Rocket Pool is a decentralized Ethereum staking protocol. It is permissive, so anyone can join. Staking ETH here can be done with less than 32 ETH. For this, you also get higher rewards.
A decentralized network of node operators earn rewards for rETH holders, who can also participate with small amounts. Node operators do not work with the funds of others, this is called non-custodial. Slashes are paid by these nodes from their rewards.
Stake your ETH, then your rewards are around 3.5% per year. Run a node in addition, then the returns are around 8.5% plus the native token RPL, with which you have to pay slashes (penalties) if they occur.
More than 2,000 nodes are working with Rocket Pool and they have staked more than 400,000 ETH, with about 5% of the total ETH staked in their protocol.
Rocket Pool was designed based on Vitalik Buterin's 2016 Mauve Paper.
The founder and developer is David Rugendyke, who has 18 years of experience in computer science. The rest of the team also brings more than a decade of experience in a variety of activities in IT and even aircraft engineering.
In 2017, the presale and public token crowdsale was held.
2018 was dominated by the beta launch, updates and the collaboration with Consensys.
2019 was a year of development.
2020 marked the rollout of Ethereum 2.0, the Beacon Chain and Ethereum's move to Proof of Stake.
In 2021, they were working all year with Ethereum 2.0 and the staking protocol. Their RPL token was upgraded and addressed. Their mainnet was also rolled out.
By 2022, they were perfecting the mainnet, with each upgrade of Ethereum requiring extra attention.
Another Atlas upgrade followed in 2023.
Rocket Pool is definitely not standing still. For this, all you have to do is keep an eye on the latest Rocket Pool news.
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Rocket Pool is built to accommodate any kind of staker. The idea is that anyone can stake ETH trustless (trust is built into the protocol) in a network of decentralized nodes with full autonomy with the RPL token as collateral.
Private keys are held by participants to ensure sovereignty.
Rocket Pool is designed to support Staking as a Service (SaaS) providers. This allows both large and small investors to join and in this case stake ETH without having to have 32 ETH or technical knowledge to run a full node.
If you own ETH, you can maximize revenue by running a node and getting paid in ETH and RPL. The protocol allows teams to run a batch of 16 ETH on Rocket Pool.
So as soon as a team of any kind comes across 16 ETH you can join Rocket Pool. Each 16 ETH are good for one node in the Rocket Pool network.
When you deposit ETH in Rocket Pool you get rETH (Rocket Pool staked ETH wrapper) in return. You can swap this token back for ETH at any time (if there is enough liquidity in the deposit pool) and then you get the rewards earned so far on top of it.
Users range from individuals, exchanges, wallets, dApps to just about anyone who wants to use or build on the protocol. You don't need any infrastructure or 32 ETH, you can stake for as little as 0.01 ETH.
When you stake ETH and receive rETH in return, you immediately start accumulating stake rewards based on the performance of the entire decentralized network of node operators in Rocket Pool. This makes rETH worth more and more, while also helping secure the Ethereum network.
rETH is insured against slashing (penalty in case of staking) by node operators who stake RPL, who thereby absorb the penalty.
To stay in touch with their users, you can find Rocket Pool in every major branch, such as on Discord, Twitter and GitHub.
In their ecosystem are some big players like Coinbase, Etherscan, Blockchain Capital and some smaller ones. They continue to grow a bit each year.
If you become a node operator in Rocket Pool you can stake ETH without fees. Moreover, you then not only get rewards for staking your ETH, but also commissions from the protocol and RPL coins for insuring against the slash.
If you deposit 16 ETH, you are assigned 16 ETH from users who bring ETH into the network and receive rETH in return. So as a node operator you stake your own 16 ETH, but also 16 ETH from these users on behalf of the protocol. The commission is a fixed fee of 15%, mainly because they insure Rocket Pool in case of a heavy slash.
If you pay that 16 ETH to set up a node, you must also take a certain amount of RPL (10-150% of your ETH deposit) as collateral to pay any penalties. Should this cause you to fall below 16 ETH and you want to liquidate your position, your collateral is sold, so the total value is 16 ETH again and the protocol does not lose value.
Other protocols require you to stake ETH through a trusted party. This involves a great risk, because if this trusted party is less reliable, the stakers are left in a difficult situation.
With Rocket Pool, this is impossible because the private keys are not held by a trusted party. As a result, investors' funds in this network are protected from this type of intermediary.
On Rocket Pool, no trust or approval is required when staking your ETH.
Rocket Pool has protocol safety as a high priority. To ensure this safety, they have already undergone multiple audits.
Thus, they have been tested by Sigma Prime very thoroughly and more frequently over the past few years. Every vulnerability and every wrinkle was noticed by this company and reported to Rocket Pool, after which appropriate action was taken.
They also have a partnership with Consensys Diligence and Trail of Bits. All of these companies have extensive experience in testing vulnerabilities and attacks on networks. Thus, they try to attack the network themselves with known methods and show the results to Rocket Pool so that they can take measures, if necessary.
They also have a bug bounty for whitehat hackers or people who have found a bug, maximizing the chances of bug discovery.
The Rocket Pool Protocol DAO (pDAO) should set the lines for the future and is run by the RPL governance token.
Rocket Pool Improvement Proposals (RPIP) can be proposed, then voted on by the DAO.
There are two types of nodes, regular bonded nodes and oracle nodes that run the Oracle DAO (oDAO).
The regular bonded nodes stake as described above to get more rewards than by simply staking ETH.
Oracle nodes work much the same, but have on-chain additional duties with associated rewards.
Ethereum works with two different chains, namely the Execution Layer mainnet chain, which everyone is familiar with. A relative newcomer is the Consensu Layer beacon chain, where validators receive rewards for users who deploy ETH in a deposit contract. These two chains are not yet connected.
In this regard, the Oracle DAO acts as a bridge between the two. Based on more than 50% consensus, the Oracle must provide reliable data on the state of the two.
The oDAO must keep track of the balances of all validators, which they call Minipools. They must also keep track of the performance of them so that at all times rETH can be redeemed for ETH plus rewards at the correct ratio.
If you want to act as a node at Rocket Pool, you should bring at least 10% of your deposit in ETH to RPL tokens as insurance for the protocol.
The Oracle DAO consists of more than 20 peers from the community, ecosystem and industry. If you also want to become a member, you must be nominated for it and get more than 50% of the votes. In addition, you must carry a large number of the Rocket Pool token to pay any fines and ensure good behavior.
You can leave at any time you want, and you can also replace your current node with a new one with the same role.
For bad behavior, you can be thrown out by DAO consensus and get another kick after via a hefty fine, depending on the severity of your offense(s).
Thus, all decisions require a 50% consensus of the DAO to take effect.
If you are a member of the Oracle DAO club you have a paid position. This includes duties such as forwarding data from oracle's Consensus Layer to Ethereum's main chain.
The DAO is responsible for hiring nodes that meet the criteria. She must fire nodes that are no longer compliant and process updates. Further, she must issue RPL to on chain oracle node operators so that this does not have to be done manually.
Those who think they have what it takes to become a node operator can sign up for their Operator Node Role Call.
Rocket Pool charges no transaction fees, which is why they chose to make their token subject to inflation at 5% per year. The other, less attractive solution would have been to make one user pay another. Of this 5%, 70% go to node operators who insure the protocol, 15% to the oracle DAO and 15% to the protocol's treasury to pay for further development.
A good node can get stake rewards over their own ETH, a commission in ETH and RPL and as a bonus creates trust in rETH by securing the protocol with its RPL collateral. That is reason enough for good behavior.
By severely punishing bad behavior by forfeiting their collateral and losing their role as a node, there are even more economic reasons to behave like model citizens.
The oracle nodes have an expensive task, which is to report oracle data across the network. For this, they are amply rewarded with newly tokenized RPL tokens.
Whoever holds the RPL coin may make a new proposal or vote on a proposal regarding new rules to be introduced for the protocol, such as how many Rocket Pool to add each year.