Today we’re covering eth2’s traction and the recent spate of slashings.
Eth2 is continuing to grow! There is now:
The activation queue has continued to shrink from its peak of about a peak of three weeks to just over one week now. The beacon chain adds 900 validators to the active set per day, requiring deposits of 28,800 ETH to maintain the queue. As the chart below shows, the deposit contract has not met this threshold in weeks, leading to a shortening queue.
With ETH’s recent meteoric rise, token holders seem to prefer to keep their ETH liquid or find higher yield opportunities in DeFi. This balance between ETH staked in eth2 vs ETH locked in DeFi will be important for chain security once eth1 and eth2 merge.
Slashings are continuing to occur on eth2. In our last update we covered the largest slashing to date (of 16 validators), which Ben Edgington highlighted in his excellent What’s New in Eth2, excerpted below. Today we will examine two even larger slashing events, the largest of which comprised more than half of total slashings on eth2! Here’s a look at these three slashing incidents.
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 second mass-slashing incident took place between epochs [14277, 14299]. During the incident, 75 validators were slashed over roughly 1.5 hours, suggesting it was a broader issue with the operator’s infrastructure rather than an isolated incident.
All the violations recorded were attester violations of the double vote type, where most followed the s1>s2>t2=t1 pattern–meaning that the misbehaving validators attested to two conflicting source epoch boundaries while agreeing on the target epoch boundary.
18 epochs after slashing (~2 hours), we saw the participation temporarily drop from 96% to 88%, a decrease of 8%; this is a little bit less than our estimate for the total share of the network run by Staked.us, who have claimed responsibility for this event and published a post-mortem.
The most recent mass-slashing incident shares characteristics with the first two.
No one has come forward publicly to claim responsibility for these slashed validators.
The three largest incidents now account for 81% of all slashings on eth2 and roughly estimated total losses of $600k between slashing penalties and missed rewards. The network is currently operating with reduced slashing and penalty parameters. If full slashing penalties were enabled, estimated losses would have totaled roughly $750k.
Eth2 is designed with the decentralized retail staker in mind—it is forgiving of downtime, but harshly penalizes more elaborate setups and large operations. Issues at the infrastructure level exponentially increase losses and must be carefully managed.
Lastly, I’m proud to share that Mara Schmiedt, business development manager at Bison Trails, along with a team from across the ecosystem, received a grant from the Ethereum Foundation for an audited implementation of a secret-shared validator configuration. This tooling will be a critical piece of eth2 for improved validator resilience and diversification on the network.
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 Pioneers 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 Validator Management API to ensure validators transition to the active set seamlessly as more Pioneers go live.
We’re working a mix of feature enhancements and new product development based on our 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 25 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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