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StakeWise is a decentralized protocol where anyone can apply for becoming a node operator. The node operator is an entity that runs ETH2 staking infrastructure on behalf of StakeWise and receives a share of the protocol fee in return. All the node operators must be approved by the DAO before their validators will get registered.
The first step in becoming a StakeWise operator is to introduce yourself by creating a forum post to the node operators section. You can use the template that is provided there once clicked on "New Topic".
As part of the post, the node operator must also fill out a Typeform about the infrastructure setup they plan to run. This short questionnaire touches on the choice of architecture, its location, the choice of ETH2 client, and some other aspects. The Typeform can be found here.
The testnet environment is used to assess the performance of node operators in near-mainnet conditions and simulate a range of adverse scenarios that the operators must learn to successfully navigate.
To join the Goerli testnet, you should go through the following steps:
Once deployed on the testnet, the node operator must run for at least one week with active validators and practice its response to the following failure scenarios:
- Infrastructure failure (network outage, server crash, storage disk failure) - the setup must be multi-node, so that validators should continue to run even if up to 1/3 of the servers are down.
- ETH1 (execution) client failure - if one of the ETH1 nodes fails, the ETH2 nodes connected to that failed node should switch to a different ETH1 node.
- ETH2 (consensus) client failure - if one of the ETH2 nodes fails, the validators connected to that failed node should switch to a different ETH2 node.
- Migration of ETH1 and ETH2 nodes from one client to another (e.g. from Lighthouse to Prysm or from Geth to Erigon). Should be done with minimal downtime and preserved slashing DB.
- Staking setup upgrades (client versions, infrastructure). Should be done with minimal downtime and preserved slashing DB.
- In case current servers get overloaded or there is a maintenance period, it should be possible to scale the infrastructure horizontally. The validators should be able to migrate to the new server with minimal downtime and preserved slashing DB.
- If there is a failure, admins should receive alerts and be able to monitor the setup.
If you have experience in running Kubernetes clusters, you can use StakeWise helm charts (https://docs.stakewise.io/node-operator/stakewise-infra-package) to spin up all the required staking components. It takes care of all the scenarios defined above.
Once the node operator is confident about its setup and is ready to proceed further, it will be asked to do a live demonstration of its response to the failure scenarios described above.
The demonstration will be recorded in a call with StakeWise core team member(s), who will request the node operator to go through the failure scenarios one by one and show how they would deal with them. An example of the demo can be found here.
A recording of the demonstration will be published as part of the node operator's proposal to the DAO.
Together with everything submitted by the node operator, it will be analyzed by the DAO members who can express support for onboarding the node operator, or vote against it.
If the members express general support on the forum post, it's time to join the Gnosis Chain.
Gnosis Beacon Chain (GBC) is a fork of ETH2 (consensus) that will serve as a final frontrunner before important Ethereum consensus-layer updates. For example, the merge will first take place on testnets. Updates will then move to a production-level, real-world value environment (Gnosis Beacon Chain). Validating GBC only requires the equivalent of a single GNO token (compared to 32 ETH in the ETH2 network). It's a good environment where operators can earn GNO tokens while running validators with lower value at stake.
To join the GBC network you should go through the following steps:
Once the node operator went through the testnet and runs validators on GBC (as a bonus), he can apply for joining the mainnet.
To join Ethereum Mainnet, you should go through the following steps: