20 May

Justin Drake, a well-known Ethereum researcher, has recently taken on the role of advisor for Eigen Foundation, a supporter of the EigenLayer protocol and community.

On the social media platform X, Drake publicly disclosed the incentives he received upon assuming his new position at Eigen Foundation. Emphasizing the importance of transparency within the community, Drake stated that this disclosure was motivated by such principles.

As part of his advisorship, Drake received incentives in the form of EIGEN tokens, which have the potential to exceed the value of his current assets, primarily consisting of Ethereum (ETH). 

These EIGEN tokens will be locked for a duration of three years and represent a substantial sum, totaling millions of US dollars.

In an effort to address any concerns from the public, Drake offered to redistribute all incentives received from his advisorship to projects within the Ethereum ecosystem that are engaged in meaningful endeavors, whether through investments or charitable contributions. Drake also made it clear that if his involvement with Eigen Foundation were to conflict with the interests of the Ethereum community in any way, he would promptly step down from his advisory role.

Drake's involvement in the Eigen Foundation

Drake indicated that his function at the Eigen Foundation is purely to research risk management, and he will not be included in marketing materials. This approach will allow Drake to keep a critical perspective on EigenLayer, pushing for risk mitigation measures such as limiting "erosion of solo validators and managing the intersubjective overloading of Ethereum consensus."

He discussed an example in which the Ethereum Foundation (EF) and Eigen Foundation came into contact and a conflict of interest developed, noting that the EF is a massive organization with over 300 workers, and only a small fraction are formally connected with EigenLayer, adding:

"As far as I know, three members of the Ethereum Foundation (EF) have formal ties to EigenLayer entities: one as an early investor in EigenLabs, and two as recent advisors to EigenFoundation. I have the utmost respect for EF members, known for their integrity, and I don't believe that the 1% of EF members involved with EigenLayer would compromise their principles."

In his advisory role, Drake maintains his independence as a thinker and Ethereum researcher. While he acknowledges the potential risks to his reputation, he underscores that his decision to disclose his involvement is a carefully considered move with calculated risks.

In a detailed post, Drake also shares his insights on the broader implications of restaking for Ethereum. He draws parallels between restaking and artificial intelligence (AI), noting its potential to enhance Ethereum while also introducing systemic risks.

Drake identifies two main categories of restaking risks: chronic risks, such as the gradual erosion of solo validators, and acute risks, such as major infrastructure failures or market downturns. He proposes various strategies for mitigating these risks, including separating execution proposing from validation, capping economic stake, and implementing intersubjective slashing.

Hudson Jameson, vice president at Polygon Labs, commends Drake for his transparency, while David Wong, co-founder of zkSecurity, describes Drake's post as "next-level transparency."

May 2024, Cryptoniteuae

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