Today we’re covering eth2’s traction, eth1 withdrawal credentials, and a sneak peak at the eth1+eth2 merge spec.
Eth2 is continuing to grow! There is now:
The activation queue has continued to shrink from its peak of about three weeks, to just over three days 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 consistently met this threshold in weeks, leading to a shortening queue.
Fun fact—with 100k validators, there are on average 250 validator signatures attesting each second of every epoch. This is several orders of magnitude more than most protocols and is made possible by the BLS signature scheme.
Thankfully, there is no slashing update! After 130+ slashings in the first few months of operation, we’ve now gone almost three weeks without any new slashings. Prior slashings were mostly due to redundant setups for enthusiasts, or incorrect setups for professionals.
Eth2-spec PR 2149 was merged! This is a huge change, so let’s unwrap it together.
When you make a deposit onto eth2 you need to have your eth2 withdrawal credential available, which is a hash of your withdrawal public keys with the first two bytes zero’d out (0x00). PR 2149 adds eth1 withdrawal credentials by specifying a new withdrawal prefix version (0x01) whose content is a 20-byte eth1 address. Put simply:
Any existing depositors to the Beacon Chain already have their existing BLS withdrawal credentials. At some point in the future (prior to the merge of eth1 and eth2) they will also need to sign a message specifying the eth1 address that their funds will be withdrawn to.
Any new depositors can bypass the BLS key signing step above, and can instead just set the eth1 address at the time of deposit. By using the 0x01 withdrawal prefix, instead of 0x00, it is signaled to the protocol that this is an eth1 address.
This update is a particularly exciting development for staking pools. Today, staking pools are taking custody of user funds because the pool must control the withdrawal address. This address’ keypair can be generated using a distributed key generation technique, like Shamir Secret Sharing, but once the key shares are put together, the withdrawal key has total control over user funds with no safeguards.
PR 2149 makes it possible for staking pools to set a smart contract as the address to which they withdraw user funds. This smart contract can specify the exact logic and conditions that would enable users to claim their own funds (their initial deposit plus accumulated rewards), so that the staking pool operator does not take custody of these funds.
Staking pools can deploy these smart contracts soon and use the smart contract’s pubkey as the eth2 deposit’s withdrawal address. For validators that have already been deployed, staking pools (and everyone else) can specify the eth1 address at the time of the withdrawal.
As the eth2 R&D team stressed in prior months, the “phased” approach is no longer the best way of reasoning about the eth2 roadmap. Sharding, the merge, and executable shards are all separate tracks of ongoing work, and will not necessarily happen sequentially.
Because of this, while most folks are focused on rolling out sharding, the first draft of the eth1+eth2 merge spec is now live. This is a very early draft with no proposed implementation date, but a version of this doc will soon be ported into the spec repo. Keep an eye out, but try not to get too excited—there remains a lot of work to be done.
Enterprise participants in the Bison Trails eth2 Pioneer Program have early access to Bison Trails’ suite of eth2 products, including:
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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