How Proof-of-Stake works
Anyone can do it; the more validators the better for the network.
An important prerequisite though is a high-performance server with strong connection operating 24/7.
Should a validator attempt to cheat or stay idle, their stake is fully or partially taken as a penalty.
How validators achieve consensus
An ad hoc Byzantine Fault Tolerant Catchain protocol was developed to ensure that stakeholders achieve consensus as long as the number of cheaters among them is 1/3 or less.
Also, the protocol provides mathematical proofs of cheating attempts that is used as evidence for imposing penalties.
A user adds a small surplus amount in TON Coins that represents a fee paid to validators as a reward for their work. Reward is distributed proportionally to the effective stakes of the validators.
Additionally, new TON Coins are generated during validation. These also go to validators. Overall annual coin inflation is about 0.6%.
What if a validator tries cheating?
By design, any cheating attempt in the Catchain Protocol is instantly detected. Upon the receipt of a mathematical proof of cheating, other validators immediately stop interacting with a cheater node. Then validators hold an automated vote to fine the cheater that consequently loses its stake fully or partially.
What if a validator underperforms or fails?
Each validator tracks processing statistics of other validators. If the number of transactions processed per period is too small for a particular node, validators collectively vote to fine it and it loses its stake fully or partially