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Launched in 2017, Rocketpool is a decentralized Ethereum Proof of Stake (PoS) infrastructure protocol and service network that allows individuals and businesses to earn interest on their Ether holdings. It enables users to stake their Ether (ETH) without running their own validator node, making Ethereum's PoS system more accessible. As an Ethereum 2.0 staking protocol, Rocketpool introduces a unique approach to address the limitations of minimum staking requirements, technical competency, and online maintenance.

Network and Protocol

The Rocketpool network is an open-source, decentralized Ethereum staking protocol that leverages smart contracts and a distributed network of node operators to facilitate ETH staking for users. The protocol has several key components:

  • Staking: Enables users to stake their ETH directly or through rETH tokens, a liquid staking token which represents the user's staked ETH and rewards. The staked ETH is utilized to validate transactions on the Ethereum 2.0 PoS blockchain, earning rewards in the process.

  • Node Operators: Node operators run the nodes that validate transactions on the Ethereum 2.0 network. They provide the infrastructure that the Rocketpool protocol relies on.

  • Smart Contracts: The Rocketpool protocol operates using a series of smart contracts, which handle all deposits, assignment of node operators, and distribution of staking rewards.

  • rETH Tokens: Represents a user's staked ETH and earned rewards. It is an ERC-20 token that can be traded, providing liquidity to stakers.

  • RPL Tokens: Rocketpool's native utility token used by node operators as an insurance mechanism. It is staked alongside ETH to ensure node operator's good behavior.

  • Minipools: Rocketpool utilizes minipools, which are smart contracts that hold staked ETH from users and node operators. Each minipool is assigned to a node operator who runs a validator node on behalf of the users.

    User->>Rocketpool Smart Contract: Stake ETH
    Rocketpool Smart Contract->>Minipool: Assign ETH to Minipool
    Minipool->>Node Operator: Assign Node Operator
    Node Operator->>Ethereum 2.0 Network: Validate transactions
    Ethereum 2.0 Network->>Minipool: Distribute rewards
    Minipool->>User: Update rETH balance


In the Rocketpool network, nodes have a vital role in supporting its decentralized staking infrastructure and ensuring the effective operation of Ethereum's Proof of Stake (PoS) system. These nodes, the linchpin of the network, are computers that maintain the entire staking infrastructure.

The two main types of nodes in Rocketpool are:

  • Validator nodes: Validator nodes in the Rocketpool network perform the essential function of validating transactions and creating new blocks in the Ethereum 2.0 blockchain. These nodes require staked ETH to operate and must maintain a consistent online presence to avoid penalties. Rocketpool facilitates this by allowing users to pool their ETH and share a validator node, thus democratizing access to Ethereum 2.0 staking.

  • Smart node operators: These operators run the validator nodes. They handle the staking of ETH and the maintenance of the servers that make staking possible for all users of the network. Smart node operators can stake their own ETH or run validators for other users' staked ETH. They earn rewards based on the amount of ETH staked.

Rocketpool requires these operators to run full nodes, and here's why:

  • Full Nodes: Full nodes in the Rocketpool network store the complete state of the network and enforce its consensus rules. These nodes validate all transactions and blocks, propagating them across the network. Running a full node in Rocketpool requires substantial computational resources but offers the highest level of security and autonomy.

This structure, with the reliance on full nodes, ensures the highest level of security and network integrity for Rocketpool, providing robust infrastructure for decentralized Ethereum 2.0 staking. This configuration enhances the robustness and resiliency of the network, ensuring Rocketpool remains a premier choice for those interested in Ethereum 2.0 staking.


Rocketpool does not rely on any specific client software to connect to the Ethereum network. Instead, it uses Ethereum's existing client ecosystem, with node operators able to choose from any of the Ethereum clients, such as Geth, OpenEthereum, and others.

Rocketpool has developed its smart contracts and protocol to be compatible with any Ethereum client, promoting decentralization and reducing the risk of single-point failures.

Infrastructure-based Governance

Similar to the Ethereum network, the Rocketpool network is governed by a decentralized community of users and node operators. Please refer to the Ethereum Infrastructure-based Governance section for more information.

Additionaly, Rocketpool's decentralized nature allows the community to influence its development and evolution. Decisions on upgrades and changes to the protocol are made through a governance process, where RPL token holders can vote on proposals.

The governance process starts with a proposal, which can be submitted by any member of the Rocketpool community. Once a proposal is submitted, it is subject to a voting period where RPL holders can vote in favor or against the proposal.

Through this decentralized governance mechanism, Rocketpool ensures that its protocol aligns with the needs and preferences of its users, promoting transparency and fairness.


Operators in the Rocketpool network are responsible for running validator nodes that maintain and secure the Ethereum 2.0 PoS network. They play a significant role in the Rocketpool protocol, contributing to the network's security and stability.

Their main responsibilities include:

  • Running validator nodes: Operators are responsible for setting up and running validator nodes, which are crucial components of the Ethereum 2.0 PoS network.

  • Staking ETH and RPL tokens: To run a validator node, operators must stake a certain amount of ETH and RPL tokens. The ETH is used for staking, while the RPL tokens serve as an insurance deposit.

  • Maintaining node operation: Operators must ensure their nodes remain online and perform efficiently to validate transactions on the Ethereum 2.0 network.

By performing these duties, operators contribute to the success and robustness of the Rocketpool network, ensuring that users can stake their ETH securely and conveniently.