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We need to start thinking hard about validator privacy

We need to start thinking hard about validator privacy


We're seeing a narrative emerge that would have those who run a node be held responsible for the legality or illegality of the transactions processed by that node.


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A narrative that has led to a bill that, if passed, could turn Ethereum node operators in the United States into outlaws.


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A narrative that, judging by Christine Lagarde's recent musings , may have a chance of gaining traction even in Europe.

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And while it is always healthy to hope for the best at the start of a struggle, it is also wise to prepare for the worst.

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As it stands, deanonymisation in Eth2 is frighteningly simple. To fail to address this is to risk the arrestation of our very thoughts and ideas, and the unjust persecution of the humans they belong to. In a word, it is a failure of our humanity at the deepest level.

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If we are to stand a hope of living up to our ideals, of protecting our fundamental rights – to privacy, liberty, freedom of thought and expression -- across all jurisdictions, we, the Ethereum community, need to start by seriously engaging with the existing research on validator privacy. We need to provide funding to teams willing to accelerate this research, and start turning these ideas into implementations we can test.

Now is not the time to stand idly by.


Further reading

Validator privacy research discussions

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