Staking your ADA can be confusing when you first start. Below we’ll answer many of the common questions newcomers ask when they delve into delegating their ADA.
Which Cardano wallet should I use to hold my ADA?
The best wallet to use will depend on several factors and your specific needs. We have a detailed wallet comparison here.
Can I use more than one software wallet at the same time?
Yes! You can access the same ADA wallet address from multiple software wallets (e.g., Daedalus and Yoroi) at the same time. You can do this by choosing to “recover” your wallet within each application and enter the recovery phrase you wrote down when you first created your ADA wallet.
What about hardware wallets? Do I really need to use one?
Yes! Hardware wallets are the safest option to store your ADA, and you can still earn staking rewards from a hardware wallet. See our hardware wallet guide for more information.
What is an epoch and how long does it last?
An epoch is a unit of the accounting period used by Cardano and each epoch lasts 5 days. Staking rewards are earned during each epoch and rewards are paid out as explained in our post on the Staking Rewards Timeline.
How do I choose a stake pool?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a stake pool, including pool performance and fees, supporting decentralization and open communication, pool size, etc. Please see our detailed guide on How to Choose a Stake Pool. To compare stake pools, check out sites like PoolTool, AdaPools, and adafolio.
Is my ADA locked when I delegate to a pool?
No, you are free to spend your ADA at any time (although you will stop earning staking rewards on anything that you spend).
Is my staked ADA safe? Can I ever lose funds by staking?
Your staked ADA is completely safe! Your staked funds remain solely in your control - stake pools never have access to your funds or rewards. Additionally, you can never lose funds by staking them. Pools take their fees from the total rewards earned by the pool, prior to distruting them to delegators. If a pool doesn’t make any blocks, it doesn’t take any fees. Fees are not charged directly to delegators.
I staked my wallet and was charged 2.17 ADA. Why?
When you first delegate your wallet, you are required to pay a 2 ADA deposit. You will get your deposit back when you undelegate your wallet. You were additionally charged ~0.17 ADA to cover the transaction fee for registering your wallet for delegation. You must pay a transaction fee any time you transfer funds on the Cardano blockchain.
What fees do stake pools charge? What do “fixed fee” and “margin” mean?
There are two types of fees stake pools charge: fixed fee and margin (also called variable fee). The fixed fee is an amount of ADA taken from the total rewards the pool produces in an epoch (epochs last 5 days). There is a minimum fixed fee of 340 ADA, which all pools must charge. Note: this is not a fee charged to each delegator. Margin, or variable fee, is a percentage taken from the pool’s total rewards each epoch after the fixed fee has been deducted. These fees go to the pool’s operators to cover the costs of running their pool. See this post for more details.
What is “pledge” and why is it important?
Pledge is the amount of ADA the pool operator(s) have staked in their own pool. This effectively lets delegators know how invested the operators are in the success of the pool. Pledged ADA earns rewards just like if it were staked, so if a pool goes down, its operator will not only miss out on collecting fees for the missed blocks, but they will also lose rewards on their pledge. Pledge also has a small effect on the rewards earned by the pool’s delegators. This is called the pledge influence factor. See this post for more details.
Do I need to claim my rewards every epoch?
No, earned rewards are automatically included in your staked balance. Rewards only need to be claimed when you plan to move them out of your wallet.
I staked my ADA but haven’t received any rewards. How long will it take before I get my first payout?
It takes 15 to 20 days before you receive your first rewards payout. After that, you’ll receive payouts every epoch (5 days). See this post for a full explanation.
If I add ADA to my wallet, do I need to re-stake it to earn rewards?
No, when you stake your ADA you are delegating your entire wallet - not a specific amount. Any funds you add or remove will automatically adjust your staked amount. See this post for a full explanation.
Will I miss out on rewards if I move my staked ADA to another wallet?
No, but you will need to be mindful of where your rewards will be paid out. We fully walk through this scenario in this post.
How much ADA can be staked in a single pool? What does “pool saturation” mean and how is it controlled?
Pool saturation is the maximum amount of stake that is eligible to earn rewards in a single stake pool. If a pool contains more than the maximum amount of stake, it will pay out reduced rewards to everyone delegating to the pool. The saturation point is determined by the k parameter, which is currently set to 500. This means that the Cardano network is designed to support 500 pools that are exactly at the saturation point. In practice, there will be many more than 500 pools in operation, and most of them will not be at the saturation level. The saturation level is defined as the total amount of staked ADA divided by the k value and is currently approximately 64 million ADA. See this IOHK whitepaper for a full explanation.