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Using Staked ETH as Collateral in DeFi

Jon Ganor
Jon Ganor
Using Staked ETH as Collateral in DeFi
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DeFi, or Decentralized Finance, is an umbrella term that covers several different types of financial protocols built on blockchain technology. These protocols include decentralized exchanges or DEXs, lending protocols, yield farming, insurance, stablecoins, and more.

The thing that unites these protocols is the use of smart contracts and operating on blockchain technology. DeFi offers potential benefits like financial inclusion, transparency, and autonomy, allowing users to access financial services without traditional intermediaries.

Liquid staked ETH tokens, such as stETH and others have become common in the world of DeFi. Stakers typically use their staked ETH in DeFi protocols to boost their potential rewards beyond the base rewards earned via staking. As most liquid ETH tokens mirror ETH in value, its integration in DeFi was quick and smooth.  

What are Liquid Staked ETH Tokens?

Ethereum's proof-of-stake consensus system involves users staking their ETH to secure the network and validate transactions. However, staked ETH becomes inaccessible during this process, limiting its use in other DeFi activities. 

Liquid Staked ETH (stETH, rETH, hETH, etc.) tokens address this constraint by representing staked ETH at a 1:1 ratio. These tokens, unlike traditional staked ETH, are tradable and transferable, unlocking liquidity for users. This liquidity facilitates participation in DEXs and DeFi protocols, allowing these liquid tokens to be used as collateral or traded. 

The benefits include increased capital efficiency, enhanced DeFi opportunities, and greater flexibility over staked assets.

Using Staked ETH as Collateral

Liquid staked ETH has transformed DeFi interactions, offering unparalleled flexibility compared to traditional staking. Instead of locking up ETH, users can now utilize liquid staked ETH tokens as collateral in DeFi applications, unlocking various benefits.

To leverage staked ETH as collateral, users deposit liquid staked ETH tokens into supported DeFi platforms. Borrowing against these tokens allows users to access cryptocurrencies or stablecoins, with the loan amount determined by the tokens' value. Collateralization and repayment follow, where the deposited tokens act as collateral, requiring users to maintain a specific ratio to prevent liquidation. Benefits include access to loans without selling staked ETH, increased capital efficiency, and the ability to maintain staking rewards.

While using staked ETH as collateral offers the potential for higher returns, it comes with risks. Liquidation risks arise if the tokens' value drops below the minimum collateralization ratio, potentially leading to loss. Market volatility affecting ETH and borrowed assets, along with smart contract risks, adds complexities to the DeFi landscape.

Another option is to use liquid staked ETH tokens for liquidity on DEXs, enhancing the number of rewards for the liquidity provider. 

Popular DeFi Platforms for Staked ETH Collateral

Several DeFi platforms stand out for accepting liquid staked ETH tokens as collateral, each bringing unique features and advantages to users. Aave, a leading lending protocol with a strong reputation, provides a diverse range of borrowing and lending options, supporting liquid staked ETH tokens as collateral at an 80% loan-to-value ratio. Compound, another well-established protocol, focuses on major cryptocurrencies, offering an intuitive interface and supporting liquid staked ETH tokens collateral at a 75% LTV ratio.

MakerDAO, a DeFi pioneer behind the DAI stablecoin, allows users to generate DAI by depositing various cryptocurrencies, including liquid staked ETH tokens, as collateral. It employs a decentralized governance structure for user participation. Curve Finance, a decentralized exchange specializing in stablecoin swaps, facilitates liquidity pools for liquid staked ETH tokens and other stablecoins, offering users opportunities for additional passive income alongside staking rewards.

These platforms collectively represent the forefront of DeFi, providing users with diverse avenues to leverage staked ETH as collateral for various financial activities within the decentralized finance ecosystem.

Things to Consider Before Using Liquid Staked ETH Tokens as Collateral

Before using liquid staked ETH tokens as collateral in DeFi, it's crucial to consider potential risks and follow best practices. Price volatility in ETH and the borrowed asset can lead to significant fluctuations, potentially resulting in liquidation if stETH falls below the minimum collateralization ratio. Smart contract risks are inherent in DeFi platforms, making thorough research on security measures and audit history essential. Additionally, collateralizing stETH in a liquidity pool alongside other assets may incur impermanent loss. 

To manage these risks, it's recommended to understand staking concepts, choose reputable platforms with transparent security practices, maintain a healthy loan-to-value ratio, regularly monitor positions, and start with smaller amounts for testing before committing significant funds. 

These considerations and practices aim to enhance security and informed decision-making in utilizing liquid staked ETH tokens within the DeFi ecosystem.


DeFi encompasses diverse blockchain-based financial protocols, offering benefits like transparency and autonomy. Liquid staked ETH tokens, such as stETH, revolutionize DeFi by allowing users to employ staked ETH as collateral, unlocking liquidity. 

Users deposit these tokens into supported DeFi platforms, enabling borrowing against their value. While this offers increased capital efficiency and DeFi opportunities, it poses risks like liquidation due to market volatility or smart contract vulnerabilities. 

Prominent platforms like Aave and Compound facilitate staked ETH collateral. Adopting best practices, such as understanding mechanisms, choosing reputable platforms, maintaining a healthy loan-to-value ratio, and vigilant monitoring, mitigates these risks.