eth2 quick update no. 18

Oh you, Spadina,
Finally, finality
Hello and farewell


  • A quick Spadina postmortem
  • New testnet: Zinken. Launchpad is live; Genesis deposits due in one week!

Spadina Postmortem

The Spadina testnet dress rehearsal launched this past Tuesday. Although Spadina is now healthy and finalizing, the launch was not as smooth sailing as it could have been. Validator participation started very low, and it took ~70 epochs (almost 8 hours) to get up to the 2/3 participation threshold needed for the chain to finalize. Since then however, the chain has actually been remarkably stable.

At first, we thought this lack of early finality was due to the fact that, since validators are only staking testnet ETH, there are no real disincentives for failing to turn on your node in time for genesis. But it soon became clear that, although this was part of the problem, there were some errors near the edge of the stack with regards to client release and configuration.

A side note on client diversity — Spadina was heavily weighted toward the Prysm client which had a critical peering issue at genesis. At this point in time there are many robust eth2 clients. If we achieve a better distribution for mainnet, single client issues, like we saw on Spadina, will have a much smaller overall impact on network health.

If the problem was just low initial participation, there wouldn’t be a need for another dress rehearsal, but since many users experienced critical issues getting their nodes up and running, we’re opting for another crack at it before the deposit contract is launched and a mainnet genesis date is set. Enter Zinken.

Announcing Zinken

Zinken is another eth2 testnet launch aimed at giving client teams a chance to iron out issues in their release process, and validators a chance to experience a smoother genesis prior to mainnet.

In the optimal case, Zinken is stable and finalizes out of the gate. However, the most important signal we’re looking for is for users to have minimal issues configuring their nodes and joining the network. A lot of this rests on the client teams putting out solid releases, but we also ask users to take this genesis seriously.

This means only making deposits for validators you intend to run, and, if at all possible, keeping an eye on the ethstaker and client team discords during the 24 hours leading up to genesis; there is always a small chance you may need to perform a last minute configuration change or node upgrade.

The important details:

  • The Zinken Launchpad is live today.
  • Genesis deposits are due by Thursday, October 8th at 12 UTC.
  • Genesis time is expected to be approximately Monday, October 12th at 12 UTC.

Note that Genesis deposits are due 4 days before launch. If you deposit after this, your validator won’t be activated immediately. Instead, you’ll be added to a queue and slowly inducted into the validator set once the chain starts finalizing.

As with Spadina, the primary goal of Zinken is to practice the genesis process. This means that, although the testnet may run for longer, client teams and ecosystem tools will only provide support for a few days.

If this is your first eth2 testnet, be sure to check out the EthStaker Discord for tips and discussion. From there, you should be able to pick a client and make your way into the client-specific Discords.

Happy testnet 🚀

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