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Ethereum Staking Protocol Swell Raises $3.75M as Locked ETH Tops $26B

Ethereum reached a major milestone last week in its highly anticipated transition to proof-of-stake, with 10 million ETH (about $26 billion) now locked in the Ethereum 2.0 staking contract.

Against that backdrop, a new staking protocol, Swell, has joined the ranks of projects helping investors get staking rewards for stashing their ether. The team announced Monday a $3.75 million seed round co-led by Framework, IOSG Ventures and Apollo Capital.

Ethereum, like most other blockchains, relies on a distributed network of volunteers to keep itself secure. While the network originally took after Bitcoin by employing a resource-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) model for validating transactions, it is in the midst of transitioning to a more efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) model, where one can stake 32 ether to become a network validator and deploy a node.

In exchange for lending compute power to help secure Ethereum, validators get a percentage of the fees generated as users transact on the network.

Read more: 10M Ether Now Locked on Eth 2.0 Staking Contract

ETH staking 101

Currently, it costs 32 ETH (about $82,000) to become a validator, though Swell and others are looking to lower that barrier to entry. Swell’s minimum commitment is 1 ETH. Significantly, the protocol will provide stakers with liquidity by granting them an interest-bearing token representing their stake.

Similar liquid staking solutions to Swell already exist – the most popular being Rocket Pool and Lido. Both products already make it easy for users to enter and exit their staking positions, and they allow minimum deposits much lower than Swell’s 1 ETH. Rocket Pool requires a minimum deposit of just .01 ETH, and Lido doesn’t have a minimum at all.

Read more: ETH Staking Startup ssv.network Raises $10M as Ethereum ‘Merge’ Inches Closer

Swell says its main advantage is in making it easier for users to earn additional interest through in-app “vaults.”

“We do everything for the user,” Swell co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Lecky Lao said of the project’s vaults feature. “After they stake, they get an NFT they can optionally put into a vault if they want to get some extra yield from DeFi farming. Basically, we reduce the entry barrier for the beginner.”

Swell plans to launch its beta on the Ethereum mainnnet in April. Later, the company says it plans on expanding to other blockchains, starting with Avalanche and Polygon.