ssv.network is a decentralized staking infrastructure that enables the distributed operation of an Ethereum validator. This is achieved by splitting a validator key between four or more non trusting node instances (‘multi-operator node’). The nodes are collectively tasked with executing the validator’s duties under a consensus mechanism. In simple terms, the protocol transforms a validator key into a multisig construct governed by a consensus layer.
The unique protocol improves robustness, liveliness and fault tolerance of nodes across the Ethereum ecosystem. Distributing validator keys between node instances suggests a major leap forward comparing to existing staking schemes who fall short when it comes to:
- Validator keys can be stored offline
- ‘Active to active’ redundancy
- Node instances customizability
- Threshold signature scheme
ssv.network is the first public implementation of the SSV primitive, which originated as a research piece by the Ethereum Foundation back in 2019 and since then has grown to a DAO governed, community driven network of stakers, builders and node operators.
ssv.network is rapidly approaching mainnet. Scheduled for the beginning of 2022, the genesis implementation of the Decentralized Staking Infrastructure will be focused on Ethereum, afterwhich, the network is expected to expand to other POS chains.
Secret Shared Validators (SSV) is the first secure and robust way to split an Ethereum validator key between non-trusting node instances (or operators). The validator key is split in such a way that no node must trust the other to function, a certain number can go offline without affecting validator performance, and no single node instance can take unilateral control of the validator. The result is decentralized, fault-tolerant, and secure staking on Ethereum.
SSV can be perceived as an intermediary layer between the validator node and the beacon chain. Validator keys are split into 4 or more shares and organized in a ‘multi-operator’ construct.
The technology significantly improves the limitations of existing staking implementations:
Validator keys can be stored offline – Validator keys are currently kept online in order to perform duties on the Beacon chain. With SSV, only the encrypted ‘Shared Keys’ are kept online thus eliminating the risk of exposing the key attack vectors and exploitation.
‘Active to active’ redundancy – Independent node instances (operators) can operate simultaneously and manage a validator key without slashing risk
Infrastructure flexibility- stakers(validators) are able to change and optimize their multi-operator construct by changing 1 or more of the node instances.
Threshold signature scheme – 1 or more nodes can go offline without affecting the validaotr’s ability to continue performing duties. This achieves optimal fault tolerance and validator uptime.
The SSV primitive was originally proposed by the Ethereum Foundation in 2019. The BloxStaking team joined the research effort by implementing the first SSV Proof of Concept of the SSV primitive. The technology later evolved into the first SSV based public implementation; ssv.network.