March 5, 2024

9 protocols criticize LayerZero’s ‘wstETH’ token, claiming it’s ‘proprietary’

Connext, Chainsafe, Sygma, LiFi, Socket, Hashi, Across, Celer, and Router issued a joint statement criticizing the new token.

A new bridged token from cross-chain protocol LayerZero is drawing criticism from nine protocols throughout the Ethereum ecosystem. A joint statement from Connext, Chainsafe, Sygma, LiFi, Socket, Hashi, Across, Celer, and Router on October 27 called the token’s standard “a vendor-locked proprietary standard,” claiming that it limits the freedom of token issuers.

The protocols claimed in their joint statement that LayerZero’s new token is “a proprietary representation of wstETH to Avalanche, BNB Chain, and Scroll without support from the Lido DAO [decentralized autonomous organization],” which is created by “provider-specific systems […] fundamentally owned by the bridges that implement them.” As a result, it creates “systemic risks for projects that can be tough to quantify,” they stated. The protocols advocated for the use of the xERC-20 token standard for bridging stETH instead of using LayerZero’s new token.

Lido Staked Ether (stETH) is a liquid staking derivative produced when a user deposits Ether (ETH) into the Lido protocol for staking. On October 25, LayerZero launched a bridged version of stETH, called “Wrapped Staked Ether (wstETH)” on BNB Chain, Avalanche, and Scroll. Prior to this launch, stETH was not available on these three networks.

Since any protocol can create a bridged version of a token, LayerZero was able to launch wstETH without needing the approval of Lido’s governing body, LidoDAO. In addition, both BNB Chain and LayerZero announced the token’s launch on X (formerly Twitter), and BNB Chain tagged the Lido development team in its announcement. Members of LidoDAO later claimed that these actions were an attempt to mislead users into believing that the new token had support from the DAO.

On the same day that LayerZero launched wstETH, they proposed that LidoDAO should approve the new token as the official version of stETH on the three new networks. They offered to transfer control of the token’s protocol to LidoDAO, relinquishing LayerZero’s administration of it. In response, some LidoDAO members complained that this move was intended to create a fait accompli to pressure the DAO into passing the proposal when they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Related: LayerZero partners with Immunefi to launch $15M bug bounty

“There appears to have been a coordinated marketing effort between Avalanche, BNB, and LayerZero with a series of twitter posts and slick videos implying that LidoDAO has already officially accepted the OFT standard,” LidoDAO member Hart Lambur posted to the forum, adding “How is this possible when this is just a proposal?”

Some members also argued that the new token could pose security issues. “Layer Zero is a super centralized option that exposes Ethereum’s main protocol to an unprecedented catastrophe,” LidoDAO member Scaloneta claimed, arguing that a hack in the protocol’s verification layer “would imply that infinite wsteth will be minted.”

Cointelegraph reached out to the LayerZero team for comment through Telegram and email, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. In April, LayerZero raised over $120 million to help build more cross-chain functionality into the Web3 ecosystem and partnered with Radix to bring cross-chain functionality to the Radix Babylon network.