Rocket Pool is a decentralized Ethereum staking pool that is designed specifically to support ETH stakers. It was launched in late 2016 and passed through a number of powerful public betas along with the development of ETH2. The main goal of Rocket Pool is to become the primary staking infrastructure for Ethereum.
Rocket Pool consists of 3 basic elements: Smart Contracts, Smart Nodes, and Minipool Validators. The project demonstrates some innovative features like a tokenized staking deposit, low minimum deposit amounts, unlimited deposit size, deposit safety mechanisms. The assets can be locked for 6, 9, and 12 months. You can receive up to 6.36% annual return in ETH and variable RPL rewards as a node operator, or around 4.77% APR as an ETH staker.
The work of the entire infrastructure is based on two groups of network participants: stakers and node operators. Rocket Pool enables interested individuals, businesses, decentralized applications, etc. to provide their users with the opportunity to earn staking rewards without the necessity to maintain staking infrastructure using the Beacon Chain. The minimum deposit amount for end-users equals 0.01 ETH. Those who want to run a node in Rocket Pool need to deposit 16 ETH and provide permanent uptime.
The Rocket Pool protocol token (RPL)
The project is fueled by a number of different tokens. At the time of writing, two tokens are mentioned in the project’s Whitepaper which are RPL and rETH. Also, the third token, Rocket Deposit Token (RPD), was mentioned by the Project Founder David Rugendyke in his articles and in earlier versions of the Whitepaper.
RPL is the ERC-20 primary protocol token that can be staked on a Rocket Pool node. It is not required for users staking ETH on the Rocket Pool network, though. Its main function is to regulate the capacity of the network by incentivizing and disincentivizing node operators. It helps to estimate the deposit amount that is available for a certain smart node as it should contain as many RPL as this node can stake.
It also acts as a security token for new nodes in the network. When depositing ETH, RPL should be deposited as collateral by nodes operators in case they fail to perform their responsibilities and let the network down somehow. If the failure occurs, this collateral is sold for ETH at an auction. The amount obtained after the sale will be returned to the project to cover the losses. Thus, RPL serves as a form of self-regulating security as well.
RPL can be bought and traded only on a few exchanges including Uniswap (V2 and V3), AOFEX, and XT.COM. Being an ETH-compatible token, it can be stored on any wallet that supports the ERC-20 standard.
RPL holders’ advantages
The RPL token holders are able to access the extended staking function. The rewards on collaterals are paid in RPL as well. The minimum collateral that one has to place makes up 10% of the deposited value of ETH.
In the future, RPL stakers should be able to participate in a Rocket Pool DAO that will help to regulate the key aspects of the decentralized network. The project’s goal is to increase the network decentralization to the maximum possible levels, and RPL will be required as a network access token for this purpose.
Rocket Pool ICO
The pre-sale lasted for two weeks, from October 9, 2017, up to October 23, 2017. It was followed by the public crowd sale that started on November 25, 2017, and ended on January 7, 2018. According to the White Paper, these dates corresponded with specified Ethereum block numbers.
To provide an even distribution at the public sale, a proportional distribution model was used. The tokens were distributed proportionally across every participant according to the amount of ETH invested. Participants had to wait until the end of the sale to get their tokens.
The total supply of RPL is 18 million. 45% was sold during the pre-sale and 40% during the crowd sale at the price of $0.39 USD and 0.00083 ETH correspondingly with the amount of raised funds totaling approximately $4 million. 15% of the total supply was retained by the team and was dedicated to the project development.
The 15% of RPL tokens retained by the project’s team were allocated as follows: development - 40%, node infrastructure - 20%, general and administration - 10%, network monitoring - 10%, security audits - 10%, legal - 5%, marketing - 5%.
Rocket Pool security
On October 5th, 2021, a small staking service StakeWise posted a tweet with information about the severe vulnerability that its founder Dmitri Tsumak found in Rocket Pool. A similar vulnerability was also submitted to the bug bounty program run by another blockchain service Lido. The news put the launch of the project on hold until the bug was eliminated.
Rocket Pool’ team
There are five team members mentioned on the platform’s website: David Rugendyke, Darren Langley, Kane Wallmann, Nick Doherty, and Joe Clapis. They live in Australia, mainly in Brisbane, Queensland.
Dave Rugendyke is the Rocket Pool Founder and CTO. Having started as a senior programmer at Clemenger BBDO Brisbane in 2006, he has gained serious experience in programming and digital development throughout the following years.
Darren Langley is the project’s General Manager. Prior to Rocket Pool, he worked on a number of high-profile blockchain projects, designed application architecture, and delivered digital products for the Department of Education of Queensland.
Kane Wallmann is the Senior Solidity Engineer. He is experienced in software and web development, with interests in anything and everything programming-related.
Nick Doherty is the Senior Blockchain Engineer. He specializes in engineering software for the blockchain, finance, and e-commerce industries.
Joe Clapis is the Senior Blockchain Engineer with core experience in software systems.