Mastery Series: How to Select a Node Operator for Delegation

SubQuery Network
5 min readMay 13, 2024

Welcome to the first instalment of the SubQuery Mastery Series, where we help you navigate the SubQuery Network and ensure you maximise potential rewards. If you’re reading this article you may already be familiar with SubQuery and you are probably evaluating who to delegate your SQT tokens to.

If you want to dive deeper into SubQuery’s operations (more than what we explain here), you can visit our SubQuery Network Documentation

Currently, there are a variety of active Node Operators on the SubQuery Network which can be seen on our dashboard at https://app.subquery.network/dashboard. You can also check the current count through our app, accessible under the Delegator > Node Operators section.

Naturally, you may be asking yourself, how do I choose from so many different Node Operators? How many Node Operators should I delegate to? What do all the different metrics mean? Well, we’re going to cover all the ins and outs of delegating your SQT in this article. First, a little recap on what it means to delegate your SQT.

What is Delegating?

Delegating is taking your SQT tokens and staking them to a specific Node Operator. In exchange, you receive SQT rewards back with an APY that varies but typically hovers around 15%.

Delegators are network participants who delegate SQT to one or more Node Operators. They play a vital role in securing the network without the need to operate a SubQuery Indexer or RPC node themselves. Because of this, the Delegator role is the perfect fit for less technical folk who want to contribute to the success of SubQuery and support their favourite Node Operators, while also receiving rewards while doing so.

There is no minimum delegation required to be a Delegator. This means that anyone can join no matter how much SQT they have access to.

What do Node Operators do with your SQT?

The SubQuery Network utilises a token utility model. In this model, service providers to the network (such as indexer and RPC nodes) stake SubQuery Tokens (SQT) and offer their services in the offer/query marketplace. In addition to being rewarded by providing indexed data or RPC services to customers, Node Operators are also incentivised to hold SQT roughly in proportion to the amount of work they seek to contribute to the network. Therefore, the more SQT is delegated to a Node Operator, the more rewards they can receive.

To attract Delegators, Node Operators will share a portion of their rewards with Delegators. Node Operators are incentivised to do this and the commission rate they set (equivalent to the amount that they share) is a competitive number between Node Operators.

How to select which Node Operator to delegate to?

When deciding on a Node Operator to delegate to, it’s typically wise to diversify your delegation across multiple Node Operators. This is because the performance of Node Operators can vary between Eras, so diversifying means you reduce the risk of being impacted by any sudden performance issues. If your SQT holdings are limited, you might opt to delegate to a single Node Operator to minimise incurred fees. However, SubQuery opted to launch our network on Base, meaning that while gas fees are incurred each time you delegate to a different Node Operator, the fees are minimal.

When you’re selecting a Node Operator, there are several metrics on the SubQuery Network to help you understand the indexer’s performance and reputation before you delegate.

Node Operator Metrics

When comparing Node Operators, a key metric to look at is the estimated APY which indicates an estimate of the total amount of SQT rewards you’ll receive on an annualised basis by delegating to this Node Operator.

The estimated APY is calculated from statistics of Delegator rewards from that Node Operator from the previous Era, as conditions change between Eras, please note that the estimate is not a guarantee for future Eras.

Although APY can be considered a direct indicator of how your delegated SQT will perform, there are several other metrics shown on this page that you can consider when delegating which are summarised below:

  • Delegated indicates the total amount of SQT delegated to this particular Node Operator. The larger number indicates the current era, while the smaller number indicates the updated figures for the next era. More commission indicates that Delegators trust this Node Operator, and have already delegated a substantial amount of SQT
  • Remaining Capacity tells you how much capacity this Node Operator has for additional delegations. A Node Operator can only receive at most 11 times its own stake in Delegation. This is to ensure that Node Operators are not over-leveraged and rely too much on Delegation without showing their own commitment.
  • Own Stake is the amount of the Node Operator staked SQT that was contributed by the Node Operator (rather than being delegated). A higher value indicates that the Node Operator has more skin in the game and is confident to provide a high level of service.
  • Commission is determined by the Node Operator (also known as Node Operator’s Commission Rate (NOCR)) which is the percentage of the rewards pool that Node Operators earn. Therefore, a lower NOCR is more attractive for Delegators as a larger percentage of rewards is shared between Delegators.

Node Operator Community Conduct

Outside of the SubQuery Network app, you can also determine a worthy Node Operator based on their conduct in the community. A well-respected and well-known indexer will be less likely to risk their reputation for high rewards. They’ll often also be more willing to help you in times of need.

Things to consider are:

  • Community Engagement: Is the indexer visible and engaged in SubQuery’s Discord, Telegram or Twitter? Are they actively contributing to discussions?
  • Support: does the indexer help their delegators? Do they promptly respond to questions or concerns which are brought up in Discord and elsewhere?
  • Accessibility: Can you easily reach out to your indexer for inquiries? Do they provide contact options such as a website, Twitter, Telegram, or Discord?

Ready to Delegate?

Now that you know how to select an indexer, delegating is easy!

Once you have some SQT in your favourite wallet, you can head to the SubQuery Network app and follow this step-by-step guide and video.

About SubQuery

SubQuery Network is innovating web3 infrastructure with tools that empower builders to decentralise the future. Our fast, flexible, and open data indexer supercharges dApps on over 180 networks, enabling a user-focused web3 world. Soon, our Data Node will provide breakthroughs in the RPC industry, and deliver decentralisation without compromise. We pioneer the web3 revolution for visionaries and forward-thinkers. We’re not just a company — we’re a movement driving an inclusive and decentralised web3 era. Let’s shape the future of web3, together.

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