Ethereum remains the second-largest cryptocurrency network behind only Bitcoin. Its transition to proof-of-stake excites many people, and spinning up a staking validator can generate passive revenue. In addition, with over 500,000 validators on the network, the Ethereum chain becomes more robust through community support.
Ethereum Keeps Adding Validators
There are always concerns over whether validators equal centralization. There is a strong degree of centralization for most networks with a handful of validators. Ethereum, on the other hand, falls into a different category. The network’s staking validators are individual users and companies pooling together 32 ETH – or more – in a wallet to support the network. Users can have one validator or run 100 of them; there are no limits.
Interestingly, the network surpassed 500,000 validator nodes yesterday. That is significant and shows people want to earn staking rewards for a good while. Those rewards will not unlock until the next Shanghai network upgrade, which should occur in 2023. It remains unclear if people shut down their validator as rewards continue to decline. More of these network nodes means fewer rewards for everyone.
Per StakingRewards, the people who run a validator earn an APY of 4.3%. More specifically, that is the reward for self-hosting a validator. Those who opt for validator-as-a-service options earn 3.87% due to fees. In either case, funds are locked up for at least 100 days, so users must be prepared for a long-term commitment. Hundred days may seem like nothing, but things move fast in crypto. Patience is a rare commodity most of the time.
In addition, there are opportunities for liquid staking. Through providers like Lido and consorts, users retain their liquidity and earn network rewards simultaneously. It is a solid approach for those who want to maximize their income without relinquishing asset control. Liquid staking also works for networks that aren’t Ethereum, but that is a different story.
Shanghai Testnet Sparks Price Bump
Last week, the developers announced a tentative launch date for the Shanghai testnet. It has been confirmed to go live in February – barring any technical mishaps – and will run for several weeks. If everything goes well, Shanghai will hit the main network in March. That will be a good test for all staking validators and gauging people’s network commitment. Once rewards unlock, there will be more ETH liquidity, which may push the price down across exchanges.
However, the current market momentum is relatively bullish. All markets saw a healthy nudge, with Bitcoin still battling to control the $21,000 level. Ethereum briefly touched $1,600 yesterday but was firmly rejected. A new push may materialize in the coming days, which may result in people spinning up even more validators to earn network rewards.
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