Lodestar v1.4.0: a Fully Production-Ready Ethereum Consensus Client

Lodestar v1.4.0: a Fully Production-Ready Ethereum Consensus Client

Authored by Phil Ngo

Lodestar is proud to announce the launch of v1.4.0, a release so big that we had to do a blog post just to cover all the related updates and announcements. Let's dive in!

Lodestar as a production-ready consensus client

Since proposing our first mainnet block in November 2021, it's been a long journey to get Lodestar to a place where it's ready for everybody to use, whether you're a home staker or an institutional entity looking to diversify clients.

With the release of v1.4.0, Lodestar can remove its "under audit and review" status with the Ethereum Foundation and be officially listed as the fifth consensus client on the staking launchpad!

If you run Lodestar, upgrading to this version is important because it includes all of the required fixes to ensure security and stability for our audit completed by X41-dsec.de and publicly disclosed vulnerabilities for consensus clients found between 2020–2022.

Libp2p upgraded to v0.41.0 with networking improvements

In other news, upgrading to the latest libp2p has allowed us to improve the networking and security of the node. This was one of the more significant inclusions to ensure we could complete the fixes needed to pass our audit.

You may also notice from previous versions that there was a slow memory leak, only noticeable over a longer period of time due to snappy-stream, which was updated to version 5.1.2, allowing us to add a UDP port to ENR for improved peering.

Moreover, this release improves stability with mesh peers for better networking performance and should reduce insufficient peering issues.

Rocketpool inclusion

Joining Rocketpool and its pool of independent stakers has always been a target for us. We've put in a lot of hard work to ensure compatibility with Rocketpool's Smart Node application to further decentralize the ecosystem by adding Lodestar as an option for Rocketpool stakers!

By working with Rocketpool, we check several important boxes: increasing usage, supporting client diversity, and, most importantly, creating a better staking experience thanks to the amazing Smart Node application.

We would love you to test it and eventually have it as part of your staking stack! Learn more.

Light client protocol upgrades

Version 1.4 implements the LightClientHeader wrapper as a first step in adding the ExecutionPayloadHeader into it. These upgrades are necessary to continue supporting the developments of the light client ecosystem.

Workarounds such as downloading a full block to match execution data are heavy, and the light client community will continue innovating to find improvements in protocol to enable further use cases, such as adding ExecutionPayloadHeader to light client data.

This is also your chance to build, critique, and add your contributions to the ecosystem. There are many unsolved issues that require researchers, developers, and implementations to further innovate in this part of the protocol.

Our team has been contributing to improving the beacon APIs to get light client developers what they need for success. This includes the open proposals for a block/state multiproof and request and subscription endpoint, adding source parameters for getLightClientOptimisticUpdate and adding a feature for an instant_update endpoint which allows optimistic light clients to operate with less delay.

The Edelweiss interop was the latest meetup of light client protocol implementers, but there is always some conversation going on in the Eth R&D Discord "light-clients" channel.

Another place to get involved is in the Light Client Telegram Bridge.

Progress indicator for loading keys

With v1.4 launched, we're focusing on user adoption and understand that having great UX is one of the key (no pun intended!) drivers of this.

Many users have experienced what may have been a stalled validator client while keystores were being decrypted. This version will now show the keystore import process with logged feedback. Just note that keys can take longer to decrypt if you have many of them.

It is a known issue that decryption is slow, but most users generally have few keystores, especially on mainnet. More UX improvements are coming throughout the next few releases, and any user feedback on Lodestar usage is welcome!

Get involved

If you're interested in getting involved with Lodestar, check out our GitHub. If you'd like to contact the team, please drop by the ChainSafe Discord ➡️ #lodestar-general.

We're also hiring another protocol engineer! Job requirements can be found here, and if you think you're a good fit, please apply or reach out to careers@chainsafe.io.

Download Lodestar and see the detailed changelog.

About ChainSafe

ChainSafe is a leading blockchain research and development firm specializing in infrastructure solutions for web3. Alongside its contributions to major ecosystems such as Ethereum, Polkadot, Filecoin, and more, ChainSafe creates solutions for developers and teams across the web3 space utilizing our expertise in gaming, bridging, NFTs, and decentralized storage. As part of its mission to build innovative products for users and improved tooling for developers, ChainSafe embodies an open source and community-oriented ethos to advance the future of the internet. To learn more, click here.

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