Staking and delegation

What is ada staking?

All ada holders have a right to participate in consensus on Cardano by running live nodes and staking ada to support the network. Staking refers to holding ada on a Cardano node to participate in the consensus process. 

What is a stake pool?

A stake pool is a public or private Cardano node managed with close to 100% uptime, connected to other relays in the network, to keep an updated version of the Cardano ledger among other things. 

Stake pools are run by a reliable operator: an individual or business with the knowledge and resources to run the node on a consistent basis. Ada holders can delegate to public stake pools if they wish to participate in the protocol and receive rewards, but do not wish to operate a Cardano network node themselves.

How do I start delegating ada?

You can start delegating through Daedalus wallet, Yoroi wallet, and other supported third party wallets. 

What is the difference between staking and delegation?

All ada holders have a right to participate in consensus on Cardano by running live nodes and staking ada to support the network. Staking refers to holding ada on a Cardano node to participate in the consensus process. 

Ada holders who do not have the expertise or desire to run and maintain a Cardano node can delegate their participation rights to a stake pool, who then stake or participate in the consensus process on their behalf. 

How much will I earn from delegation  ada?

Delegating stake pays out rewards in ada, but the actual amount you receive will change depending on several factors such as the performance of the stake pool, pool margins, and changes in the network parameters.

You can estimate how you are likely to earn from delegating ada with the staking rewards calculator here

How much will I earn from running a stake pool?

If you want to know how much can be earned with running a stakepool please use the calculator here

I want to set up a stake pool, where do I start?

Stake pool operators have a responsibility to ensure reliable, 24/7 operation of a network node. They also have a responsibility to the ada holders who delegate to their pools. To start and run a stake pool, you need a stable and reliable network infrastructure. You also need to have system operation and server administration skills along with experience in development and operations. 

To get started, check out the stake pool documentation here.

If you want some onboarding help, sign up for stake pool school here.

How can I choose the best stake pool?

Stake pools are ranked based on their overall performance and other key information. Other factors include the Desirability Index, which measures how desirable a stake pool is to an ada holder seeking to delegate their stake. It is influenced by a number of factors – including a stake pool’s margin, fee, performance, the total reward available in the current epoch, and saturation percentage – and contributes to determining a stake pool’s ranking.

We recommend that ada holders also do their own independent research and weigh their options when choosing a stake pool.

Is there a community of stake pool operators?

The most active group can be found on Telegram here.

I delegated ada, why haven’t I received my staking rewards?

That could mean a couple of things;

  • The pool is offline
  • The pool isn’t properly configured and/or maintained
  • The pool didn’t had assigned blocks that epoch
  • The pool lost a slot battle

Can I stake ada directly from an exchange?

We do not recommend staking with or on exchanges. Exchanges can lead to decentralization because they attract a big market share of people who like to trade or hold on their platform. To promote decentralization we recommend you to delegate to small solo pools.

Are my ada locked at any time when I’m delegating?

No. There is no lockup period and you are always able to transfer your ada from one address to another. There however is the possibility of missing out on rewards

Do I have to wait 3 epochs again to receive my rewards when I delegate to another pool?

How does fixed fee work?

Fixed fee is a procentual amount of your ada rewards that you need to pay as fee in that epoch to the pool you are delegating to.

What does pool margin mean?

Pool margin is a fixed amount of pool fee that you pay for with all delegates in that epoch. If it mentions 340 ada it means that the amount will be shared between all delegates.

What is pledge?

Pledging is an important mechanism that encourages the growth of a healthy ecosystem within the Cardano blockchain. When you register a stake pool you can choose to pledge some, or all, of your ada to the pool, to make it more attractive to people that want to delegate. Although pledging is not required when setting up a stake pool, it can make the stake pool more attractive to delegators, as the higher the amount of ada that is pledged, the higher the rewards that will be paid out. 

More information is available in the article.

How does pledge influence rewards (a0 parameter)?

The a0 protocol parameter defines the influence of the pledge on the pool reward. For larger values of a0, the pledge becomes more important.

Can I un-delegate?

It is currently not possible to simply un-delegate. You can however un-delegate by transferring your ada to a different address.

What is saturation?

This term is used to indicate that a particular stake pool has more stake delegated to it than is ideal for the network (regulated by K parameter). Once a stake pool reaches 100% saturation, it will offer diminishing rewards.The saturation mechanism was designed to prevent centralization by encouraging delegators to delegate to different stake pools.

What does the K parameter do?

K is the targeted number of desired pools in the Cardano network. The desired number of pools depends on the level of decentralization we want on the one hand and network efficiency and overall costs of the Cardano system on the other hand.

What does the d parameter do?

The d parameter is for gradually moving from centralization to decentralization. D is a parameter for decentralization where as d=1 stands for all the blocks being made by the IOHK nodes and d=0 for full decentralization where only the community makes the blocks.

What are the minimum technical requirements to run a pool?

In order to build a node from source, run it and connect it to the Cardano mainnet, you need a Linux system with at least 4GB RAM and 24GB harddrive space. The RAM is mostly needed for building the node; for running it, 1GB would be sufficient. The harddrive space is necessary if you want to connect to and download the Cardano blockchain on mainnet. If you just want to set up a local testnet or connect to an external testnet, less space is needed.

How do I claim my ITN rewards?

Please refer to this article from IOHK

Will new rewards be automatically delegated?

No. Your rewards will automatically be added to your staking address and the new amount of stake will be active when the new epoch is active.

Can I delegate to more than one pool?

At this time of writing it is only possible to delegate to more than one pool if you have multiple wallets. Multi delegation is being worked on by IOHK.

Do I have to delegate?

Nobody is forcing you to delegate. However, delegating secures the network with your stake and you are in a return rewarded with ada for doing so.

Do I have to send my coins to the Shelley wallet? Can I not do this? I want to keep my coins on the Byron address

Am I able to delegate with any amount for ada?

There is no minimum for delegation. You can delegate with one lovelace (the smallest divisible ada unit) after you have paid your delegation fee.

Why do I have to pay 2,17 ada when I try to delegate to a pool?

This is a fee which will be returned to you after you have stopped delegating.

What are delegation portfolios?

A delegation portfolio is a “playlist” of pools to delegate to suggested by the protocol itself to focus on decentralization.

What is multi staking?

Multi staking simply is a definition for delegating to more than one staking pool.

What is cold staking?

Cold staking is being able to delegate from cold storage such as hardware wallets

What tools do I have to analyze all the parameters and metrics of a pool, and have a better staking experience?

There are some great community initiatives. Please refer to this list: