Validators are those who help keep ETH2 secure. They’re the parties responsible for processing transactions and creating new blocks in the chain. At present, validators must be committed to locking up their ETH funds for a period of time to participate, as these are unavailable to withdraw until a later date when ETH2 is fully launched.
At present, 32 ETH is required to participate in the validator process. This is the amount needed to form the initial balance.Limiting the maximum stake to 32 ETH encourages decentralization of power as it prevents any single validator from having an excessively large vote on the state of the chain.
Signing & Withdrawal Keys
Validators require two different keys to participate in consensus: a signing key and withdrawal key. These are needed for security purposes. A signing key is the key a validator needs to sign attestations and propose blocks. Because a validator needs to sign a message at least once per epoch, the client software must have custody of the key. A signing key must be available 24/7, meaning it must be held online. A separate key is needed for withdrawing funds from a future phase of ETH2 when withdrawing funds is available.
The next requirement is depositing the 32 ETH to a smart contract on the main Ethereum blockchain. The deposit contract, which exists on Ethereum 1.0 Mainnet, allows the user to prove they have private keys for ETH1 and ETH2.
Successfully carrying out these steps and committing the correct amount of funds leads one to becoming a validator on ETH2. Completion of these tasks activates the validator, a process which may take some time depending on how many others are registering at the same time.