Testnets serve a very good purpose, and that is to determine whether the technology is capable of running on a much broader scale. For Ethereum, the Medalla testnet has been in operation and growing in terms of staked ETH and validators since early August.
Not all validators have been happy with the experience, however, and one has stated that he has no intention of staking on Beacon Chain when it gets launched.
Reasons not to Stake
Beacon Chain validator Chase Wright has launched a scathing thread on twitter explaining why he has no intention of staking real ETH after participating in the testnet.
Like many of you, I am excited for ETH2, the Beacon Chain, Phase 0, and everything that will come after.
I have participated in Onyx, Witti, Altona, and Medalla test networks.
I tried Prysm and Lighthouse.
— Chase Wright (@mysticryuujin) September 23, 2020
There have been several Ethereum 2.0 test networks, including Onyx, Witti, Altona, and Medalla is the latest and final one. Wright stated that he has done extensive testing on multiple networks using multiple clients and has become highly familiar with their operation.
Firstly he has claimed that average Medalla validators have yet to profit due to a bug in a client, the most popular for testing is Prysm, which has over 90% of the share. Incensed that developers have not fixed the bug, he added that there has yet to be a fork on Beacon Chain, and forking is not the solution anyway.
“When Vitalik’s answer to what do we do when ETH2 is attacked is “fork” but nobody wants to demonstrate what a fork for ETH2 looks like…yikes…”
He continued the expletive-laden tirade adding that there was little interoperability between different clients and nodes and that the whole thing seems to be in a rush to deliver. There were comments about centralization with very few nodes but thousands of validators. Beaconcha.in reports that there are 58,800 validators while Ethernodes.org says that there are 473 active peers for the testnet.
There was also some angst against the voting and staking rewards mechanism.
Reasons to Stake
Lead Ethereum developer Danny Ryan responded to the thread acknowledging the risks with early staking but rebutting most of the points.
“The testnet is actually very decentralized. Medalla has 1000+ nodes, probably an order of magnitude more than any other PoS testnet.”
I suppose first of all is that I personally don’t expect Phase 0 participation to be for everybody.
Staking comes with many risks and staking early in eth2 comes with even more than if you jumped in a couple of years down the line https://t.co/PSOYhj1ulm
— dannyryan (@dannyryan) September 23, 2020
He added that client voting processes have improved over the past couple of months and disagreed with the comments about rushed shipping.
Another thread was started by Eth Gas Station creator, ‘@latetot,’ using exactly the same opening but arguing why he will be staking on Beacon Chain.
He stated that the response to the first Medalla bug was very fast, and validators have been running without intervention or problems for weeks. He added that The ETH 2.0 client teams have been extremely responsive and collaborative to all community members.
“My ETH can either lie dormant in a cold wallet earning no income, staked in a smart contract with its own risk of loss, or staked as a ETH2.0 validator. The audits, formal verification, and scrutiny of the ETH2.0 contracts give me strong confidence in the safety of ETH2.0.”
So there you have it, both sides of the staking fence. By the time Beacon Chain is finally rolled out, these early teething problems will have been addressed, and it is likely to be the biggest shakeup to the Ethereum network since its inception.