📡 Testnets and Archivals Surge, as ETH & Others Take a Breather

Pocket Network Relay Recap

Relay Recap #98 features new support for Arbitrum One, several testnets and archivals moving up the earnings charts, and total relays taking a breather from recent highs. This recap covers stats from January 12 – January 18.

Happy Friday! It’s time for another Relay Recap.

After weeks of flirting with daily all-time highs, we saw a pullback in relays this week. A drop in Ethereum and Polygon relays drove the network-wide decrease. From taking a bit of a closer look, the drop ties in with public endpoint usage of these chains, rather than apps that have accounts with Pocket. 

While we always want to see “up only” relays, weekly pullbacks like this do happen. Plus, after two days below 840 million relays to end this period, we immediately saw a bounceback to about 1 billion relays on the 19th. This is holding steady today (the 20th) as well. 

Even with the network-wide pullback, we had 6 chains growing their weekly relays by at least a double-digit percentage. This was especially true with some of our supported archivals and testnets. Several of these jumped into (or further up) the Top 15 list for average earnings per node. More on that below! 

Ethereum and Polygon dips bring relays down across the board, although testnets and archivals had strong performances.

Throughout this period, the network serviced an average of 974 million daily relays. The daily high for this time period was 1.1 billion on January 12th. 

Overall, 6.81 billion relays were serviced during the week. This was a 24% decrease over the 8.94 billion relays the prior week.

[Note: While we’re diving into relay stats here, we also want to shout out our recent Protocol Revenue Report that was published in the Forum. The Report covers most of H2 2022, and digs into the sources and dollar amounts of protocol revenue. It also covers the amounts of POKT that are currently app-staked or set to be acquired and staked. If you haven’t already, drop by and check it out!]

Arbitrum One is Now Supported!

As announced in the official Pocket Network Discord, Arbitrum One is now AllowListed! Node runners can now serve RPC requests to this chain and earn POKT.

Arbitrum One has been putting together impressive metrics across the board lately. This is especially true in terms of daily transactions, Total Value Locked, and Unique Active Wallets. Earlier this month, Arbitrum and Optimism actually combined to flip Ethereum for daily transaction volume. Layer 2s are taking off, and Arbitrum is leading the way. We’re excited to make Pocket Network a part of Arbitrum’s critical infrastructure!

As always, per the announcement:

“DO NOT add the RelayChainID to your Pocket Node stake until you have ensured your nodes are working correctly.”

Chain Highlights – Testnets and Archivals Surge

The top percentage gainer we’re highlighting this week is FUSE Archival, with relays up a whopping 231%. After hovering below 40,000 daily relays most of last week, the chain had a huge jump to nearly 175,000 on January 11th. Since then, FUSE Archival has maintained and slightly added to that number, peaking just above 190,000 daily relays. This performance caused a major jump of 18 spots up the average earnings per node rankings. The chain is now just inside the Top 15 for that metric (in the #13 spot at the end of this period).

Next up for the archival trend was Polygon Archival, with relays growing 36% this week. After 9 straight days hovering around 375,000 daily relays, Polygon Archival had a huge spike up on the last day of this period. With this spike, the chain went all the way to nearly 4 million daily relays. This sudden jump moved the chain up 8 spots in the average earnings per node rankings. It now occupies the #7 position, just below Klaytn.

Ethereum Goerli matched Polygon Archival’s performance, with a 36% increase in relays of its own. Ethereum Goerli began climbing last week on January 9th. The chain eventually rose from less than 900,000 daily relays to almost 1.8 million. After that peak early in this period, the chain took a dip towards 1.2 million over the next two days. However, it finished the week by bouncing back a bit and approaching 1.5 million again. Like the above chains, this performance helped Ethereum Goerli move up 5 spots in the average earnings per node charts, landing it a spot in the Top 15 (#14) and rounding out the trend we saw with increased relays from testnets and archivals.

Moving beyond archivals and testnets, Evmos also had 22% relay growth of its own. Relays took a big jump from around 4.5 million to close to 8 million towards the end of the last Recap period. In this week, they started off by maintaining right around 7 million daily relays, before rising over the course of the last three days and eventually clearing 8 million daily.

IoTeX also had a strong week, with 17% relay growth. The chain cleared 13 million daily relays early in this period, before dipping back towards 10 million per day. IoTeX ended the week by climbing back up – it was a fairly volatile week for the chain, but overall we’ve seen a positive trend going back to January 9th.

Finally, Klaytn also had a 12% increase in relays. The chain just keeps chugging along with its strong multi-week run. It cleared 8 million daily relays twice this week after topping out around 7.5 million last week. Even with a slight dip for the last four days of this period, Klaytn still maintained around 7.5 million daily relays, which helped it stay steady in the #6 spot for average earnings per node.

For the developers out there, remember to visit the Pocket Portal to get set up with RPC endpoints for these and other chains that Pocket Network supports!

Ethereum loses about an 8% share of total relays compared to last week, while testnets and archivals help the "Other" category bump up by 1%.

Total POKT Earned

From January 12th through January 18th, the order of the Top 3 earners was the same as last week. Of course, with the weekly drop in relays, Ethereum’s earnings dropped significantly, from about 2M last week to 1.2M this week. Polygon also took a substantial drop from 619k last week, while the Gnosis – xDai drop was somewhat less pronounced.

Average Daily Relays Per Node – Testnets and Archivals Shine Again

In terms of average daily relays per node, we saw the following chains make the Top 15 list.

Last week, we had no movement in the top 3. This week we had no movement in the top 6. However, after that, things got more interesting, with archivals and testnets making several moves.

First up was Polygon Archival jumping up 8 spots and moving into the Top 10, thanks to a 36% increase in relays combined with a 42% decrease in the number of node runners servicing the chain. During this period, there were about 300 node runners servicing the chain, who benefited from the jump in relays.

Another big mover was FUSE Archival, as the chain rocketed up 18 spots and made it onto this list. As mentioned in the Chain Highlights, FUSE Archival has maintained a huge jump in relays since January 11th, going from around 40k daily relays to close to 200k. At the same time, the number of node runners servicing the chain actually went from more than 500 last week to about 130 this week, so the rewards from this serious increase in traffic were spread between fewer nodes.

The last upwards move to highlight here was Ethereum Goerli, which bumped up 5 spots to make it on this list. Like Polygon Archival, Ethereum Goerli relays were up 36%, at some points virtually doubling last week’s daily figures. It’s the same story with some of the other chains here – more relays spread amongst fewer node runners electing to service this particular chain (1.5k node runners servicing Goerli last week, compared to 1k this week).  

Node Infrastructure

As of January 18th, Pocket Network’s decentralized infrastructure included 22,974 active nodes across more than 25 different countries, allowing the network to provide constant uptime and resiliency while supporting dozens of different chains. 

This total node count was up about 1.7% from the previous week, a moderate bucking of the trend of node consolidation that we’d seen over recent weeks.

Note: PIP-22 and PUP-19 brought big changes to the incentives that shape Pocket’s node infrastructure, by way of introducing stake-weighted servicer rewards and increased validator rewards. We’ll likely continue seeing a consolidation of nodes, as node runners and providers combine stakes to take advantage of these incentive structures that have been rolled out in v0.9.0.

Wrap Up

  • A drop in public endpoint relays from Ethereum and Polygon drive a network-wide pullback in relays.
  • Arbitrum One is the newest addition to Pocket’s supported blockchains!
  • Testnets and archivals make several different moves up the average earnings per node rankings.
  • Evmos, IoTeX, and Klaytn buck the overall trend and post double-digit percentage growth.

Thank you for reading!