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Quickstart: Run a node and (optionally) stake ETH using Prysm

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Prysm is an implementation of the Ethereum proof-of-stake consensus specification. In this quickstart, you’ll use Prysm to run an Ethereum node and optionally a validator client. This will let you stake 32 ETH using hardware that you manage.

This is a beginner-friendly guide. Familiarity with the command line is expected, but otherwise this guide makes no assumptions about your technical skills or prior knowledge.

At a high level, we'll walk through the following flow:

  1. Configure an execution node using an execution-layer client.
  2. Configure a beacon node using Prysm, a consensus-layer client.
  3. Configure a validator client and stake ETH using Prysm (optional).

Knowledge Check

Not familiar with nodes, networks, and related terminology? Consider reading Nodes and networks before proceeding.

Step 1: Review prerequisites and best practices

Execution + Beacon
  • Contributes to the security of Ethereum's ecosystem.
  • Lets you access the Ethereum network directly without having to trust a third party service.
  • Software: Execution node client, beacon node client (instructions for clients below), curl
  • OS: 64-bit Linux, Mac OS X 10.14+, Windows 10+ 64-bit
  • CPU: 4+ cores @ 2.8+ GHz
  • Memory: 16GB+ RAM
  • Storage: SSD with at least 2TB free space
  • Network: 8 MBit/sec broadband
  • Lets you stake ETH, propose + validate blocks, earn staking rewards + transaction fee tips.
  • Everything above, plus...
  • Software: Validator client, browser-based crypto wallet (instructions below)
  • Hardware: (Recommended) A new machine that has never been connected to the internet that you can use to securely generate your mnemonic phrase and keypair
  • 32 ETH (Mainnet)
  • 32 testnet ETH (Testnets)

Best practices

Step 2: Install Prysm

Create a folder called ethereum on your SSD, and then two subfolders within it: consensus and execution:

┣ 📂consensus
┣ 📂execution

Navigate to your consensus directory and run the following commands:

curl --output && chmod +x

This will download the Prysm client and make it executable.

Generate JWT Secret

The HTTP connection between your beacon node and execution node needs to be authenticated using a JWT token. There are several ways to generate this JWT token:

  • Use a utility like OpenSSL to create the token via command: openssl rand -hex 32 | tr -d "\n" > "jwt.hex".
  • Use an execution client to generate the jwt.hex file.
  • Use Prysm to generate the jwt.hex file:

Optional - This command is necessary only if you've previously configured USE_PRYSM_VERSION

export USE_PRYSM_VERSION=v5.0.0


./ beacon-chain generate-auth-secret

Prysm will output a jwt.hex file path.

Move your jwt.hex file in your ethereum directory:

┣ 📂consensus
┣ 📂execution
┣ 📄jwt.hex

Ensure that the script, user, or terminal window used to create and access your JWT token has the permissions it needs. Windows users may need to run command windows as Administrator.

Step 3: Run an execution client

In this step, you'll install an execution-layer client that Prysm's beacon node will connect to.

Download and run the latest 64-bit stable release of Geth for your operating system from the Geth downloads page.

Move the geth executable into your execution directory.

Navigate to your execution directory and run the following command to start your execution node by replacing <PATH_TO_JWT_FILE> by the path to the JWT file generated during the previous step:

./geth --mainnet --http --http.api eth,net,engine,admin --authrpc.jwtsecret=<PATH_TO_JWT_FILE> 

The execution layer client cannot sync without an attached beacon node. We'll see how to setup a beacon node in the next step.

Step 4: Run a beacon node using Prysm

In this step, you'll run a beacon node using Prysm.

There is two main ways to sync a beacon node: from genesis, and from a checkpoint. It is safer and a considerably faster to sync from a checkpoint. When syncing from a checkpoint, the simplest is to connect to a checkpoint sync endpoint. A non exhaustive list of checkpoint sync endpoints is available.

In the following examples, we'll use the checkpoint sync endpoint provided by Feel free to use the one you want.

Navigate to your consensus directory and run the following command to start your beacon node that connects to your local execution node by replacing <PATH_TO_JWT_FILE> by the path to the JWT file generated during the previous step:

./ beacon-chain --execution-endpoint=http://localhost:8551 --mainnet --jwt-secret=<PATH_TO_JWT_FILE> --checkpoint-sync-url= --genesis-beacon-api-url=

Syncing from a checkpoint usually takes a couple of minutes. See Sync from a checkpoint for more information about this feature.

If you wish to sync from genesis, you need to remove --checkpoint-sync-url and --genesis-beacon-api-url flags from the previous command. Syncing from genesis usually takes a couple days, but it can take longer depending on your network and hardware specs.

If you are planning to run a validator, it is strongly advised to use the --suggested-fee-recipient=<WALLET ADDRESS> option. When your validator proposes a block, it will allow you to earn block priority fees, also sometimes called "tips".

Congratulations - you’re now running a full Ethereum node. To check the status of your node, visit Check node and validator status.

Step 5: Run a validator using Prysm

Next, we'll create your validator keys with the Ethereum Staking Deposit CLI.

Download - ideally on a new machine that has never been connected to the internet - the latest stable version of the deposit CLI from the Staking Deposit CLI Releases page.

Run the following command to create your mnemonic (a unique and highly sensitive 24-word phrase) and keys:

./deposit new-mnemonic --num_validators=1 --mnemonic_language=english --chain=mainnet

Follow the CLI prompts to generate your keys. The password you choose will be needed later when importing the generated data into the Prysm validator client. This will give you the following artifacts:

  1. A new mnemonic seed phrase. This is highly sensitive and should never be exposed to other people or networked hardware.
  2. A validator_keys folder. This folder will contain two files:
    1. deposit_data-*.json - contains deposit data that you’ll later upload to the Ethereum launchpad.
    2. keystore-m_*.json - contains your public key and encrypted private key.

If needed, copy the validator_keys folder to your primary machine. Run the following command to import your keystores, replacing <YOUR_FOLDER_PATH> with the full path to your validator_keys folder:

./ validator accounts import --keys-dir=<YOUR_FOLDER_PATH> --mainnet

You’ll be prompted to specify a wallet directory twice. Provide the path to your consensus folder for both prompts. You should see Imported accounts [...] view all of them by running accounts list when your account has been successfully imported into Prysm.

Next, go to the Mainnet Launchpad’s deposit data upload page and upload your deposit_data-*.json file. You’ll be prompted to connect your wallet.

You can then deposit 32 ETH into the Mainnet deposit contract via the Launchpad page. Exercise extreme caution throughout this procedure.

Finally, run the following command to start your validator, replacing <YOUR_FOLDER_PATH> with the full path to your consensus folder and <YOUR_WALLET_ADDRESS> by the address of a wallet you own. When your validator proposes a block, it will allow you to earn block priority fees, also sometimes called "tips". See How to configure Fee Recipient for more information about this feature:

./ validator --wallet-dir=<YOUR_FOLDER_PATH> --mainnet --suggested-fee-recipient=<YOUR_WALLET_ADDRESS>>

You may wonder why you need to use the --suggested-fee-recipient in both beacon node and validator client. The reason is it is possible to plug multiple validator clients to the same beacon node. If no --suggested-fee-recipient is set on a validator client, then the beacon node will fallback on its own --suggested-fee-recipient when proposing a block.

If no --suggested-fee-recipient is set neither on the validator client nor on the beacon node, the corresponding tips will be sent to the burn address, and forever lost,


You’re now running a full Ethereum node and a validator client.

It can a long time (from days to months) for your validator to become fully activated. To learn more about the validator activation process, see Deposit Process. See Check node and validator status for detailed status monitoring guidance.

You can leave your execution client, beacon node, and validator client terminal windows open and running. Once your validator is activated, it will automatically begin proposing and validating blocks.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for Geth to transition from State heal in progress to fully synced?
This usually takes a few hours if your disk I/O is relatively slow. If it remains in this state for more than a day, your disk might not be able to write data as fast as the chain head advances. The most straightforward way to resolve this is using an SSD.

Why do you recommend putting everything on a single machine?
Keeping all of your client software on a single machine keeps things simple, which aligns with our security best practices.

Can I use Prysm on a Mac M1 ARM chip?
Yes. Choose one of the following actions to ensure that Prysm can run on your M1:

  1. Set an environment variable: export PRYSM_ALLOW_UNVERIFIED_BINARIES=1. See Apple's Terminal User Guide: Use environment variables for detailed instructions.
  2. Run Prysm through Rosetta. See our open bug for more information.

Do I need to configure JWT if I'm using IPC instead of HTTP?

Do I need to configure my firewall?
We recommend closing TCP port 8545 to the internet and keeping TCP and UDP ports 30303 open to support other execution nodes.

Can you mix and match networks between execution layer and consensus layer?
No. See Nodes and networks for more information.

Can I stake with less than 32 ETH?
Yes! Pooled staking lets you stake with less than 32 ETH.

What should I do if I can't run a node using my own hardware?
You can delegate hardware management to staking as a service providers.

Can I use a light node with Prysm, or do I need to run a full execution node?
No - at this time, a full node is required.

Can I use an external SSD connected via USB?
Yes, but your USB connection introduces a possible point of failure. If you do this, avoid connecting your SSD to your computer through a USB hub - instead, connect it directly.

Can I use a light client as my local execution client so I don't have to download so much data?
No, a full execution node is needed.

Why do I need to run my own execution client?
The Merge introduced a new Engine API that allows consensus-layer clients to communicate with execution-layer clients. Teku docs contain a great explainer here: The Merge.

What happens if my execution client goes down? Will I be penalized?
Yes. Downtime penalties are minimal but we recommend having uptime and downtime alerts configured for your execution node, beacon node, and validator if possible.

My beacon node is taking a long time to sync. Is there any way I can speed it up?
Yes - you can use checkpoint sync to start your beacon node's synchronization from a checkpoint rather than from genesis. This is actually a more secure way to run your beacon node.

My proposals aren't working, but my attestations are. What's going on?
This is usually an indication that your validator isn't able to communicate with your beacon node, or your beacon node isn't able to connect to your execution node.

How long does it take for my validator to be selected to propose a new block?
At the time of this writing, a ballpark estimate is around every four months on mainnet. Every 12 seconds a new block is proposed, and your validator has a one in [total number of active validators] chance of being chosen, so this duration can vary significantly from one validator to the next.

If your getting the error: " Error during ethereum runner start System.TypeInitializationException: The type initializer for 'Nethermi56k1' threw an exception.---> System.DllNotFoundException: Dll was not found. " on windows 10, this should fix the error: "winget install Microsoft.VCRedist.2015+.x64"