eth2 + Bison Trails





Why Choose Bison Trails

Participate with confidence based on Bison Trails’ experience and expertise with eth2. We were one of the early validators on the first eth2 client testnet and have been participating in various testnets for the past year.

  • Connect and interact with the Beacon Chain via private, secure, and reliable read and write nodes (write available in Phase 1.5)
  • Create and manage validators and Beacon Chain nodes via a secure validator management API
  • Reduce the challenge of manually managing active network participation with our platform’s automatic node management workflow
  • Easily access information such as staking rewards, validator information, and more via a fully indexed eth2 Beacon Chain reporting API
  • Run nodes across multiple availability zones and cloud providers for uptime and near-infinite resiliency
  • Keep your infrastructure safe with best-in-class security for key management using CloudHSM and YubiHSM hardware

Unlike other proof of stake protocols that are trying to start from nothing to build and scale a new protocol, Ethereum is already a protocol that has tokens in the hands of millions of people with tens of thousands of dApps. It’s starting from a very different place. This is important for the ecosystem as a whole as well.

Joe Lallouz Joe Lallouz, CEO

    A Guide to Eth2 by Bison TrailsNavigate to a Section:

  1. Introduction
  2. How Eth2 Works
  3. How to participate
  4. Rewards
  5. Risks of participation
  6. Why run Eth2 nodes with Bison Trails?

An Introduction to Eth2

Today, Ethereum is a Proof of Work blockchain that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. With eth2, the protocol is transitioning to Proof of Stake and improving its scalability and decentralization without sacrificing security. The new protocol design allows Ethereum to remain accessible for regular users to run validators and secure the network. It is optimized for hundreds of thousands of validators with low startup costs and forgiving slashing and downtime penalties.

The eth2 research team has planned a non-sequential transition that will allow all current users to shift to the new consensus mechanism without interruption. During the early phases of the transition, Ethereum 1.x and eth2 chains will run in parallel, with their own state and inflation; eventually, Ethereum 1.x will be merged into eth2.

eth2 Timeline

For more on the roll-out of the Ethereum 1.x <> eth2 merge, read our guide to eth2.

How Eth2 Works

eth2 will have a Beacon Chain in Phase 0 and 64 shard chains in Phase 1. The Beacon Chain holds the shards together and enables consensus and cross-shard communication. It has a registry of validator addresses, the state and balance of each validator, attestations, and links to shards; it is the central controller of the eth2 system.

eth2 has 12-second-long slots and epochs of 32 slots / 6.4 minutes. A slot is a chance for a block to be added to the Beacon Chain and shards. A block is not required for every slot. In optimal conditions, for every slot one Beacon Chain block and 64 shard blocks will be created.

Every slot, a validator is pseudorandomly chosen by RANDAO (a random beacon) as a block proposer. At least one committee is also chosen as attesters.

A committee is a group of validators with a target size of 128 validators. As attestors, the validators review the proposed beacon blocks and shard blocks, and vote on them. These votes, called attestations, are recorded on the Beacon Chain and determine the chain head of the Beacon Chain and each shard.

This process ensures a block was made correctly. The more attestors involved, the more confident there is that the block is well made. The process also provides assurance that the next validator selected will produce a block on the right chain.

As the number of validators increases, more committees are assigned to a slot. The maximum number of committees per slot is 64. When shards are added, committees will not just attest to a specific slot, but will also crosslink to a particular shard to keep the protocol in sync.

The block in the first slot of an epoch is the checkpoint. This is how the chain periodically agrees on finality. It is finalized in two epochs (12.8 minutes).

While validators are the entities participating in consensus, validator clients are the nodes that hold the validators. The validator clients connect to public-facing beacon nodes to enable the validators to participate on the chain. Beacon nodes follow and read the full Beacon Chain, similar to an Ethereum GETH node does today.

How to Participate on Eth2

Eth2 allows participation on the network for a broader set of token holders than most PoS chains. 32 ETH represents a relatively low staking requirement and low entry point for running a validator that earns rewards. Please note: there is no delegation or stake pooling at the protocol level.

  1. Generate keys: To run an eth2 validator, two keys must be generated—the validator key and the withdrawal key. The withdrawal key is the custodial key where the ETH on the Beacon Chain will be withdrawn from in Phase 2. Please note: the withdrawal key should be secured and backed up as a cold key or stored in a hardware wallet or offline device.
  2. Deposit ETH: After keys are generated, a token holder can deposit ETH into a smart contract on the Ethereum 1.X mainnet. This contract is unidirectional: the deposited tokens are inaccessible on the Ethereum 1.X chain and they are unlocked on the Eth2 chain as Beacon ETH. Processing this deposit takes a minimum of 7 hours, 1,024 blocks Ethereum 1.X blocks (~4 hours) + Epochs per Eth2 Voting Period (~3.4 hours). This delay protects against chain reorganization and double spends on Ethereum 1.X.
  3. Index Assignment: An index is assigned once a validator is added to the list of validators on Eth2. The index is permanently tied to the validator entered into the deposit contract and cannot change from the time of the initial deposit until the validator exits and fully withdraws. The validator immediately joins the validator registry but is inactive.
  4. Validator Activation: The validator becomes active after a minimum of 4 epochs (25.6 minutes) to ensure the RANDAO is not able to be manipulated. The period may exceed 4 epochs if many validators join at the same time. The validator entrance queue and the corresponding exit queue ensure stability of the validator set and that there are no issues with finality due to a lot of validators going offline simultaneously.

Only 900 validators can be activated a day (4 per epoch) until 327,680 active validators are in the network. Once that goal is achieved, 1125 validators a day (5 per epoch) can be activated in an epoch.

The number of validators that can be activated every day increases by 225 (an additional 1 per epoch) with every additional 64k validators. The same pattern applies to validator exits. This could result in congestion—a wait of a few hours or days—if validators attempt to join or leave the network simultaneously.

Rewards on Eth2

Validators earn three types of rewards for participating in consensus.

  1. Proposer rewards are earned by validators when they are randomly selected as a proposer and perform the duty of producing a block on chain. The proposer’s efforts are rewarded if they include a proof from a whistleblower that results in a validator being slashed and they include attestations from other validators.
  2. Attester rewards are earned by the validators selected to vote and agree with a decision on eth2. Attestations (votes) are the basis of consensus and are rewarded in five ways: (1) getting an attestation on-chain, (2) agreeing with other validators on the history of the chain, (3) agreeing with others about the head of the chain, (4) getting their attestation on-chain quickly, and (5) pointing to the correct block in the assigned shard.
  3. Whistleblower rewards are earned by a validator that provides proof on-chain that another validator has committed a slashable offense.

The inflation rate on eth2 decreases as the staking rate increases. Because so much depends on how many people lock up ETH to support the transition to eth2, it is difficult to clearly identify a rate of inflation and reward rate. Given the risks and opportunities apparent with eth2, we assume that:

  • In the short-term, there will be about 1 million ETH staked resulting in an inflation rate of .17% and a reward rate of 18.10%
  • In the medium-term, there will be about 10 million ETH staked resulting in an inflation rate of .54% and a reward rate of 5.72%.

Rewards are designed to incentivize early validators starting at a 23% rate of reward at network launch. Anyone considering participating on eth2 benefits from running their validator as early as possible.

Rewards do not compound on eth2. They are earned based on the effective balance on the validator, which is capped at 32 BETH. As long as the validator is earning rewards and not being penalized, the true balance will start at 32 BETH and increase while the effective balance will remain consistent at 32 BETH. After Phase 2 is live, validators will be able to withdraw all their rewards, combine them, and run additional validators.

Risks of Participation on Eth2

On eth2, validators can experience penalties and slashing. Penalties are significantly less severe than slashing.

Penalties act like negative rewards. If a well-performing validator can make a 10% reward rate in a year, a poorly-performing validator could lose 10% in the most extreme circumstances, such as being offline regularly or voting on blocks that do not get finalized. In most circumstances, the penalty for being offline is simply not earning rewards. If a validator is online greater than 53.6% of the time, assuming no inactivity leak, it will break even.

Slashing carries a heavy punishment for validators that commit a significant offense, burning a minimum 1 BETH and a maximum of the entire stake. The validator is automatically ejected from the Beacon Chain active set.

The two slashing conditions for validators are:

  • Double voting (double signing): when a validator votes for two different blocks during the same epoch, signalling support for two different versions of reality
  • Surround voting (double attesting): when a validator attests one version of reality—i.e. chain state—and later attests to another version without reconciliation

Emitting a slashable vote is uncommon for validators that correctly follow the protocol: forming a slashable message without malicious intent only occurs as a result of some bug or accident. Because these errors are bound to happen, eth2 minimizes the slashing amount by destroying stake in proportion to the number of validators slashed around the same time. However, if a large number of validators commit an offence at a similar time, a large amount of their stake is burnt (up to their full balance) because an attack is assumed. This is called correlated slashing. All slashed validators, whether due to a mistake or a malicious act, are forcibly exited from participating in the protocol and can not return until Phase 2.

For more on the risks associated with participating on eth2, read our guide.

Participating on Eth2 with Bison Trails

To support eth2, Bison Trails will offer a suite of enterprise products including:

  • Private, secure, and reliable read and write nodes to connect and interact with the Beacon Chain (write available in Phase 1.5)
  • A secure validator management API enabling the creation and management of validators and Beacon Chain nodes
  • A fully featured Participate Cluster product allowing our customers to manage their Beacon Chain and validators from within the Bison Trails platform
  • A fully indexed eth2 Beacon Chain reporting API to call information including staking rewards, validator information, and more

Because stake and rewards are locked up for several years on eth2, choosing an infrastructure provider you trust is an important consideration. It is risky to change providers because transfering a validator requires sharing the private key, risking slashing. Bison Trails has been running secure, reliable, and redundant Ethereum 1.X Geth nodes for 2 years. We were one of the early validators on the first eth2 client testnet and have been participating in various testnets for the past year.

Bison Trails runs participate clusters across multiple availability zones and cloud providers. Your nodes have near-infinite resiliency and unmatched availability. We designed an intuitive user experience that is surprisingly simple given the complexity of the underlying technology. Our platform’s automatic node management workflow reduces the challenges of manually managing active network participation, while keeping our customers in full control of their infrastructure. We provide 24/7 monitoring and support to keep your infrastructure safe with best-in-class security architecture for key management using CloudHSM and YubiHSM hardware.

Latest eth2 News


eth2 update 014 We cover eth2’s first incident, how a similar incident would impact eth2 post merge and EIP-1559, and announce our support for Lighthouse.


What is eth2?


A guide to eth2 including how consensus, staking, rewards, exiting, and slashing work.


eth2 terminology: a non-exhaustive list of key terms to understand the eth2 protocol



eth2 Research & Insights


eth2 insights: network performance

eth2 insights: network performance The fourth post in our eth2 Insights Series discusses Medalla’s arc of development, the metrics to gauge overall network health, and shares perspective on eth2 Mainnet

eth2 insights: validator effectiveness The third post in our eth2 Insights Series discusses the parameters governing validator effectiveness in eth2 and how validators were distributed along those in Medalla

eth2 insights: slashings The second post in our eth2 Insights Series zooms into slashings in Medalla, examining their correlates and probable causes

eth2 insights: aggregation performance The first post in our eth2 Insights Series reveals important insights into the performance, and importance, of validator attestation aggregation in the eth2 network

eth2 Medalla Data Challenge: Q&A with Protocol Specialist Elias Simos A deep dive with Elias into the challenges faced during the eth2 Medalla Data Challenge and how data-informed research can help improve eth2 in the progression to a mainnet launch


Media mentions


Modern Consensus: Finally, Ethereum 2.0 launches

Coinspeaker: Initial Phase of ETH 2.0 December 1 Launch Confirmed Hours Before Deadline

CoinDesk: Blockchain Bites: Ethereum 2.0 Deposit Contract Fully Loaded, IRS Sends Befuddling Letters – Again

U Today: Ethereum 2.0 Just Reached Significant Milestone

CoinDesk: Ethereum 2.0 Deposit Contract Is 75% Funded Ahead of Dec. 1 Soft Launch

The Defiant: Ethereum OG Whales Biggest Stakers in Eth2 Deposit Contract

BeInCrypto: Ethereum 2.0 Sees $10 Million Stake from Dubai-Based Investment Firm

Decrypt: Ethereum Stakers Commit 50,000 ETH to Upcoming Launch

The Coin Republic: Bison Trails Added Support for Features of Ethereum 2.0

Crowdfund Insider: Blockchain Infrastructure Developer Bison Trails to Add Support for Eth2, a Major System-wide Upgrade to Ethereum (ETH)

Coinspeaker: Bison Trails Supports Ethereum 2.0 to Enable Participants to Add Validators Easily

NewsBTC: Libra Partner Bison Trails Just Announced Support for Ethereum 2.0

NASDAQ: Blockchain Tech Vendor Bison Trails Adds Ethereum 2.0 Support

Modern Consensus: Bison Trails rolls out support for Ethereum 2.0

investing.com: Blockchain Service Bison Trails Announces Support for Ethereum 2.0

Europe World News: Bison Trails announced support for Ethereum 2.0 on its platform

Decrypt: Blockchain infrastructure firm Bison Trails gears up for Ethereum 2.0

Cointelegraph: Blockchain Service Bison Trails Announces Support for Ethereum 2.0

CoinDesk: Blockchain Tech Vendor Bison Trails Adds Ethereum 2.0 Support



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THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT CONSTRUE ANY SUCH INFORMATION OR OTHER MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT AS LEGAL, TAX, INVESTMENT, FINANCIAL, OR OTHER ADVICE. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION OR ENDORSEMENT OF ANY DIGITAL ASSET, PROTOCOL, NETWORK OR PROJECT. HOWEVER, BISON TRAILS (INCLUDING ITS AFFILIATES AND/OR EMPLOYEES) MAY HAVE, OR MAY IN THE FUTURE HAVE, A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL INTEREST IN, AND MAY RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RELATED TO, ONE OR MORE OF THE DIGITAL ASSETS, PROTOCOLS, NETWORKS, ENTITIES, PROJECTS AND/OR VENTURES DISCUSSED HEREIN.

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