8 things you should know before participating in Ethereum 2.0 Staking


Author: Cayman Nava

As Eth2 is expected to be released in a few months, we hope to share some key details about staking. Every validator should know this information before participating in staking.

1. If you are running a verified verifier software, then you may not have to worry about being “punished”

Obviously, no one wants to be punished. The Eth2 protocol includes a mechanism called slashing, which is used to punish validators who submit malicious data to the network. If you are running unaltered verifier software written by the Eth2 implementer team, then you probably don’t have to worry: the unmodified verifier software should ensure that the verifier will not perform punishable actions.

The punishment will be caused by the modification of these software, or use the same key to run multiple verifier clients at the same time. Remember, never use the same private key on multiple verifier clients. Therefore, if someone is fined, he will most likely know that he has committed a “malicious act”. Necessary warning: you should read the documentation of any verifier software you run.

2. Rewards and penalties are calculated for each epoch (about 6 minutes)

If you have participated in the testnet of Prysmatic Labs or any other client team, you may see a satisfactory growth trend graph. At the Eth2 protocol layer, time is divided into 6.4 minute increments, and every 6.4 minutes is called an epoch. During each epoch, the protocol assigns tasks to each participating verifier through an algorithm.

At the end of each epoch, the participation of the verifier will be scored, and each verifier who performs the task will be given a certain micro reward or punishment according to their participation.

3. You don’t have to be perfect

Although running a validator node for a long time will help maximize your profits, you don’t have to run it like a data center, nor do you have to pursue perfect uptime in order to make profits. The Eth2 protocol does not “penalize” inactive verifiers, but only deducts any increased revenue as an incremental penalty.

This means that as long as your verifier node’s online time exceeds 2/3 of the time (that is, after becoming a verifier, more than 2/3 of the time is online), you can still be profitable. but…

4. In some cases, offline verifiers will receive additional micro-punishment

The verifier needs to perform the task of advancing and finalizing the blockchain. If the chain stops the finalized process (that is, the block stops being finalized), for example, because a large number of validators are offline at the same time, then the protocol will react, trying to clear the offline validators and let the chain regain the finality .

When the Eth2 chain is not finalized in more than 4 epochs (that is, 25.6 minutes), those offline verifiers will be subject to “inactivity penalties.” This inactivity penalty will become worse as the chain fails to finalize the epoch. If your verifier node still performs its duties during this period, it will not be punished.

5. After the verifier node is activated, you can choose to exit

If after you start participating in verification, you feel that verification is not suitable for you, then you can choose to quit voluntarily. This exit process will notify the protocol to stop assigning tasks to your verifier nodes, so that you stop receiving any additional rewards or penalties. Please keep in mind that even if you have “quited” and are no longer an active verifier, this does not mean that your pledged ETH can be taken out.

One subtlety of this exit process is that once the verifier is activated, it needs to be exited after at least 256 epochs. This ensures that each activated verifier will be assigned a small amount of work.

6. Once you quit, you cannot rejoin

If you have already voluntarily quit, or are forced to quit because of being confiscated, then you will not be able to rejoin. This means that if you want to become a validator again, you will need to pledge 32 ETH and a new validator account.

7. Your pledged ETH (yet) cannot flow at the protocol layer

Regardless of whether you have withdrawn or not, the funds used to participate in staking (including pledged ETH and any rewards received) will be locked at the protocol layer until at least Eth2 Phase 1 is launched.

You should not expect to receive your pledged funds within a few years. Early pledgers were involved from a long-term perspective. Of course, once the feature is finally launched, you will be able to withdraw/trade the ETH you have previously pledged and earned.

8. If you participate in the pledge early, you need to plan for the next stage

The beacon chain will be launched at Eth2 stage 0, the beacon chain has been designed as a lightweight chain. We will even be able to run the beacon chain on a Raspberry Pi 4 device.

If you decide to participate in the pledge during phase 0, you need to know that additional validator tasks will be added in the future Eth2 phase, which means that it will be accompanied by additional computational requirements, especially the expected greater storage and bandwidth requirements .

This does not mean that you cannot use a mini computer or the least resources to participate in the pledge, as long as you plan a device upgrade path, so you will not be caught off guard.

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