An Ethereum node consists of both an execution layer (EL) client, as well as a consensus layer (CL) client. These clients are software that work together, along with a valid set of signing keys, to verify transactions and blocks, attest to the correct head of the chain, aggregate attestations, and propose blocks.
Solo stakers are responsible for operating the hardware needed to run these clients. It is highly recommended to use a dedicated machine for this that you operate from home–this is extremely beneficial to the health of the network.
A solo staker receives rewards directly from the protocol for keeping their validator properly functioning and online.
Solo staking comes with more responsibility, but provides you with maximum control over your funds and staking setup.
Earn fresh ETH
As much as we wish that solo staking was accessible and risk free to everyone, this is not reality. There are some practical and serious considerations to keep in mind before choosing to solo stake your ETH.
Comfortable with computers
Secure key management
No withdrawing (for now)
Comparison with other options
Staking as a service (SaaS)
With SaaS providers you're still required to deposit 32 ETH, but don't have to run hardware. You typically maintain access to your validator keys, but also need to share your signing keys so the operator can act on behalf of your validator. This introduces a layer of trust not present when running your own hardware, and unlike solo staking at home, SaaS does not help as much with geographic distribution of nodes. If you're uncomfortable operating hardware but still looking to stake 32 ETH, using a SaaS provider may be a good option for you.Learn more about staking as a service
Solo staking is significantly more involved than staking with a pooling service, but offer full access to ETH rewards, and full control over the setup and security of your validator. Pooled staking has a significantly lower barrier to entry. Users can stake small amounts of ETH, are not required to generate validator keys, and have no hardware requirements beyond a standard internet connection. Liquidity tokens enable the ability to exit from staking before this is enabled at the protocol level. If you're interested in these features, pooled staking may be a good fit.Learn more about pooled staking
Get some hardware: You need to run a node to stake.
Sync an execution layer client
Sync a consensus layer client
Generate your keys and load them into your validator client
Monitor and maintain your node
If ever desired, you can exit as a validator which eliminates the requirement to be online, and stops any further rewards. Be aware that until the planned Shanghai upgrade withdrawing those funds will not be possible.
After Shanghai, users will be able to withdraw their rewards as well as their stake if they choose.
The Staking Launchpad is an open source application that will help you become a staker. It will guide you through choosing your clients, generate your keys and depositing your ETH to the staking deposit contract. A checklist is provided to make sure you've covered everything to get your validator set up safely.
Solo validators are expected to test their setup and operational skills on the Goerli/Prater testnet before risking funds. Remember it is important to choose a minority client as it improves the security of the network and limits your risk.
If you're comfortable with it, you can set up everything needed from the command line using the Staking Launchpad alone.
To make things easier, check out some of the tools and guides below that can help you alongside the Staking Launchpad to get your clients set up with ease.
There are a growing number of tools and services to help you solo stake your ETH, but each come with different risks and benefits.
Attribute indicators are used below to signal notable strengths or weaknesses a listed staking tool may have. Use this section as a reference for how we define these attributes while you’re choosing what tools to help with your staking journey.
- Open source
- Bug bounty
- Battle tested
- Self custody
Essential code is 100% open source and available to the public to fork and use
There are a variety of options available to help you with your setup. Use the above indicators to help guide you through the tools below.
These tools can be used as an alternative to the Staking Deposit CLI to help with key generation.
Have a suggestion for a staking tool we missed? Check out our product listing policy to see if it would be a good fit, and to submit it for review.
These are a few of the most common questions about staking that are worth knowing about.
What is a validator?
Can I deposit more than 32 ETH?
Will I be slashed if I go offline? (tldr: No.)
How do I ensure I don't get slashed?
Which client is best?
Can I just use a VPS (virtual private server)?
Do I need to do anything before The Merge?
- Ethereum's Client Diversity Problem - @emmanuelawosika 2022
- Helping Client Diversity - Jim McDonald 2022
- Client diversity on Ethereum's consensus layer - jmcook.eth 2022
- How To: Shop For Ethereum Validator Hardware - EthStaker 2022
- Step by Step: How to join the Ethereum 2.0 Testnet - Butta
- Eth2 Slashing Prevention Tips - Raul Jordan 2020
- Rewards and Penalties on Ethereum 2.0 - James BeckMarch 2020