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November 9, 2023

Secure Staking Alliance launches to develop open security standards for validators

Intro

Today we are excited to announce the Secure Staking Alliance, a new cross-industry partnership with the goal of making staking—traditional, liquid staking, and restaking—more secure.

The alliance is founded by leaders across the web3 ecosystems, from protocols to node operators to security teams to insurance companies.

We are coming together to establish the foundations and frameworks that will help web3 protocols, developers, and node operators design, build, and run secure (re)staking validator infrastructure. We envision a world where anyone can (re)stake capital and run validators securely, by design.

Secure (re)staking infrastructure is key to the security of the web3 ecosystem. It's key to the ecosystem's evolution. And it's key to unlocking the innovation promised by web3.

Why now?

The Ethereum Shapella upgrade in April 2023 led to significant growth in staking activity on both Ethereum and other proof-of-stake chains. This is only the start. New liquid staking protocols (e.g., Ankr, Swell, Redacted), upcoming restaking protocols (e.g., EigenLayer and Babylon), and L2s and interoperability protocols (e.g., Polyhedra, AltLayer, Espresso, Witness Chain) are not only making it easy for people to stake their capital; they're also enabling new applications that weren't previously possible (e.g., spinning up new chains without huge capital investments).

Unfortunately, running secure, highly available, reliable staking infrastructure is still hard. Even experienced teams have gotten slashed because of bugs in validator client software and operational mistakes. And even well-established protocols have been susceptible to attacks like front-running.

It's clear that we need to join forces to reduce the risk of (re)staking and unlock the innovation that both traditional and new protocols—protocols we can't even imagine—make possible.

Who and What?

The Secure Staking Alliance was founded by organizations across the web3 ecosystem, including:

Restaking protocols

Liquid staking protocols

L2s and interoperability

Insurance

We care about making (re)staking more secure for everyone.

We are collaborating on technical standards and best practices that will help teams design, build, and run secure staking infrastructures. For example, we are collaborating on standards that will guide the design of new protocols towards design points that are amenable to "anti-slashers"—to protections that make it possible to run secure validators, i.e., validators that won't get slashed, even in the presence of bugs and operational mistakes.

We are similarly collaborating on codifying best practices on how to implement secure restaking and liquid-staking protocols, how to safeguard validator keys, and how to safely upgrade validator software without downtime or slashing risk.

Here's why we think this is important:

“Staking is one of the most exciting corners of the digital asset market, and a significant catalyst for mainstream adoption. To realize the limitless potential of staking, it is imperative that we develop a carefully constructed, comprehensive framework that lays the foundation for protocols and operators to implement the highest-performing, most secure staking infrastructure possible and protects the security of investors. We are excited to work with some of the most innovative and exciting teams in the digital asset ecosystem to make staking easier, safer, and more accessible to all.”
- Fraser Brown, Co-Founder & CTO of Cubist
"We're proud to be part of the Secure Staking Alliance, collaborating to make the future of staking safer and more secure. Babylon unlocks the $600 billion in crypto assets stored as Bitcoin by allowing bitcoin holders to trustlessly stake their Bitcoins to secure any PoS chains and earn yields. Our mission aligns perfectly with SSA's vision, not only at the protocol level but also in making Bitcoin staking safe at the system and operational levels. We firmly believe that secure (re)staking infrastructure is the key to web3's security, evolution, and innovation.”
- Fisher Yu, Co-Founder & CTO of Babylon
“Slashing can be a complex and nuanced topic. By sharing best practices in the field, we can strengthen the security and resilience of the entire blockchain ecosystem.” 
- Andrii Kravets, Head of DevOps at Everstake
“The Veridise team is excited to be part of this initiative to build and maintain secure validator (re)staking infrastructure. We firmly believe that developing protocol standards and operational guidelines for staking will play a vital role in the health and security of the web3 ecosystem.”
- Işıl Dillig, Co-Founder & President of Veridise
"As a pioneering force in Layer 2 solutions, zkBridge is committed to enhancing the security and efficacy of blockchain interoperability. The Secure Staking Alliance represents a vital step toward realizing a fully connected and protected blockchain environment. Our technology is at the forefront of enabling secure and efficient cross-chain communications, which is not only fundamental for staking but also crucial for the future of decentralized finance. We are proud to collaborate with SSA and its members to drive innovation and trust in staking protocols, ensuring that the infrastructure is robust and resilient enough to support the next wave of blockchain adoption."
- Jiaheng Zhang, Co-Founder & Chief Scientist of Polyhedra Network
"Swell is proud to support the Secure Staking Alliance to help ensure (re)staking is safe and secure for all stakeholders within the rapidly growing ecosystem. We look forward to contributing to the principles and frameworks that will set the necessary foundation to establish and uphold best practice across web3's new frontier of restaking."
- Daniel Dizon, Founder & CEO of Swell
"The evolution of staking infrastructure relies on web3 security innovators who support node operators. Redacted has already been working with founding members of the SSA to strengthen the security of the Dinero Protocol and ensure safety at every level of cluster operation. Having clear security standards for designing, building, and running validator infrastructure will not only continue to be key to the development lifecycle of Pirex ETH, it will be a cornerstone to other LSTs too. Redacted is dedicated to supporting SSA's mission to protect and expand our community's core values."
- Sami, Co-Founder of Redacted Cartel

Join the Secure Staking Alliance

Organizations that share our values are encouraged to join, contribute to our mission, and incorporate the standards and best practices into their products and projects.