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Staking as a service
Third-party node operators handle the operation of your validator client
Great option for anyone with 32 ETH who doesn't feel comfortable dealing with the technical complexity of running a node
Reduce trust, and maintain custody of your withdrawal keys
What is staking as a service?
Staking as a service (“SaaS") represents a category of staking services where you deposit your own 32 ETH for a validator, but delegate node operations to a third-party operator. This process usually involves being guided through the initial setup, including key generation and deposit, then uploading your signing keys to the operator. This allows the service to operate your validator on your behalf, usually for a monthly fee.
Why stake with a service?
The Ethereum protocol does not natively support delegation of stake, so these services have been built out to fill this demand. If you have 32 ETH to stake, but don't feel comfortable dealing with hardware, SaaS services allow you to delegate the hard part while you earn native block rewards.
Your own validator
Deposit your own 32 ETH to activate your own set of signing keys that will participate in Ethereum consensus. Monitor your progress with dashboards to watch those ETH rewards accumulate.
Easy to start
Forget about hardware specs, setup, node maintenance and upgrades. SaaS providers let you to outsource the hard part by uploading your own signing credentials, allowing them to run a validator on your behalf, for a small cost.
Limit your risk
In many cases users do not have to give up access to the keys that enable withdrawing or transferring staked funds. These are different than the signing keys, and can be stored separately to limit (but not eliminate) your risk as a staker.
Comparison with other options
Similarities include having your own validator keys without having to pool funds, but with SaaS you must trust a third-party, who may potentially act maliciously or become a target of attack or regulation themselves. If these trust assumptions or centralization risks concern you, the gold standard of self-sovereign staking is solo staking.
These are similar in that you're generally relying on someone else to run the validator client, but unlike SaaS, pooled staking allows you to participate with smaller amounts of ETH. If you're looking to stake with less than 32 ETH, consider checking these out.
There are a growing number of SaaS providers to help you stake your ETH, but each comes with different benefits and risks. You should consider that all SaaS options require additional trust assumptions compared to home-staking. Saas options may have additional code wrapping the Ethereum clients that is not open or auditable. SaaS also has a detrimental effect on network decentralization. Depending on the setup, you may not control your validator - the operator could act dishonestly using your ETH.
Attribute indicators are used below to signal notable strengths or weaknesses a listed SaaS provider may have. Use this section as a reference for how we define these attributes while you're choosing a service to help with your staking journey.
Essential code is 100% open source and available to the public to fork and use
Explore staking service providers
Below are some available SaaS provider. Use the above indicators to help guide you through these services
Please note the importance of supporting client diversity as it improves the security of the network, and limits your risk. Services that have evidence of limiting majority client use are marked as "diverse clients."
Have a suggestion for a staking-as-a-service provider we missed? Check out our product listing policy to see if it would be a good fit, and to submit it for review.
Frequently asked questions
Arrangements will differ from provider-to-provider, but commonly you will be guided through setting up any signing keys you need (one per 32 ETH), and uploading these to your provider to allow them to validate on your behalf. The signing keys alone do not give any ability to withdraw, transfer, or spend your funds. However, they do provide the ability to cast votes towards consensus, which if not done properly can result in offline penalties or slashing.
Yes. Each account is comprised of both BLS signing keys, and BLS withdrawal keys. In order for a validator to attest to the state of the chain, participate in sync committees and propose blocks, the signing keys must be readily accessible by a validator client. These must be connected to the internet in some form, and are thus inherently considered to be "hot" keys. This is a requirement for your validator to be able to attest, and thus the keys used to transfer or withdraw funds are separated for security reasons.
The BLS withdrawal keys are used to sign a one-time message that declares which execution layer account staking rewards and exited funds should go to. Once this message is broadcast, the BLS withdrawal keys are no longer needed. Instead, control over withdrawn funds is permanently delegated to the address you provided. This allows you to set a withdrawal address secured via your own cold storage, minimizing risk to your validator funds, even if someone else controls your validator signing keys.
Updating withdrawal credentials is a requires step to enable withdrawals with the Shanghai upgrade. This process involves generating the withdrawal keys using your mnemonic seed phrase. Make certain you back this seed phrase up safely or you will be unable to generate your withdraw keys when the time comes.
Stakers who provided a withdrawal address with initial deposit do not need to set this. Check with your SaaS provider for support regarding how to prepare your validator.
When you stake 32 ETH with a SaaS provider, that ETH is still deposited to the official staking deposit contract. As such, SaaS stakers are limited by the same withdrawal restrictions as solo stakers, and withdrawals are not enabled until the Shanghai upgrade.
Staking withdrawals will be implemented in the upcoming Shanghai upgrade, which is expected in Q1/Q2 2023. After that, stakers need to provide a withdrawal address (if not provided on initial deposit), and reward payments will begin being distributed automatically on a periodic basis every few days.
This will also enable the unlocking of exited funds. Validators can fully exit as a validator, and they will receive their entire balance back to the withdrawal address provided.
By using an SaaS provider, you are entrusting the operation of your node to someone else. This comes with the risk of poor node performance, which is not in your control. In the event your validator is slashed, your validator balance will be penalized and forcibly removed from the validator pool. These funds will be locked until withdrawals are enabled at the protocol level.
The upcoming Shanghai upgrade brings withdrawal functionality, which requires providing a withdrawal address to enable. This may have been provided on initial deposit. If not, the validator signing keys will need to be used to sign a message declaring a withdrawal address once the upgrade is live.
Contact individual SaaS provider for more details on any guarantees or insurance options, and for instructions on how to provide a withdrawal address. If you'd prefer to be in full control of your validator setup, learn more about how to solo stake your ETH.