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Staking FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions regarding staking.
Q: What is the difference between staking with a Nominaton Pool vs usual Staking by myself?
A: There are currently 2 main ways to stake DOT or KSM tokens - self delegation, or via Nomination Pool.
A supporting article about Nomination Pools can be found here.

Self Delegation

When you delegate your tokens by yourself, you personally control which Validator nodes your tokens are staked with.

Positives of Self Delegation

  • In control of which validators your tokens are staked with.
  • Can use staked tokens in on-chain governance votes.

Negatives of Self Delegation

  • Occasionally have to manage your stake in the event that validators are removed from the active set.
  • High barrier to entry (~175 DOT required to earn rewards).

Nomination Pool

Nomination pools allow users to pool their funds together and nominate/stake as a group - this greatly reduces the amount of tokens required to begin staking.

Positives of Nomination Pools

  • Greatly reduces the amount of tokens required to begin receiving staking rewards (1 DOT / 0.002 KSM) (Note: this value is subject to change).
  • Less management required by the user, as the nomination pool's management team will move the combined stake to a new validator, should their selected validator(s) become inactive.

Negatives of Nomination Pools

  • Cannot use staked tokens in on-chain governance votes.
Q: How can I start staking DOT / KSM tokens?
A: There are currently 2 main ways to stake DOT or KSM tokens - self delegation, or via Nomination Pool.
A supporting article about Nomination Pools can be found here.
Self Stake
  1. 1.
    Open the Nova Wallet Application.
  2. 2.
    Select "Staking".
  3. 3.
    Select your desired network.
  4. 4.
    Select "Start Staking".
  5. 5.
    Input the amount of tokens that you wish to stake.
  6. 6.
    Select how you would like your rewards to be distributed.
  7. 7.
    Select continue.
Nomination Pool
Staking via a Nomination Pool is slightly more complicated to explain, so we have created a video for you.
Q: What is the difference between "Restake rewards" and "Transferable rewards"?
A: If you select "Restake rewards", then the tokens you receive as a reward for staking will be automatically added (compounded) to your existing stake.
If you select "Transferable rewards", then the tokens you receive as a staking reward will not be automatically added to your stake, and you will be able to freely transfer those earned tokens, without waiting for the unbonding period.
Q: What is the unstaking process?
A: When you stake tokens on Polkadot (and similarly for most other Substrate based chains), you agree to having your tokens "locked" in staking for a certain period of time.
When you wish to unstake your tokens, you must wait for the entire duration of the Unstaking/Unboding Period to expire before you can receive your tokens.
For example, on Polkadot, once you initiate the unstaking / unbonding command, you must then wait a further 28 days before you can then finally withdraw your tokens from staking.
TO BEGIN THE UNSTAKING PROCESS:
  1. 1.
    Select the Staking tab within Nova Wallet.
  2. 2.
    Select the asset you wish to manage the staking of, for example Polkadot.
  3. 3.
    Select "Unstake".
  4. 4.
    Input the amount of tokens that you wish to unstake.
  5. 5.
    Select "Continue".
  6. 6.
    Select "Confirm".
NOTE: YOU WILL NOW HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE UNSTAKING / UNBONDING PERIOD, WHICH IS SPECIFIED IN THE "ABOUT STAKING" SECTION.
  1. 7.
    Once the unstaking period had ended, once again Select the staking tab within Nova Wallet.
  2. 8.
    Select "Redeem".
  3. 9.
    Select "Continue".
  4. 10.
    Select "Confirm".
  5. 11.
    You should now have your tokens as part of your transferrable balance.
Q: What is the unbonding/unstaking period?
A: The unbonding period for DOT tokens is ~28 days.
The unbonding period for KSM tokens is ~7 days.
The unbonding period of parachain / solochain tokens is determined by the individual project and it would be better to check their official channels for more info.
Q: Why haven't I received my staking rewards?
A: The two main reasons for not receiving staking rewards are:
  1. 1.
    Amount of DOT / KSM tokens staked via the self delegation method is less than the minimum amount, therefore your account is not eligible for rewards. If you do not have more than the minimum amount of DOT / KSM tokens to self-stake, then you should join a Nomination Pool. Learn more about Nomination Pools here.
  2. 2.
    Your validator is no longer active, thus is not producing rewards. You can either wait for your chosen validator to become active again, or choose to nominate to another validator. We would recommend selecting numerous validators when staking to help avoid this issue.
Q: What is "slashing"?
A: Slashing occurs if a validator shows harmful behaviour - in this event a percentage of their bonded/staked tokens will get slashed as a penalty, meaning they lose them.
If you were actively nominating that validator when the slash occurred, your tokens will get slashed too. This incentivizes good behaviour and at the same time requires that you do your due diligence on vetting the validators you delegate your stake to, to be sure that you are aligned with their intentions.
Q: How does Nova Wallet select Validators / Collators?
A: Nova Wallet selects the top validators based on security and profitability criteria.

Most profitable

Nova Wallet estimates APY for each validator and selects most profitable ones.

Not oversubscribed

Oversubscribed validators have more nominators then will be rewarded. Nova Wallet avoids oversubscribed validators in order to minimise chance for nominator of not being rewarded in the future.

Have a set on-chain identity

Onchain identity provides nominator an opportunity to meet validator's operator and have a way to reach them in case of problems.

Not slashed

Slashes are punishments for validator and its nominator for misbehaves (e.g. goes offline, attacks the network, or runs modified software) in the network. Nova Wallet avoids previously slashed validator to minimize risk of future slashing.

Limit of 2 validators per operator

To promote decentralization, Nova Wallet limits the number of validators per operator to give space for other operators.
Q: X project's staking is not available in the staking section of Nova Wallet, when will it be available?
A: Nova Wallet is always willing to work with teams in the Polkadot ecosystem to improve the user experience for our users. Feel free to reach out to us via our social medias if you have a suggestion, or use our canny page to leave us a suggestion!
Q: When will Nova Wallet support AZERO Nomination Pools?
A: Nova Wallet plans to add support for many networks nomnation pools within our staking UI in the future. Similarly, the AZERO team will soon create a staking dashboard which we can add to our DApp catalog as soon as it is ready. For now, you can use Nova's DApp browser to navigate to azero.dev and join a nomination pool using the standard portal UI.
For a video instruction on how to join AZERO Nomination Pools, see this video.
Q: What is Nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPoS)?
Polkadot implements Nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPoS), a relatively novel and sophisticated mechanism to select the validators who are allowed to participate in its consensus protocol. NPoS encourages DOT holders to participate as nominators.
Any potential validators can indicate their intention to be a validator candidate. Their candidacies are made public to all nominators, and a nominator, in turn, submits a list of up to 16 candidates that it supports, and the network will automatically distribute the stake among validators in an even manner so that the economic security is maximized. In the next era, a certain number of validators having the most DOT backing get elected and become active.
As a nominator, a minimum of 100 DOT is required to submit an intention to nominate, which can be thought of as registering to be a nominator. Note that in NPoS the stake of both nominators and validators can be slashed.
Although the minimum nomination intent is 100 DOT, it does not guarantee staking rewards. The nominated amount has to be greater than minimum active nomination, which is a dynamic value that can be much higher than 100 DOT. This dynamic value depends on the amount of DOT being staked, in addition to the selected nominations.
Q: What are Stash and Controller accounts?
A: Stash and Controller accounts are a unique feature of the Polkadot platform. The Stash account is a special type of account that holds the funds that are meant to be bonded or staked in the network. This account is used to participate in the consensus mechanism and secure the network.
The Controller account, on the other hand, is the account that manages the actions of the Stash account. It controls the actions of the Stash account, such as bonding, staking, and voting. The Controller account is also used to manage the rewards received by the Stash account.
When we talk about "controller" and "stash" keys, we usually talk about them in the context of running a validator or nominating, but they are useful concepts for all users to know. Both keys are types of account keys. They are distinguished by their intended use, not by an underlying cryptographic difference.
The controller key is a semi-online key that will be in the direct control of a user, and used to submit manual extrinsics. For validators or nominators, this means that the controller key will be used to start or stop validating or nominating. Controller keys should hold some DOT to pay for fees, but they should not be used to hold huge amounts or life savings. Since they will be exposed to the internet with relative frequency, they should be treated carefully and occasionally replaced with new ones.
The stash key is a key that will, in most cases, be a cold wallet, existing on a piece of paper in a safe or protected by layers of hardware security. It should rarely, if ever, be exposed to the internet or used to submit extrinsics. The stash key is intended to hold a large amount of funds. It should be thought of as a saving's account at a bank, which ideally is only ever touched in urgent conditions. Or, perhaps a more apt metaphor is to think of it as buried treasure, hidden on some random island and only known by the pirate who originally hid it.
Since the stash key is kept offline, it must be set to have its funds bonded to a particular controller. For non-spending actions, the controller has the funds of the stash behind it. For example, in nominating, staking, or voting, the controller can indicate its preference with the weight of the stash. It will never be able to actually move or claim the funds in the stash key. However, if someone does obtain your controller key, they could use it for slashable behavior, so you should still protect it and change it regularly.
In summary, the Stash account holds the funds that are used to participate in the consensus mechanism and secure the network, while the Controller account is used to manage the actions of the Stash account. These two types of accounts work together to provide a secure and efficient way for users to participate in the Polkadot network.
Q: Why have my staking rewards changed / staking APY has changed?
​
Note: As a non-custodial wallet solution, Nova Wallet does not have any influence over the returns from staking – this is all handled by the specific blockchain protocol you are staking on.
There can be multiple reasons as to why your staking rewards have changed day-by-day, or why the staking APY has changed:
  1. 1.
    How validators you are staking with are performing – if a validator starts to perform less optimally, then their APY will lower as a result.
  2. 2.
    Overall staking rate of the network – as the total amount of stake deviates from the network's ideal staking rate, the APY will change.
  3. 3.
    Blocks per round – your validator / collator may have validated less blocks than normal in the previous round, this can be due to the validator's performance, or simply just due to how the network allocated the work between the validators.
  4. 4.
    Rewards may vary each day, but over a longer period of time (say 30 days) the rewards should average out to correspond to the APY.
  5. 5.
    Validators you selected a long time ago may no longer be performing optimally – it is good practice to adjust your validators every month or so to ensure you are getting the best rewards.
Q: Why are my validaotrs which were reccomended by Nova starting to perform worse over time?
A: Nova's recommended validators automatically update at least once per day (for example on Kusama they are updated every 6 hours) based on a number of factors such as; profitability; not being over-subscribed; on-chain identity being set; no history of slashing. These updates happen based on data taken from the blockchain protocol, and are unbiased and based solely on the above parameters.
If you chose Nova's recommended validators a long time ago, then those validators may have become less profitable, etc. and we will have updated our recomended validator set – would recommend that you update your validator selection on a monthly basis.