Today we’re covering eth2’s traction, performance, slashing, and a Phase 1 proposal.
Eth2 is continuing to grow as there is almost 2.3m ETH deposited (a full million more since our last update!), which is more than $2.5bn USD and about 2% of the total supply of ETH. The queue has grown from two to three weeks since our last update, and has stayed at that length since late December. These are positive signs that there is still immense interest in staking on eth2 as major exchanges and institutions are gearing up to enter the game.
Network performance has improved since our last update. The participation rate continues to hover around 99%, but the frequency of larger jumps (3% or more) has decreased. I expect the participation rate to rise in the coming months to 99.5%+, but doubt that it will ever consistently stay at 100% as folks continue to optimize for downtime rather than risk slashing.
Unfortunately, slashings are continuing to occur with both enthusiasts and professional validators impacted, bringing the total count to 30+ validators. Ben Edgington has begun tracking slashings and sharing his findings. He covered the largest slashing to date in his excellent What’s New in Eth2, excerpted below:
The most severe event was the slashing of 16 validators, accounting for fully half of the validators slashed so far, apparently belonging to the same owner. They are all in the range 38058 to 38148, and were created in a single batch of 100 stakes by a 3200 ETH deposit to this bulk-deposit contract. Etherscan tags the contract as “Staked.us: Eth2 Depositor” with a link out to the staked.us website, and comments in the contract code confirm that it was authored by staked.us. But the contract is open and anyone can use it. No one has come forward publicly to claim responsibility for these slashed validators. The website of staked.us says that they “have never been slashed.”—Ben Edgington
The eth2 community has been exemplary at quickly identifying root causes of slashings, sharing findings, and disseminating that knowledge to help others avoid similar fates.
The eth2 research team is hard at work designing the upcoming eth2 phases. Chief among them is Phase 1—Sharding—for which a data availability sampling proposal was released with an accompanying (much appreciated) explanation post from Vitalik.
In brief, this proposal pushes forward on the rollup-centric roadmap by introducing a limited form of sharding called “data sharding.” This allows the network to store and use a large amount of data without any individual node having to store the entirety of it.
This is useful because rollups are expected to significantly increase Ethereum throughput, but they still need to store data on the Ethereum blockchain. Prior “full” sharding proposals intended to have each shard have full EVM support (or something like eWASM). This is very difficult to implement well, so this newer and more limited proposal creates a path forward that still enables sharding, but uses those shards to enable scaling via rollups, not to serve as the scaling mechanism on their own right.
This doesn’t mean execution shards with EVM/eWASM are off the table. According to Vitalik, “the data-blob-only sharding design is forward-compatible with many approaches for adding execution in shards if this is later desired.”
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. In December, our first Pioneer's validators entered the active set, and our team took extra care watching the validators come online by doing spot checks to make sure our monitoring and alerting worked as expected. To close out the year, our teams refined the product to ensure validators transition to the active set seamlessly as more Pioneers go live.
As we enter the new year, we are spending the first week of January planning out the next quarter's projects, which will incorporate a mix of feature enhancements and new product development based on our own learnings and our customers' needs. We're excited to share the outputs with you all when the roadmap is ready!
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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