience, go to Ethereum. If you don’t, go back to your local bank. But why would you stay on a temporary pump&dump sh*tchain?

    Binance is NOT an innovator. They are a great exchange for Fiat-crypto. That’s it. This doesn’t deserve $100B market cap imo.

  3. “*Some might overlook the influence Binance Chain has over Binance Smart Chain’s validator set. BSC has 21 active validators, making it more centralized than most platforms. This validator set is determined daily by Binance Chain, a network managed by just 11 validators.*”

    https://twitter.com/WilsonWithiam/status/1381420702918664194

    I´m really not *obsessed* with the topic “decentralisation”, but *this* joke is rather a completely controlled “LAN-party” than a blockchain. 💩

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