As of a couple weeks ago, we crunched some numbers and landed on the avg delegated amount of Luna to each validator being 3.2M, but the median being only 961K. Validators don’t keep airdrops, and let’s say the base Luna staking yield is 5% (more than current, but hopefully less than post Col-5).
961K * 0.05 = 48K in annual Luna staking yield. If we convert that to USD at $6/Luna it’s $288K. Let’s also say the validator commission is 5%. That amounts to $14,400 annual revenue.
To set up your own hardware and infrastructure with multiple backup sources to prevent downtime is a significant capital investment with ongoing expenses. Outsourcing to a validator service provider will cost you roughly $2K/month in our benchmarking ($24,000 annually). That would leave you operating at a ~$10K annual loss.
All that is to say what you already know, but the community may not fully appreciate: validating is not typically a lucrative enterprise. We can make more optimistic projections for post Col-5 staking yield and future Luna price appreciation, but must also acknowledge validators take on the risk of bear and bull markets.
I hope to make the case here for 5% as a minimum consideration. I believe many may propose 1-2%, but 5% of your total Luna staking yield is not a significant burden, especially when it doesn’t affect the airdrops that appeal to many Luna stakers. I would hope the average is closer to 10% to be honest, as in current conditions 5% still leads to operating at a loss. I think it would be a good faith minimum though, as I understand people may balk at 10%.