Blast launches Ethereum L2 mainnet unlocking $2.3B in staked cryptocurrency

Around 180,000 Blast users withdrew $400 million from the network after its mainnet debut, which freed billions of staked coins for the first time. Around $400 million of Ether (ETH) has been removed from the Ethereum layer-2 network Blast following the launch of the mainnet on February 29 at 9:00 p.m. UTC, freeing up nearly $2.3 billion in staked crypto that had previously been locked up on the network.

The optimistic rollup blockchain scaler provides users with a yearly percentage income of up to 5% on Ether and stablecoins kept on the network, created from staked ETH and United States Treasury Bills (T-Bills) administered by blockchain protocol and Dai stablecoin developer MakerDAO. Crypto transmitted to the network was locked in before the mainnet debut, leaving its 180,000 users unable to withdraw funds until now.

According to DeFiLlama data, Blast’s total value locked (TVL) peaked at $2.27 billion on February 29 and has since dropped 17.5% to $1.87 billion after the debut, with just under $400 million removed. On February 27, the network passed the $2 billion TVL milestone for the first time. 

The debut of Blast has also been met with controversy. Dan Robinson, research head at Blast seed investor Paradigm, stated in a November X post that the investment firm disagreed with Blast’s choice to “launch the bridge before the L2, or not to allow withdrawals for three months,” feeling it “sets a bad precedent for other projects.”

“We also think much of the marketing cheapens the work of a serious team,” he said. “We don’t endorse these kinds of tactics.” On February 26, the network witnessed its first alleged exit fraud, when a gambling protocol called “Risk on Blast” took off with 420 ETH — approximately $1.25 million — in user monies acquired for its promoted RISK presale coin.

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