Ethereum Staking: All you need to know about the validator queue

Myrmidonstaking
3 min readJul 5, 2023

If you recently put your ETH to work on the beaconchain, you probably found yourself in a queue and a validator status in the pending state. But what is it and what does it mean? Lets explore:

ETH stakers has recently experienced a massive queue for validators to be activated on the beaconchain. Since the Ethereum network update, known as Shapella, the interest of running a validator on the beaconchain has increased dramatically. The validator ecosystem now houses 649,004 active validators and an additional 88,000+ in queue. The average wait time to become an active Ethereum validator is now 38 days and 23 hours. Please see this table that gives you the current numbers of Ethereum’s massive validator ecosystem.

Source: validatorqueue.com

Ethereum’s Churn Limit: Managing Validator Queue

So what’s the reason for this queue and how is it determined? The answer lies in a specific rule in the Ethereum network called the Churn Limit.

The churn limit is a rule that plays a vital part in managing the Ethereum network’s activation and exit queues, which ensures stability of the Proof of Stake consensus (PoS). The churn limit rule limits the number of validators that can enter or exit the Ethereum network during an epoch, which is around 6.4 minutes. At current time, the churn limit is set at 9 validators per epoch as showed in the table above, thus creating a queue for those validators that exceeds this limit. Currently, there is 88,496 validators waiting to join, which gives a waiting time on 38 days and 23 hours.

Furthermore, there is also a maximum of how many validators that can become active each day, which is limited to 2025. However, if the total number of validators exceeds 655,360, the daily limit for new validators increases to 2200, which also means an increase to 10 validators per epoch. This mechanism is important for maintaining the network’s finality and reducing shifts in the validator set. Please see this table for more information about this rule.

Source: Beaconcha.in

The importance of the Ethereum activation & Exit Queues

The churn limit rule that manages the Ethereum activation and Exit queue is not merely for limiting the number of validators that can join the party; It plays a vital part to help maintain the stability of the network’s active set.

When 32ETH has been deposited to the smart contract on the beaconchain, the validator need to wait for at least four epochs before it gets activated. This is done to prevent manipulation of the random beacon (RANDAO) that selects validators. If more validators are waiting than per the churn limit, the activation queue starts building up in a first-come-first serve order, which currently paints the picture and causes delays.

The churn limit also influences the number of validators exiting the beaconchain. There are three types of withdrawals that can be made; Partial, full voluntary exit and full exit due to slashing. Each process requires different procsessing requirements and timelines. Please see this table from “A note on Ethereum 2.0 phase 0 validator lifecycle”.

Source: A note on Ethereum 2.0 phase 0 validator lifecycle

Thanks for reading. Stay updated with us, as we are about to reveal our new ETH staking dashboard in the next coming weeks.

//MyrmidonStaking

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