How to stake Ethereum (ETH)
Discover which ETH staking method is right for you and learn how to get started earning today.
Following the Merge, Ethereum now uses proof of stake (POS), which allows you to stake your Ether coins (ETH) in return for more ETH.
Staking is designed to make the Ethereum network faster, more scalable and more sustainable. Mining on Ethereum has stopped, leaving staking the only way to earn new ETH. There are both simple and complex ways to participate in staking, each with its own benefits and risks that you need to weigh up.
What is Ethereum staking?
Ethereum staking involves validating transactions on the Ethereum network to earn new ETH coins. By locking up a minimum of ETH in a wallet, you gain the ability to confirm whether a transaction conforms to signature requirements and other rules. In return for your work, you get additional ETH coins – this is called staking rewards.
Anyone can become a validator by staking through dedicated software, through your Ethereum wallet or by joining a staking pool.
The minimum amount of ETH required to run a validator node alone is 32. Anyone with less than that will want to join a pool or another service that lets you stake small amounts of ETH for rewards. You can find these pools on platforms such as Crypto.com and Nexo, which usually let you start with 1 ETH or even less.
Staking's goal is to make the network more secure from attacks and more decentralised. Ethereum staking is the only way to create new ETH coins following the Merge, which made energy-intensive mining obsolete.
What is the Merge?
The Merge refers to the Ethereum network upgrade that went live in September 2022. It implemented the following:
- The final transition to PoS and elimination of proof-of-work (PoW) mining.
- Enabled future scaling upgrades that will increase transaction speed and throughput.
- Reduced energy consumption by 99.95%.
How to stake Ethereum
There are various ways of staking Ethereum. This depends on how much Ether you're willing to deposit and how comfortable you are using the Ethereum blockchain.
You must stake 32 ETH to become a validator on your own. This means you get to keep the full staking rewards. With anything less than that, you can join a pool like the DeFi protocol Lido or use an exchange like Crypto.com. This makes staking a lot easier for most people, although the pool will take a cut of your rewards.
Ethereum staking through an exchange pool
If you don't have 32 ETH or want to deposit that much, consider joining a staking pool.
This is a simpler process than staking alone as the pool and services staking for you typically do the technical work on your behalf. Because these pools provide a service for you, most pools charge either a flat fee or a percentage of your rewards for doing so.
Exchange pools operate on exchanges like Binance, Coinbase and Kraken, but some of these may not be available to users in the UK. Joining is a matter of creating an account with an eligible exchange and following the instructions for staking your ETH.Note: You can't withdraw your staked ETH immediately post-Merge. This feature will be available within 6–12 months after this upgrade.
Ethereum staking with a wallet
MyEtherWallet through a partnership with a node-hosting service called Staked lets browser and mobile wallet users stake ETH directly through their wallets. You must deposit the full 32 ETH required to become a validator and be willing to pay a 0.75% fee.
If you don't have 32 ETH to deposit, an alternative is Trust Wallet or MetaMask, which allow you to directly stake using DeFi protocols such as Lido and Rocket Pool with less than 32 ETH.
To securely use your ETH with MyEtherWallet or Trust Wallet, consider using a hardware wallet.
Ledger Nano X Wallet
Trezor Model T Wallet
Ledger Nano S Plus Wallet
See more of the best crypto wallets
Ethereum staking with a validator node
Staking as a validator is complex, but here's a brief overview of a method to help you decide if its right for you.
- Download the Dappnode operating system on your computer or buy Dappnode hardware.
- Connect your Dappnode to the internet.
- Alternatively, you'll need to download and install an execution client and consensus client software.
- Download and validate Ethereum's blockchain data.
- Run the execution and consensus client software.
- Buy ETH after comparing crypto exchanges.
- Deposit your ETH to the official ETH staking address after verifying it at ethereum.org.
Hardware requirements to stake alone
You need storage space and a stable connection to run the validator software:
- Staking requires around 2TB SSD storage drive.
- You need a 24/7 uptime without bandwidth caps to sync and validate without interruptions.
- 4–8GB RAM if using Raspberry Pi or 16–32GB RAM on a regular computer.
- Intel NUC, 7th-gen processor or higher.
How does Ethereum staking work?
With Ethereum staking, you secure and add new blocks to the Beacon Chain. You must deposit either 32 ETH to become a full validator or join a staking pool with a lower amount.
You earn rewards for correctly validating transactions. If you make too many mistakes – for example, validating conflicting blocks – you can lose a part of your staked coins through slashing, a process designed to punish poor validators. You might also be booted from the network.
Slashing is a penalty designed to punish validators who submit fraudulent transactions to the Ethereum blockchain. If a validator breaks the rules, they will have a portion of their staked 32 ETH removed from their ownership and be booted from the network.
How much can I earn with Ethereum staking?
As of September 2022 you can earn around 4% of your invested ETH, paid annually in ETH coins. This rate is dynamic though and will change over time.
Your rate of return depends on the number of ETH staked at any given time across the network. When fewer ETH are validating the network, the reward is higher to provide an incentive for more users to stake their ETH. The more ETH staked at the same time, the lower the reward.
The dollar value of your return depends on the current price of ETH. If the price of ETH rises, your reward increases even more. But if the price of ETH drops, your reward value drops as well.
When do I get my staking rewards?
The network transfers ETH staking rewards to validators every epoch – every 384 seconds or roughly 6.5 minutes. The number of coins each validator receives is calculated based on the state of the Ethereum network after an epoch is complete.
You must be an active validator during the previous epoch to receive a reward, meaning you need to be online and validating the network. You will only be rewarded for the epochs you participate in. Calculations of potential rewards provide only an estimate and you won't know your exact reward amount until you receive it.
Benefits of staking Ethereum
Aside from earning ETH rewards, staking is designed for those who want to be part of the community actively building the foundation of the new Ethereum.
You help the network grow and contribute toward a decentralised world. If this kind of work aligns with your ideology, it might be your main reason to stake.
Drawbacks of staking Ethereum
Before getting started, weigh potential drawbacks that include the following:
- You must lock up your ETH. You can't access your ETH until the developers make another upgrade after the Merge.
- You can lose ETH. If you're offline for more than 50% of the epoch time or make mistakes, it can cost you. How much you lose depends on your impact on the network. Let's say you and more than two-thirds of validators are offline. You could progressively lose up to 50% of your stake over 21 days. After 21 days, you might be kicked out of the validator pool.
- You must keep your address safe. Without your withdrawal address and recovery phrase, you can lose all of your ETH.
- Value is affected by the market. Because your ETH is locked, if the price of Ether drops, you could lose the value of your cryptocurrency without the ability to sell them off.
Ethereum staking is the process of locking up a portion of Ether to validate the Ethereum network and earn rewards. You can stake solo with 32 ETH or join a staking pool with a lower amount.
Either way, you can't withdraw your deposited Ether until 6–12 months after the Merge. If the risks feel worth the reward, you'll need to buy some ETH to get started on your staking journey.
Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
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