What is staking?
Staking is the act of depositing 32 ETH to activate validator software. As a validator you’ll be responsible for storing data, processing transactions, and adding new blocks to the blockchain. This will keep Ethereum secure for everyone and earn you new ETH in the process.
Why stake your ETH?
Rewards are given for actions that help the network reach consensus. You'll get rewards for running software that properly batches transactions into new blocks and checks the work of other validators because that's what keeps the chain running securely.
The network gets stronger against attacks as more ETH is staked, as it then requires more ETH to control a majority of the network. To become a threat, you would need to hold the majority of validators, which means you'd need to control the majority of ETH in the system–that's a lot!
Stakers don't need to do energy-intensive proof-of-work computations to participate in securing the network meaning staking nodes can run on relatively modest hardware using very little energy.
How to stake your ETH
It all depends on how much you are willing to stake. You'll need 32 ETH to activate your own validator, but it is possible to stake less.
Check out the options below and go for the one that is best for you, and for the network.
Solo home staking
Solo staking on Ethereum is the gold standard for staking. It provides full participation rewards, improves the decentralization of the network, and never requires trusting anyone else with your funds.
Those considering solo staking should have at least 32 ETH and a dedicated computer connected to the internet ~24/7. Some technical know-how is helpful, but easy-to-use tools now exist to help simplify this process.More on solo staking
Staking as a service
Your 32 ETH
Your validator keys
Entrusted node operation
If you don't want or don't feel comfortable dealing with hardware but still want to stake your 32 ETH, staking-as-a-service options allow you to delegate the hard part while you earn native block rewards.
These options usually walk you through creating a set of validator credentials, uploading your signing keys to them, and depositing your 32 ETH. This allows the service to validate on your behalf.
This method of staking requires a certain level of trust in the provider. To limit counter-party risk, the keys to withdrawal your ETH are usually kept in your possession.More on staking as a service
Stake any amount
Keep it simple
Several pooling solutions now exist to assist users who do not have or feel comfortable staking 32 ETH.
Many of these options include what is known as 'liquid staking' which involves an ERC-20 liquidity token that represents your staked ETH.
Liquid staking enables easy and anytime exiting and makes staking as simple as a token swap. This option also allows users to hold custody of their assets in their own Ethereum wallet.
Pooled staking is not native to the Ethereum network. Third parties are building these solutions, and they carry their own risks.More on pooled staking
Highest trust assumptions
Many centralized exchanges provide staking services if you are not yet comfortable holding ETH in your own wallet. They can be a fallback to allow you to earn some yield on your ETH holdings with minimal oversight or effort.
The trade-off here is that centralized providers consolidate large pools of ETH to run large numbers of validators. This can be dangerous for the network and its users as it creates a large centralized target and point of failure, making the network more vulnerable to attack or bugs.
If you don't feel comfortable holding your own keys, that's okay. These options are here for you. In the meantime, consider checking out our wallets page, where you can get started learning how to take true ownership over your funds. When you're ready, come back and level up your staking game by trying one of the self-custody pooled staking services offered.
As you may have noticed, there are many ways to participate in Ethereum staking. These paths target a wide range of users and ultimately are each unique and vary in terms of risks, rewards, and trust assumptions. Some are more decentralized, battle-tested and/or risky than others. We provide some information on popular projects in the space, but always do your own research before sending ETH anywhere.
Comparison of staking options
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for staking, and each is unique. Here we'll compare some of the risks, rewards and requirements of the different ways you can stake.
- Maximum rewards - receive full rewards directly from the protocol
- You'll get rewards for batching transactions into a new block or checking the work of other validators to keep the chain running securely
- You'll also receive unburnt transaction fees for blocks you propose
- Your ETH is at stake
- There are penalties, which cost ETH, for going offline
- Malicious behavior can result in 'slashing' of larger amounts of ETH and forced ejection from the network
- You must deposit 32 ETH
- Maintain hardware that runs both an Ethereum execution client and consensus client while connected to the internet
- The Staking Launchpad(opens in a new tab) will walk you through the process and hardware requirements
Staking as a service
- Usually involves full protocol rewards minus monthly fee for node operations
- Dashboards often available to easily track your validator client
- Same risks as solo staking plus counter-party risk of service provider
- Use of your signing keys is entrusted to someone else who could behave maliciously
- Deposit 32 ETH and generate your keys with assistance
- Store your keys securely
- The rest is taken care of, though specific services will vary
- Pooled stakers accrue rewards differently, depending on which method of pooled staking chosen
- Many pooled staking services offer one or more liquidity tokens that represents your staked ETH plus your share of the validator rewards
- Liquidity tokens can be held in your own wallet, used in DeFi and sold if you decide to exit
- Risks vary depending on the method used
- In general, risks consist of a combination of counter-party, smart contract and execution risk
- Lowest ETH requirements, some projects require as little as 0.01 ETH
- Deposit directly from your wallet to different pooled staking platforms or simply trade for one of the staking liquidity tokens
- Why Proof of Stake (Nov 2020)(opens in a new tab) - Vitalik Buterin
- Serenity Design Rationale(opens in a new tab) - Vitalik Buterin
- Proof of Stake FAQ (Dec 2017)(opens in a new tab) - Vitalik Buterin
- Eth2 News(opens in a new tab) - Ben Edgington
- Finalized no. 33, the Ethereum consensus-layer (Jan 2022)(opens in a new tab) - Danny Ryan
- Attestant Posts(opens in a new tab)
- Beaconcha.in Knowledge Base(opens in a new tab)
- Beaconcha.in Community-Contributed Educational Materials(opens in a new tab)
- Ethereum Staking Launchpad FAQ(opens in a new tab)
- EthStaker knowledge base(opens in a new tab)