The Future of Ethereum Staking: An Interview with David Rugendyke, the Founder and CTO of Rocket Pool

Rocket Pool Founder and CTO answers important questions about the one of a kind Ethereum Staking service.

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Sup beautiful people from around the world, last week I highlighted Rocket Pool. A totally awesome one of a kind staking platform aimed at making staking on Ethereum 2.0 accessible to everyone. Every sentence I read during my research made me more and more interested. Hell, I even had wings delivered to my house instead of going out as to not interrupt my delicate research. Basically I’m impressed. This led me to reach out to Rocket Pool’s founder and CTO David Rugendyke and ask him a few questions. Quite the cool guy might I add. I think you’ll enjoy this interview. So in place of this week’s coin of the week here is my interview with David Rugendyke, the founder and CTO of Rocket Pool. But first, for those of you who don’t know what Rocket Pool let me explain at a high level.

What is Rocket Pool?

Rocket Pool is a first of its kind, Ethereum proof of stake infrastructure service. Individuals and businesses who want to earn interest on their ether over a fixed term can use Rocket Pool’s decentralised network of node operators to participate in staking.

Ok now on to the interview.

How did you get into blockchain?

I originally got into Blockchain in late 2014, a few months before the infamous Mt. Gox exchange implosion. At the time there was an altcoin boom, mostly spinoff's of Bitcoin and a few others. That lead me down a rabbit hole, one which I still haven't crawled out of 😃. After piquing my interest, I actually created a mining rig of 6x290x Radeon video cards and starting mining various altcoins for a while in 2015, soon though that became unprofitable due to the high power prices in my area. But it was too late and I was hooked on crypto. After this time, I had heard of something called Ethereum which had just been released, so I investigated it and the idea of smart contracts on a blockchain gave me my next crypto hit, from there I dove right in and have been immersed in the Ethereum ecosphere ever since.

How did you start Rocket Pool and what is your vision?

Rocket Pool was originally started in late 2016 after Vitalik released the Mauve Paper. This was a relatively early paper that detailed how Proof of Stake would work on Ethereum as a smart contract. After that happened, I realized with a fixed 32 ETH limit, the ability for users to pool their ETH together would naturally occur, so I started writing an alpha version of Rocket Pool in Solidity, a smart contract language for Ethereum. Then in mid-2017, I released this alpha version and it got a great reception, so I continued work on it and eventually expanded the team. Of course, this original version of Rocket Pool was built for the previous version of staking on Ethereum which used a smart contract, that version got deprecated in 2018 and a new approach that uses the Beacon chain protocol for ETH2 was launched. Luckily a lot of the original concepts of Rocket Pool still applied for the new version, so we set forth on building compatibility for the beacon chain and have successfully run one beta so far with this version. A new beta is expected in the coming months too, public for anyone to test out.

Let's say I have stable internet, 32 ETH, and I'm technically savvy enough to be a validator why would I choose staking with Rocket Pool over regular staking on Ethereum?

If you have 32 ETH and wish to stake solo outside of Rocket Pool, your returns will be whatever the current reward rate is for ETH2 staking, this is determined by the number of other validators running on ETH2. If you want to run a node in Rocket Pool, we only require 16 ETH per validator as the other 16 ETH is supplied by users who don't want to run a node. So you could take that original 32 ETH, split it into two 16 ETH validators in Rocket Pool, receive the current staking reward rate + a fee which is charged to those users who you are providing staking services for. The end result is a higher ROI than you would get staking solo.

If you could change anything about Ethereum's implementation of Proof Of Stake what would it be?

Allowing smart contracts to withdraw directly from ETH2 would be a huge bonus. At the moment, this isn't expected until Phase 2 of the Ethereum 2 rollout which could be 1-2 years after Phase 0 is launched. During this interim period, we used a network of nodes to sign each withdrawal, still decentralized but not as neat as allowing a simple smart contract to initiate a withdrawal.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My kids, not because they're just fun as hell, but they have an internal alarm clock that goes off at an ungodly hour and has no snooze button.

Where would you go during a zombie apocalypse?

There is actually a military base not far from me, so I'd either get there early enough to buy some time before all the army guys turned into Zombies, then ate all the civilians in the base. Or I'd get there late and run into a whole bunch of Zombies with guns. Either way, I'd probably be boned.


If Zombies could hold and shoot guns maybe I could offer them some of my Bitcoin in exchange for my life? Hmmm… Anyways like I said above I think Rocket Pool is awesome and it only makes sense that such a company is lead by an awesome founder. David really brings a human element to a technology-filled space. I also really can’t hammer home enough that there really isn’t anything like Rocket Pool in this space. Take a look at my previous newsletter for more details.

For more interviews and content subscribe to this newsletter if you want.

If not think about it and get back to me.

Wish you all the best,

Ken


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I am not invested in Rocket Pool.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. This is not financial advice. This is just my opinion. Always do your own research before investing. I am not responsible for your trades.