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Actively validated services

Actively validated services (AVS) are decentralized infrastructure services that tap into Ethereum's shared security and reward Operators for providing it. There can be various ways to leverage a high trust model in a distributed system and dapps built on top of it.

Trust inheritance

Builder can select the type of trust, or their combination, which will be programmatically inherited and used to program a new protocol:

  • Economics: Measured by the amount of financial stake, economic trust relies on capital-backed commitments, ensuring rational behavior through objective validation semantics, where malicious deviations can be proven on-chain and penalized. Examples: Optimistic claims, light client bridges
  • Decentralization: Measured by the number of independent nodes, decentralized trust relies on a sufficiently large and distributed validator set to prevent collusion, which is particularly valuable for AVSs with failure modes that are not easily provable on-chain. Examples: Multiparty computation, data availability layers
  • Ethereum: Measured by the percentage of validators joined, inclusion trust allows for the experimentation of additional opt-in features to the Ethereum protocol without modifying its core, enabling the combination of various trust models. Examples: MEV management, single slot finality

Arbitrary tasks

The protocol has to define the tasks to be performed, consider their computational intensity, and set the slashing conditions. Operators will then run validation tasks in the AVS-provided node software, implementing the off-chain infrastructure business logic and contributing to the security and integrity of the network.

If protocol needs decentralized trust, then the work for Operators can be repetitive, but should be lightweight to allow for wider participation of less performant nodes (e.g. verifying zero-knowledge proofs, or running light nodes of other blockchains). Otherwise, AVS module can use horizontal scaling to split the total computational workload across all participating nodes (e.g. running full nodes of other blockchains).

AVSs set custom slashing and rewards parameters. They are enforced via smart contracts managing withdrawal credentials for staked ETH, ensuring that malicious activity results in slashing.

Key benefits

Developers of early-stage protocols can quickly bootstrap their own set of decentralized PoS networks for any type of chain or distributed system.

They receive a substantial reduction in network security costs, eliminating the need to find or maintain a separate validator set.

Nektar’s ability to leverage economic guarantees from Ethereum by providing a diversified set of operators, reduces security risks for dapps by eliminating middleware dependencies with lower cost of corruption.