Today we’re covering eth2’s traction, performance, slashing, and development funding.
Eth2 is continuing to gain momentum as almost 1.3m ETH has now been deposited (more than 1% of all ETH). The validator queue is at almost 12,000, meaning that a new validator will need to wait almost 2 weeks to begin participating on the network.
If the queue never reaches zero, if there are always new validators waiting to join, the network will see more than 12m ETH staked by the end of 2021. This would bring the reward rate to around 5%.
The network has continued to operate smoothly, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
While the participation rate is generally high (98-99%), there are times when it jumps by 3% or more. The current theory is that this is related to one of the clients sometimes having a slow epoch transition which needs to be further optimized. This is normal for a newly launched network and our expectation is that this and other bugs will be ironed out in the coming months.
Barnabé Monnot of the Robust Incentives Group (Ethereum Foundation) explored the first 1,000 epochs of eth2. While the entire post is great, I want to call special attention to the significant improvements client teams have made to their attestation aggregation performance. This was a particularly worrisome metric on the Medalla testnet that unnecessarily bloated the network, so it's great to see these improvements.
Eth2 is continuing to see slashings, bringing the total slashed validator count to 14. Although it’s impossible to know the exact cause of each issue without speaking to the operators directly, it is safe to assume that all were the result of improper infrastructure setup, as the eth2 network itself has been incredibly stable. Typically this setup issue involves running two nodes with the same validator keys on them without proper safety checks for node uptime or existing validator actions (e.g. checking for an existing block proposal before making a new one).
Attester slashings can be the result of double attestation votes or surround votes. Double attestation votes are rare if the network is stable because even if two validators are online and signing with the same keys, they likely have the same view of the network and thus sign the same exact attestation. Surround votes are proving to be much more common and occur when validators with the same keys are out of sync with each other. Note—the validators need to be very out of sync (by at least 2 epochs / 12.8 minutes) for this to happen, which is hard to do without turning a machine off, being eclipsed or simply not connected, or having a misconfigured or attacked local time.
As a reminder, over-optimizing for liveness is the primary reason node operators get slashed! One of the beautiful things about eth2’s design is that it is extremely forgiving of downtime. Both enthusiasts and professional node operators should review their setups in light of recent slashings to ensure they do not get slashed.
Eth2 required an enormous amount of open source work and was made possible largely through grants and community efforts. There are still several years of work ahead to bring the full eth2 vision to life and I believe it’s important that we as a community continue to support these efforts.
Gitcoin’s 8th round of grants is now live and Protolambda was kind enough to create a collection of eth2 grants to make it incredibly easy to donate to eth2 development. Most donations qualify for CLR matching. Because of the CLR matching bonus, a single dollar donated can be matched by an additional $100 or more.
While you’re at it, consider donating via ZKsync for fast and cheap transactions.
Mara Schmiedt, Bison Trails’ Business Development Manager, co-authored a white paper modelling eth2 as an internet bond with Collin Myers of Consensys. You can read the full white paper, “The Internet Bond: Digital Work Agreements in the Web3.0 Era.”
In case you missed it last week, watch the recap of Messari’s live event “The Road to ETH 2.0” featuring Joe Lallouz, Viktor Bunin, and Mara Schmiedt of Bison Trails along with other eth2 experts. Messari’s accompanying definitive report—“ETH 2.0: The Next Evolution of the Cryptoeconomy”—explores the implications of eth2 for the Ethereum ecosystem.
Those new to the world of eth2 (or just in need of a refresher) can check out our guide to eth2 and accompanying eth2 Terminology Guide, a living and non-exhaustive list of key terms to understand the eth2 protocol.
Enterprise participants in the Bison Trails eth2 Pioneer Program have early access to Bison Trails’ suite of eth2 products, including:
Leading exchanges, banks, and enterprises have already joined our eth2 Pioneer Program and are beginning to integrate with our validator management API. Last week Bison Trails enabled eth2 mainnet cluster creation, which allowed Bison Trails and a number of our earliest eth2 pioneers to begin submitting deposits to the Beacon Chain. Our product and engineering teams are working diligently with our pioneers to address any issues that arise and to ensure upcoming launches run smoothly.
It’s not too late to be an eth2 Pioneer! Contact us to learn more about the eth2 Pioneer Program. We want you to have access to build on the Beacon Chain!
For custodial staking, use Coinbase's eth2 retail staking solution powered by Bison Trails.
—Viktor Bunin, Protocol Specialist
Bison Trails is a blockchain infrastructure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company based in New York City. We built a platform for anyone who wants to participate in 21 new chains effortlessly.
We also make it easy for anyone building Web 3.0 applications to connect to blockchain data from 33 protocols with Query & Transact (QT). Our goal is for the entire blockchain ecosystem to flourish by providing robust infrastructure for the pioneers of tomorrow.
In January, 2021, we announced Bison Trails joined Coinbase to accelerate our mission to provide easy-to-use blockchain infrastructure, now as a standalone product line. The Bison Trails platform will continue to support our customers. With Coinbase’s backing, we will enhance our infrastructure platform and make it even easier to participate in decentralized networks and build applications that connect to blockchain data.
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