BitDAO’s vision is “open finance and a decentralized tokenized economy” and a sizeable treasury is held to fund work towards this goal. With The Merge and Shapella upgrades significantly derisking staking, it’s never been easier to put ETH to work in securing Ethereum, while being paid a return to do so. For DAOs, operating a physical node can be tricky, but liquid staking provides a strong alternative. Rocket Pool has been building in alignment with Ethereum’s core decentralisation values since 2016 and is today still the only established liquid staking protocol that is fully permissionless.
By liquid staking a portion of their ETH with Rocket Pool, BitDAO can put their treasury to work earning passive income, supporting decentralisation, and helping to secure Ethereum.
Rocket Pool is the second-largest liquid staking protocol, with around 626,720 ETH staked by over 2,698 diverse and permissionless unique node operators. Rocket Pool’s focus on decentralisation has been recognised by the Ethereum[dot]org website, being the only protocol to achieve all eight green “attribute indicator” ticks, covering the topics of open source software, audits, bug bounty program, battle tested smart contracts, trustlessness, permissionlessness, diverse clients, and a liquid staking token.
2.1. Security & risk
Since staking directly affect the fundamental security of Ethereum, this is a critical concept to consider. Along with some other smaller liquid staking protocols, Rocket Pool intends to self-limit at an appropriate size before the protocol could ever conceivably pose a security risk to Ethereum. Other protocols are less decentralised than Rocket Pool, and the past year or so has tragically highlighted the increased risk profile that often accompanies higher degrees of centralisation. In addition, by requiring node operators to have some of their own collateral at stake, Rocket Pool also provides industry-leading protection against slashing events for liquid stakers at a size many times larger than other protocols.
As measured by rated.network, Rocket Pool’s backwards-looking validator APR is 6.27%. Staking 10,000 ETH would therefore generate 627 ETH per year minus commission (around 15%), approx 533 ETH in rewards. The liquid staking token, rETH, can also be used in DeFi at any time should BitDAO wish to do so. Currently, rETH has the industry’s second-largest list of DeFi integrations.
Liquid staking is very straightforward. By simply swapping ETH for rETH and holding the rETH in any wallet, staking rewards are automatically earned as rETH appreciates in value against ETH over time. This is also a much more tax-friendly option than other “rebasing” liquid staking tokens that pay out rewards separately. Using an aggregator such as the Rocket Pool website, 1inch, or cowswap, the transaction can be routed to wherever is most favourable, either directly to Rocket Pool or to secondary markets. Exiting an rETH position to claim staking rewards can be accomplished either by unstaking directly with the protocol subject to sufficient liquidity, or swapping back to ETH on secondary markets.
Rocket Pool is not risk-free. Being highly decentralised, the main risk is smart contract security. Audits are primarily completed by senior team members at Sigma Prime and ConsenSys Diligence and are available on the rocketpool[dot]net homepage. Liquid staking is a complex topic and this proposal skims the surface in many areas for the sake of brevity. I would encourage discussing this further either below, or with the Rocket Pool community and/or Team on Discord. I am a paid contractor for Rocket Pool as the protocol’s marketing/community manager, and I hold both rETH and Rocket Pool’s utility/governance RPL token.