Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake discloses advisor role at Eigen Foundation

Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake discloses advisor role at Eigen Foundation


  • Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake disclosed receiving a significant Eigen token incentive after recently becoming an advisor to Eigen Foundation.
  • The disclosure followed a discourse between Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and crypto trader Jordan Fish, also known as Cobie, regarding transparency.

Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, revealed that he has an advising position at Eigen Foundation and that Eigen tokens are allocated accordingly.

Drake’s declaration came after conversations over possible conflicts of interest between EigenLayer and the Ethereum Foundation, his employer, which resulted from academics and key developers at the latter taking on advisory roles.

Co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin wrote on X on May 18 that he was pleased that there was no culture within Ethereum that forbade individuals from expressing their ideas, even if they were unfavorable to the protocol or its environment.

Popular cryptocurrency trader Jordan Fish, better known by his stage name Cobie, responded by asking Buterin what he felt about the incentives that researchers or key developers of the Ethereum Foundation got.

“What is your opinion on Ethereum Foundation core developers or researchers accepting life-altering financial packages from Ethereum-based projects to work as “advisors” when those projects might have competing interests with Ethereum in the future or present?” asked Fish. “For instance, let’s say EigenLayer—purely theoretically of course.”

Buterin remained silent. But Drake revealed the next morning that he has recently joined EigenFoundation as an advisor, saying the community should have more openness.

Drake said that the advisorship came with a sizable EIGEN token bonus that was “potentially worth more than the combined value of all my other assets (mostly ETH).” “Tokens valued at millions of dollars will vest over a period of three years.”

The researcher for the Ethereum Foundation continued by promising to “reinject” all of the money raised to “worthy” Ethereum ecosystem initiatives, either through contributions or investments.


Researching the risks of restaking

With the goal of allocating those ether money to safe third-party networks or actively vetted services, EigenLayer is a platform that allows users to deposit and “re-stake” ether from a variety of liquid staking tokens.

Regarding a possible conflict of interest, Drake stated he was prepared to sever the advisorship at any moment if he thought EigenLayer was moving against Ethereum’s best interests.

Drake continued, saying that after more than a year of talks, he had declined more than 100 such positions and didn’t accept the EigenFoundation advisorship lightly.

The researcher said that he only accepted the position with the understanding that his duties would be restricted to studying restaking concerns and that he would not be included in any promotional materials. He also stated that he would maintain his usual critical public position about EigenLayer.

“I hope to have a front-row seat to restaking issues and steer EigenLayer from within,” Drake stated of his goal as an adviser. As a researcher, I believe that my efforts in liquid staking were made too little, too late. This is your chance to avoid making the same error twice when you restake.

The Ethereum Foundation is a sizable organization with more than 300 members, of which three had a formal relationship with EigenLayer (one as an investor and two as advisors). Drake addressed concerns that EigenLayer is attempting to “bribe” or “corrupt” the Ethereum Foundation by stating that the organization does not see this 1% as compromising its morals. Drake kept their identities a secret.

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