How’s ‘Zelda’ Doing? Our Ethereum Validator Check-In

With the progress being made on the Beacon Chain over the past few weeks, I wanted to use this week’s newsletter to give an overview of the CoinDesk validator and its brief history.

About nine months ago when ether was just $1,600, the CoinDesk team deposited 32 ETH to the staking contract to launch our very own Beacon Chain validator, dubbed “Zelda.” Since then, we’ve gained access to insights across the Beacon Chain and the responsibilities that come alongside securing the proof-of-stake network.

This article originally appeared in Valid Points, CoinDesk’s weekly newsletter breaking down Ethereum 2.0 and its sweeping impact on crypto markets. Subscribe to Valid Points here.

While this newsletter showcases weekly graphic updates on the validator’s progress, we wanted to provide a few written takeaways of our results. Furthermore, it’s easy to track our day-to-day activity and rewards on beaconcha.in.

Our total reward balance as of Monday is 1.6165 ETH, averaging 0.0061 ETH in rewards per day. While we have a current estimated annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.97%, new validators will continue to come online and lower the returns until they reach an optimized floor of 3%.

Validator rewards mainly come from participating in three events:

  • Attestations: “A validator vote for a Beacon Chain or shard block. Validators must attest to blocks, signaling that they agree with the state proposed by the block.”
  • Block Proposals: “A randomly selected validator is tasked with proposing a new block every slot (12 seconds).”
  • Sync Committees: “A sync committee is a group of 512 validators, randomly assigned by the Ethereum 2.0 network. A new committee is chosen every 256 epochs, roughly 27 hours.”

Zelda has executed 59,363 attestations and missed only 129. Our missed attestations were mostly a result of a delayed upgrade to Altair, which was promptly solved so that attesting could resume within hours of the upgrade.

Block proposals are few and far between for individual validators because only 7,200 blocks are produced each day and more than 256,000 validators are live on the Beacon Chain, giving Zelda a 2.8% chance of getting a block proposal each day. In fact, we had zero proposals between June 2 and Oct. 5. Thankfully, Zelda has resumed cranking out block proposals, with two during the last month.

Although block proposals outweigh attestations in one-time rewards, over the lifetime of a validator attestations become much more important. Post-Altair, Zelda’s breakdown should consist of 84% attestation rewards, 12.5% block proposal rewards and 3.5% sync committee rewards.

We’ll continue to include weekly Zelda updates in this newsletter, and we’ll provide a deeper dive on our performance to offer a look at our relative validator standings as we get closer to the impending Merge!

Welcome to another edition of Valid Points.

Pulse check

The following is an overview of network activity on the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain over the past week. For more information about the metrics featured in this section, check out our 101 explainer on Eth 2.0 metrics.

Disclaimer: All profits made from CoinDesk’s Eth 2.0 staking venture will be donated to a charity of the company’s choosing once transfers are enabled on the network.

Validated takes

  • Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital made a token investment in Parallel, a Polkadot-based lending project. BACKGROUND: Venture capital firms have had differing stances on token and equity investing, causing negative reactions from crypto users and natives. Parallel plans to give the token utility through governance and transaction fees, offering token investors a chance to play a vital role in the ecosystem.
  • FTX, Lightspeed and Solana Ventures started an initiative to invest $100 million in Web 3 gaming. BACKGROUND: Blockchain-based gaming has gained traction in both the crypto and gaming communities alongside the rise in non-fungible tokens and the Axie Infinity video game. While scalability and user experience have been a bump in the road for a lot of projects, play-to-earn and in-game ownership have piqued the interest of gamers around the world.
  • Reddit further detailed its plans to launch on Arbitrum, a popular layer 2 scaling platform for Ethereum. BACKGROUND: An engineer from Reddit’s crypto team announced the company’s goal of decentralizing social media and onboarding 500 million users into crypto. A vision shared by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Reddit is tokenization’s ability to share ownership, reward positive behavior and allow for community-driven innovation.
  • Rocket Pool, a decentralized Eth 2.0 staking service, launched on Monday. BACKGROUND: Similar to other staking pools, Rocket Pool increases accessibility to Ethereum staking to those with fewer than 32 ETH or with lesser technical capabilities. Rocket Pool, however, is also completely trustless and has zero reliance on third parties or multisig wallets. The project also allows stakers to choose their client, which I hope will lead to further diversity across the Beacon Chain.

Factoid of the week

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) on Ethereum have facilitated over $1 trillion in trades over the past 12 months. Uniswap was largely responsible for the adoption, with over $500 million in volume alone.

Open comms

Valid Points incorporates information and data about CoinDesk’s own Eth 2.0 validator in weekly analysis. All profits made from this staking venture will be donated to a charity of our choosing once transfers are enabled on the network. For a full overview of the project, check out our announcement post.

You can verify the activity of the CoinDesk Eth 2.0 validator in real time through our public validator key, which is:

0xad7fef3b2350d220de3ae360c70d7f488926b6117e5f785a8995487c46d323ddad0f574fdcc50eeefec34ed9d2039ecb.

Search for it on any Eth 2.0 block explorer site