ACurrently, the Ethereum network has more than 400 thousand validators on the Beacon Chain network, an amazing number considering that the Ethereum network, at the time of writing, does not exceed 20 thousand nodes. But What role do these nodes play? What are the requirements for its installation?
What does it mean to have an ETH2 Node?
Having an Ethereum 2.0 node installed means one thing: be part of a network of participants that has a clear objective, to protect the network and the information within the blockchain of Ethereum 2.0. At the moment, that is a half job, since the ETH 2.0 network is working laterally to the ETH 1.0 network, which is the one that is still in use.
This means that all the transactions that are made in Ethereum, are actually made on ETH 1.0while the ETH 2.0 network just produces more and more empty blocks while waiting patiently for The Merge, the event that will unite the ETH 1.0 network with the ETH 2.0 network.
In principle, this event should have taken place in 2020, but the development of ETH 2.0 has suffered from several delays that have led to the fact that, two years later, these events have not yet taken place. This has made being an ETH 2.0 node the same as being part of a network with no real use at the moment, but which is patiently waiting to change the paradigm and capabilities of the second largest blockchain in the world.
With the arrival of Ethereum 2.0, the nodes in Ethereum will initially be divided in the following way:
- Validating nodes (Full Node), which are those who have the minimum economic power necessary to participate in the production of blocks within the network. This economic power comes from the staking of 32 ETH within the staking scheme of the ETH 2.0 network.
- Nodes only access (Light Nodes), which are the nodes that, without staking, are capable of accessing the ETH 2.0 network, storing and processing the validation of the blocks produced by the validators. They are, in a way, living witnesses to the activity of the network and that everything complies with the rules. To have one of these nodes, it is enough to install an ETH 2.0 node and connect it to the Internet.
- Archive Nodes, due to the enormous size of the Ethereum network and its enormous activity, the archive nodes will continue to exist in order to maintain an exact and complete copy of the entire state of the blockchain and its history.
In addition to these nodes, with the arrival of sharding in Ethereum 2.0, new nodes and special functions for them could arrive, especially to interconnect the different shards and create bridges that support communication between them.
What are the requirements to be an ETH2 node?
Installing an Ethereum 2.0 node is not complex. In fact, the requirements at the hardware level are quite easy to meet if you take into account the following:
- CPU of at least 4 cores (Intel i5 Gen2 or higher – AMD Ryzen Gen 1 or higher). The CPU will be more than enough for the job since block validation does not consume large computing resources.
- RAM memory of at least 8 GB of RAM (DDR3 or DDR4 in Dual Channel). This will ensure that the computer does not run out of RAM resources for its work (both at the node and OS level).
- SSD storage of at least 1TB. If possible, have at least two 1TB hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration, which will allow you to maintain an identical mirror on both drives. Thus, if one fails, you can quickly recover the functionality and security of the system by changing the damaged disk for a new one, restarting the replication and in a few hours everything will be fine. This only applies in the case of full and light nodes, since if you decide to install an archive node you will have to multiply that capacity by 20 (at least 10 TB in RAID1 configuration).
- Dedicated Broadband Internet connection of at least 10 symmetrical Mbps.
- Stability in the electrical service, since the node must be active 24/7/365.
- Condition and air-condition the space for the continuous execution of the node.
- If you want to install a full node with validation, you must have 32 ETH to carry out the stake. This is not necessary for the light and archive nodes.
In practice, any medium-powered computer from the last 10 years will serve you perfectly for this task. Of course, running your own node also gives you access to certain benefits such as:
- You don't need to trust the network because you can verify the data yourself with your client. "Don't trust, verify" is a popular blockchain mantra.
- Your node verifies all transactions and blocks against consensus rules by itself. This means that you do not have to depend on or fully trust any other node on the network.
- You won't have to leak your addresses and balances to random nodes. Everything can be checked with your own client.
- Using dApp can be more secure and private if you use your own node. Dappradar, MyEtherWallet and other wallets can be easily pointed to your own local node to use the local node's RPC service, avoiding leaving traces of your activity on third party servers.
- Finally, you can connect to your node using interprocess communications (IPC) or rewrite node to load your program as a plugin. This ensures low latency, which is necessary to replace your transactions as quickly as possible (i.e. frontrunning).
Software to install nodes on ETH 2.0
Ethereum 2.0 is intended to use the “client diversity” perspective, that is, the existence of several clients with very specific functions. Among these we can mention:
Execution clients (also known as “Eth1 clients”), such as Besu, Erigon, go-ethereum (Geth), Nethermind. These are responsible for processing and disseminating transactions, as well as managing the state of Ethereum. They execute the calculations of each transaction in the Ethereum virtual machine to ensure that the rules of the protocol are followed. Currently, they also handle the Proof of Work consensus. Following the transition to proof-of-stake, they will delegate this task to consensus clients.
Consensus clients (such as Prysm, Teku, Nimbus, Lighthouse, Lodestar) run Ethereum's Proof of Stake consensus algorithm. These are the ones who make sure that the network can reach an agreement on the Beacon Chain. Consensus clients do not participate in the validation/transmission of transactions or the execution of state transitions on ETH 1.0, and will only become fully active after the complete transition to ETH 2.0.
How much does an ETH2 node earn?
Just like what happens in the Proof of Work, the gain of the nodes Proof of Stake of ETH 2.0, is dictated by the issuance of rewards for said nodes, which in ETH 2.0 is fixed at 4,63% APR. This means that for an own node (locally) with 32 ETH in staking (about $40.082,88 USD as of June 2022), said node would produce about $1.855,83 per year.
In any case, there are calculators that can help you calculate all this very easily, such as the one offered by StakingRewards.