EigenLayer deploys restaking protocol on Ethereum mainnet

Initial tokens supported in the mainnet launch are stETH, rETH and cbETH — native staking will also be available


Satheesh Sankaran/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Ethereum restaking protocol EigenLayer has launched on Ethereum mainnet.

The launch supports tokens including stETH, rETH, cbETH and solo-stakers.

EigenLayer is designed to extend Ethereum security to software modules such as bridges, oracle networks and consensus mechanisms by utilizing restaking to offer pooled security mechanisms. They’re built on top of the network. 

The EigenLayer protocol consists of stakers, who commit stake, and operators, who provide technical validation services for actively validated services (AVSs), Brianna Montgomery, head of strategy at Eigen Labs, told Blockworks.

Several AVSs are building on EigenLayer, and a handful have publicly pointed to their plans, Montgomery said. 

Known AVSs include EigenDA, Espresso, Witness Chain, Omni and Lagrange. 

“Others are building in private,” Montgomery said. “More details about projects building on EigenLayer will be shared as and when available.”

How does EigenLayer work?

Stakers can give permission to EigenLayer smart contracts, subjecting their staked ether to slashing conditions — and granting the opportunity to validate different software modules on top of the layer-1.

The design is such that additional rewards are meanwhile earned, and stakers can also delegate the validation to an operator of their choice. 

“In both scenarios, the Restaker retains the agency over their stake and chooses which AVSs they opt-in to validate for,” Montgomery said. 

To ensure honest operators opting in do not face slashing, Montgomery said a handful of checks and balances have been baked in. 

“For instance, we encourage AVSs deployed on EigenLayer to only have objectively attributable faults…Additionally, to prevent unintentional slashing caused by software bugs in the slashing contracts, there is a veto committee consisting of reputable members from the ecosystem,” she said. 

Added Montgomery: “Any AVS smart contract seeking to slash a validator must submit its request to the veto committee, who can veto or approve it based on the legitimacy of the request.”

Initial mainnet launch

The initial mainnet launch will only include restaking, with operators and validators being part of a second launch iteration in the works. Native staking will also be available in the initial launch. 

Usage limits of 3,200 of each asset, with a maximum of 32 token deposits for each unique user address will be set in the interest of protocol security, EigenLayer said in a statement. 

This means there will be a cap of 9,600 liquid staking tokens, coupled with a minimum of 300 unique deposits, able to participate across the three liquid staking tokens available at mainnet. 

Usage limits will be evaluated and raised over the coming weeks, with the goal of eventually being completely uncapped.

Native restaking will also be available through the creation of EigenPods — a smart contract that facilitates staking of the Beacon Chain layer, where stakers must direct their validator withdrawal credentials.

Although there are no restrictions on the number of validators that can link to EigenPods being placed, EigenPods will stop being created once native restaking reaches 9,600 ETH.

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