*Note: This review and score is purely based on the information disclosed by the validator service and the scoring rubric.
Last Updated: Oct 7, 2019
StakeWith.Us is a secured Staking-as-a-Service provider based in Singapore. They feature a step-by-step delegation guide for each supported blockchain.
- Loom Network
Team Background (38/100)
- Full-Time/Part-Time (10/10)
- Prior Blockchain Dev/Impact (0/10)
- Systems Experience (5/10)
- Recognizability (0/10)
Current Voting Power (13/100)
- Total Staked: (3/10)
- Unique Self-Bonders: (2/10)
- Commissions: (0/10)
Historical Metrics (55/100)
- Uptime (5/10)
- Proposals (6/10)
- Legal Compliance/Insurance (0)
- Innovations (0)
StakeWith.Us is relatively new to the blockchain infrastructure space. The team, based in Singapore, is comprised of 5 individuals from diverse backgrounds that bring a multitude of skill sets to the company. All five members are working full-time on the project, currently focused on Tendermint-based PoS blockchains.
StakeWith.Us was co-founded by Mervyn Chng, Micheal Ng, and Oliver Wee. Mervyn’s background in Banking and Finance has led him to serve as a General Manager for an oil trading firm managing $50M in revenue before making the switch into cryptocurrencies at MW partners as a General Partner. Micheal and Mervyn also come from a Business and Trading background. Oliver was formerly the technology lead for the crypto trading desk at RKR Capital where he worked on automating trading strategies on various exchanges. Micheal was formerly an Analyst at Nordea Bank, where him as his team managed more than $1B worth of loans across shipping, oil, and gas assets.
The last two members of the team have over 5+ years of experience in Systems Engineering, Open Source Technologies, and Linux-based systems.
StakeWith.Us is currently the #42 validator on the Cosmos Hub with a total of 440,371 Atoms staked, equating to a 0.30% voting power in the network. The service currently set it’s commission rate to 15% (5% change rate) which is high compared against the top 10 validators in the network. It is worth noting the top 2 delegators make up 73.49% of their total stake. The top 4 delegators bump this up to 93.92%.
StakeWith.Us is currently the #1 validator on the Loom network, with about ~110M Loom at stake, 54% higher than the #2 validator. Their service on the Loom Network also has the highest commision rate amongst validators, currently at 25%.
Loom Network’s block explorer, https://dashoboard.dappchains.com, does not provide additional information to retrieve a breakdown of StakeWith.Us total stake amongst it’s delegators.
StakeWith.Us is big on using open source technologies. The team has been working on a Node.JS based HSM integrator to enable HSM use on any blockchain. This project has not been open-sourced yet but is in the pipeline.
The team also maintains a medium publication to host step-to-step delegation guides for the supported networks. Estimated for a Q1 launch in 2019, the team will also release a free-to-use dashboard that consolidates information for delegators.
The StakeWith.Us service expects their delegators to understand the risks associated with being a delegator. There is no insurance policy for delegators in the event of slashing or downtime.
StakeWith.Us has been registered on the CosmosHub since the genesis block and has maintained a 100% uptime since then. The Hubble block explorer provides an event history log for each validator. Since genesis, StakeWith.Us maintained a perfect record up until April 28th. Past April 28th, there are several logs noting several consecutive missed precommits between May 3rd and June 10th 2019.
StakeWith.Us has also shown more activity than running their validator nodes. Of the 8 proposals, StakeWith.Us voted on YES on 3 proposals, all which have passed. However, all 3 of these proposals were 99+% in YES votes.
- Failover (24/30)
- Private Peering (10/10)
- Agreements with other Validators (10/10)
- Sentry Scaling (10/10)
- Backup Strategy
StakeWith.Us uses an active/passive setup for their validator nodes. The nodes are located in two different centers in Singapore, introducing regional redundancy. No automated failover procedure is in place. In the event of downtime, the team must failover manually. The server racks in both data centers are accessed through whitelisted IP addresses. All other traffic is rejected.
Their validator nodes currently have no double sign protection in place. However, adding double sign protection to the team’s custom HSM client is on their roadmap. During our discussion, the team noted that they believe double sign protection makes the most sense to implement once the Cosmos IBC protocol is implemented and cross-chain activity becomes possible. The reasoning for this was that it’s easier to mistakenly double-sign data when a validator does not have the full picture of every blockchain.
StakeWith.Us uses the standard sentry architecture. The team uses a mix of cloud providers to deploy their public sentry and peering nodes. This achieves regional and cloud-provider redundancy similar to their validator nodes. Their setup includes a few privately peered nodes with other well known validators. Privately peered nodes are created informally with no contractual agreements. The team has also included their own firewall in front of their sentries.
The team regularly create snapshots of their blockchain data, making it easy to spin up new sentry nodes.
The team’s Node.JS HSM client is the only custom code used within the StakeWith.Us’ service. This client will be open sourced in the future.
All the custom code written by the team was reported to be going through an audit. The team will decide on publicly disclosing this audit upon its completion.
Monitoring Tools (50/100)
- Network Level (5/10)
- Hardware Level (5/10)
- Paging (5/10)
Single Point of Failure (100/100)
- Multi-Cloud (10/10)
- Multi-Region (10/10)
Key Management (50/100)
- HSM Selections (10/10)
- Smart Key Management (0/10)
Validator Access (100/100)
- Physical/Remote (10/10)
StakeWith.Us currently uses internal tools to maintain the health of their nodes. The team has however stated that their entire focus for the next month (July 2019) was to move their entire tech stack to the HashiCorp stack. This new stack will allow the team to easily provision their software across different cloud providers and manage the health of these instances.
The HashiCorp tech stack is used by several Fortune 500 companies. On the company blog, there is a post describing a top 5 financial services firm using their product.
Single Points of Failure
StakeWith.Us uses a regionally redundant validator nodes and a multi-cloud setup for their sentry architecture. There is no clear single point of failure in their setup.
Given that StakeWith.Us has written a custom HSM client, a bug in their software will pose a critical threat to their service.
StakeWith.Us uses a YubiHSM2 behind their custom HSM client. It was stated that while some other validator services use a Ledger device as an HSM, it should not be used for given it’s consumer oriented focus.
StakeWith.Us team is located in Singapore and can physically access the two data centers hosting their validator nodes. Remote access the validator nodes is restricted using SSH keys and whitelisted IP addresses.
StakeWith.Us has some history testing against DoS attacks during their testnet setup. Early in their service’s setup, there was a co-shared a firewall with other businesses. This shared firewall caused downtime during DoS testing. As a result, the team has set up their own isolated firewall to prevent this and only accepts network traffic on non-public nodes from whitelisted IPs.
The snapshots periodically taken from their sentries allows the team to deploy new nodes to scale out as required.
The team at StakeWith.Us has a lot of work in the pipeline to improve their service. The HashiCorp stack will simplify management of their infrastructure across cloud providers. The upcoming launch of their dashboard will also provide their delegators with a nice user experience to stay up to date with information regarding their staked tokens.
The team is also consistently working on improving the custom tooling around their HSM and KMS clients. Given their full-time involvement on the project, it was noted that StakeWith.Us is also looking to hire, expanding their team with talented individuals.