Staked Ethereum Grows to $116 Billion a Week Before Dencun Upgrade

With the Dencun update a week away, there’s now 31.387 million Ethereum—worth approximately $116 billion—staked on the Beacon Chain.

After seeing a slight dip in early January, the amount of ETH staked on the network has grown steadily and increased by 9% since the start of the year, according to Staking Rewards.

At the time of writing, the Ethereum price is sitting at around $3,720, up 6.5% on the day and 14.1% on the week, per data from CoinGecko.

Ethereum changed from using a proof of work consensus mechanism, like Bitcoin, to proof of stake in September 2022. The event was referred to as the Merge, because the Beacon Chain was merged with the Ethereum mainnet to make the switch.

The Dencun upgrade has had proto-danksharding as its headliner for most people outside of the Ethereum core developer community. That’s because proto-danksharding will make it much faster and cheaper for users to transact on the network. But there will be changes for the staking process as well.

EIP-7044: Programmable exits

One important Dencun upgrade that will impact validators and ETH stakers is EIP-7044.

In short, it’ll will make it easier for users to earn rewards on their staked ETH without being a full validator and will streamline the process of unstaking ETH.

Right now, users without the full 32 ETH required to become a standalone validator can pool their funds with other users and still earn rewards—minus fees paid to the pool manager or hardware provider.

But what happens if the validator with whom you’ve staked your ETH experiences downtime and part of your staked funds get slashed?

EIP-7044 will also make it possible for ETH validators and stakers to store instructions for when to exit their position—called perpetually valid signed voluntary exits—in smart contracts, and specify when they should be carried out.

For example, someone running a validator node may want to exit if their hardware remains inactive for a certain number of blocks processed. This is an important protection for validators because they could face mounting fines if they’re unable to process transactions on time.

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