Lido DAO: Aragon Contract Secures Ethereum Liquid Staking Service

TLDR: Lido uses the Legacy AragonOS stack and custom implementations to govern the Lido protocol, which holds billions of dollars in value.

Lido provides a simple and secure way to stake tokens on Ethereum and other networks, without the need to run or maintain hardware. As a liquid staking service it secures billions of TVL. Lido set up an Aragon DAO from the outset to decentralize this critical protocol for the Ethereum ecosystem and prioritize security for their protocol DAO.

Today, Lido is one of the most complete implementations of AragonOS, using the full Aragon suite, as well as building their own tools on top of the open source framework. For protocol DAOs launching today, their governance can be built even more easily on the updated, modular stack: Aragon OSx.

Let’s dive into the details of Lido and how they secure their liquid staking protocol with governance.

What does Lido do?

Founded in late 2020, Lido is a liquid staking service that allows you to stake your ETH in exchange for stETH, a staking derivative. Staking is an action asset holders take on Proof of Stake chains to secure the network. By staking your assets, you’re putting your funds in a contract that runs validators. In return for staking their tokens and having them at risk of being slashed if the validator misbehaves, stakers receive yield.

Once your assets are staked, they’re locked away. But, with Lido’s liquid staking approach, you get something in return for your staking: a staking derivative. This derivative is a representation of the tokens you staked, and can be used in onchain actions such as borrowing and lending.

For each ETH you stake, you receive one stETH in return. stETH is minted when you stake ETH and burned when you unstake it.

This liquid staking approach solves many problems:

  • You can stake ETH without needing the minimum 32 ETH to do it on your own.
  • You don’t need to maintain validator infrastructure.
  • Your risk of getting slashed is reduced, because your stETH is spread across validators, rather than locked with one.
  • Your token isn’t locked, meaning you can still earn yield and borrow/lend with stETH. When staking on your own, your token is locked.

Lido has radically increased access to staking in the Ethereum ecosystem, because it gives ETH holders with less than 32 ETH the ability to stake their assets.

The Lido logo

What is the Lido DAO responsible for?

The goal of the Lido DAO is to maintain and improve the Lido protocols.

Some of the Lido DAO’s responsibilities include deciding on key parameters for the protocol and executing protocol upgrades. For example, the DAO has control over levers such as changing the fee that Lido takes from staking rewards, or changing how the income from that fee is distributed between treasury, insurance fund, and node operators. This means the key decisions that govern how the protocol works are fully decentralized and directly in the hands of the DAO.

How is the DAO governed?

The Lido DAO uses the LDO token to vote on proposals. They use token-weighted voting, meaning the more tokens you have, the more voting power you have.

The strategic decisions affecting the protocol are voted for onchain using AragonOS. Meanwhile, allow-listed operational decisions, such as making regular payments to contributors, are executed onchain inside EasyTrack, an optimistic governance tool built by Lido. We’ll cover more on EasyTrack below.

A chart showing the DAO component and what Lido uses.

How does Lido use Aragon?

Firstly, Lido uses the legacy AragonOS for Lido DAO. The apps following are part of the legacy stack: Voting is used so that the community can directly govern and change the parameters (levers) of the protocol; Finance app is used for one-time payments; Tokens app is used for vesting schedules; and Agent app is used to interact with external contracts.

Secondly, the Lido protocol itself is an Aragon app. stETH leverages the Aragon ACL (Access Control List) for powerful permission management. Overall, this means that the entire total value locked of Ethereum on Lido is running through Aragon contracts, thanks to Aragon’s security.

“We were incredibly surprised by the power and security of the Aragon ACL - when setting up Lido, it saved our development team more than six months of development time” - Victor Suzdalev, Lido core governance team.
lido & Aragon

What has Lido built on top of Aragon?

While Lido started in December 2020 with the standard set of AragonOS functionalities, the team gradually added new mechanisms to improve and safeguard governance due to Lido’s massive importance for the health of the Ethereum ecosystem.

The Lido team built EasyTrack, an optimistic governance mechanism to more efficiently pass uncontentious proposals. With EasyTrack, operational proposals automatically will pass, unless they are challenged. This reduces the need to vote on every decision.

They also implemented their own notification system for voters, which has raised voting participation levels.

And they've implemented two-phase voting, a safeguard against malicious attacks. In two-phase voting, there’s a general voting phase of 48-72 hours, followed by a 12-24 hour timelock, where you can only cast or change your vote to “no.” This prevents a voter from executing a vote by adding all their tokens at the very end, when all other voters expected the vote to fail.

You can follow along with what the Lido team continues to build on top of Aragon’s open source framework in the Lido DAO github. Learn more about Lido here.

Increase DAO security and govern your protocol with a custom DAO built on Aragon OSx

Build a DAO like Lido's more quickly and easily with our modular DAO framework: Aragon OSx. Build multi-body, multi-process, and multichain governance for your organization with an open-source plugin system. There are two ways to leverage OSx:

Build it yourself: Save resources and launch custom onchain governance by making adjustments to audited plugins. Start here.

Co-build with our experts: Our experienced team will work with you to create a bespoke solution that fits your needs. Reach out.


Aragon has been building onchain governance infrastructure for over 7 years, with its tech securing billions of assets. Govern your protocol onchain with Aragon OSx: the secure and modular DAO framework with customization built in. Or, launch a DAO in 10 minutes or less without writing any code on the Aragon App.

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