Ethereum restaking protocols have recently surged, locking in nearly US$13 billion in total value and raising concerns about the potential risks they pose to the network’s stability.

Analysts from Coinbase have highlighted the dangers associated with these protocols, which offer users additional rewards through liquid restaking tokens (LRTs) but also compound risks and incentivize higher risk behavior for greater yields.

Despite these issues, restaking is anticipated to become integral to Ethereum’s new services, providing significant incentives for validators.

The restaking process, especially through the Eigenlayer protocol, allows users to stake derivative tokens and earn LRTs, which can be restaked for more rewards. This practice can result in funds being repeatedly allocated to similar validators, increasing both yield and risk. The market’s enthusiasm for restaking has sparked debate, with Ethereum developers cautioning against the potential for excessive leverage.

Protocols like Etherfi, Renzo, Kelp, and Puffer have seen a surge in deposits, with Etherfi leading at over US$3.2 billion in total value locked.

The growth in TVL is largely due to users utilizing EigenLayer to keep access to their funds while enhancing the network’s economic security.

EigenLayer’s framework permits the deposit and restaking of ether from various liquid staking tokens, with the aim of securing third-party protocols.

The increase in TVL is driven by the capability to restake liquid-staking tokens on EigenLayer, which seeks to bolster the security of other networks such as rollups, oracles, and data availability platforms.

Although the opportunity for direct restaking deposits on EigenLayer was temporarily available, LRT protocols continue to welcome ether deposits, restaking them on behalf of users and issuing derivative tokens.