TIP-067 Part 2 - Add Community Nodes to Beta Staker Program

Tl;dr

The goal of this proposal is to add 10 community node operators to the tBTC Beta Staker program.

Background

tBTC currently relies on a permissioned group of nodes, referred to as “Beta Stakers”, to secure the wallets that contain the BTC that backs tBTC. These nodes are highly reliable, and stake a significant amount of T.

The goal of Part 2 of TIP-067 is to expand the Beta Staker by adding 10 additional community run nodes, and T staked across the beta staker nodes by 400M T.

An increase in the number of beta staker nodes will increase the geographic dispersion of beta-stake operators, and also increase the distribution of key shares during DKG ceremony to improve system decentralization.

Proposal

The tBTC development team will vet and select 10 community node operators from applicants via this forum to be added to the Beta Staker permissioned group.

Duration

New Beta Stakers will be required to run their respective nodes until the conclusion of the Beta Staker program, expected to occur within 12 months. It is not possible to exit the Beta Staker program once added, which means that operators must continue to participate until the retirement of the program.

Requirements

Operators of Beta Staker nodes are expected to be extremely responsive, especially in regards to upgrades requested by software contributors. Ideally, they should be able to upgrade their nodes within 24 hours of notification.

Community applicants will be vetted for demonstrable uptime via a review of historical T rewards, led by the Integrations Guild.

Operators of Beta Staker nodes must be technically capable. They are responsible for ensuring high availability (more than 96% uptime) and security of the node.

A Beta Staker node performs more computationally expensive operations (DKG, threshold signing, etc) compared to a standard Threshold node. To ensure a high level of service, a Beta Staker node requires a machine with:

  • 4 CPUs
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 1 GB of persistent disk space
  • 80 Mbps of network bandwidth
  • Linux OS

Other requirements include:

  • At least 1 year of historical uptime OR strong community presence and technical skills.
  • A minimum stake of 40M T, directly owned or delegated.

Additional documentation can be found here: https://docs.threshold.network/staking-and-running-a-node/tbtc-Beta Stakers-program

The DAO will reimburse Ethereum transaction fees (in ETH) directly to the respective operator addresses on a quarterly basis.

Payment

The DAO will make a payment of $1,500 USD/month to each community participant to cover additional overheads.

Additional terms:

  • Payment terms are subject to nodes meeting the 96% uptime requirement in the month prior. Uptime below the minimum will result in forfeiture of that month’s payment.
  • Payments will be made in T in accordance with the T/USD price at 10am UTC on the final day of the month, as reported by CoinGecko.
  • Cost for the program will be covered by staking rewards generated from the delegated T in TIP-067 Part 1.
  • T rewards will be claimable by the Treasury Guild and distributed accordingly.

Indicative Timeline

  • Nominations & Discussion Period - December 13th - December 27th
  • Candidate selection period - December 27th - January 3rd
  • Technical setup and troubleshooting - January 3rd - January 17th
  • Treasury Guild Delegation Execution - January 18th
  • New Beta Stakers added incrementally - January 19th - onward
2 Likes

Thanks @sap for bringing this proposal to the community.

One question, will part 2 (community) participants receive extra compensation for running a TACo node like part 1 participants? I don’t see that option in the proposal text.

2 Likes

No problem. Thank you for you invaluable contribution as well @Vict0r.

The rationale to not include a TACo bonus for community nodes was that there is already a TACo incentive program live (TIP-062).

Do you think it is worth considering a bonus in this proposal too?

2 Likes

I’m happy to see this move to increase decentralization for the protocol!

While I support this TIP, I would like to express my opinion that the compensation is too low. $800/mo estimate per the docs on running this setup. That leaves compensation of $700/mo for:

  1. Expertise in running the set of services (tBTC, Eth, Electrum, Monitoring)
  2. “on-call” duties of maintaining 96% uptime and 24 hour node upgrade turnaround
  3. LE risk – if the FBI knocks on my door, I’m looking at $350/hour to retain a lawyer. I know this is unlikely, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

When you compare the 700/mo compensation to that of our tBTC bootnodes, the gap is laughable. Let’s make sure that community node operators for this program understand what they are signing up for.

2 Likes

I also just realized that the 40M T requirement for community beta stakers is not a delegation from the DAO but rather bring-your-own. That’s an extremely high bar, IMHO.

2 Likes

long time tBTC lurker, new time commenter. Saw this reply, and was wondering, does this mean that the nodes are not profitable by themselves?

Hey @shoegazer69, thank you for the input and valid points. Your comments on compensation have been echoed by other community members, and it appears to need revision. This makes sense to me considering the expertise and effort required by an individual to maintain uptime and responsiveness.

After feedback from several community members and discussions with the Integrations Guild, I propose we increase the community compensation to $3000 USD/month paid in T.

In regards to the 40M T requirement, it is indeed a high bar. It was proposed this way, since 400M T would materially impact the seat selection probabilities of the DKG ceremony. Lower amounts will be less impactful to seat distribution, but could be considered.

3 Likes

Hi @BakuDem, thank you for your question. T node profitability depends on the stake size. Staked T receives a flat 15% yield via the Stable Yield model. You can read more about it here.

This proposal is specifically requesting experienced nodes to join a permissioned set of operators that are required until the signing schema is updated.

2 Likes

Thanks @sap and @shoegazer69.

I believe the revised compensation is more in line with my thoughts on compensation. I support this change in the proposal.

The bar is indeed set very high with 40M, perhaps it would make sense to open this up too, perhaps 30M would be a slight improvement. Having said that, lowering that threshold further will make this an even more complex endeavor.

4 Likes

I am expressing my interest in being considered for inclusion in TIP-067 Part 2. If chosen, I have secured a delegation of 40M T from a private community member. I believe I fulfill all the specified requirements. I am highly responsive to messages and requests and am willing to commit to a 24-hour turnaround time for node upgrades if required. Within the DAO, I actively contribute to the Integrations Guild and the Treasury Guild, and provide technical assistance under the oversight of the Integrations Guild.

I have been running nodes for several years. I was a participant in NuCypher’s Worklock, and transitioned to PRE when it became available. I have been running a tBTC v2 node from the very beginning of the mainnet release and ran several instances of the testnet. I have also deployed and maintain an instance of a tBTC Guardian.

My nodes are deployed on VPS infrastructure in diverse global datacenters. I use a robust monitoring system and implemented a redundant backup strategy. While relying on a combination of Alchemy and Infura for ETH connectivity, I am also exploring the inclusion of Ankr’s Premium RPC offering.

To prevent potential conflicts of interest, I will refrain from participating in the uptime vetting under this proposal.

4 Likes

Hello - I would like to apply for one of these slots.
I run a 30M+ stake on Threshold, a “gentleman’s agreement” pool, and have been associated with the project since prior to NuCypher worklock.
I run infrastructure for other projects as well, including multiple/redundant ETH2.0 nodes, multiple ETH2.0 validators, various Cosmos Tendermint nodes etc.
If selected I will:

Run via Cloud VPS, open to discussion as to which.
include the node in my monitoring/alert system, for which I have written custom tBTC and PRE checks to ingest :9601/{metrics,diagnostics} for the former and :9151/status for the latter.
make myself available to whomever is associated with this project.
I have recently left “regular” employment and plan to focus on Web3 and infrastructure. .

Relevant experience: I have been doing infrastructure and linux since the mid-90’s on behalf of all manner of organizations - local governments, universities, companies of small to medium scale, research laboratories, energy companies etc. I have considerable funds personally invested in Threshold over the past years.
Description of solution design: Cloud VM as dictated above, rootless docker user running docker containers for tBTC / PRE with backups triggered via by-the-minute changes seen to appropriate directories. Nagios monitoring system with custom checks. Assuming Electrum access to be provided by project as with any tBTC node. Security principals of least privilege ( as with my own ), thus rootless docker, ed25519 key access restricted via wireguard vpn to exclude all but me. I will run both nodes on the same system as different users, isolated from one another. Backups will be kept both local on the VM and off-system in cloud + one (or more) external units.
I will participate in tBTC & TACo for as long as required, even beyond 12 months if necessary, provided I make enough profit (currently reading 3000 USD / month ) to compensate for my time and attention.

5 Likes

I am expressing my interest in being considered for inclusion in TIP-067 Part 2. If chosen, I have secured a delegation of 40M T from a private community member. I believe I fulfill all the specified requirements. I am highly responsive to messages and requests and am willing to commit to a 24-hour turnaround time for node upgrades if required.

I currently run a 1M+ stake on Threshold PRE/TBTC, and have been associated with the project since NuCypher worklock. I’m an active community member and was recently recognized in the “Do Cool ■■■■, Get Rewards” program for: Add requirements script for node operator transparency and monitoring by randyramig · Pull Request #90 · threshold-network/merkle-distribution · GitHub.

I run infrastructure for other projects as well, including multiple/redundant ETH2.0 nodes, multiple ETH2.0 validators (since genesis), and various Cosmos Tendermint nodes etc.

I have been running nodes for several years. I was a participant in NuCypher’s Worklock, and transitioned to PRE when it became available. I have been running a tBTC v2 node from the very beginning of the mainnet release and ran several instances of the testnet.

If selected I will:

Run via Cloud VPS, open to discussion as to which.
include the node in my monitoring/alert system, for which I have written custom tBTC and PRE checks to ingest :9601/{metrics,diagnostics} for the former and :9151/status for the latter.
make myself available to whomever is associated with this project.

Relevant experience: In addition to my current node running experience described above, I’m a Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft where I have worked for 26 years and am currently in the Azure Supply Chain Group where I work daily on Linux and cloud infrastructure.

Description of solution design:

  • Cloud VM/VPS as dictated above, rootless docker user running docker containers for tBTC / PRE with backups triggered via by-the-minute changes seen to appropriate directories.
  • Nagios monitoring system with custom checks.
  • Assuming Electrum access to be provided by project as with any tBTC node.
  • Ethereum access via my own ethereum node that I’m currently using as an Ethereum validator.
  • Security principals of least privilege ( as with my own ), thus rootless docker, ed25519 key access restricted via wireguard vpn to exclude all but me. The VM/VPS instance will be solely for the beta staker node. I will continue running my own Threshold apps node as is.
  • I will participate in tBTC & TACo for as long as required, even beyond 12 months if necessary, provided I make enough profit (currently reading 3000 USD / month ) to compensate for my time and attention.
6 Likes

Is this open to employees of Nucypher and Keep? and given the low number of interactions here, would we consider lowering the 40M T requirement?

1 Like

Hi @Vict0r, @blitmore1 and @shoegazer69, thank you all for applying so far. As Threshold OGs I think you would make a great addition, and thank you for nominating yourselves.

A quick update - due to the holiday period and an overly optimistic timeline, the selection deadline will be delayed until the 12th of January, after which the team will setup period will commence.

@james yes, I don’t see why not, if they run their own independent instance. In regards to reducing the threshold - it becomes an impact tradeoff. More signers in itself doesn’t impact decentralization without sufficient T. However, I suggest posting an application anyway, since a community member could delegate to you to make up the difference.

1 Like

I’d like to put myself forward for inclusion. I am unable to meet the capital requirements so would need a delegation from a community member.

Background
I’ve been Nucypher employee for 2 years and have run many personal nodes during that time - PRE, TACo, tBTC, both mainnet and testnet. Prior to Nucypher I worked as a DevOps Engineer at a large trading firm where uptime and availability where the main priorities.

Proposal
Kubernetes via a Cloud provider for tBTC, TACo, and monitoring. Initially I would use public Ethereum and Bitcoin endpoints, but the first months compensation will be spent on hardware to run local Ethereum and Bitcoin nodes (with public endpoints as failover), with the possibility of adding an extra local kubernetes node to handle data centre outages.

Please let me know if you have any questions

6 Likes

Hi @Vict0r, @blitmore1, @shoegazer69, @james - thank you, once again, for applying to participate in the Beta Staker program.

Congratulations, you are all successful applicants. The technical setup period will commence immediately.

@james, please note that you will only be added to the program once you have received an appropriate delegation.

Next steps
Please commence the setup of your Beta Staker node. Any questions can be coordinated via Discord.

Please share a public Ethereum address to which payments will be made.

Documentation on setting up a Threshold Network node can be found here: https://docs.threshold.network/staking-and-running-a-node/running-a-node

Nodes will be added to the program in a progressive roll out to ensure system stability.

6 Likes

Hello esteemed Threshold DAO members.

Congrats to Vict0r, Biltmore, shoegazer69 and James for soon to become Beta Staker node operators!

Couple of questions @sap and crew

  1. Due date extension:
    It appears 4 new operators were successful and the original intention was to add 10 node operators via TIP-067 Part 2 Beta Staker program, would you accept late applications?

  2. 40m T requirements: I’m new to the ecosystem and considering 40m is about USD 800k at times of writing, would the DAO be able to delegate T coins to make sure new operators meet the requirement and get started?

Cheers,

Daniel

Reference: introduction of myself and Bitfwd.

1 Like

I would like to apply as well, subject to clarifying a few questions:

  • Do the machine requirements in the starting post include a dedicated server, or a VPS is enough?
  • What is the expected amount of gas fees?
  • I would need more clarity on how the uptime is calculated. Right now it is an opaque process, with some manual parts, and the results are only known at the end of each month. I know there’s some work being done for tBTC (REDO: Add requirements script for node operator transparency and monitoring by somaweb3 · Pull Request #125 · threshold-network/merkle-distribution · GitHub), so hopefully this will be in soon. It doesn’t make the process less centralized, but at least it’s more transparent. Not sure about TACo.
  • If the uptime does not qualify for the full rewards, what are the penalties? As much as I would like to keep the nodes operational (in particular, to collect my own rewards), things happen.

About me: I was an employee in NuCypher from 2018 until the start of 2022 when I left to work on other stuff. Currently working at Entropy, building a network for threshold signing. I have been running my own PRE and tBTC nodes from the launch of respective networks. I have also been in the Threshold Council for the last two terms, although I am not planning on going on a third one.

Stake: I have an offer of a stake delegation from a community member.

Disclosure: my tBTC node has suffered some uptime problems in the last half a year, due to a weird interaction of Docker and tBTC client which the devs unfortunately had no interest in investigating (perhaps some people have seen my posts in #troubleshooting). Currently I ditched Docker and run the client natively, which eliminated those problems. There is still a memory leak, but not a huge one, and I’m trying to figure out where it’s coming from.

5 Likes

Esteemed Threshold DAO members, I’m expressing interest to be included in TIP-067 Part 2 Beta Staker Program.

Some background about myself:
I’m running the Bitfwd Capital crypto hedge fund where we’ve been running about 5-7% of the Aleph.im core channel and resource nodes network over the past couple of year, currently at Bitfwd I’m involved in managing 50+ nodes where we have frequent updates using ansible and monitoring using grafana with alerting tools.

Running linux servers, miners, docker, kubernetes, qemu/vmm, automation and monitoring tools.

For the Beta Staker program, I’m planning to use VPS instances to run the nodes (cloud and location TBD) and employ mechanics for the 24h upgrade window and monitoring/alerting system for manual and (if possible) automatic interventions. I’ll be following best practices and instruction detailed in respective documentation and community knowledge using this forum or any other recommended resources.

Regarding the 40M T, I will need to get delegated by the DAO / community members to meet this requirement.

Looking forward for your considerations.

cc @sap

2 Likes

I would like to be considered for TIP-067 Part 2. I have secured a delegation of 40M T from a community member.
I’ve been a community member since 2017, performed several different roles up till now.

During these years I have been involved in:

Node operator in KEEP tBTC v1.
Multisig elected by the community.
Keep Network Evangelist and moderator for many months.
Committee member of the Integration Guild, actively participating in the process of prospecting new partnerships and integrations.
Contributor to governance proposals.
I’ve worked on the development of the ThresholdUSD as a front-end developer.
I’m a former Keep Network Council Member and a former Threshold Council member

I’m currently holding an elected position of full-stack developer for the Threshold DAO.

I am planning to deploy my nodes on a cloud-based VPS infrastructure, strategically located in several data centers globally. To ensure maximum reliability and security, I will implement a robust monitoring system coupled with an efficient and reliable redundant backup strategy. For Ethereum connectivity, my primary choices will be Alchemy and Infura, ensuring a stable and efficient network interaction.

3 Likes