What is Restaking?

Restaking takes Ethereum staking to the next level by extending its security offerings to various applications on the network


  • What is Ethereum Staking?

  • What is Restaking?

  • How Does it Work?

  • Summary

What is Ethereum Staking?

In September 2022, Ethereum made a big shift, moving from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). This was a major step for the network, mainly because PoW, like what Bitcoin uses, had some serious downsides – it wasn't great for the environment and it struggled with high fees and slow transaction speeds.

Under PoW, Ethereum's network required massive computational resources for transaction validation and block mining, leading to substantial energy consumption. This was increasingly problematic from an environmental standpoint. On top of this, the network faced scalability issues, such as slow transaction processing and high gas fees.

The shift to PoS dramatically altered Ethereum's operational dynamics. Under this new consensus mechanism, the network’s energy consumption was substantially reduced, a crucial step towards environmental sustainability. It also increased transaction processing speed and lowered gas fees.

With PoS, network security, and transaction validation are handled by validators who stake their Ethereum tokens as collateral. These validators are selected randomly to perform network duties such as validating transactions and creating new blocks. In return for their service, they earn rewards on their staked tokens.

To protect the network against malicious activities, PoS includes a mechanism known as "slashing." If a validator acts maliciously, such as by validating fraudulent transactions, they risk losing a portion (or all) of their staked ETH.

Current Active Validators and Staked ETH Chart - Source: Beaconcha.in
Current Active Validators and Staked ETH Chart - Source: Beaconcha.in

What is Restaking?

Restaking is an advancement from traditional staking, enabling staked ETH to secure additional protocols and increase network trust. This approach, first introduced by EigenLayer, benefits new projects by providing access to ETH's large pool of staked assets, helping to create secure applications without the need for independent validation services.

For ETH stakers, this means their assets are not only more efficiently used but also serve a wider purpose. Validators can participate by selling pooled security to protocols through restaking, which in turn enables these protocols to buy into Ethereum's security. This benefits both developers, who gain enhanced application security, and stakers, who receive rewards for their expanded role. However, it should be noted that when users opt-in to retake, they open themselves up to more risk of slashing.

Restaking Mechanism - Source: Obvious.technology
Restaking Mechanism - Source: Obvious.technology

How Does it Work?

As we have previously seen, Ethereum validators traditionally secure the network by staking ETH. With EigenLayer, validators can modify their beacon chain withdrawal credentials to point towards EigenLayer smart contracts. This essentially gives EigenLayer access to enforce additional conditions on the validators' staked ETH, including the possibility of slashing these stakes under specific conditions not adhered to by the validators.

Source: EigenLayer Whitepaper
Source: EigenLayer Whitepaper

Once validators have redirected their withdrawal credentials to EigenLayer, they can opt into various modules developed on top of the Ethereum ecosystem through EigenLayer. These modules can range from data availability layers to Oracle networks, consensus protocols, and more. Validators participate by running any additional node software required by these modules, effectively extending their validation services beyond the Ethereum base layer.

By opting into these modules via EigenLayer, validators agree to subject their staked ETH to additional slashing conditions specified by these modules. This means if a validator fails to meet the performance or security standards set by a module they've opted into, a portion of their staked ETH can be slashed as a penalty. This mechanism ensures that validators are incentivized to maintain high standards of operation across not just Ethereum but also the additional modules they support.

In return for their extended validation services and assuming the increased risk of additional slashing conditions, validators earn extra revenue. This revenue is generated from the various modules they opt into, providing incentives for validators to support the broader ecosystem's security and functionality.

Additionally, EigenLayer creates an open market for security provisioning, where validators can select which modules to secure based on potential rewards and their own risk assessment.


Ethereum's shift to PoS improved efficiency and introduced staking, where validators earn rewards for securing the network. Restaking, a concept introduced by EigenLayer, utilizes staked ETH to secure additional protocols on Ethereum, expanding the network's security reach.

Validators can opt into supporting these protocols by adjusting their beacon chain withdrawal credentials to EigenLayer's smart contracts, offering them new rewards with an increased risk of slashing. This mechanism boosts the utility of staked ETH, offering more benefits in not just network security but also by providing validators with additional revenue opportunities.

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