May 2, 2022
So Long Wordpress
After far too many years of not getting around to it, I’ve finally migrated this blog off of WordPress. It now uses Hugo to statically generate the site.
April 8, 2022
Exploring Eth2: Stealing Inclusion Fees from Public Beacon Nodes
With the merge fast approaching, all beacon chain nodes will need to run their own local execution layer client (e.g. Besu or Geth). For validators who have just been using Infura for eth1 data so far, that means some extra setup and potentially more hardware (mostly disk). To avoid this, some people are considering going the other direction and not running their own beacon node either, just running a validator client against a public beacon node API like Infura. While this is possible, it’s extremely likely to result in reduced rewards for a couple of reasons.
April 6, 2022
Exploring Eth2: Cost of Adding Validators
Yesterday I spun up two new nodes on Prater, and sent deposits for 5000 validators to run on each. Due to the restrictions on how many new validators can activate per epoch (currently 4 for Prater), the number of active validators are currently gradually increasing giving a really nice insight into the cost of adding new validators. This is most clearly seen by graphing the number of active validators and CPU usage on a single chart.
March 27, 2022
Migrating Email from Google Workspace to Outlook.com
For many years I’ve been using the free tier of Google Workspace (previously Google Apps for Your Domain) to host my email. While I almost never use the actual web interface itself having google handle the IMAP hosting and spam filtering was an awful lot easier than hosting it myself. Of course Google are now ending their free tier and requiring all users to pay – fair enough, but the cost per user is just too much for me to justify it.
October 8, 2021
Ethereum Merge Local Testnet Demo
The merge is at the point where real interop testing can begin with testnets spun up involving multiple clients. This video shows a testnet running locally with four nodes: Teku & Geth Teku & Besu Lighthouse & Geth Lighthouse & Besu Each node has 1/4 of the validators and the network transitioned through from the initial phase0, to Altair and then then merge after which the two chains merge into one.
September 23, 2021
What Happens If Beacon Chain Consensus Fails?
Over on Twitter, there was an interesting discussion about the importance of client diversity for the beacon chain. As part of that cyber_hokie asks: cyber_hokie – @cyber_hokie: As the majority client, isn’t it more likely that issues with Prysm would cause more severe financial penalties for minority clients voting on an alternative chain under accountable safety given Prysm validators likely hold the 2/3 threshold? It’s important to note up front that this isn’t a Prysm specific issue.
August 14, 2021
Exploring Eth2 – Why Open Ports Matter
One of the most commonly overlooked steps when setting up a beacon node is to setup port forwarding on your router to ensure that other nodes can connect in to yours. This is often overlooked, or not done correctly, because there are so many different routers, all with different, fiddly interfaces that providing simple instructions is essentially impossible and because your node will generally work even without it by connecting outbound to other peers even though none can connect inbound.
July 2, 2021
PEEPanEIP – Altair in Teku
I got the chance to talk with Pooja Ranjan and Alita Moore from the Ethereum Cat Herders as part of their PEEPanEIP series last week: PEEPanEIP #38: Altair in Teku with Adrian Sutton. It was a chance to talk through the actual implementation details required to support the Altair fork. Mostly listing here for my own record, but if you haven’t seen it and you care at all about Ethereum hopefully it will be interesting.
February 15, 2021
Why Miners Can Be Simultaneously Paid Too Much and Struggling to Survive
Note: This post is deliberately high level. It doesn’t attempt to be an economic proof or go into the gory details of exactly how the difficulty adjustment works. The aim is just to see the high level effects of how the system pans out without getting lost in the nitty gritty details of what is ultimately a very complex system. Pretty much every time the word “miner” is mentioned in an Ethereum discussion someone will claim that miners are paid too much and miners will respond saying they’re struggling to survive.
February 13, 2021
Hard Truths for ETH Stakers
If you’re getting into staking ETH on the beacon chain, it’s important to know what you’re actually signing up for. There’s lots of articles about how easy it is and how awesome, intelligent and good looking stakers are, so here’s a few hard truths you should make sure you’re ok with… Short Term Stuff Most people know this stuff so I’m just going to skim over it. No Withdrawals Yet You can’t withdraw staked ETH or rewards yet.
January 10, 2021
Exploring Eth2: Attestation Rewards and Validator Performance
Through the beacon chain testnets people have been gradually developing better ways to evaluate how well their validators are working. Jim McDonald made a big leap forward defining attestation effectiveness which focuses on the inclusion distance for attestations. That revealed a bunch of opportunities for clients to improve the attestation inclusion distance and attestation effectiveness scores improved quite dramatically until now scores are generally at or close to 100% pretty consistently.
December 4, 2020
Exploring Eth2: Attestation Inclusion Rates with chaind
For the beacon chain MainNet, I’ve setup an instance of chaind – a handle little utility that connects to a beacon node (like Teku) and dumps out the chain data to a database so its easy to run various queries against. While you can do this with various REST API queries and custom code, having it all accessible by SQL makes ad-hoc queries a lot easier and lets you add it as a datasource for Grafana to display lots of powerful metrics.