The launch of Ethereum 2.0 (Eth2) in 2020 presents a critical and long-anticipated industry milestone. The industry’s collective understanding of existing ETH holder motivations, sentiments, and behavioral patterns when it comes to staking (or not!) is paramount to support and catalyze the success of Ethereum’s road to Proof of Stake. 

Consensys Codefi has surveyed close to 300 ETH holders in the space to understand their intentions and needs when it comes to staking on Eth2. Our report aims to inform key design and product considerations, as well as provide strategic and tactical recommendations for protocol teams, client developers, and infrastructure providers to encourage effective adoption across different user personas.  

Context and Research Objectives

The launch of the first phase of Ethereum 2.0 this year will mark the beginning of the next evolution of the public Ethereum mainnet. One of the most significant upgrades in Ethereum 2.0 is the switch from a Proof of Work (PoW) to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. This upgrade will result in improved scalability, network maintenance incentives, energy efficiency, and security. Moreover, the new network architecture provides a novel opportunity for a broad category of ETH holders to create a continuous revenue-generating capability for providing public infrastructure to the Ethereum community. 

Core to the success of a PoS network is the willingness of participants to stake their ether (ETH) on the network in order to adequately secure the blockchain. It is imperative, therefore, to understand the staking preferences, behaviors, and needs of existing ETH holders and how their participation in Ethereum 2.0 can be accelerated and optimized.

Prior to designing the research, our team identified and conducted various qualitative stakeholder interviews aiming to further understand our questions and assumptions about the Ethereum 2.0 staking ecosystem. 

One of the key findings that became apparent was the existing communication gap between the builders, enablers, and prospective participants in the Eth2 community. With Phase 0 on the horizon, protocol, client and infrastructure teams must communicate, design and implement features that encourage the broadest possible participation across the universe of future validators. 

With preliminary research findings in mind, our team designed and deployed a quantitative user research study to capture the broad user segments, sentiments, and behavioral patterns to inform both builders and enablers, while educating the end users. 

The study aimed to surface and analyze the following insights:

  • What are the profiles and behavioral patterns of existing ETH holders?

  • What are the intentions and motivations of Eth holders when it comes to staking on Eth2.0?

  • What are current pain-points and potential hurdles to adoption?

  • What value-added enablers and market opportunities does this present?

We drew conclusions from 287 respondents to an online survey of existing ETH holders, which was initiated in February 2020, and remained live for 20 days. You can find the original survey here.

Eth2 won’t build itself so thank you to everyone participating in this milestone and we hope that you find our work insightful and helpful! 

Download the full Ethereum 2.0 Staking Report