Ethereum (ETH) Staking guide

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What is Ethereum (ETH) Staking?

When staking Ethereum (ETH) we are supporting the network with the additional benefit of earning additional ETH! Ethereum uses “Proof-of-stake” (PoS) as a consensus mechanism, where validators are responsible for reaching a consensus on adding new transaction blocks to the blockchain.

To stake Ethereum we need a minimum of 32 ETH. This is because each validator requires 32 ETH to set up and for this same reason staking can only be done in increments of 32 ETH. For example, someone holding 320 ETH will have to set up 10 different validators. Anyone can take part in this consensus mechanism, all we have to do is run a validator (or ask to run it staking-as-a-service provider like P2P.org) and deposit 32 ETH to a special smart contract to activate a validator. This act is called staking.

Why stake Ethereum (ETH) with P2P?

P2P has been running Ethereum validators since the launch of the Beacon Chain, in December 2020 as part of Lido Validator set. We take care of all the server maintenance and set-up.

P2P's Ethereum staking solution is completely non-custodial and each validator is personally set up so there is never any comingling of customer's funds throughout the process.

Those that choose to stake with P2P can also benefit from our insurance coverage against slashing events.

In short, the benefits are:

What does the Ethereum (ETH) staking process look like?

To set up a validator we first need the following information:

  1. Specify the amount of stake - 1 validator per 32 ETH;
  2. The withdrawal address.

Please note that once set, the withdrawal address cannot be changed. A different address can also be specified to receive rewards.

Following the reception of this information, the validators are set up and a link to the deposit page will be sent out. This process can take up to 24 hours.

Once the staking deposit is sent, the validator will be created via our audited immutable smart contract. After a period of 16 to 24 hours, the validators will become active and start earning rewards.

Ethereum staking rewards are divided into 2 parts. Around 30% of the rewards can be withdrawn and are paid on a monthly basis while the rest is locked and can only be withdrawn after the Shanghai upgrade coming in 2023. Please note that this lock on rewards is not imposed by P2P but is a current feature of the Ethereum network.

Once the validators are up and running P2P will set up and email each staker a personalized dashboard that can be used to track rewards and validator metrics.

Ethereum (ETH) staking guide

  1. To start staking go to ethereum-staking.p2p.org and click Stake now.

ETH staking

  1. A new window will pop up and we can set how much ETH we want to stake and optionally a different withdrawal address. It's important to keep in mind that once the withdrawal address is set it can't be changed.

    Here we can also set up an alternative wallet to receive MEV rewards. MEV rewards constitute around 30% of the APR and are paid on a monthly basis.

  1. Once everything is set up, we can press continue and we will be taken to a confirmation screen. Here we have one last chance to change the withdrawal and the MEV reward address.

    After reading and accepting the Ethereum Staking Terms and the Privacy policy we can continue.

ETH staking confirmation

  1. A confirmation screen will pop up requesting that we check our email inbox to verify our email address. The reason why an email address is required is so that P2P can send out the URL to the staking page once the validator is set up.

ETH staking confirmation

  1. Once the email address is verified the process of setting up a validator will begin. This process can take from 1 to 24 hours.

ETH staking cverify

  1. After the validators are set we will receive a link to resume the staking process (this email should come from a @p2p.org domain). The next and final step is to deposit the ETH into the validators. To proceed click "Send deposits".

    For clarification, the ETH is being deposited to the validators via a smart contract. This is the Ethereum equivalent of staking and is necessary to activate the validators.

ETH staking cverify

  1. Next, we need to connect our Ethereum wallet.

    This will be our personal staking page with a prepared staking transaction. What does it mean?

ETH staking cverify

  1. We can stake with a Metamask or a Ledger wallet. There is currently no direct support for Trezor devices. We can stake with a Trezor wallet by first connecting it to a Metamask wallet.

    Other wallets are also available but the process is more complicated. To use a different wallet please contact P2P via Telegram.

ETH staking cverify

  1. After connecting the wallet we can set the gas price for our ETH transaction. When staking conventionally each validator would require an individual transaction but with a smart contract, we can stake up to 100 validators with a single transaction. This greatly reduces the cost of staking and the chance of human error.

    Before signing the transaction we should once again check:

ETH staking cverify

  1. After we set the fee we just need to sign the transaction and wait for it to be processed. Once the transaction is processed we are all done. It can take from 16 to 24 hours for the validators to become active. Once they are in the active set you will get access to a personal dashboard with information about your validator metrics.

ETH staking cverify

Those that stake Ethereum with P2P are encouraged to join a personal Telegram chat with some members of our team.

To note that while MEV rewards are paid on a monthly basis, 1 Validator only produces on average one block every 62 days. Those staking with only 1 validator should expect their first reward after 2 months. The more validators are staked, the sooner it will happen.

P2P Ethereum (ETH) Staking FAQ

Do I need to pass KYC to stake ETH?

No, when working with P2P, there is no need to go through KYC because staked assets never touch our account and are sent directly to the Ethereum network.

What is the minimum amount of Ethereum required to stake?

No Ethereum is necessary to run a node. However, it is necessary to stake 32 ETH x [amount of validators] to activate the validators and start getting rewards.

What is a withdrawal address, and who owns it?

The withdrawal address is the Ethereum address used to unstake and receive rewards. This address is specified once and it can't be changed after the staking deposit is sent, because the network cements the association of a particular validator and withdrawal address. Access to the private key for this withdrawal address is required to unstake (seed phrase). It is also important to note that P2P is not a custodian and has no exposure to the client’s withdrawal private key. P2P will never ask, under any circumstance, at any time for access to the withdrawal key.

What is a validator key, and who owns it?

A validator key is a private key for maintaining the validator’s work (setting up validators, updating software etc.). P2P owns the validator keys and guarantees the highest standards for protecting these keys from being compromised, breached, or otherwise misused. This is accomplished through Threshold signatures, which are the gold standard for internal/external security threats. This solution is used by leading custodians, crypto banks, and Multi-Party Computation solutions.

Why use smart contracts to stake ETH?

By design, ETH staking requires one staking transaction per 32 ETH. By using smart contracts we significantly simplify staking, reduce the cost of staking and minimize the risk of any human error. Thanks to our audited smart contracts it is possible to activate up to 100 validators with a single transaction.

Can I stake Ethereum with a hardware wallet?

Yes, it is possible to stake ETH with a Ledger (via native connection) or a Trezor wallet (via Metamask).

How do I earn rewards from staking Ethereum?

Ethereum rewards are comprised of 2 parts associated with performing validation duties and block creation.

  1. Validation rewards are taken by performing the validator’s duties as an attestation for a block created by another validator, attestation for a block in sync committee and for creating a block. Validation rewards are accrued every 6.4 min and account for around 70% of the total rewards. Currently, these rewards aren’t withdrawable until the Shanghai upgrade. Following Shanghai, it will be possible to:
  1. Block rewards (priority transaction fees + an additional fee from MEV) are accrued with block creation as a payment from transactions to the validator for including them in the block. It appears once every 62 days on average and accounts for around 30% of the total reward. MEV-boost isn’t a separate type of reward but is a technique used to build a block that will yield the maximum fee. Transaction fees accumulate on a p2p smart contract which is then automatically delivered to the client on a monthly basis after the P2P service fee has been deducted.

Can I still use my staked Ethereum while it is staked?

No, the staked ETH is locked in the Ethereum smart contract and cannot be used.

How does P2P take its service fee?

P2P takes its service fee from the execution layer rewards. By default, a special immutable smart contract is used to automatically split rewards between the user and P2P by the previously agreed rules. Other invoicing strategies can be employed by prior agreement.

How do I unstake my Ethereum?

Unstaking will be available after the Shanghai upgrade, which is planned for March 2023. The ustaking time is projected to be 2-3 days depending on the number of validators that want to exit. This process consists of four steps:

  1. There will be an unstaking page, where it is possible to authorize the unstaking process with the withdrawal address via the click of a button.
  2. P2P sends the validator a voluntary exit message to the Ethereum network, and your validators move into the exit queue. The validator then ceases participating in block attestation and creation (and stops getting rewards). The exit can take from 16 to 24 hours, but right after Shanghai, this queue may be much longer.
  3. After exit, the validator waits 27 hours as the network wants to ensure that it hasn't been slashed.
  4. Finally, the validator is moved into the second and final queue. This time, the validator is totally deleted from the network and returns its ETH with consensus layer rewards. This process can take from 16 to 24 hours.

How does slashing work in Ethereum?

Slashing punishes validators for actions that are very difficult to do accidentally, and it’s very likely a sign of malicious intent. It’s a really rare event: there's only been 5 slashed validators within the whole network over the last month (or 0.001%). beaconcha.in/validators/slashings

What is “slashable” behaviour? In a nutshell, it’s a violation of consensus rules in the network. As of right now, it needs to meet three conditions: proposal of two conflicting blocks at the same time, double vote attestation and surround attestation. This can happen due to either an intentional malicious action or misconfiguration of the validator (the most often being, running two of the same validators in the network).

Slashing results in burning 1,0 ETH at once, and removing the validator from the network forever, which takes 36 days. During this time, the validator continues to work but can no longer participate in validation and block creation, getting a penalty of around 0.1 ETH in total.

For the most part that's the sum of the penalty incurred, but there is also an additional midpoint (Day 18) penalty that scales with the number of slashed validators. This is called "correlation penalty” and it's currently only theoretical and has never been encountered on the Ethereum mainnet. This mechanism is there to protect the network from large attacks. The math for calculation penalty is pretty complicated, but the summary is if there are only 1, 100, or even 1000 slashed validators within 36 days the penalty will equal zero ETH. However, if the number of slashed validators increases to roughly 1.1% of all validators (currently 5.1k), this penalty becomes 1 ETH and an additional 1 ETH for every additional 1.1% validator slashed. So if 1/3 of the network is slashed, the penalty will nullify the whole stake (32 ETH). This mechanism is in place to prevent an attack on the network and it should never be triggered by accident.

How can slashing be prevented?

There are special mechanisms in place to prevent validators from meeting the slashing conditions called slashing protection. These mechanisms usually consist of a database with a signing history which the validator uses to check if the block can be signed (coupled with the default levels of monitoring and alerting protection). Additional protection levels will depend on the validator’s setup. P2P uses double-checking with a separate database at the key-manager stage and secures validators' key’s by Threshold, which means that no single person, even a P2P engineer, can run a second validator and a quorum is required for that. The final level of protection we have in place is an institutional grade slashing insurance.

How can staking activity be tracked?

Anyone who stakes with P2P gets access to a personal staking dashboard that can be used to track rewards and the validators' performance (APR, staking balance, % of blocks created with MEV, attestation rate, missed block, market comparisons, etc.)

In what geographic location is P2P's validator infrastructure running?

P2P direct staking infrastructure is located in Europe and distributed among 5 separate physical locations for protection from downtime.

How does P2P protect its validators from widespread outages?

P2P validators have no single point of failure and are downtime resistant with back-ups of all critical infrastructure parts between 5 different physical locations, including:

  1. Signing infrastructure - 3 location-independent key managers with 2-of-3 threshold quorum required for consensus;

  2. Validators Nodes - we have a reserve in a secure region ready to be activated within a maximum of 1 minute in case of an outage;

  3. Consensus layer nodes - our setup has top-3 consensus layer clients (Lighthouse, Prysm, Teku) simultaneously for diversity and preventing outrages related to soft bugs in one client. It also increases availability for validators.

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