Partaking in the Ethereum 2.0 ecosystem as a validator node will require a bit of a different approach. Unless one has powerful hardware, exploring the validator-as-a-service option is worthwhile. Several companies provide this service, although it is never without a cost.
The Ethereum 2.0 VaaS Model
There are several reasons why people can’t or won’t run an Ethereum 2.0 validator node at their home. The hardware required may not be at their disposal, or there are simply better alternatives to choose from. Those who prefer a more hands-off approach but don’t mind paying a premium can always opt for validator-as-a-service providers. It is a viable business model, but not necessarily the best option out there.
What makes the VaaS model so enticing is how users don’t need to buy their own hardware or software. Nor do they need any technical knowledge. Overall, the primary dashboard of the service will give users all the information they need. Some providers also claim they will offer enhanced reward slashing protection. It will be interesting to see if they can make that come true when push comes to shove.
However, there are also drawbacks to VaaS. Users can only stake multiples of 32 ETH, the base requirement to operate an Ethereum 2.0 validator node. Additionally, they will not be able to access any liquidity until phase 1.5. That latter aspect will come into play for nearly all users, but it is something to keep in mind. Particularly when using third parties, this may prove to be a hindrance in the future.
Last but not least, one has to keep in mind there are costs associated with this option. Some providers will charge a service fee, whereas others will take a percentage of the staking rewards. It is pertinent to compare the different options on the table before making any commitments. For some providers, charging a fee of 17.5% is not abnormal.
Comparing the Different Providers
As of today, there are multiple “main” VaaS providers for Ethereum 2.0 needs. All of them come with their own pricing structure and options to take advantage of.
|Stakefish||No||32 ETH||0.1 ETH||Variable Fee?|
|Blox Staking||No||32 ETH||$180||One-time Fee|
|Stakewise Solo||No||32 ETH||$10 / month||Staking Pools Available|
|Staked||No||32 ETH||$5 / month||One-time Fee Available|
Whether any of these services can get the job done for you personally, is difficult to determine. They all aim to provide a convenient UI to make this setup as streamlined as possible. Given the big difference in overall fees between the different providers, there may be some tough decisions to be made.
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