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.
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 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 from 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.Learn more about 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.Learn more about pooled staking
There are a growing number of SaaS providers to help you stake your ETH, but they all have their own benefits and risks. 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.
- Open source
- Bug bounty
- Battle tested
- Execution diversity
- Consensus diversity
- Self custody
Essential code is 100% open source and available to the public to fork and use
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 indicated with "execution client diversity" and "consensus client diversity."
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.
- Evaluating Staking Services(opens in a new tab) - Jim McDonald 2020