Note before reading: All references to increases in values are in absolute terms with regards to balance of SOL. This document makes no suggestion as to the monetary value of SOL at any time.
Staking your SOL tokens on Solana is the best way you can help secure the world's highest-performing blockchain network, and earn rewards for doing so!
Solana is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network with delegations, which means that anyone who holds SOL tokens can choose to delegate some of their SOL to one or more validators, who process transactions and run the network.
Delegating stake is a shared-risk shared-reward financial model that may provide returns to holders of tokens delegated for a long period. This is achieved by aligning the financial incentives of the token-holders (delegators) and the validators to whom they delegate.
The more stake a validator has delegated to them, the more often this validator is chosen to write new transactions to the ledger. The more transactions the validator writes, the more rewards they and their delegators earn. Validators who configure their systems to be able to process more transactions at a time not only earn proportionally more rewards for doing so, they also keep the network running as fast and as smoothly as possible.
Validators incur costs by running and maintaining their systems, and this is passed on to delegators in the form of a fee collected as a percentage of rewards earned. This fee is known as a commission. As validators earn more rewards the more stake is delegated to them, they may compete with one another to offer the lowest commission for their services, in order to attract more delegated stake.
There is a risk of loss of tokens when staking, through a process known as slashing. Slashing involves the removal and destruction of a portion of a validator's delegated stake in response to intentional malicious behavior, such as creating invalid transactions or censoring certain types of transactions or network participants.
If a validator is slashed, all token holders who have delegated stake to that validator will lose a portion of their delegation. While this means an immediate loss for the token holder, it also is a loss of future rewards for the validator due to their reduced total delegation. More details on the slashing roadmap can be found here.
It is the goal of the network rewards and slashing to align both validators' and token holders' financial incentives, which in turn help keeps the network secure, robust and performing at its best.
In order to stake tokens on Solana, you first will need to transfer some SOL into a wallet that supports staking, then follow the steps or instructions provided by the wallet to create a stake account and delegate your stake. Different wallets will vary slightly in their process for this but the general description is below.
Staking operations are supported by the following wallet solutions:
SolFlare.com in conjunction with a keystore file or a Ledger Nano. Check out our guide to using SolFlare for details.
Solana command line tools can perform all stake operations in conjunction with a CLI-generated keypair file wallet, a paper wallet, or with a connected Ledger Nano. Staking commands using the Solana Command Line Tools.
A stake account is a different type of account from a wallet address that is used to simply send and receive SOL tokens to other addresses. If you have received SOL in a wallet address you control, you can use some of these tokens to create and fund a new stake account, which will have a different address than the wallet you used to create it. Depending on which wallet you are using the steps to create a stake account may vary slightly. Not all wallets support stake accounts, see Supported Wallets.
After a stake account is created, you will likely want to delegate the SOL to a validator node. Below are a few places where you can get information about the validators who are currently participating in running the network. The Solana Labs team and the Solana Foundation do not recommend any particular validator.
The Mainnet Beta validators introduce themselves and their services on this Solana Forum thread:
The site solanabeach.io is built and maintained by one of our validators, Staking Facilities. It provides a some high-level graphical information about the network as a whole, as well as a list of each validator and some recent performance statistics about each one.
To view block production statistics, use the Solana command-line tools:
The Solana team does not make recommendations on how to interpret this information. Potential delegators should do their own due diligence.
Once you have decided to which validator or validators you will delegate, use a supported wallet to delegate your stake account to the validator's vote account address.
For more information about the operations and permissions associated with a stake account, please see Stake Accounts