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Eth2 withdrawals are coming sooner than you think

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Withdrawals for Ether staked on Ethereum 2.0 could become available as early as Q1 2021, according to a blog post by staking service Rocket Pool.

While Phase 0 of Eth2’s roll-out was launched with its Beacon Chain on Dec. 1, the 900,000 Ether deposited by stakers will not be available for withdrawal until Phase 1.5 — which is expected to arrive around early 2022.

However, last week, Ethereum developer Danny Ryan introduced a new proposal that would allow for “Simple (but expressive) withdrawal contracts to be written today” — meaning users would be able to conduct withdrawals of their Ether.

Should the proposal be implemented, he estimates that “80% of withdrawal contract use cases will be satisfied,” but he admitted, the solution isn’t going to unlock complete functionality:

“There are potentially more sophisticated features that cannot be built with the simple scheme until Beacon Chain reads are implemented, but I would argue that most designs can be accomplished.”

One of the utilities that Ryan’s proposal supports is the ability for staking pools to initiate payouts, further improving Ethereum’s decentralized nature.

Rocket Pool, an Australian-based decentralized staking platform designed to allow hodlers with less than the mandatory 32 ETH to pool their funds for staking, has indicated the platform is waiting for smart contract withdrawals to be enabled before it goes live.

In a blog post today, founder David Rugendyke explained that since withdrawals aren’t supported in Eth2 currently, “in order to democratize staking in the current environment, projects must utilize a centralized custodian to control validator withdrawal keys.” He added the trust issues involved with this “are not worth sacrificing our core values and risking user deposits.” Rugendyke called Ryan’s proposed solution “a fantastic step” and something “we want to show massive support for!”

“Rocket Pool will be choosing to launch following the implementation of smart contract withdrawals, to adhere to the non-custodial, trustless nature of the staking solution we set out to build over two years back. This is expected in Q1 of 2021 and we’ll hope to launch along side it.”

Blockchain firm Consensys has noted Ryan isn’t the only potential solution. Ethereum developer Jeff Coleman’s “Dirt Simple Withdrawal Contract” proposal also provides a solution for withdrawals. Ethereum staking service Attestant co-founder Jim McDonald’s has another proposal called “Simple Transfers of Excess Balance”.

Staking firm LiquidStake has taken a different approach, allowing stakers to take out a USDC loan on their staked ETH in order to provide better liquidity to users. Coinbase has also announced support for Eth2 staking, however, they will provide the liquidity for users:

“While staked Eth2 tokens remain locked on the beacon chain, Coinbase will also enable trading between Eth2, ETH, and all other supported currencies providing liquidity for our customers.”

In the past, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin warned users of risks associated with using third-party staking services.