A New Era for StakeWise — Upgrading to A Decentralized Architecture

6 min readDec 29, 2021

Join Blockdaemon, Figment, and others in running nodes for the StakeWise DAO.

After months of development & a successful audit, the time has come for StakeWise to unveil its bid for a decentralized, high-growth, multi-chain future.

We are excited to announce Metro a decentralized architecture that allows external node operators to host StakeWise validators, partake in staking & MEV rewards, and seamlessly follow the protocol to other chains, all based on a single infrastructure package.

Below we break down the key features of Metro and lay out the vision for a decentralized future for StakeWise.

Improved, decentralized architecture

A high-level overview of the ecosystem StakeWise is building.

To help the protocol scale & become even more secure, Metro makes it possible for external node operators to join StakeWise and run validators for the StakeWise DAO.

Parties that are interested in joining as node operators can utilize the deployment package developed & open-sourced by the StakeWise core team to launch institutional-grade infrastructure out-of-the-box. This enables anyone to apply for running nodes in the StakeWise DAO, in exchange for earning a share of staking rewards, network tips & MEV (after the Merge), all without a significant start-up cost and helping to decentralize the network.

We are excited to share that Blockdaemon, Figment, Chainlayer, Forbole and Stakin are currently in the process of onboarding to the StakeWise Testnet as potential candidates for running nodes for the StakeWise DAO.

Metro Deployment Package

The Metro deployment package is designed for maximum resiliency & safety, and contains several key features including:

  1. The choice to run one of the main ETH2 clients: Prysm, Lighthouse, Teku or Nimbus
  2. The ability to migrate between ETH2 clients without downtime in case of distress, thanks to the always preserved slashing database
  3. The possibility to maximize MEV across all protocol’s node operators
  4. The portability of node running services within other EVM-compatible chains

The deployment utilizes a set of Helm charts maintained by the StakeWise core team, allowing the node operators to set up & configure the staking applications on top of the Kubernetes cluster within minutes and spend less time on maintenance.

It also ensures that the protocol can pro-actively coordinate its multi-chain and MEV strategy with the node operators, offering the opportunity to support more networks based on the same deployment package and enforcing a specific configuration of MEV clients to maximize returns for the protocol.

The system meets the high standards of scalability & fail-over required for running a large-scale ETH2 operation. If you also would like to join StakeWise as a node operator, please find links to the relevant materials at the bottom of this announcement.

Validator Committee & DAO Governance

A high-level overview of the onboarding process for new operators.

The onboarding of external node operators into the protocol will be governed by the DAO, with advice & input from a newly formed Validator Committee.

The Validator Committee will consist of individuals very close to ETH2.0 development, who have a proven knowledge & experience in running ETH2 infrastructure. Together with the StakeWise core team, they have the necessary background for advising the DAO on the matters of decentralization and can provide an accurate assessment of the configuration chosen by prospective node operators, to consistently ensure high security & performance of the nodes. The StakeWise core team will present to the Validator Committee node operator candidates for the DAO in the coming weeks.

With the input from the Validator Committee, the DAO will regularly decide on the following parameters:

  1. The inclusion and exclusion of node operators from the DAO
  2. The number of validators to be run by a node operator
  3. The commission for running the nodes, and
  4. The composition of the Validator Committee

Going forward, the StakeWise core team intends for the DAO to develop a performance monitoring system for the node operators, whereby on-chain metrics & qualitative assessment will dynamically inform how many validators can be run by each of them. It can simplify the governance process and ensure closer alignment of interests between the DAO and node operators but will require fine-tuning & feedback from all stakeholders before being deployed.

It is expected that all joining node operators will obtain a stake in the StakeWise protocol by investing in SWISE, as a means of putting “skin in the game”. This mechanism will be supplemented by an internal insurance mechanism in 1Q22, subject to an approval from the StakeWise DAO. Requiring an investment of SWISE will also ensure that node operators have a seat at the governance table and actively participate in advancing the goals of the protocol.

Handling of known delegated staking vulnerabilities

A high-level overview of the delegation process.

The decentralized architecture of StakeWise is uniquely different from the existing alternatives thanks to the elimination of vulnerabilities that affect delegated staking.

Specifically, the issue of node operators controlling the validator key, and hence the moment of withdrawal of users’ funds, has been addressed. In contrast to other delegated staking systems (that run the risk of node operators keeping the protocol’s funds hostage), the StakeWise DAO will have control over its node operators’ validator keys, and hence decisions around the timing of withdrawals (should a node operator fail to comply).

The validator keys will be registered by the node operators utilizing StakeWise Deposit CLI, and are simultaneously split into shards that will be handled by the Validator Committee. In case the node operator ignores the DAO’s decision to exit the validators and execute the withdrawal of funds, the Validator Committee can execute a forced exit of the validators and trigger a withdrawal by reconstructing the validator key from the shards and generating an exit signature that is submitted to the Beacon Chain on behalf of the StakeWise DAO.

Similarly, the issue of potential pre-registration of a validator with the node operator’s own withdrawal credentials (previously identified in many staking protocols by Dmitri Tsumak, StakeWise’s core developer) has been addressed in StakeWise’s own architecture.

For every 32 ETH accumulated by the Pool smart contract, StakeWise DAO oracles will choose the next validator to register and will check whether the public key of that validator was not used up to the latest ETH2 deposit contract root hash. If true, oracles will vote for the root hash. If the root hash changes by the time the transaction is submitted, the Validators contract will reject the registration. As a result, the malicious operator won’t be able to assign the protocol’s ETH to its own withdrawal address.

Thanks to complete control over the delegation and withdrawal process that is ensured by the new architecture, we expect the StakeWise DAO to establish itself as the safest delegated staking solution on the market.


With a decentralized architecture at its core, StakeWise will grow larger and become more resilient. StakeWise will have additional partners to lean on for the development of its multi-chain strategy and new products, and an increased level of protocol governance.

We are incredibly excited at the prospects for StakeWise in 2022 and beyond and invite current stakers old and new to join us on this exciting journey!

Useful links

DAO proposal for StakeWise v2 deployment: https://forum.stakewise.io/t/swip-7-deploy-stakewise-v2-on-mainnet/554

Validator Offering Document: https://docsend.com/view/mumuk6jy75qkn67p

Infrastructure setup guide: https://docs.stakewise.io/node-operator/infrastructure

Node operator onboarding guide: https://docs.stakewise.io/node-operator/dao-proposal




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