Blocks United

How To Stake Polkadot (DOT) and Kusama (KSM)

Key Takeaways

  1. If you don’t have at least 451 DOT tokens you will need to stake with a pool. The minimum to stake Kusama is only 0.10 KSM.

  2. Stake from a non-custodial wallet if possible, not from a centralized exchange.

  3. Connect to staking.polkadot.network.

  4. If you have less than 451 DOT click on “pools.”

  5. If you have more than 451 DOT you can either choose your validators, or allow the algorithm to choose them for you.

  6. The minimum for KSM is only 0.10 to choose validators. Small KSM delegators are not forced to use pooled staking.

  7. Select whether you would like to automatically compound your staking rewards, or send them to a specific wallet address.

  8. Bond your tokens

  9. Earn rewards!

Polkadot and Kusama Staking Guide

We run infrastructure for Polkadot parachain, HydraDX. HDX staking is simple now, but used to be complicated like DOT and KSM staking can be. If you would like to choose your own validators there is lots to know, so we will do our best to share what we have learned. 

If you are looking to stake Polkadot or Kusama there are important details to consider, so be sure to check out our previous article: How To Choose Polkadot and Kusama Validators.

Polkadot and Kusama staking basics

The DOT minimum changes over time. Currently the minimum to stake is 451 DOT. Only 1 DOT token is required to stake though a pool though.

Polkawatch is a good resource to check out the various pools. Click the network icon in the top right corner to switch between Polkadot and Kusama. 

Talisman wallet is the largest DOT pool. Ideally, you will stake with smaller pools to help the network decentralize. 

The minimum amount required to become an active nominator and earn KSM rewards may also change, but is currently 0.10 KSM.

Staking your DOT and KSM at centralized exchanges, like Kraken and Coinbase is convenient, but we discourage it. Centralized exchanges charge huge commissions and crypto was designed to cut out these middlemen.

Please read: Why You Should Not Stake ATOM With Coinbase to know more.

It can be intimidating to withdraw crypto from an exchange, so be sure to check out our article on self-custody

Unlike other ecosystems, DotSama goes out of its way to prevent validator nodes from becoming too large. 

The network uses an algorithm called, Phragmen.

FACT: Large nodes with a huge total stake are BAD for network security, so the Phragmen algorithm is designed to prevent it.

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What you must know when staking DOT or KSM

Every 24 hours (1 era) the Phragmen algorithm decides which 297 validators will provide the best protection and most decentralization for the network. It then places those 297 validators into the active set to validate blocks and earn rewards.

There is a maximum of 1000 DotSama validators. Currently there are around 800.

Here are the important details to understand if you are going to select DOT and KSM validators: 

1. You need at least 451 DOT to stake with individual validators. This number keeps increasing over time. If you don’t have 451 DOT, you must stake with a pool. Choose pools here.

The Kusama staking minimum is only 0.10 KSM.

2. The 297 validators that earn block rewards changes every 24 hours. That’s why it’s smart to nominate more than one validator.

3. Once the validators you nominate have 512 or more nominations they’re OVERSUBSCRIBED.

4. If a validator you nominated becomes oversubscribed YOU ARE SUDDENLY COMPETING with the other nominators on that node. The smallest stakers then get bumped out of earning rewards!

5. Staking yield falls as your active validator collects more tokens from nominators. That’s important to know.

Money goes where it’s treated best and as a result, stakers renominate smaller nodes to get the highest yield. In this way, DotSama staking is gamified and helps prevent validators from getting too large and dominating the network.

6. You don’t want to stake your tokens and forget about them. Check in on your stake from time to time, because if your validators are oversubscribed you might not be earning rewards.

The Polkadot ecosystem rewards nominators who pay attention to their stake.

7. You want to nominate several validators. 

REMEMBER, active validators earn block rewards. Inactive validators do not. The active set of 297 validators changes every 24 hours.

Use Polkadot.Network to stake DOT and KSM

The staking dashboard will allow you to stake in a pool, select your own validators, or can select them for you. Staking DOT or KSM doesn’t have to be complicated.

However, some delegators are loyal and like to support the same validators whenever they can. So, we will show you how to stake using all 3 methods.

How to stake DOT and KSM in a pool

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If you use Talisman wallet, staking in-wallet automatically nominates one of the Talisman pools. That is by far the simplest way to stake DOT and KSM.

The Talisman pool nominates 16 individual DOT or KSM validators.

To check out the available pools:

1. Navigate to staking.polkadot.network and connect your wallet. That can be Talisman, Ledger, Trust Wallet, Fearless, Polkadot JS, and several others.

You can switch networks between Polkadot and Kusama on the bottom left panel.

2. Click “pools” on the left pane.

3. Type the name or address of the pool you are looking for in the search bar. Or, scroll through the available active pools. (see image below)

4. Each pool displays current rank, number of participants, the ability to add it to your favorites by clicking the heart, and by clicking the 3 bars it will display the pool’s validator nominations.

Some pools only nominate 1 validator, while others nominate 16 validators.

5. Click “Join” to nominate a specific pool.

6. Enter the number of tokens you would like to delegate to that pool.

7. Click “Enable permissionless claiming” if you would like to automatically compound your rewards. This option eliminates a manual chore.

8. Click “Submit” and you’ve staked your tokens!

How to stake DOT and KSM when allowing the algorithm to choose your validators

Allowing the Phragmen algorithm to select your validators is another simple staking option.

THIS OPTION IS ONLY SUGGESTED FOR THOSE WITH LARGE TOKEN STACKS BECAUSE THE ALGORIGHTM WILL CHOOSE 16 VALIDATORS FOR YOU.

1. Navigate to staking.polkadot.network and connect your wallet. You can switch networks between Polkadot and Kusama on the bottom left panel.

2. Click the “Nominate” tab in the left pane.

3. Click “Start Nominating.”

4. The “Payout Destination” menu appears and you have three options. You can automatically compound your staking rewards, send them to your wallet, or choose an entirely different wallet address to stash rewards. 

5. Click “Continue.”

6. Click “Optimal Selection” or “Active Low Commission.” (see image below)

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7. Click “Continue.”

8. Enter the number of tokens you would like to bond and stake.

9. Click “Continue” and you are now staking!

How to stake DOT and KSM when choosing validators

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We are assuming you have researched and selected your DOT or KSM validators and that you’ve copied their names and addresses to use now.

1. Navigate to staking.polkadot.network and connect your wallet. You can switch networks between Polkadot and Kusama on the bottom left panel.

2. Click the “Validators” tab on the left pane. 

3. Paste your researched validator name or address into the search bar.

4. After the validator info pops up, click the heart to add that validator to your favorites.  

5. Click the “Nominate” tab in the left pane.

6. Click “Start Nominating.”

7. The “Payout Destination” menu appears and you have three options. You can automatically compound your staking rewards, send them to your wallet, or choose an entirely different wallet address to stash rewards.

8. Click “From Favorites” and then click “Continue.” (see image below)

9. Enter the number of tokens you would like to bond and stake.

10. Click “Continue” and you are now staking!

You can nominate up to 16 validator nodes, BUT only those with large stacks of DOT or KSM should.

If you care to know why, check out our article: Decoding DotSama’s Phragmen Algorithm.

Why would anyone nominate an oversubscribed node?

You want to stake with an oversubscribed node, because you trust them.

That’s wonderful, just make sure that.

  • You understand that the algorithm is going to divide your stake up between your active nominations.

  • You find out what the average nominator stake is with that validator.

  • You stake no less than the average with that single validator.

  • But remember, as validators gain tokens the staking yield falls.

So, now you know how to stake DOT and KSM. Be sure to check out the 2 connected articles by clicking the button below. If you intend to stick around the DotSama ecosystem, they are worth reading.

You may also want to read part II of our wealth building series: Grow Crypto Assets and Income by Staking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Staking is only appropriate for medium to long-term assets. If you are going to need to sell your tokens to pay bills, leave them fully liquid.

As of September, 2023 the DOT staking APY is over 14%. The KSM staking APY is 12.7%.

Check the staking calculator at stakingrewards.com for current rates.

Only 1 DOT token is needed to stake with a pool. 451 DOT is needed if you would like to choose your own validators. The staking minimums go up over time. Please do not stake with centralized exchanges, like Coinbase, Kraken, or Binance. Stake with a pool instead.

Only 0.10 KSM is needed to stake.

The risks of staking DOT include, but are not necessarily limited to smart contract exploits, validator performance and slashing, dishonest validators stealing your rewards, being bumped off of oversubscribed validators and not earning rewards, and the fluctuation of the DOT token value.

Yes. Both DOT and KSM can be staked at staking.polkadot.network.

Nothing we say is financial advice or a recommendation to buy or sell anything. Cryptocurrency is a highly speculative asset class. Staking crypto tokens carries additional risks, including but not limited to smart-contract exploitation, poor validator performance or slashing, token price volatility, loss or theft, lockup periods, and illiquidity. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Additionally, the information contained in our articles, social media posts, emails, and on our website is not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as financial advice. We are not attorneys, accountants, or financial advisors, nor are we holding ourselves out to be. The information contained in our articles, social media posts, emails, and on our website is not a substitute for financial advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation. We have done our best to ensure that the information provided in our articles, social media posts, emails, and the resources on our website are accurate and provide valuable information. Regardless of anything to the contrary, nothing available in our articles, social media posts, website, or emails should be understood as a recommendation to buy or sell anything and make any investment or financial decisions without consulting with a financial professional to address your particular situation. Blocks United expressly recommends that you seek advice from a professional. Neither Blocks United nor any of its employees or owners shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in our articles, in our social media posts, in our emails, or on our website, or for any damage or financial losses you may suffer. The decisions you make belong to you and you only, so always Do Your Own Research.

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Aligning our values with our delegators. We've self-staked tokens alongside yours.

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Contributing to the communities we validate for.

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