Lido Finance hits 1M validators, fueling the growth of DeFi

Lido Finance has reached one million validators as Ethereum’s largest decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol.

Lido Finance, the largest liquid staking protocol on Ethereum, announced the milestone in an April 29 X post.

Source: Lido Finance

Liquid staking protocols like Lido Finance make staking more accessible for retail users with limited capital, who would otherwise need 32 Ether (ETH) to run their own validator nodes on Ethereum.

Lido Finance accounts for the majority (28.5%) of staked Ether, while 13.6% is staked through the Coinbase exchange, according to Dune data. Over 27% of all the Ether supply is currently being staked.

Liquid staking dashboard. Source: Dune

Liquid staking protocols like Lido saw rapid growth due to offering liquidity benefits to users. Users who stake their Ether with Lido receive the protocol’s Lido Staked ETH (stETH) in return, which can be deployed in other DeFi protocols.

With regular staking, the staked Ether tokens would remain locked up and unusable for the staking period.

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Liquid staking is fueling the rise of DeFi

The total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols surged from a low of $36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 to a peak of $97 billion in the first quarter of 2024. Total DeFi TVL currently sits at $92.32 billion, according to DefiLlama.

The growth in DeFi TVL, which increased by 65.6% quarter-on-quarter, was largely attributed to liquid staking protocols like Lido, according to on-chain intelligence provider Messari:

“This uptick was primarily driven by asset price appreciation and liquid restaking, led by Ethereum’s TVL growth of nearly 71%.”

Liquid staking protocols have amassed over $47.7 billion in cumulative TVL, with Lido accounting for over $29.9 billion, followed by Rocket Pool in second place, with $3.86 billion in TVL, according to DefiLlama.

Liquid staking protocols remain the largest protocol category in DeFi, with $47.6 billion in combined TVL across 164 protocols. Lending is in second place, with $30.7 billion in TVL, followed by cross-chain bridges that hold $21.8 billion in combined TVL.

Notable crypto founders have previously voiced their concerns about Lido’s growing dominance. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has previously highlighted the potential centralization risks with Lido, in a blog post from September 2023.

Buterin wrote:

“With the DAO approach, if a single such staking token dominates, that leads to a single, potentially attackable governance gadget controlling a very large portion of all Ethereum validators. To the credit of protocols like Lido, they have implemented safeguards against this, but one layer of defense may not be enough.”

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