How to Stake Polkadot (DOT) Crypto: Step-by-step Instructions

Published: 18th June, 2023 | Last Updated: 26th January, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

Are you interested in earning rewards by staking your Polkadot (DOT) tokens? Staking allows you to actively participate in the network and ensure its security. In this article, we will guide you through the process of staking Polkadot (DOT) step-by-step.

how to stake polkadot

Understanding Polkadot (DOT) and Staking

What is Polkadot (DOT)?

Polkadot is a next-generation blockchain protocol that allows for seamless communication between different blockchains. It was created by the Web3 Foundation and is designed to enable custom blockchains to connect and work together, forming a network of interconnected chains called a “parachain”. The Polkadot ecosystem is built to be scalable, interoperable, and secure. With its unique architecture, Polkadot aims to solve some of the key challenges facing the blockchain industry, such as scalability, interoperability, and governance. For more check out my explanation of Polkadot.

The Importance of Staking in Polkadot

Staking is a crucial part of the Polkadot ecosystem. It is the process of holding your DOT tokens in a wallet and locking them up to participate in the network’s consensus mechanism. By doing so, you help to validate transactions, secure the network, and earn rewards for your contribution. The more DOT tokens you stake, the more influence you have over the network’s decision-making process.

When you stake your DOT you don’t validate transactions yourself. Instead, you send your DOT to a wallet that belongs to a validator. The more DOT a validator pools together the more likely it will be selected to add the next block on Polkadot’s blockchain. If they succeed then they share their rewards proportionately with those who stake with them.

Benefits of Staking DOT

Staking your DOT tokens comes with several advantages.

  • First, it offers a way to earn passive income and potentially increase your holdings over time. The rewards for staking vary depending on the number of tokens you stake and the length of time you stake them for. Generally, the longer you stake your tokens, the higher the rewards you can earn.
  • Second, staking supports the network’s security, making it more resilient to attacks. When you stake your tokens, you are essentially helping to validate transactions and secure the network. This makes it much harder for bad actors to manipulate the system and carry out attacks.
  • Finally, stakers have a say in governance decisions, allowing them to contribute to the ecosystem’s development and direction. As a staker, you can vote on proposals that can affect the future of the network. This gives you a voice in the decision-making process and allows you to help shape the future of the Polkadot ecosystem.

Understanding Staking Risks and Rewards

Staking DOT comes with risks, including market fluctuations and slashing penalties for bad behavior. Slashing occurs when a staker acts against the network’s interests, resulting in a loss of staked tokens. However, you should also know that the likelihood of this happening is near zero as stakers who try to cheat lose the amount that they have staked.

How much are Polkadot Staking rewards?

Stakers can earn rewards in the form of newly minted DOT tokens, as well as transaction fees. The exact rewards will depend on factors such as the amount of DOT staked and the length of time staked.

Currently, the staking reward is just under 16%. This means that your DOT will grow 16% per year. This does not mean that you will be 16% richer next year because the price of DOT continues to fluctuate. But yeah if you plan to hold on to DOT for the long term it totally makes sense to stake.

What do Validators do?

Validators play a crucial role in the Polkadot network by verifying transactions and receiving staking rewards. When selecting a validator, there are several factors to consider.

  1. The first is uptime, which refers to the amount of time the validator node is online and operational. A validator with high uptime is more reliable and less likely to miss blocks.
  2. Security is also an important factor, as validators with strong security measures in place are less likely to be hacked or compromised.
  3. Finally, fees are an important consideration, as validators typically charge a fee for their services. It’s important to research and compare different validators before making a decision.

Step-by-Step Guide to Staking Polkadot (DOT)

Step 1. Acquire DOT Tokens

If you don’t already have DOT tokens, you’ll need to acquire some before you can stake them. DOT is listed on several cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Kraken, and Huobi. Once you have purchased DOT, you can transfer it to your staking wallet. Make sure you use a centralized exchange. Decentralized exchanges don’t have DOT . They only have the wrapped version of DOT which is not what you are looking for (see what is wrapping in crypto for more).

If you are not sure how to go about this read my guide on how to buy Polkadot.

Step 2. Choose a Wallet for your DOT

The first step in staking DOT is to select a wallet that supports the token and staking functionality. There are several options available, including desktop, mobile, and hardware wallets. Staking Polkadot only works with the following wallets:

  • Polkadot Vault
  • Ledger
  • Polkadot.js
  • Enkrypt
  • Fearless Wallet
  • PolkaGate
  • SubWallet
  • Talisman
polkadot staking wallets

Step 3: Select a Validator

Navigate to staking.polkadot.network and connect your wallet.

Next, click on the left where it says validators or you can click on the pink button that says start validating.

Choose whether you want to compound your rewards or whether you want to send them to your account. If you plan on holding onto DOT over the long term I recommend you compound them. This means your rewards will be staked as soon as you earn them

Now, click on Continue.

You now have the option to customize your validator selection. The easiest hands-off option is to select “Optimal Selection”

This will offer you a portfolio of 16 validators. Click on Continue to bond (stake) your DOT.

Step 4: Authorize your wallet. the Staking Process

Once you have selected and authorized a validator or set of validators then you will get a notification in your wallet to authorize the transactions.

Once you accept the transaction your account will update to show the amount of DOT you have staked.

Step 5: Monitor Your Staking Rewards

After your tokens are staked, you can monitor your staking rewards and overall performance. Your rewards will vary depending on the validator’s performance and the amount of DOT actively staked in the network. It’s important to regularly check your rewards and adjust your staking strategy as needed.

In addition to staking rewards, there are other benefits to staking DOT on the Polkadot network. For example, staked DOT can be used as collateral to borrow other cryptocurrencies or stablecoins. This can be a useful way to access liquidity without selling your DOT tokens.

Unstaking and Withdrawing Your DOT Tokens

How to Unstake Your DOT Tokens

If you decide to unstake your DOT tokens, you can initiate the process through your staking wallet. Most wallets have an unstaking option that allows you to withdraw your tokens after a cooling-off period. During this period, your tokens are unlocked and become transferable again.

It’s important to note that the cooling-off period can vary depending on the staking platform you’re using. Some platforms have a set period of time, while others use a dynamic system that adjusts the cooling-off period based on network conditions. This means that the time it takes for your tokens to become available for withdrawal can vary.

Once the cooling-off period has ended, you can withdraw your DOT tokens from your staking wallet. The process for doing so can vary depending on your wallet and the platform you’re using, but it typically involves selecting the unstaking option and specifying the number of tokens you want to withdraw.

Withdrawing Your Staking Rewards

When you stake your DOT tokens, you’re effectively lending them to the network to help secure it.

In return for your contribution, you can earn staking rewards. These rewards are typically paid out periodically and can be withdrawn to your staking wallet or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies.

Withdrawing your staking rewards is typically a straightforward process. Most staking wallets have a dedicated section where you can view your rewards and initiate a withdrawal. Once you’ve withdrawn your rewards, you can choose to reinvest them back into the network or exchange them for other cryptocurrencies.

Reinvesting Your Rewards

If you want to maximize your staking returns, you can reinvest your staking rewards back into the network. By doing so, you can compound your rewards and potentially earn even more over time.

Reinvesting your rewards is a simple process that can typically be done through your staking wallet. Most wallets have a reinvestment option that allows you to automatically stake your rewards without having to manually do so.

It’s important to note that reinvesting your rewards comes with some risks. By staking more tokens, you’re effectively increasing your exposure to the network. If the network experiences a significant outage or other issues, you could potentially lose some or all of your staked tokens, including your reinvested rewards.

Despite the risks, many stakers choose to reinvest their rewards in order to maximize their returns and help support the network. If you’re considering reinvesting your rewards, be sure to do your research and understand the potential risks involved.

Conclusion

Staking Polkadot (DOT) is an easy and rewarding way to participate in the network and earn passive income. By following our step-by-step guide, you can stake your DOT tokens and contribute to the ecosystem’s growth and development. Remember to choose a reliable wallet and validator, understand the risks and rewards of staking, and monitor your staking performance regularly. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to becoming an active participant in the Polkadot network!

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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