Staking pools are a collaborative approach to allow many with smaller amounts of ETH to obtain the 32 ETH required to activate a set of validator keys. Pooling functionality is not natively supported within the protocol, so solutions were built out separately to address this need.
Some pools operate using smart contracts, where funds can be deposited to a contract, which trustlessly manages and tracks your stake, and issues you a token that represents this value. Other pools may not involve smart contracts and are instead mediated off-chain.
In addition to the benefits we outlined in our intro to staking, staking with a pool comes with a number of distinct benefits.
Low barrier to entry
Comparison with other options
Pooled staking has a significantly lower barrier to entry when compared to solo staking, but comes with additional risk by delegating all node operations to a third-party, and with a fee. Solo staking gives full sovereignty and control over the choices that go into choosing a staking setup. Stakers never have to hand over their keys, and they earn full rewards without any middlemen taking a cut.Learn more about solo staking
Staking as a service (SaaS)
These are similar in that stakers do not run the validator software themselves, but unlike pooling options, SaaS requires a full 32 ETH deposit to activate a validator. Rewards accumulate to the staker, and usually involve a monthly fee or other stake to use the service. If you'd prefer your own validator keys and are looking to stake at least 32 ETH, using a SaaS provider may be a good option for you.Learn more about staking as a service
Pooled or delegated staking is not natively supported by the Ethereum protocol, but given the demand for users to stake less than 32 ETH a growing number of solutions have been built out to serve this demand.
Each pool and the tools or smart contracts they use have been built out by different teams and each come with their own risks and benefits.
Attribute indicators are used below to signal notable strengths or weaknesses a listed staking pool may have. Use this section as a reference for how we define these attributes while you're choosing a pool to join.
- Open source
- Bug bounty
- Battle tested
- Permissionless nodes
- Diverse clients
- Liquidity token
Essential code is 100% open source and available to the public to fork and use
There are a variety of options available to help you with your setup. Use the above indicators to help guide you through the tools below.
Have a suggestion for a staking tool we missed? Check out our product listing policy to see if it would be a good fit, and to submit it for review.
How do I earn rewards?
When can I withdraw my stake?
Do pooled stakers need to do anything for The Merge?
Is this different from staking with my exchange?
- Staking with Rocket Pool - Staking Overview - RocketPool docs
- Staking Ethereum With Lido - Lido help docs