While the Ethereum staking activity has seen some boost in recent times, the staked Ether’s annualized yield remains stagnant even below the 10-year US Treasury note yields.

In the latest development, there has been a surge in the number of validators seeking to stake their Ether (ETH) on the Ethereum network. The validator entry queue, monitored by ValidatorQueue, has reached 7,045, its highest level since October 6. This backlog represents over 225,000 Ether, equivalent to $562 million, and is anticipated to be cleared in just over 48 hours.

Ethereum imposes restrictions on the number of new validators allowed to join the network per epoch, which is the time taken to process blocks on the blockchain. Consequently, a backlog occurs, as an Ethereum epoch lasts for 6.4 minutes.

Validators are those participants who stake a minimum of 32 ether in the Ethereum network. This enables them to contribute to the operation of Ethereum’s proof-of-stake consensus blockchain. In return for staking their ether, validators earn a consistent rate of return similar to interest income from traditional fixed-income assets such as bonds.

David Lawant, head of research at crypto exchange FalconX, noted that the resurgence in Ethereum staking activity signifies initial indications of renewed vigor within the network. Despite this increased activity, Lawant observed that there has been minimal to no improvement in the annualized percentage yield on staked ether, making the renewed uptick in the activation queue particularly noteworthy.

Ether Staking Rate Hasn’t Appreciated

For the fourth straight month, the Ether staking rate hasn’t moved much and stands between 3.5% and 4%. Thus, it offers hardly any premium or incentive in comparison to the risk-free rate of 4.17% available on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note.

Although there has been a notable increase in the number of stakers seeking to enter the network, the current count falls significantly short of the over 75,000 participants observed following Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade in April of last year. The Shapella upgrade notably allowed for the withdrawal of staked ether for the first time, reducing the risk associated with locking coins in exchange for rewards.

In early January, there was a temporary surge in the waitlist for validators seeking to exit the network, prompted by failed crypto lender Celsius announcing its intentions to unstake its entire ether holdings.

Ethereum NFT Trading on Rise

The Ethereum non-fungible token (NFT) market is witnessing a surge in trading activity, reaching its highest weekly volume since February 2023. Data from CryptoSlam indicates a remarkable 100% increase in NFT sales on the Ethereum network over the past week, totaling $158 million.

This surge in Ethereum NFT volume aligns with the growing popularity of the Pudgy Penguins collection, currently ranked third by market capitalization. Pudgy Penguins is swiftly closing the market cap gap with its competitor, the renowned Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, owned by Yuga Labs.

Yuga Labs, also the creator of Cyberpunks with the highest floor price in the market, is actively developing Pudgy World, an interactive gaming experience slated for release on the Apple Vision Pro. Meanwhile, Yuga Labs is also progressing on the Otherside metaverse, with plans for a third “trip” test on the horizon.

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