Proposal: Reduce stakedrop rewards to increase allocation for tBTC v2

Proposal: Reduce stakedrop rewards to increase allocation for tBTC v2

Joint proposal by corollari and state.

Background and summary of proposal

tBTC v2 is set to solve many of the issues from tBTC v1, namely capital efficiency, but will need KEEP incentives to get bootstrapped. The current supply schedule leaves no stakedrop rewards for v2, and this is a problem if we are to successfully launch v2 with the help of staking rewards. We are proposing to reduce stakedrop rewards going to v1 in order to reserve an amount of KEEP for v2.

Factors we believe we should optimize in this proposal:

  • Keeping the initial promise to current stakers
  • Making sure that tBTC v1 continues being viable till v2 is released
  • Having enough for v2

New schedule proposal

  • For the months of March, April, May, June, July and August, rewards would be cut by 30% versus the current schedule.
  • For the months of September, October, November and December, rewards are set at 4.35M KEEP per month.
  • Cut all rewards after 2022 to zero.
  • Because of those savings, we will have 50M KEEP left in stakedrop funds for launching tBTC v2

For the first stage, we decided on a 30% reduction of rewards versus the current schedule. We believe this is the right amount needed to save the most KEEP while still maintaining a viable return on ETH.

The change, assuming same prices and TVL, reduces the APR from 48% to 32% for the next month. But given the reduction in staking risk and costs due to the recent collateralization changes and the upcoming introduction of the coverage pool, we believe that tBTC v1 will be able to retain its ETH. The returns will still be much higher than other returns on ETH, such as Alpha Homora (6%) or ETH2.0 (8%). In addition, current stakers have already covered the upfront costs associated with setting up a node.

For the last months of 2021. We decided to establish a minimum threshold of 4.35M KEEP. Otherwise, rewards in december 2021 would be of 2.5M KEEP (versus 3.5M under the current stakedrop). Using the current prices and bonded ETH amounts, this would result in a ~6.8% APY, which we believe would be too low.

We decided to remove all rewards past 2021. We believe that by then, tBTC v2 will be well launched.

It is also possible that with reduced emissions and a good reserve of KEEP for tBTC v2, the market will be more confident in KEEP and that could increase the APRs, but that remains speculative so we try not to base ourselves on this piece of information.


  • We’ll still have 60M KEEP by EOY, which translates into 15.5% APY on v2* ( see Allocation for v2 section)
  • Reward distribution is not heavily changed, minimizing differences with initial stakedrop and promise-breaking against stakers
  • Fixes really small incentives during the last months, increasing viability

Other ideas

  • Keep the rewards at a constant monthly rate. This would maximize viability of the network but it would mean a heavy (>50%) cut on the following months’ rewards, which may hinder investor confidence
  • Use some kind of control system to determine rewards (eg: always maintain 20% APY while making sure that rewards for v2 will be >50M KEEP). The problem with this is that it’s hard to design something that properly maintains the invariants, it could disincentivize growth and a complicated reward mechanism makes it hard for stakers to calculate future rewards, thus increasing risk (maybe this would reduce risk though).

Further below we include some of the things we looked into to determine how to reduce rewards in the most viable way.

Usefulness of rewards

For the duration of the stakedrop, the amount of ETH locked in the system doesn’t seem to be correlated with the rewards (in USD) being distributed. What’s more, since the beginning of 2021 we’ve seen an increase in rewards that has not translated into an increase of ETH staked, which gives credibility to the hypothesis that some of these rewards are being wasted.

We speculate that the reason for this is that rewards are currently high enough to attract capital, but this capital is bottlenecked by the necessity to have exposure to KEEP, run offchain nodes, have enough capital to offset the high upfront costs and handle the risk involved with it. If that’s true, it would mean that currently rewards are overpaying and they could be decreased up to a point without a decrease in locked capital.

Allocation for v2

If we assume the conservative estimate that v2 will launch by the end of 2021 (we’ve seen estimates for Q3 thrown around but let’s take a cautious approach and assume a later date) and we follow the current stakedrop distribution with the assumption that random beacon rewards won’t be restarted before the v2 launch, we’d get that by the end of the year we’ll have already spent 164M, 82% of the total rewards, so only 36M will be usable to incentivize v2.

By then there will be 556M of KEEP on the market (including the ones owned by the SEZC) so if we were to assume that 50% (average for other L1 staking protocols) of those will be staked, stakers would get ~6.6% APY if those were to be distributed over 2 years (9% if distributed until the end of the original stakedrop). This is clearly a really low amount, as even eth2 staking, which is significantly less risky, currently offers >8%, and it also represents a heavy cut from the current ~55% APYs.

Here’s a comparison with other L1 staking protocols, in order to get an approximate idea of how much APY would be needed:

Protocol Requires running a node Lockup APY Participation (total staked)
Keep v2 Yes 3 months Unknown yet Unknown yet
Cosmos No (delegation) 21 days 10% 65%
Polkadot No (delegation) 28 days 13% 58%
Dash Yes (although it’s possible to lend to masternodes ~= delegation) none 6% 48%

Seeing how Keep requires running a node and makes stakers more illiquid (higher lockup), if we want to achieve a high staking participation we believe the APY should be >10%.



We compare the amount of locked ETH against rewards in USD instead of in KEEP because a rational actor would act based only on the USD value. If he believes that KEEP will appreciate but another farm offers higher APY on ETH then the logical thing to do is to farm there and sell those rewards for KEEP.


This is a fair proposal. The network needs to grow and we need coverage pools and v2 as soon as possible, until then it makes sense to cut rewards as there are not many signers and some of the bigger signers get a big share of the rewards which is not very good for the overall KEEP holders. 50M will be enough to bootstrap tBTC v2 and once the network grows big it will be profitable to run a node even if KEEP rewards run out.

I would also like to see ‘honest’ signers who have been holding most of their KEEP rewards and not dumping big amounts on the open market to be rewarded more than those who sell the rewards, not sure if this can be added to this proposal.

Thanks for this proposal. As one of the early and large stakers in TBTC I’ve come to the conclusion that v1 is not economically viable and that v2 will be the make or break for TBTC. It’s important that we leave enough rewards available in v2 to sufficiently bootstrap the network.

However, there’s a few issues with this proposal. First is the fact that current stakers have invested a lot of time & effort while also taken on huge risks and monetary costs to participate in v1. These investments were done with the expectation of future stakedrop rewards being delivered as initially suggested. Changing rewards can be seen as a breach of promise and destroy trust.

Even though the idea has floated on discord for a few weeks, abruptly cutting rewards by 30% in March seems unjustifiable. One option to make this more reasonable, and as suggested by Matt on discord is to use the 60 days lock for node operators as a baseline for when it is acceptable to reduce rewards. In other words, rewards can only be reduced in 60 days from decision.

Exiting ETH also carries significant costs. Due to zero capacity, TBTC must be sourced from curve at a 1% premium. A roundtrip can easily costs as much as 1.25% in my experience. And this is likely to get worse as more people exit. Assuming a cost of 1.25% which has been my rough costs during previous churning events, a full withdraw of 400 BTC costs 5 BTC in fees. That’s roughly $250,000 out the stakers pocket at today’s rate.

While that might still seem viable given the rewards being paid we must be prepared for it to get a lot more expensive as we witness dwindling rewards in the coming months. With the reduction of rewards it is expected that rational actors will start looking for an exit. As suggested by jonallen1 on discord, there lays an incentive here in being “first out the door”. In fact, “last out the door” might not even be a thing. If any TBTC is lost, or some people refuse to sell, the premiums will go through the roof for the remaining few stakers in the protocol and render their ability to leave practically impossible. Is it fair that the last men standing should take this hit?

Perhaps. Those who pay the least attention to the network is likely to be the one stuck holding the bag. But I would argue we’re better off giving the last holders enough rewards to hopefully cover the complete loss of funds and therefore disincentive running for the door.

I would change the parameters so that the last 1-2 months have higher rewards than the previous 2 months. The very last month should have the highest reward. Hopefully, the ETH left in the system is small enough at that point so that the rewards will cover the loss in full. In that case it won’t matter if the last staker lose their ETH stake as they will be compensated with an equal or higher amount of value in KEEP and can recover their lost ETH stake by dumping these rewards.

Assuming the proposal is implemented unchanged, I don’t think we would see an immediate flight of capital. This is because current stakers have (for the most part) secured their stake through significant churning in December 2020 which improved their collateral ratios and put courtesy call levels in the low 0.02x (some even lower). With current market condition, it seems unlikely that the prices will return to that level anytime soon. And so, going forward, the current stakers have virtually no costs of operating and might as well stay in for a few more months before running to the door.

At the same time, it’s long been unattractive for new stakers to enter due to high initial costs and risks. With the improved collateralization ratios and courtesy call this has been improved, but it was not expected to see a major increase in stakers and so far this has proven true. Reducing rewards are certainly not going to help in attracting more new stakers, but it might be a moot point now.

What I’d like to see better addressed and explored is other areas of cutting, such as liquidity mining rewards. How will cutting them to zero impact the current ecosystem (e.g curve pool) and will that create enough of a boostrap fund for V2? As I understand it, a significant amount of KEEP is available in escrow and it seem unnecessary to let that go to waste. The problem is not just lack of ETH, but demand for TBTC, reducing demand for TBTC can benefit stakers through lower premiums.

While I very much appreciate the effort you guys have put in here, due to the reasons stated above, I will likely be voting against the current proposal.


This is a great overview and the data gives a lot of insight. Thanks for all the work that went into this!

I was looking in the worksheet “rewards” tab. Is it correct that they APY’s here in columns K-N are based on the amount of ETH - USD value, not taking into account the KEEP stake? If so, in the table in black with the -30%, is the APY here with or without the staked KEEP?

On the liquidity inventives side I think we need to minimize these for tBTC v1. I think that liquidity incentives for v2 could be an important role in driving v1 holders to migrate, so better to save these. For KEEP I think it makes sense to have them as it supports liquidity and attracts people to the project.

In general my thoughts are that it’s a good idea & needed to save KEEP to support the launch of v2, and that it’s good to think about what is needed to bootstrap v2.
Without knowing a lot of details on v2 it seems that having well funded coverage pools and an increased amount of nodes (800-1000 was indicated as target) are the key objectives. As v2 is much more capital efficient, having some of the capital migrate from v1 to v2 coverage pools could already be a great start v2, so some sort of vested rewards with conditions could be interesting. A reduced min KEEP stake, and launch incentives could support on the amount of nodes side.

Also reduced emmission could stimulate the price. And now comes the speculation; I think there’s a lot of growth potential in the token price, so having KEEP reserves could bring more to the project $ value wise in the future than they do today.

I’m struggling a bit to wrap my head around the migration from v1 to v2, so I have difficulties to understand how big the risk of stakers wanting to remove ETH is under diffirent scenarios


In other words, rewards can only be reduced in 60 days from decision.

If we did that we’d need to cut rewards for other months heavily, since right now the rewards are at their peak. This could hinder network health on the months after the cut and it would benefit short term stakers at the expense of long term ones.

Instead, I propose holding a vote on this in order to decouple it from the current discussions. More concretely, I think we could parametrize the current proposal (or an updated one) on the number of days that would need to be elapsed until it goes into effect and then vote on the proposal and on that parameter separately.

With that in mind, we could:

  1. Agree on an amount of rewards that is needed for v2

  2. Set the schedule so that each interval uses a relative portion of the total pool left for v1

  3. Poll stakers on when should it go into effect. Choosing a later date will mean more rewards in the near future but less in the long term.

Of course, if the majority already agrees to use a 60d delay we could also just do that, after all I don’t know if my opinion represents anybody else but me.

What I’d like to see better addressed and explored is other areas of cutting, such as liquidity mining rewards.

You are right in that we didn’t consider these, assuming that they’d be used to drive tBTC v2 usage and incentivize the coverage pool, and didn’t do much work on it since that would require strong assumptions on the future price of KEEP, but I agree that this is something worth looking into.

Now, completely cutting these until the v2 launch is not something that I’d support (doing so would make the v1 cov pool useless and on top of that ETH/KEEP liquidity is important to maintain IMO) but let’s assume that we do that and by then we are left with 41M KEEP. With that let’s try to estimate how much the v2 cov pool would cost to incentivize in order to see what would be left for the stakedrop.

Under the assumption that in v2 there will be 1k stakers, a group would be made of 100 of them and BTC multisigs would be 51-of-100, if we want to achieve resilience against ~40% of them turning malicious/negligent we can calculate the amount of deposits that would need to be covered using the hipergeometric distribution (more concretely, sum(hygepdf(51:100, 1000, 400, 100))*100), which results in 1.25%. That is, if 40% of all stakers were malicious, they would be able to steal 1.25% of the total deposits on average.

Thus, if the coverage pool is able to cover the amount that those deposits represent there should be no loss of capital for users. If we (very optimistically) assume that we will reach the current marketcap of wBTC, that means that the coverage pool would need to have 63M in assets to cover the loss, and, as the security model of the coverage pool is similar to Aave’s security module, we could assume that the same APY of 6% would work here. Thus, all in all, we’d need 3.78M$ per year in rewards to be distributed to the pool which, under the current token price, would be ~11M KEEP.

It should also be clear that with 6% APY not much capital will be deposited in KEEP-ETH LP tokens, so if we want liquidity on that pair (which has been quite beneficial so far) we would need to set aside extra incentives for that. If we continue at the current rhythm of 100k/week that would be 4.8M/yr.

Putting it all together, we’d need 16M KEEP per year, and if we make those incentives last until the end of the original stakedrop we’d be looking at a total spend of 24M KEEP. But this doesn’t include extra KEEP to be spent with the goal of driving v2 adoption (6% APY might not cut it here), so if we assume that we’ll spend the same amount here as on KEEP-ETH, the total comes up to 29M.

This means that we could use 11M extra to spend on the stakedrop, but remember that this assumes that we cut all liq rewards till v2. If that doesn’t happen I could see a significant portion of those 11M being spent by the time v2 is launched.

In conclusion, under the previous assumptions, I don’t think a large part of the liq incentives will be available to be used in the v2 stakedrop.


  • We probably won’t get away with 6% APY in the first months (aave is highly trusted but the just-launched pool wouldn’t be) I believe that this will be doable once time-onchain increases and so does trust
  • Assuming we achieve wBTC marketcap is very optimistic, I did that to partially counterbalance the previous point. Also, I don’t see it as impossible since that marketcap might have grown by then
  • The cov pool analysis doesn’t take into account systematic risks that would affect all stakers such as forks or bugs in the node
  • Future KEEP price is impossible to predict

reducing demand for TBTC can benefit stakers through lower premiums.

Curve is no longer incentivized and right now the only TBTC-based systems that are being incentivized with KEEP are KEEP-TBTC and saddle LPs. I don’t think cutting those would lead to an important decrease of TBTC demand since:

  • Liquidity in TBTC-KEEP is very small compared to curve

  • I believe most of the LPs on saddle are more interested in pre-farming a possible future token than on KEEP yield

  • There will still be strong demand coming from the badger crv strategy


Is it correct that they APY’s here in columns K-N are based on the amount of ETH - USD value, not taking into account the KEEP stake?

Yes, it doesn’t take into account KEEP.

If so, in the table in black with the -30%, is the APY here with or without the staked KEEP?

I believe that doesn’t include staked KEEP

having some of the capital migrate from v1 to v2 coverage pools could already be a great start v2

I agree, personally I’d go even further and cut all rewards on v1 as soon as v2 launches, but IMO that’s something that’s better to discuss once we are closer to that launch.

I am for the proposal. We need to keep enough incentives aside to effectively bootstrap tBTC V2.

Yeah I think we need the assesment on the of the coverage pool in v1 and in v2 separately. I expect these are quite different I’m a bit stuck on it for v1, will put more effort in it this weekend.

Yeah I would also imagine we want 0 rewards to, but need a good migration path for the stakers. What I meant here was in relation to the option of vested rewards for having v1 capital migrate to v2. So setting them aside based on v1, and release based on condition of capital to v2 coverage pools. Something like this.

On the APY calculations, shouldn’t that include KEEP staked?

I support this proposal, but I also would like to get more detailed information about how V2 will solve the current capital efficiency problems of V1

  • V1 has proven the concept, but is not profitable to operate a node without rewards.
  • I don’t yet understand how V2 will achieve economic feasibility, but eventually nodes need to be profitable without rewards, that is key for continuity.
  • There needs to be some better sharing about how V2 will achieve that objective. I read that Collateral requirements could be as lows as 10% (do I remember this correctly?) in V2. Not sure if that is enough, but it would be good to discuss the economics of he future system, now that the technical aspects are proven to work.

For folks who haven’t seen this already (I’m guessing you have), there’s a brief treatment of this @ (it mentions collateral reqs of 1-10% value on top of staked KEEP). The biggest difference is going to be a complete decoupling of staking (i.e., putting down KEEP and operating a node) and collateral (i.e., putting down ETH or other assets to compensate for bad outcomes in the system). I’m sure others can pull together better links for tidbits in Discord and such with more details, but wanted to get that high level in for reference. I believe Matt’s also working on more detailed writeups to share as we flesh things out.

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Thank you for the Proposal State/Corollari !

We all agree that we need to have some KEEP rewards saved to bootstrap V2. We are currently at ~150 stakers on v1 and the intent is to get to 800-100 stakers in v2. That’s like >5x jump in number of stakers we need. I don’t know if 50m is even enough to incentivize that many stakers to join initially. In my opinion we will need more than 50m KEEP. This doesn’t have to come completely from v1 staking rewards though. It can be one main source but as proposed by others, Liquidity rewards and escrow/treasury can also be other sources.

As one of the mainnet staker - I’m mostly aligned(vote ‘for’) with the proposal to cut staking rewards in v1 except that cutting March/April rewards is too agreesive as its not enough time/notice period for large stakers to calibrate their nodes/holdings. My suggestion is not to touch March/April rewards but to go beyond that to cut the rewards and provide enough notice time for stakers on the changes. One of the reason being for that is some of the large nodes seem to be exiting the system. I’ve no idea if its coincidence or if this proposal is making stakers hedge thier nodes in anticipation of rewards cut. But we need to keep this in mind with this proposal.

Here’s my suggestion:

I’ve weighted rewards so that they increase during the last 2 months. We cannot expect every TBTC holder to withdraw, even if premiums go up. Coins could have been lost, forgotten etc. It’s vital that we leave a margin of safety to the last remaining nodes so that they do not lose funds. Ideally the rewards should cover their loss in full, but it’s hard to predict exactly how many TBTC will be left inaccessible or with high premiums near the end.

Using current prices, November rewards (10 million KEEP) is worth 3.4 million USD, roughly 2150 ETH. Assuming 150% collateral, that’s about 50 TBTC. With another 7 million in October this should help the last men standing exit without significant loss. We can further improve their situation by reducing collateral requirements in the final stages. Most likely what will be left is dust, especially if there are incentives in v2 for people to move over. 50 TBTC therefore seems like a good margin of safety.

However, game theory could dictate that someone will buy up TBTC and hold them, refusing to release in order to drive up premiums. Then we could be talking about several hundred TBTC, if not more. This then becomes a fight of who has the most resources and time.

This could be a problem, but it should be noted that the last holders of TBTC are also at risk of holding a non-backed asset if stakers go into liquidation and/or cooperate in seizing the BTC to get out with minimized loss. This puts an effective roof on the premium such an attack could cause. More-so when we can vote to reduce the collateral ratio in the final stages and further minimize liquidation costs for stakers.

It’s certainly preferable that stakers leave fully paid and in good faith, rather than them breaking the peg to recover some of their funds. I really believe that TBTC holders should not be punished, even for not withdrawing. Ideally it should be like holding real BTC. You can go to prison for 10 years, be stuck on an island for 5 years or go into coma for 15 years. When you’re back, the coins are still there. Realistically this will not happen as the network dwindles down and node shut off. But we can at the very least pay off the nodes.

So my proposal is zero change in March followed by cuts every month until October where we increase rewards over the remaining 2 months in order to subsidize the stuck leftover nodes and secure a safe dwindling down of v1.

This results in 5 million less KEEP saved than original proposal. While that’s only 10% less, I suggest this amount is recouped by aggressive cutting liquidity rewards, ideally including the ETH/KEEP pool (not necessarily 100% cut).

It’s justifiable to spend some liquidity rewards on the coverage pool, but it won’t be necessary to spend much there given our new collateralization ratios. In corollari’s estimate we have 11 million leftover if we cut to 0, so even if we don’t reach a full agreement on my take, I believe it will still be enough to reach the proposed 50 million target by taking part of the liquidity rewards and repurpose them.

In my proposal I have cut December rewards to 0 since estimations for v2 are set to Q3, even if we end up in Q4 the network will likely be ready by December or near ready, so dwindling down makes sense during those months anyway.

I think a vote should not happen in vacuum, I agree to a vote on amounts if we include liquidity rewards as an option. I will vote:

  • 45 million from the stake drop

  • 5 million from liquidity rewards

Which totals 50 million KEEP.

Furthermore I’ll vote for 30 day delay. No change in rewards for March, but accept changing rewards for April.

I don’t see subsidizing ETH/KEEP pair as critical as others do, but I think we can be flexible on liquidity rewards and experiment. We should set them as low as possible without causing dire consequences.

For a start, I suggest:

  • 25k KEEP Uniswap TBTC/ETH LP decrease to 0

  • 170k KEEP to Uniswap KEEP/ETH LP decrease to 100k

  • 100k KEEP to Uniswap KEEP/TBTC LP decrease to 0

  • 250k KEEP to Saddle decrease to 0

With possibly decreasing the KEEP/ETH even further later.


Yes, thank you State, Corollari et al for all the thought into this and the data. I agree that we need at least 50M for v2 (maybe more), but I need to digest certain aspects - including Agoristen’s points about the cost to stakers (especially the “last man out” concept).

If we’re going to shift rewards that stakers have counted on, we owe it to them - and the integrity of the project - to bring them into the process, not just rely on those of us most active/vocal. I’d hate to be preoccupied with my day job, thinking I have my Keep stake effectively on cruise control (rewards have been projected for 24 months), and get a rude awakening after the fact.

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I would support the stakedrop schedule you propose. I personally think a stakers '‘squeeze’ in the end in unlikely. But keeping rewards at the very end higher than in the middle is a good idea since it incentivizes the stakers to stay until the end. So in all cases it looks like the right call.

Disagreeing on the specific way you set out the liquidity reward, but I do think we could save 5M more in KEEP liquidity rewards over time, and the handling of how exactly we get there can be the topic of another proposal, as long as we agree on the amounts + stakedrop schedule.


I also support the proposal.

Should there be an additional condition for the outer months for when v2 development goes ahead of plan, and v1 tBTC supply / demand is reduced more than expected.

To not determine v1 rewards based on ETH locked but ETH bonded, more like original rewards conditions.

I mean if there would be capital in v1 that is not needed I would rather have this move over to V2 by incentives. Otherwise v1 could be kept bigger than it needs to be. For example to still allocate the rewards to the v1 stakers but based on sum of v1 locked + v2 capital. Something of this nature.

And maybe a final call for entry? It’s unlikely but to prevent someone from setting up 3 nodes, adding eth and directly bond it with his own btc, scooping up rewards. Unlikely because it’s risky but anyhow not beneficial and easily avoided.

This could be determined later ofc


Thanks Antonio!
I am aware of this document (didn’t remember all the details…)
We will need more information on how that efficiency is achieved. It is a monumental change in capital requirements for good, so we should be prepared to educate the community on how that is achieved.

100% agree! Can’t wait to share the more detailed write-ups as they start getting to a good-enough stage.


I am for the proposal

I mostly agree with this proposal, but I’m not sure that increasing rewards in the last months will have the effect you mentioned. More concretely, I think someone could abuse this mechanism by covering their position with tBTC, thus making sure that they will always be able to exit their position and then just staying until the end. Because of this I’d prefer if we used some mechanism that was more incentive-compatible.
With that being said, I haven’t managed to come up with such a mechanism, so I’d support your proposal.

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Quick update on the voting process for this KIP :pray:

The vote for this proposal will be conducted in three phases. First, the three most popular emissions plans as proposed by the Keep community is currently up for a ranking snapshot signal :point_down:

The highest ranked option from this vote will be put up to a Yes or No staker signal.

If the result of this signal is Yes then the community multi sig will vote to implement the new emissions plan.

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