The Decentralized Governance of the XRPL
The XRPL is an open, decentralised, and permission-less network governed by all participants and network nodes, including hub nodes, validator nodes (UNLs), and stock nodes. This decentralised structure ensures that no single individual or entity has control over the network, and decisions are made through a process of consensus among the broader community.
The Amendment Process
To introduce changes to the XRPL, a process called amendment is used. An amendment is a way to add new features to the network without causing disruptions or outages. The amendment process involves a consensus process, where UNLs must reach a majority agreement before a proposal can be implemented on the public network. On the XRPL, a majority consensus of 80% is required for a period of two weeks. Once an amendment is approved by the UNLs, it becomes the new standard on the XRPL and is applied to all subsequent ledger iterations. The Byzantine agreement enforces the consensus among the validator nodes and prevents the inclusion of faulty or malicious nodes in the consensus.
The Flag Ledger
Every 256th ledger is known as the “flag” ledger. This ledger is used to store the results of the voting process. In the ledger before the flag ledger, each validator with different transaction cost preferences or account reserve will send a vote message indicating their preferences. The rippled validator servers will then send validation messages to that ledger. If a validator does not vote in favour of an amendment, it is considered a vote against the amendment. The flag ledger allows for the transparent and decentralised tracking of votes and helps ensure that the amendment process is fair and representative of the broader community.
Outcomes of the Voting Process
The flag ledger contains the results of the voting process and has no other special contents. There are three possible outcomes from the voting process:
- tfGotMajority: This indicates that the amendment received support from at least 80% of voters.
- tfLostMajority: This indicates that the amendment received support from less than 80% of voters.
- No flags: This indicates that the amendment was enabled, regardless of the level of support it received.
These three outcomes provide a clear and transparent record of the voting process and help ensure that the amendment process is fair and representative of the broader community.
Requirements for Amendment Enabling
For an amendment to be enabled, the following conditions must be met:
- The previous ledger includes an enable amendment transaction for the current amendment.
- The previous ledger is an ancestor of the current ledger (meaning it is an earlier ledger in the chain).
- The previous ledger is at least 2 weeks old compared to the current ledger.
These conditions are designed to ensure that amendments are carefully considered and widely accepted before being implemented on the XRPL. The requirement for the previous ledger to be at least 2 weeks old helps ensure that there is sufficient time for the amendment to be reviewed and for a consensus to be reached among the validator nodes.
Rippled Validators and Amendment Votes
Each version of rippled is compiled with a list of known amendments and the code to implement them. The operators of these rippled validators can configure their server to vote for or against each inactive amendment. Server operators can change their votes at any time, but if they do not specify a setting for a particular amendment, the server will use the default vote specified in the source code.
For an amendment to be enabled, it must receive support from at least 80% of voters for a period of at least two weeks. If support falls below 80% at any point during this period, the amendment is temporarily rejected and the two-week period must start again.
Become a Validator to Participate in The Vote for Amendments on The XRPL
Becoming a validator on the XRPL can be a complex process, but it can also be a rewarding experience for those who are interested in contributing to the network and helping to ensure its stability and security. Validators play a crucial role in the XRPL, as they are responsible for verifying and validating transactions on the network.
To become a validator on the XRPL, you will need to follow the following steps:
- Download and install the rippled software: The first step is to download and install the rippled software on your server. This can be done by following the instructions provided on the Ripple website or through the use of a package manager like Debian.
- Set up a unique node list (UNL): A UNL is a list of trusted validator nodes that are used to reach consensus on the network. As a new validator, you will need to create your own UNL or join an existing one.
- Configure your rippled server: Once you have installed the rippled software and set up your UNL, you will need to configure your rippled server with the necessary settings. This includes setting up your server’s validator key, specifying your UNL, and configuring any other settings you may need.
- Join the network: Once your rippled server is configured, you can then join the network as a trusted validator node by starting the rippled server and connecting it to the network.
It is important to note that becoming a validator on the XRPL requires a significant level of technical expertise and resources. It is not a task that should be undertaken lightly, as it involves operating a critical component of the network and requires a high level of uptime and reliability. However, for those who are able to meet these requirements, becoming a validator can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.