Staking your Cardano is a simple way to help support the network and earn passive income in the form of ADA rewards for participation.
To stake your Cardano you need to delegate your wallet to a stake pool.
What Is A Stake Pool?
A stake pool is a collection of nodes on the network that process transactions and commit blocks to the blockchain.
Stake pools are made up of 2+ nodes with slightly different purposes.
Block Producers and Relay Nodes
The Block Producer is the main node, this is the node at the center of the pool and is responsible for minting blocks.
They are secured from the greater network by relay nodes.
Relay nodes are the ones who connect to the rest of the pools in the network and act as barriers to shield the Block Producer from other pools.
Relays essentially relay the information to and from the block producer to the rest of the world.
Who Runs Stake Pools?
Stake pools are run by Stake Pool Operators (SPO’s) who are generally network engineers or other IT sepecialist. These people are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the network by keeping the pools up and running 24/7
If a pool goes down it puts more stress on the network, and the more pools that are up and running, the more decentralised the network is.
If all of the pools went down, Cardano would basically stop working.
How Many Pools Are There?
Currently there are about 2500 Stake Pools.
Most are run by independent SPO’s who work individually or in small teams on one stake pool.
There are some SPO’s who run multiple pools.
There are also some pools run by exchanges (like Binance).
Staking to these pools is super simple but not recommended as it generally locks your ADA for a time period, and it also contributes to centralisation which goes against the whole point of a decentralised network.
Do You Need To Run A Node?
No you dont need to run a node to stake or to maintain the network, instead the regular ADA Holder can help support the network by staking to a pool.
The more people that stake to a pool, the greater chance it has of minting a block, meaning that you will earn rewards.
You can find more information about staking and staking rewards here.
What Pool Should I Stake To?
Well that’s easy, you should stake to STOIC, that’s my pool and we are up and running and minting regular blocks!
Stake your ADA To STOIC.
In reality you can stake to whoever you want. Ultimately all pools will average out to around 5% return so you can pick whichever you want and sleep easy knowing you are sorted.
You can delegate your ADA to any pool that you want, and once you are staking you are free to swap between pools as an when you feel like it.