Want to help secure the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 network and earn ETH in the process? The Ethereum Foundation just launched a tool to make things easier.
The Foundation announced today a “validator launchpad” for the much-awaited (and delayed) Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. The launchpad will onboard validators—that is, users who stake ETH to confirm transactions—onto Ethereum 2.0’s latest testnet, Medalla, and will be used for its mainnet when it launches later this year or early next year (it depends on whom you ask).
Validators on Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake system are essentially the equivalent of miners on the old proof-of-work network. Ethereum 2.0 includes a move to a proof-of-stake system, where those who stake the most ETH (i.e., the richest on the network) are rewarded for validating blocks.
That’s different from the proof-of-work system, where miners use immense computational power to verify transactions.
The point of this new validator launchpad is “to make the process of becoming an eth2 validator as easy as possible, without compromising on security and education,” wrote the Ethereum Foundation in its blog post.
Sure, it’s possible to use a third-party service to become a validator—Coinbase, for instance, lets people stake another proof-of-stake coin, Tezos, within its app. But third-party services often come with fees and require handing off your crypto to someone else.
Run your own validator, however, and you’ll have to keep track of your own private keys. “This responsibility brings with it an inescapable tradeoff between ease-of-use, security, and education,” said the Ethereum Foundation.
The validator launchpad explains, in clear English (or Czech, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian or Korean) exactly what becoming a validator entails, how much you can earn (and that rewards are dynamic, not fixed), and the risks.
The whole launchpad includes a big disclaimer to ensure that validators know what they’re getting into. Validator aspirants must sign a form to say they understand that being a validator means to manage your own keys and that staked ETH is inaccessible for some time.
Once the launchpad is satisfied that you understand what’s going on, it’ll let you upload your public keys online and become a validator. “And voila! That’s all there is to it. You’ve successfully deposited and committed to becoming a validator on eth2!”
Oh, one last thing: You’ll then have to select your client, which is “the software you’ll use to set up your Beacon Node, import your keystores, and run your Validator.” You’ll have your pick of Lighthouse, Nimbus, Prysm, and Teku.
The validator can be used on the Medalla testnet, but it’ll be used for the mainnet version of Ethereum 2.0, too.
Ethereum 2.0 has been in the works for years, and its launch date depends whom you ask: Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum and Danny Ryan, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, plan for it to launch this year. A dissenter, Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake, thinks that the “earliest practical date” for launch would be January 2021.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.