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POA's consensus mechanism is unique in the public blockchain space. United States notaries serve as validators providing consensus and protecting the chain.
POA Network is governed by a decentralized group of US public notaries called validators (See POADAO consensus for more information). In addition to providing consensus on transactions, validators make all governance decisions through exclusive distributed applications (DApps). Every decision is recorded on the POA blockchain. This process creates an effective self-governed system where changes can be made quickly and efficiently to better serve the network.
Each POA Network validator is required to be a public notary within the United States in good standing. A public notary is considered a public official of integrity appointed by a state government. They are duty-bound to provide impartial and trusted witness to the signing of official documents. This requirement creates a standard for network validators and allows for accessible identity verification. In addition, every US state has different rules regarding notary licensing. Because validators reside in many different states, no single state law can impact all validators at once.
By putting their identity at stake, validators risk their reputations in order to host a decentralized node. This transparency creates personal and group accountability as validators know their actions and participation are written to the public ledger and available for anyone to view.
Validators are selected through various considerations such as knowledge about Blockchain, background, merit, interest, and a willingness to commit to the network. New validators start by introducing themselves in the public forum, confirming their notary status and participating in discussions. Participating candidates may then be added to a ballot to serve as validators on the POA Sokol testnet. If they continue to participate, they may then be added to a ballot to join the POA Network validators. A current validator must add a candidate to the ballot, and a majority vote is required for a new candidate to join the network as a validator.