Slashing

What is slashing? How does Bison Trails minimize slashing risks?


What is Slashing?

Slashing—a mechanism built into Proof of Stake blockchain protocols to discourage validator misbehavior—is designed to incentivize node security, availability, and network participation. The two key misbehaviors that incur slashing are downtime and double signing. While the specifics of slashing are defined within each protocol, the mechanism is similar: a predefined percentage of a validator’s tokens are lost when it does not behave consistently or as expected on the network. Double signing penalties are typically much larger than downtime penalties.


What is Correlated Slashing?

Polkadot and eth2, among other networks, incentivize decentralization and security with correlated slashing. Correlated slashing means that slashing penalties escalate based on the percentage of total validators participating in the behavior (downtime or double signing) at the same time. For example, if 25 out 200 validators are down, the slashing penalty is smaller per validator than if 50 out of 200 are down.


What is Downtime?

Downtime occurs when a validator is unavailable to sign transactions on a blockchain for a certain period of time. Expectations for the uptime of a validator are dependent upon the protocol. If a node remains unavailable for long enough, it may be subject to penalties, including slashing.

Downtime often occurs if a node’s cloud infrastructure goes offline or a node is out of sync with the chain. Not all protocols consider downtime a slashing offense.


What is Double Signing?

Double signing occurs when a validating entity (private key) submits two signed messages for the same block. This behavior may occur if a node operator, or infrastructure provider, optimizes their node configuration to prevent downtime by having a highly available backup entity running at the same time as a primary entity.

Many Proof of Stake protocols penalize double signing because this validator misbehavior makes it more difficult for the network to reach consensus. Consensus—how nodes on a network verify transactions and their order in a decentralized blockchain network—is a critical step to prevent invalid data being written to the ledger, the record of all transactions.

The slashing penalties for double signing can be very dangerous for anyone participating with their stake in a network: token holders and validators can lose existing funds, not just miss out on future rewards.


How does Bison Trails minimize the risks of slashing?

Under development for the better part of a year, Bison Trails’ Double Signing Protection software addresses one of the biggest risks of participating in a Proof of Stake blockchain network: slashing penalties if a validator double signs blocks. With Double Signing Protection, it’s now much safer for anyone using Bison Trails’ infrastructure to participate in supported networks.

Bison Trails’ Double Signing Protection was designed to address the need to minimize the cost of losing stake and reductions in rewards for customers running a node—on networks like Tezos that have double signing penalties—in order to minimize the risks of participation and further professionalize blockchain infrastructure service for our customers.

“Without double signing software, operators have to be careful or run scripts that check that they haven’t made a mistake. Bison Trails’ double signing protection provides guarantees and tooling for our response teams to be able to more confidently failover, ensuring high uptime without the risk of double signing.” —Aaron Henshaw, CTO
Learn More


Bison Trails: Pioneering Blockchain Infrastructure®


Our mission is to provide superior infrastructure on multiple blockchains, to strengthen the entire ecosystem, and enable the pioneers of tomorrow.

Bison Trails is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service company, based in New York City, specifically focused on blockchain participation. We’ve built a platform for anyone who wants to participate in new chains effortlessly (e.g. by running Cosmos Validators, Tezos Bakers, and Libra Validators, etc.)—without having to invest time and resources into developing any of the engineering, protocol, dev ops, or security competencies in-house. Our goal is for the entire blockchain ecosystem to flourish by providing robust infrastructure for the pioneers of tomorrow.

Blockchain Terminology


bison cool

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.

THE RISK OF LOSS IN CRYPTOCURRENCY, INCLUDING STAKING, CAN BE SUBSTANTIAL AND NOTHING HEREIN IS INTENDED TO BE A GUARANTEE AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSS. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN ARE BASED ON INFORMATION WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE AND HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE BUT BISON TRAILS MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE FAIRNESS, ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, REASONABLENESS OR COMPLETENESS OF SUCH INFORMATION.

ANY USE OF BISON TRAILS’ SERVICES MAY BE CONTINGENT ON COMPLETION OF BISON TRAILS’ ONBOARDING PROCESS, INCLUDING ENTRANCE INTO APPLICABLE LEGAL DOCUMENTATION AND WILL BE, AT ALL TIMES, SUBJECT TO AND GOVERNED BY BISON TRAILS’ POLICIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ITS TERMS OF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY, AS MAY BE AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME.

help

Contact Us

Get in touch

General
Sales
Press
Legal