As part of CoinDesk’s former Valid Points Newsletter, CoinDesk set up its own Ethereum validator, “Zelda,” in 2020 to have a front-row seat into the blockchain’s shift from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. The goal was to learn about the historic engineering feat, and to report from the front lines.
But with Ethereum’s full transition to PoS complete and with the Shapella upgrade enabling staked ether (ETH) withdrawals, Zelda’s time has come to an end.
According to blockchain explorer beaconcha.in, Zelda exited the Beacon Chain on April 24 at 12:16 pm ET, and our staked ETH became withdrawable on April 25th at 3:34 pm ET. The timeline of Zelda’s exit is similar to what had been reported at the time: the day after Shapella went live, the exit queue for validators looking to leave the chain was at about two weeks.
CoinDesk’s Director of Engineering C. Spencer Beggs put in the request to remove our validator from the chain on April 13, the morning after Shapella had been triggered. Thus, from the time our request went in, to the time that CoinDesk’s staked ETH became withdrawable, it took about 12 days.
The reason it takes so long for validators to exit the chain is because that’s part of the project’s design. Staking is an important part of maintaining the security of the Ethereum blockchain, and if too many validators left the chain at evvel, the security of ensuring that transactions and blocks are added to the network could not be guaranteed. So the number of validators who can exit at any given time is subject to a hard limit; when withdrawal requests pile up, the exit queue backs up.
Currently, the withdrawal queue sits at about 9 days, indicating that the requests for validators to be removed from the blockchain has calmed down. At its peak, the withdrawal queue was at 17 days.
Zelda managed to earn 3.682 ETH worth about $6,860 in staking rewards, which CoinDesk will donate to charity.
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