Ethereum Validators Forced to Wait Days to Unstake Amid Celsius Withdraws

This means there is now a 5.6 day wait for validators to exit the Ethereum blockchain.

AccessTimeIconJan 5, 2024 at 4:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 4:53 p.m. UTC
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Ethereum's validators are stuck waiting several days to withdraw their staked ether (ETH), and the defunct crypto lender Celsius may be partially to blame for the backlog.

Validators stake ETH to help secure the Ethereum network in exchange for a steady rate of interest, but there is a cap to the number of validators that can unstake their tokens on any given day, hence the present backlog.

The exit queue for Ethereum validators spiked to over 16,000 on Friday, while it was just at 26 the previous day, according to blockchain data from validatorqueue.com. The queue represents more than $1 billion worth of staked ETH at current prices, but the large backlog means it could take up to 5.6 days for that ETH to get back into the hands of its depositors.

Celsius, the crypto lender that filed for bankruptcy in 2022 and is now in the process of restructuring, seems to be responsible for the present delays.

Validator exit queue on Ethereum (validatorqueue.com)
Validator exit queue on Ethereum (validatorqueue.com)

Celsius shared on Thursday on X, formerly Twitter, that the “significant unstaking activity in the next few days will unlock ETH to ensure timely distributions to creditors.”

According to blockchain analytics firm Nansen, 32% of all ETH waiting to be withdrawn has been requested by Celsius, while 54.7% is from Figment, a staking service that Celsius reportedly uses.

ETH Waiting for Withdrawal
ETH Waiting for Withdrawal

Ethereum has previously seen longer lines. In April, Ethereum validators had to wait upwards of 17 days to get their staked ETH back following the blockchain’s Shapella upgrade, which enabled staked ETH withdraws for the first time. At the time, some 28,000 validators were in line to leave the network at one point.

Since then, the requests for exiting the blockchain diminished tremendously, and by the end of May, it took less than a day for a validator to leave the network, according to blockchain data dashboard validatorqueue.com.

Edited by Sam Kessler.

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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.


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