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Withdraw your validator

The Capella/Shanghai Ethereum upgrade lets you withdraw your validator nodes' staked Ethereum in one of two ways:

  1. Partial (earnings) withdrawal: This option lets you withdraw your earnings (that is, all value staked above 32 ETH) and continue validating.
  2. Full withdrawal: This option lets you liquidate your entire stake and earnings, effectively liquidating your validator node(s) and exiting the network.

In this how-to, you'll learn how to perform both types of withdrawals. Familiarity with Ethereum wallets, mnemonic phrases, and command lines is expected.

Prerequisites

  1. Your validator mnemonic: You'll use this to authorize your validator withdrawal request(s).
  2. Access to a beacon node: You'll need to connect your validator to a beacon node in order to submit your withdrawal request. Visit our quickstart for instructions if you need them.
  3. Stable version of the staking-deposit-cli installed: The staking-deposit-cli is a command-line tool provided by the Ethereum research team. We'll use this to authorize your withdrawal. We recommend building this from source or otherwise verifying the binaries as a security best practice.
  4. Familiarity with The Ethereum Foundation Withdrawals FAQ: A client-agnostic overview of important information regarding Ethereum validator withdrawals.
  5. Time to focus: This is a time-consuming procedure, making a mistake can be expensive. Be vigilant against scammers; never share your mnemonic; take your time; ping us on Discord if you have any questions.

We'll install other dependencies as we go.

Option 1: Partial (earnings) withdrawals

This section walks you through the process of performing a partial validator withdrawal, allowing you to withdraw staked balances above 32 ETH for each of your active Ethereum validators.

Step 1: Download staking-deposit-cli

We need to send a message to the network that says "I authorize a partial withdrawal of my validator's staked ETH to an address that I own". This message is called a BLS to Execution Change. We create this message by signing the withdrawal request with your validator's private key using a utility called staking-deposit-cli.

Download the latest Ethereum staking-deposit-cli (example uses v2.7.0) using one of the following commands:

curl -LO  https://github.com/ethereum/staking-deposit-cli/releases/download/v2.7.0/staking_deposit-cli-fdab65d-linux-amd64.tar.gz

Extract the downloaded content. You should see a deposit script. You will need to use this script while disconnected from the internet, but to be extra secure, move the extracted contents into an external storage device and prepare to move them to an "air gapped" machine (one that hasn't ever been connected to the internet).

Step 2: Prepare your withdrawal credentials

Retrieve your validator’s withdrawal_credentials from the deposit_data-XXX.json file that was generated when you first used the staking launchpad. The withdrawal_credentials value looks like this:

0x00500b3bf612bed69e888edeb045f590c3f37251e3e049c0732f3adaa57ea3f6

If you don't have the deposit_data-XXX.json file, you can retrieve your withdrawal_credentials by sending a request to your synced beacon node via this Beacon API endpoint and providing your validator index or public key:

curl -X 'GET' \
'http://YOUR_PRYSM_NODE_HOST:3500/eth/v1/beacon/states/head/validators/YOUR_VALIDATOR_INDEX_OR_PUBLIC_KEY' \
-H 'accept: application/json'

Your withdrawal credentials will be visible in the response to this request - look for withdrawal_credentials. Example output with placeholder values:

{
"execution_optimistic": false,
"data": {
"index": "1",
"balance": "1",
"status": "active_ongoing",
"validator": {
"pubkey": "0x93247f2209abcacf57b75a51dafae777f9dd38bc7053d1af526f220a7489a6d3a2753e5f3e8b1cfe39b56f43611df74a",
"withdrawal_credentials": "0x008e0d4e9587369b2301d0790347320302cc0943d5a1884560367e8208d920f2",
"effective_balance": "1",
"slashed": false,
"activation_eligibility_epoch": "1",
"activation_epoch": "1",
"exit_epoch": "1",
"withdrawable_epoch": "1"
}
}
}

Step 3: run the staking-deposit-cli in an offline environment with your mnemonic to generate the blstoexecutionchange message(s)

caution

We recommend doing this next step without an Internet connection to be maximally secure. Either turn off the internet before introducing your mnemonic for signing or migrate to an air-gapped environment to continue the following steps.

Now that the staking deposit tool is executable, you can then use it to generate your signed BLS to Execution request. You need to use your mnemonic for this step, so doing it offline is key and ensuring you do not paste your mnemonic anywhere else than necessary.

Here’s the command to get started with the process. This command will not submit your signed message to the network yet, and will only generate the data needed for the next steps.

Navigate to the extracted deposit script is after downloading and extracting the staking-deposit-cli.

./deposit generate-bls-to-execution-change

By calling the command above, you should go through an interactive process that will ask you for the following information:

  1. Your mnemonic language. You can see the different options available, where English is one of the options, among others
  2. The network you wish to perform this operation for. Example: mainnet, goerli, sepolia or holesky. This tutorial uses the holesky testnet as an example.
  3. Enter your mnemonic next
  4. Next, you will be asked for the starting index you used to create your validators (read more about hd wallets here). For most users, this will be 0 unless you created validators from a non default index.
info

Inside the original deposit.json file used for staking you can count each validator's public key in sequential order starting from 0. The validator starting index is the index of the first validator key you would like to withdraw (i.e. validator key 1 has an index of 0, validator key 2 has an index of 1, etc...). For most stakers, the validator starting index should be set to 0 for withdrawing all their validator keys, however the validator sftarting index will be different if you choose to skip withdrawing some validators. There are other niche cases where the mnemonic is used for deposit generation multiple times, resulting in a different validator starting index. Validators spanning across different mnemonics will need to be counted separately with starting index as 0 on each of them.

  1. You will then be asked the validator indices for the validators you wish to generate the message for. You can find your validator indices on block explorers such as https://beaconcha.in or in your Prysm validator client logs. For example, the validator with public key 0x8078c7f4ab6f9eaaf59332b745be8834434af4ab3c741899abcff93563544d2e5a89acf2bec1eda2535610f253f73ee6 on https://beaconcha.in has validator index 8, which you can verify by navigating to its page.
info

Validator indices need to be provided sequentially without skipped indices in the order of original creation. You can typically find the order in your original deposit.json file. The generate-bls-to-execution-change command needs to be repeated in cases where multiple validator keys that are not in sequential order need to be withdrawn, and will require either merging of the output files or multiple blstoexecutionchange submissions. In the case of validators requiring different withdrawal addresses you will need to also repeat this process using the validator start index of the validator that the different withdrawal address.

  1. Next you will be asked for your withdrawal credentials, which you should now have if you followed this guide
  2. Next you will be asked for the Ethereum address you wish to use to receive your withdrawn funds. This needs to be checksummed, and you can get it from your wallet or a block explorer. You cannot change this once it is set on-chain, so triple check it before proceeding.

Below is an example of running through the interactive process explained above:

./deposit generate-bls-to-execution-change
Please choose your language ['1. العربية', '2. ελληνικά', '3. English', '4. Français', '5. Bahasa melayu', '6. Italiano', '7. 日本語', '8. 한국어', '9. Português do Brasil', '10. român', '11. Türkçe', '12. 简体中文']: [English]: english

Please choose the (mainnet or testnet) network/chain name ['mainnet', 'goerli', 'sepolia', 'zhejiang', 'holesky']: [mainnet]: holesky

Please enter your mnemonic separated by spaces (" "). Note: you only need to enter the first 4 letters of each word if you'd prefer.:
bike shoe attitude violin fun life punch enhance attend bright voyage wheel clutch taxi high health siren jealous tell female upon firm manual wage

Please enter the index (key number) of the signing key you want to use with this mnemonic. [0]: 0

Please enter a list of the validator indices of your validator(s). Split multiple items with whitespaces or commas.: 8

Please enter a list of the old BLS withdrawal credentials of your validator(s). Split multiple items with whitespaces or commas.: 00a6bd30000296e9c9f5823b09e689ff0bc0b1bea1d256caab9a5f213a226b33

Please enter the 20-byte execution address for the new withdrawal credentials. Note that you CANNOT change it once you have set it on chain.: 0x9B984D5a03980D8dc0a24506c968465424c81DbE

**[Warning] you are setting an Eth1 address as your withdrawal address. Please ensure that you have control over this address.**

Repeat your execution address for confirmation.: 0x9B984D5a03980D8dc0a24506c968465424c81DbE

**[Warning] you are setting an Eth1 address as your withdrawal address. Please ensure that you have control over this address.**

Success!
Your SignedBLSToExecutionChange JSON file can be found at: /home/me/Desktop/code/python/staking-deposit-cli/bls_to_execution_changes

Step 4: verify the blstoexecutionchange message(s) that the corresponding validator will set to the chosen Ethereum address

Once you complete the above, you’ll have a file contained in the bls_to_execution_changes/ folder of your staking-deposit-cli. It will represent a list of BLS to execution messages that have been signed with your private keys and are ready to submit to Ethereum. Here’s what a sample file of these looks like. Example output with placeholder values:

[
{
"message": {
"validator_index": "838",
"from_bls_pubkey": "0xb89bebc655569726a318c8e9971bd3144497c61aea4a6578a7a4f94b547dcba5bac16a89108b6b6a1fe3695d1a874a0b",
"to_execution_address": "0xa94f5374fce5edbc8e2a8697c15331677e6ebf0a"
},
"signature": "0xa42103e15d3dbdaa75fb15cea782e4a11329eea77d155864ec682d7907b3b70c7771960bef7be1b1c4e08fe735888b950c1a22053f6049b35736f48e6dd018392efa3896c9e427ea4e100e86e9131b5ea2673388a4bf188407a630ba405b7dc5"
},
{
"message": {
"validator_index": "20303",
"from_bls_pubkey": "0xb89bebc699769726a502c8e9971bd3172227c61aea4a6578a7a4f94b547dcba5bac16a89108b6b6a1fe3695d1a874a0b",
"to_execution_address": "0xa94f5374fce5edbc8e2a8697c15331677e6ebf0b"
},
"signature": "0xa86103e15d3dbdaa75fb15cea782e4a11329eea77d155864ec682d7907b3b70c7771960bef7be1b1c4e08fe735888b950c1a22053f6049b35736f48e6dd018392efa3896c9e427ea4e100e86e9131b5ea2673388a4bf188407a630ba405b7dc5"
}
]

The above demonstrates two different validators withdrawing - one with validator index 838, the other with validator index 20303.

caution

Make sure the validator_index corresponds to the correct chosen to_execution_address. Once this message is accepted on submission you will not be able to change it again!

Move the generated bls_to_execution_changes-*.json file to an online environment that has access to a synced beacon node for the next step.

Step 5: submit your signed blstoexecutionchange message(s) to the Ethereum network using prysmctl

In this step, you will submit your signed requests to the Ethereum network using a tool provided by the Prysm project called prysmctl. Learn how to download and install the prysmctl tool from our guide or check commands on Command-line options. You’ll need access to a synced beacon node to proceed with this step (it does not need to be a Prysm beacon node).

Once prysmctl is downloaded, you can use the prysmctl validator withdraw command, which will ask for terms of service acceptance and confirmation of command by providing additional flags, and also a path to the bls_to_execution_changes file from the previous step.

info

default beacon node REST <node-url> is http://localhost:3500 aka http://127.0.0.1:3500

Open a terminal in the location where you downloaded the prysmctl binaries, rename the file to prysmctl, and run the following command. Some users will need to give permissions to the downloaded binaries to be executable. Linux users can do this by right clicking the file, going to permissions, and clicking the Allow executing file as program checkmark. This may be different for each operating system.

./prysmctl validator withdraw --beacon-node-host=<node-url> --path=<bls_to_execution_changes-*.json>

This will extract data from the bls_to_execution_changes-*.json call the Beacon API endpoint on the synced Beacon Node and validate if the request was included.

Using docker:

docker run -it -v $HOME/path/to/bls_to_execution:/bls_dir \
gcr.io/prysmaticlabs/prysm/cmd/prysmctl:latest \
validator withdraw -beacon-node-host=<node-url> --path=/bls_dir

Note that this approach requires mounting of the bls_to_execution_changes-*.json file

info

You may also directly call the Beacon API endpoint through the following script. To do this you must replace the <node-url> as well as the <post-request-content> with the contents of our blstoexecutionchange message file

curl -X 'POST' \
'<node-url>/eth/v1/beacon/pool/bls_to_execution_changes' \
-H 'accept: */*' \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
-d '<post-request-content>'

Step 6: Confirm submission

On successful submission, the SignedBLStoExecutionChange messages are included in the pool waiting to be included in a block.

Verifying requested withdrawal messages known to node...
All (total:#) signed withdrawal messages were found in the pool.

The withdrawal will be initiated by using the execution address you provided, and your validators’ withdrawal credentials will change to look something like this:

*0x010000000000000000000000a94f5374fce5edbc8e2a8697c15331677e6ebf0b* 

where the Ethereum address of your choosing will be found within.

Step 7: Monitor your submission

Apply the --verify-only flag to the prysmctl validator withdrawal command to verify if the provided messages can be found in the pool. If the message is not found in the pool it may have already been included by a block proposer.

Step 8: Confirm your withdrawal

You can track your withdrawal on an Ethereum Proof of Stake Block Scanner. Some examples listed below and will be based on network.

you can also confirm the withdrawal_credentials updated by querying your local beacon node.

curl -X 'GET' \
'http://YOUR_PRYSM_NODE_HOST:3500/eth/v1/beacon/states/head/validators/YOUR_VALIDATOR_INDEX' \
-H 'accept: application/json'

and you should see a response that contains withdrawal credentials that should have changed to the 0x01 format which includes your Ethereum execution address.

Done: Receiving partial withdrawals after withdrawal_credentials are updated is automatic, but will take time.

Once your withdrawal_credentials field on the validator is updated to the 0x01 prefix all withdrawal actions are complete. Withdrawals of earnings over 32 ETH will be automatically sent to the chosen ethereum address when a block proposer includes your validator in its block. Note that a maximum to 16 validators can have their balances withdrawn per block so delay times may vary before seeing the values appear in the ethereum address.

Frequently asked questions

Q: I updated my withdrawal_credentials already; can I update it again?

A: If the withdrawal credentials already begin with 0x01 it will not be able to change to a different execution address. note: please choose your withdrawal address very carefully as you can only have it set to an address once

Q: What is the difference between partial and full withdrawals?

A: Partial withdrawals only require an updated withdrawal_credentials field and will only send earnings over 32 ETH to the chosen withdrawal address. Full withdrawals require the validator to be fully exited in addition to

Q: I submitted my blstoexecutionchange why isn't my withdrawal_credentials updated?

A: Once you submit a BLS to Exec request to tell Ethereum the address you want to use in order to receive your withdrawn funds, it goes through several processing pipelines that might take a bit longer than expected. If your beacon node has also received many other requests for BLS to exec changes, your initial request could be dropped and you may need to try again, so do not panic if you have submitted a request and nothing has happened yet.

Q: I set my withdrawal_credentials but I am not fully withdrawn. How do I fully withdraw?

A: Full validator withdrawals require your validator to exit first, as exits do not happen automatically. You will need to submit a voluntary exit by following our documentation here. Once your validator exits, it will no longer need to perform its responsibilities after some time (there can be a delay if the validator is part of a sync committee or recently slashed) . The ordering of requests for setting withdrawal credentials or exiting does not matter, once a validator has both its withdrawal credentials updated as well as in an exited state funds will automatically be added to the chosen execution address when processed. note: this process will take some time as withdrawals, full or partial, are processed at a rate of at most 16 validators per block.

Q: My keys were compromised, can I still withdraw?

A: You are still able to send the message as long as you have access to the mnemonic and can produce the signed blstoexecutionchange message to submit. Depending on where the keys were compromised there may be different protection programs to apply for to "frontrun" the compromiser. Please seek out the ethstaker community on reddit or discord for more details if this applies to you.

Q: I forgot my mnemonic, what can I do?

A: In most cases the mnemonic is a requirement to enabling withdraws; there are some niche cases where users have both their validator keystore and withdrawal private keys they can still fully withdraw safely without the mnemonic, but unless both are in possession one would not be able to produce the signed blstoexecutionchange message. It's important to stay calm and collected and continue searching or see help as needed. The ethstaker community provides an active support network on reddit and discord.

Q: I accidentally used my mnemonic on an open internet setting to generate the .json file, what happens?

A: Using and storing the mnemonic on an open internet puts private keys used for withdrawals at increased risk. Unless the machine was compromised there should not be any immediate consequences, however, the longer the mnemonic stays on an open network the more it will be exposed to future risk.

Q: How can I check if my withdrawal address is set?

A: Withdrawal public keys that begin with 0x01 are set to begin withdrawing either partially as in withdrawing earnings or fully if the associated validator has exited. The associated execution address can be found at the end of the withdrawal credentials i.e. 0x010000000000000000000000a94f5374fce5edbc8e2a8697c15331677e6ebf0b There are several ways to check this:

  1. /eth/v1/beacon/states/{state_id}/validators/{validator_id} Beacon API endpoint will return the withdrawal_credential information

  2. ethdo validator info --validator=<yourvalidatorIndex> --verbose command with EthDo

    You can also check your favorite block explorer such as beaconcha.in and etherscan.io which will have pages to display beaconchain withdrawals based on the network.

Q: How long do I have to wait for withdrawals?

A: Each block can add 16 blstoexecutionchange messages as well as process 16 withdrawals, time may vary based on the specific validator index, network leakage, and message inclusion time. Validator exits will require additional time to fully withdraw.

Q: Does using custom builders with Prysm support withdrawals?

A: Custom builders/MEV relays are supported for running withdrawals.

Q: In what order does Prysm process the bls-to-execution-change message pool?

A: Prysm processes messages last-in-first-out (LIFO) by design which means the latest message that was received is the first message to appear in a block.

Q: Can withdrawal addresses be set to smart contracts?

A: Yes, however only account balances will change and there will be no associated triggering of smart contract logic. Read https://eips.ethereum.org/EIPS/eip-4895 for more reasoning.

Q: My validator was slashed or forcefully exited, can I still withdraw my remaining balance?

A: If any of your validators have been slashed since launch and exited from the chain forcefully, or if you exited a long time ago, you can still withdraw your remaining balance normally. To do so, you will just need to submit a BLS to execution change request by following the step-by-step guide to performing a full withdrawal in this document.

Q: I am a non technical user, how can I set my withdrawals in a safe way?

A: The guide will still provide a safe way to generate the signed blstoexecutionchange messages in an offline environment. From there, if you're willing to take a small risk on inclusion guarantees, some block scanners like beaconcha.in will provide front ends to drag and drop the messages for inclusion to set the withdrawal address.

Glossary

  • Validator: The on-chain representation of a validator node and its staked Ethereum.
  • Validator index: A unique numeric ID assigned to a validator when activated. You can see this validator index in your Prysm validator client logs, or in block explorers such as https://beaconcha.in and https://beaconscan.com by looking it up using your public key. You will need to know the validator indices of the validators you wish to withdraw through this guide. Only activated validators can begin the exit and withdrawal processes.
  • Staker: The person or entity managing Ethereum validators.
  • Voluntary exit: Validators that are currently active on Ethereum can choose to exit the network, marking them as exited and exempting them from any staking responsibilities. In order to withdraw a validator’s balance completely, a voluntary exit must be submitted to Ethereum and must complete first.
  • Full validator withdrawal: The process of withdrawing your entire stake on Ethereum, exiting your validator, and withdrawing your entire balance to an Ethereum address of your choosing. Full validator withdrawals need a validator to exit first, which can take time depending on how large the exit queue is. Performing a full withdrawal requires submitting a voluntary exit first.
  • Partial validator withdrawal: The process of withdrawing your validator’s earnings only. That is, if you're staking 33.3 ETH, you can withdraw 1.3 ETH using a partial withdrawal. Your validator does not need to exit, and you will continue to validate normally. Partial withdrawals do not go through an exit queue, but will only be processed at a maximum of 16 validators at a time per block.
  • Validator mnemonic, HD wallet mnemonic, or validator seed phrase: A mnemonic in this context is the 24 word secret that you received upon creating your validator(s), which is the ultimate credential that gives you access to withdrawing your validator(s). For many, this was generated when they first interacted with the ethereum staking CLI to prepare their validator deposits. We will refer to this as your validator mnemonic throughout this document
  • Validator withdrawal credentials: Each validator has data known as “withdrawal credentials” which can be fetched from your beacon node or from a block explorer such as https://beaconcha.in or https://beaconscan.com by looking at the “deposits” tab and seeing your credentials there. You will need these for this guide.
  • Ethereum execution address: Referred to also as an Ethereum address, this is a standard address to an Ethereum account which you can view in block explorers such as Etherscan. Your validator’s balance, upon a full withdrawal, will be available at an Ethereum address of your choosing.
  • BLS key: Your validators use a key format known as BLS, which is used exclusively for staking. Validators have 4 kinds of BLS keys: validator public key, validator private key, withdrawal public key, and withdrawal private key. only the validator public key can be viewed on staking explorers such as https://beaconcha.in, and private keys, which are secret, are used for signing. Not to be confused with an Ethereum address. The validator mnemonic can be used to access all 4 keys which are important for setting the Ethereum address for withdrawing.
  • BLS to Execution Change: In order to withdraw your validator, Ethereum needs to associate an Ethereum execution address with your validator’s keys. Underneath the hood, submitting a bls-to-execution-change (withdrawal) request updates the withdrawal credentials which tells Ethereum “I want to withdraw my validator balance to this specific Ethereum address”. When you see the terms BLS to Execution or bls_to_exec used, it refers to this action. note: withdrawal request and bls-to-execution-change are used interchangeably.
  • Pool: Upon submission of a validator exit request or bls-to-execution-change request, the message will sit in a special place in memory ( the pool ) to be broadcasted across your peers. Since only the block proposers can include these requests and there is a limit to the number of requests included per block, sometimes if the pool becomes too full your message may be dropped and not included. If this happens, a re-submission of the request may be required.