Announcing Our Series A Investment in Obol
Archetype is excited to co-lead Obol Labs’ $12.5M Series A alongside Pantera. At Archetype, we’re strong believers in a future where commerce is powered by smart contracts, with Ethereum as the world’s open settlement layer.
Our mission as investors is to find and accelerate projects that reinforce Ethereum’s resilience, ensuring that the network lives up to its promise of a decentralized future.
As early supporters of Obol, we’re committed to supporting them on their journey to bring DVT to Ethereum Mainnet, as well as their broader vision to introduce the technology to other Layer 1 PoS blockchains like Cosmos and Layer 2 scaling solutions (to improve sequencer resiliency).
Distributed Validator Technology (DVT) is a new primitive that allows Ethereum Proof of Stake (PoS) Validators to be run across multiple nodes operated by a diverse community or group acting as a single validator.
Distributed Validator nodes operate as a unified cluster by incorporating Charon - Obol’s middleware client – that coordinates individual partial validator signatures in order to create an aggregate signature on behalf of the Distributed Validator.
In a Distributed Validator cluster, each node holds a key share of an aggregate validator key, without the entire key existing in any single location at once. As long as more than two thirds of operators are online, the distributed validator performance is unaffected - even as some nodes in the cluster go offline.
Obol Labs is leading the effort to develop and bring to market DVT – which is critical for decentralization and PoS network security. Obol’s Charon is an additive middleware piece to be incorporated into the broader technology stack by liquid staking protocols and other core ecosystem participants.
As the largest liquid staking provider on Ethereum, Lido has already conducted a successful pilot integration of DVT with Obol on the Goerli testnet, having previously approved a LDO research grant to Obol.
What DVT Unlocks:
DVT minimizes correlation risk by diversifying across geographies and client configurations. With DVT, participating nodes in a cluster can run on machines using different validator, consensus, and execution clients from anywhere in the world.
Diverse node clusters also reduce downtime and potential slashing risk, allowing for significantly improved operator efficacy. Notably, operators seeking to improve uptime no longer need to risk slashing by running active-passive setups in which backup “passive” environments activate in the event the active node fails. In such situations, a variety of errors can lead to both nodes actively attesting with the same validator key and getting slashed as a result.
DVT is also critical for single-node validators who are unable to run active-passive setups and are vulnerable to machine failures which lead to missed rewards, downtime, and ultimately weaker overall network infrastructure for Ethereum.
DVT allows Liquid Staking Providers to democratize staking. Teams like Lido have prioritized the democratization of staking to enable a broader community of members to participate in running validators, as well as protocol decentralization. Obol is therefore working closely with LSPs like Lido, Stakewise, and others to implement DVT.
Obol’s Athena testnet resulted in a remarkable 5,000+ signups, 200+ successful Distributed Key Generation (DKG) ceremonies, and 100+ Distributed Validator Clusters signing attestations across 40+ countries.
Obol’s active community of 9,000 members is indicative of the excitement and potential surrounding DVT. Where validators are currently seen today as individual actors, a future underpinned by Obol’s DVT will see validators run by distributed communities.
The net result will significantly improve efforts to decentralize Ethereum, reinforce its architectural resiliency, and open the door for people around the world to play a role in validating the network underpinning a global commercial and financial settlement layer.
The Obol team, led by Collin Myers and Oisín Kyne, has long been involved in building core infrastructure throughout crypto, and is responsible for multiple tools including the ETH2 LaunchPad, the ETH2 Calculator, the Internet Bonds thesis, as well as core DVT research at the Ethereum Foundation.